Monday, May 16, 2011

Not a random ride in Cambridge–but some random pictures

Monday, 9th May:  This week was shaping up to be quite a busy week, well in terms of me having to leave the house and go and meet people and attend events.  The great thing is that the weather was holding up pretty well and so I was able to conveniently cycle in “work” clothes without having to put on extra layers of clothing.

In fact I have some pairs of trousers that are great for traveling in that allow you to unzip the trouser legs from just below the knee.  They were ideal as I could cycle in shorts and then convert them to long trousers for my meetings. Whilst they are not super-smart they are acceptably so – well to me anyway.

I had meetings, with the first, early in the day and the last into the evening so these pictures are a little random and more what caught my eye than any logical sequence. I did have lights as my return was in the dark and some of the cycle routes are better (safer) with lights at night I feel.

Time for a little extra Cambridge related news though. Apparently the “Widened A14 ‘would lead to extra slums’”. Stephen Joseph of the Campaign for Better Transport pointed out that widening roads leads to more traffic with housing along side and yet as fuel prices increase (and they will) you end up with housing unaffordably located without alternate forms of effective transport.

You know what, he is right, fuel prices will increase and as he points out several of the towns around the A14 are already A14 locked – Lolworth and Bar Hill being two that spring to mind.  The existence of the road has effectively road-locked them, increasing the number of lanes on it will only provide temporary respite, if indeed it does at all. The scrapping of the A14 “improvements” was also the subject of a debate – ICE East of England. Apparently there are 90,000 vehicles a day using the stretch between Girton and bar Hill and nearly a quarter are heavy good vehicles. That was used as an argument for going ahead with the “road improvements” – to my mind it is a bigger reason for addressing the problem in a more sustainable and forward thinking way.  Business has to consider more short-term issues, quite rightly, unfortunately that leaves Government (local and national) to consider the strategic issues – and I worry that it is not always something that it does well.

On a “greener note” we Cambridge residents will be able to recycle our batteries with our rubbish by hanging it on the side of the bin or leave them at nine recycling points in the city. Also a proposed Solar farm plan near Bourn was rejected by South Cambs District Councillors.  Well we either need to generate more power or will have to use less power and I am in favour of minimising eyesores  but we need to be prepared to pay more and I am not sure that message has gotten through or is understood.

Talking about technology – here is the Riverside Bridge (opened 5th June 2008)  in Cambridge with chimney stack from the Cambridge Museum of Technology in the background. The bridge is used by 1,900 cyclists a day (13/07/2010) versus original estimates of 1,000 cyclists and pedestrians.  That can’t be bad.

I did cycle around Ditton Meadows at one point – look at the buttercups and the interesting clouds

I also found myself on Parker’s Piece a great bit of open space, but you have to have your wits about you when cycling or walking along the paths – they are not really wide enough, but I can understand that there are many who oppose replacing more green grass with tarmac. I don’t often use it and tend to use other routes around the city, although I do find Park Terrace convenient sometimes.  It was on Park Terrace that I noticed the spire of Our Lady and the English Martyrs Church (OLEM). This is what I think I saw from the bridleway between the Newmarket Road and Swaffham Heath Road – although it has not quite made it onto the OSM Cycle map yet. Here is the link to the Post – “Across the field to Fordham and back”, the ninth picture down.

Of the many things I like about cycling one  is that you bypass the morning rush hour into the Science Park. Also, by the time I cycled home in the dark it was a little cooler so I put on a yellow rainproof fluorescent jacket the wind proofing was welcome. I also used one of my more powerful rechargeable lights – why? well it gets you noticed especially on poorly lit cycle routes.

I should also mention that my last “meeting” was dinner at the University Arms and when I went to lock up my bike I had mislaid my bike lock key. Fortunately for me they were very happy to wheel it somewhere behind the desk and keep it safe for me. Of course I found the key hidden in the depths of my bag almost as soon as I’d handed it over.

Despite the long day the ride home was a great way to blow away the cobwebs.

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