Sunday, March 27, 2011

A picnic by the River Cam

Friday, 25th March: One of the great things is about a bicycle is the freedom it gives.  Before I could drive, or rather before I got my first motorised transport – a Honda CB125 Motorcycle, my bicycle provided me with both the freedom and the wherewithal to get out and about. It was also how I got to School, at least once I had left my village Primary School.

Although I can now afford to drive, the bicycle has once again gotten back to that point in my life where it offers me freedom. Perhaps not quite the freedom of my youth. Certainly here in Cambridge it is much easier to get about on some quite pleasant routes and what’s more importantly park close to where you want to be. All the time getting fresh air and vitamin D – what could be better.

Apparently the EU has proposed banning petrol and diesel cars in town centres from 2050 onwards. However the UK has put its head in the sand rejected those proposals.  Perhaps we (the UK) have found some super-secret huge oil reserves under Watford and will be able to carry on using petrol with impunity.  If we think petrol is expensive now, just wait until it really starts to get scarce.

So even when I can’t sneak off and roam the countryside on my bike it does allow me to get around Cambridge. Today I had meetings in town, fortunately these were not formal ones and didn’t require me to be dressed up, so as the weather was so nice I put on a pair of non-cycling shorts. What I mean is they were linen shorts rather than Lycra cycling shorts and cycled through to my meeting.  Is it just me or do people seem happier and more pleasant when the weather turns nice. Rather worryingly according to the Daily Mail a gentleman never wears shorts. Mind you as it was the Daily Mail I am not worried.

Mind you it started cool, if you follow the University of Cambridge, Digital Technology Group’s link for the 25th March you cam see that it was around 5C at 8am. However between 12noon  and 4pm it was 16-18C, or thereabouts an apart from a brief blip at 11am it was sunny between 8am and 6pm.

Although it was Friday, at least for me it wasn’t Poets day I had stuff that I had to do after lunch as well.  So I cycled though Midsummer Common past the River Cam to Riverside and then up to the Tesco supermarket  next door to Cheddars Lane bought myself some lunch, (Prawn sandwiches, salt and vinegar crisps and Apple Tango) and cycled up alongside the Cam looking for a nice spot to sit, eat lunch and watch the world go by.

Apparently there is concern that on some of the paths in the public spaces the edges are getting churned up and “making a muddy mess”. The trouble is those sorts of muddy puddles can be quite alarming for an unsuspecting cyclist at night.

The trouble is it was tempting to carry in the sunshine, but I really did have things to do after lunch, so I stopped when I reached Stourbridge Common just after the footbridge in Stourbridge Common. The bridge is also known as the Green Dragon Bridge because on the other side the Green Dragon Pub is opposite. The main path, along which NCN51 runs on its way through to Bury St Edmunds runs along a wider path set back from the river, there is a thinner tarmacked path alongside the river bank with a few benches.

The fine weather has brought out the scullers looking cool in their shades.

This is the Green Dragon Bridge just down from where I was sitting.  I didn’t have my more powerful zoom lens and it was quite tricky getting the cyclist framed by the girders – but you get the picture.  Technically cyclists should dismount, or at least there are signs either side asking them to do so.  I have no idea what the law says about such matters, however a cyclist slowly pedalling takes up a lot less room than one walking alongside her/his bike. So it would seem to me to be safer for cyclists to remain cycling but to give way to pedestrians as appropriate.  Dogs though – they are a different matter. The best thing for dog walkers is to have a long lead and walk on one side of the bridge whilst the dog(s) walks on the other. It is also preferable to have such a thin lead so the lead is almost invisible.

On the other bank  a rather nice boat moored along with an interesting tree, the lower half is deciduous and the top half is a fir tree.

This is the bridge during a brief moment when there was no-one crossing.  This bridge is very busy during the rush hour. It is also pretty busy throughout the day.

The odd thing is that most of the cyclists looked fairly well wrapped up despite the glorious weather (and sunshine) or perhaps I am an odd cyclist.

Some people wore helmets, but judging by my pictures most didn’t.

The view across the river from the park bench. it was not very windy and the reflections were quite good when the water was smooth. Every time something went by it stirred up the water and took ages for the reflections to calm down again though.

This is the thin tarmac/gravel path alongside the river.

I have to say that it was a most pleasant way to have lunch and to recharge my batteries both physically and spiritually. I can highly recommend it on a sunny day.

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