Friday, October 28, 2011

Where does all the time go–finding a parking space?

After the last bit of Blog catch-up I thought I must try harder and I’ll try and fit in a couple more posts, but I don’t seem to have cycled for a week! The last post was dated October 14th and the next bunch of photographs I have uploaded onto PicsasaWeb are dated October 22nd. What has gone wrong.  Then when I check my Garmin Training Centre download of my cycle rides (as logged by my Edge GPS) it is true. There are a week’s worth of short rides down to the Newsagents and back to pick up a newspaper but no long rides until the following weekend!

Flip I know that time flies as you get older – and your memory gets worse – but it is totally unfair when they both happen together. Thank goodness for computers and GPS at least  I can go back and have a look. Well a quick check of my my diary and shamefully I have to report that I drove my car to the Cambridge Railway Station as I had a meeting in London.

Fate caught up with me. Regular readers will know that I often rant about how the shameful the provision of cycle parking space is down at the Cambridge Railway Station. I had to make a presentation and decided that I “needed” to drive to the station in order to avoid getting to hot and ruffled and to ensure I didn’t have the hassle of finding a space for my bike.

talking about the provision of cycle parking this is a useful article on “how bikes get abandoned” in Cambridge. Apparently 5,500 have been removed in the last three years. They do pass the unclaimed ones to a charity, which is a good thing. Just don’t leave your bike around with a puncture.

No guesses for what happened, normally when I cycle I get cross because there always seem to be more free car parking spaces than cycle parking spaces. Not this time. I ended up parking in the multi-storey up the road and getting hot and bothered walking in the rather pleasant sunshine back to the station.

It also cost quite a lot to park there – although actually I am all for realistic car parking charges it is not a rip-off, it has been too cheap in the past.. Please also provide alternatives. If I had thought about it I would have probably parked at the Trumpington P&R and cycled up to the station along the CGB. The buses along that section aren’t too plentiful though so a bicycle would be necessary (IMHO).  The good news is that the CGB is still getting more use than expected. At this stage it has been built so the best outcome for the taxpayers is that it gets well used as far as I can see. The first two months have seen 430,000 journeys versus a forecast of 150,000 a month for the first during the first year. Don’t read the link if political bickering gets up your nose though.

Apparently the busiest P&R site in Cambridge is along Babraham Road and it is to get a further 600 spaces. One of the more acerbic comments complains that “Addenbrookes’ staff are to blame” as they walk or cycle from there to work! Good luck to them – at least they are getting some exercise. Let’s hope it bucks the trend as apparently walking is going out of fashion.

It was sunny though. They also seem to have put the roof up on the new central platform being built – look at those blue skies. It isn’t quite as grand as I was thinking it might be – although it does look like the artist’s impression on the news item I linked to.

Fortunately the train was also not too busy – mind you I was prepared having read the “Art of train warfare”. On the train I am always an aspirant, on the underground I am normally happy to be a civilian.

As luck would have it I did manage to get to my destination in London on time. It was a place I had never visited before and a little of the beaten track. To add insult to injury when I got there I wished I had taken my Brompton with me. It would certainly have been easier at the Cambridge end and useful as I navigated the streets of London.

When I cycle I tend to map my routes more diligently – this time around I hadn’t bothered and had to check directions a couple of times on the way. (Which for a man is a difficult thing to do!)

I did come across some of the London Cycling Superhighway or at least what I thought was CS8 (pdf opens up on this link) – ‘cos that was what was marked there. Indeed it was and it would have been jolly convenient too, especially on such a sunny day. Oh well next time.

Mind you I think that you also need to pay attention to the traffic around you and here is one very lucky lady who was hit by a lorry and whether you call it luck or judgement certainty had the right approach and instead of getting run over managed to brace her feet against the lorry’s bumper and was pushed along on her back. Quite rightly though she should not have needed luck – it is worrying just how such a situation can develop.

In a rather tragic “co-incidence” the first cyclist to be killed on the cycling superhighway network (CS2) was reported a couple of days ago.

A bus driver was also pictured driving his bus whilst turning the pages on a newspaper, not the sort of motorist I want to share the roads with or be near to when walking on the pavements. I am not sure about drivers with 32 penalty points either.

Read Blog 20 of the Cambridge News’ “Perfect Cycling Weather” – a kind of I told you so, the bicycle won out on a journey to London.

Interestingly the whole business of car ownership is so entrenched that companies and corporations pay “car allowances” which seems to encourage private cars to be driven around London. There is a neat bit of statistical analysis in the link – but don’t let that put you off reading it. (As it happens I have in the past been in receipt of such an allowance, I seem to remember that it required I had a car, with 4 seats and that I kept it clean!)

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