Saturday, November 12, 2011

Why am I feeling deflated on such a sunny day?

Wednesday, 9th November: Another day with meetings in Cambridge and while I wasn’t late I wasn’t early. My first meeting was out Cherry Hinton Way and unlike yesterday when I cycled along The Tins this time I came back along Cherry Hinton Road.  Although I think the Tins is nicer overall the road is probably quicker. Although I didn't actually time myself.

As I was meeting people I cycled in decent clothes and did not take my rack-pack with me – normally I would take an aerosol inflator with me in case of punctures – but my son borrowed it the one time he cycled to work and left it there!

Which reminds on my way to my first meeting I went along Cherry Hinton High Street. This street seems to have more traffic calming than any other I’ve been on. I am not convinced it slows down traffic that much, I do think that it makes it more dangerous for cyclists though. The motorists seem to be too busy wending their way through the obstacles to pay much attention to cyclists. As a cyclist you have to be assertive along this stretch of road I feel.

I suppose the traffic calming probably puts off through traffic, which is some form of result, it tends to put me off cycling through it as well. One of my pet hates is the cycle lane alongside the shops. It is a solid MCL (Mandatory Cycle Lane) but as you can see runs very closely along the edge of the car parking.

Anyone with half a brain would recognise that there is some danger of being doored. So you have to pay attention. As I cycled along the lane in the direction of the picture a chap crossed in front of me, walked up to his car looked at me and then opened the car door wide in front of me. What a brainless thoughtless git.  I’m sorry but that is the only way to describe him.  He was a car driver and clearly felt that mere cyclists have no priority whatsoever. What makes matters worse is that sort of attitude leaks over into the driving of people like that. Or perhaps we cyclists are all scum – an example caught on camera of the disdain some drivers hold us in. Do they not realise that one more cyclist is one fewer car on the road.

Talking about strange driving behaviour there was another case a someone (a women) driving her car onto the guided busway. She was arrested on suspicion of drink-driving! (There are some weird comments as well!)

View Larger Map

Anyway back to the Cherry Hinton Road. There has been some recent improvement for cyclists along the road with a cycle lane for inbound cyclists and an “off-road” cycleway outbound. I tend not to call shared-use cycle paths “off-road cycleways” they are certainly off the road – just, but cycleway implies more than sharing of a pavement to me.

The route into town is better than the Cherry Hinton High Street. Although with the cycle lane the road has been narrowed. This clearly causes some traffic driving down there a problem. I followed a bus down that didn’t seem to be able to avoid driving in the cycle lane.

I also learnt my lesson from yesterday’s cycling and wore fewer layers of clothing – a good job as it was not a grey day and actually quite pleasant. After joining Hills Road and negotiating the Hills Road Bridge – which I feel is much safer now that it has had cycle lanes installed. One thing is why do some cycle lanes get coloured tarmac and some don’t? I feel that it alters the perception of drivers as to how they treat them and how much space they give to cyclists. (The bridge has coloured cycle lanes.)

I popped up to the Station and had a look for a cycle space, but then remembered that there were some cycle racks down by the University Botanical Gardens.  So I popped back again. Here they are – not many, but there were spaces. There are also some racks inside the gardens through the entrance.

As you can see – there is also a reasonable gap between the stands. I think that there is an assumption that bikes are always two-wheeled and don’t tow anything. Well around Cambridge that isn’t the case – you do see quite a few trailers with young children in them and delivery bikes with trailers – such as Outspoken Delivery. They need more space for parking and for negotiating cycle routes.

This time I headed straight to Le Gros Franck and had a useful meeting and an excellent Lasagne.

On the way back I got tempted into a slightly longer route – heading along Riverside you can see blue sky!

The trees are most definitely Autumnal.

I carried on along NCN51 up to the Newmarket Road Park & Ride. The Chestnut trees along Stourbridge Common had definitely lost their leaves.

This is the view across Ditton meadows – it was deficiently a much nicer day than some we’ve had recently

I stopped to take this picture (as you might expect) and as is my custom generally pull over onto the grass. Just as you wouldn’t stop on a road and hold up traffic behind I feel that the same applies on a shared-use path. (Would that some of the walkers on this path also show the same courtesy.)

As I pulled back on – as you might have guessed from the title of the Post – my rear wheel started deflating.  As I mentioned I had no way of fixing it – still I wasn’t too far from home. So I set off slowly- trying to lean forward to take my weight of the rear wheel. The tyre was an old one, so I wasn’t bothered about damaging it – but I didn’t want to scuff the rims. It wasn’t a slow puncture, but fortunately it wasn’t too fast either.

I almost forgot to mention – did you notice the shining object in the sky – yep, it was the sun.

According to this report – things are hotting up for the Sun.

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