Thursday, June 21, 2012

Poppies, Pubs and Population

Sunday, 10th June 2012: Flip, where has the time gone – I seem to be over a week out of date with my blogs (eleven days actually) and there are 8 sets of pictures languishing on Picasaweb waiting for me to get around to sticking them into posts. The trouble is when time is short then you have to prioritise, I know that if it takes me a while to write a Post I can still get around to it. But, if I don’t cycle on a sunny Sunday afternoon then that Sunday has been lost for ever.

I have also been caught up in the anguish of seeing large chunks of my blog copied and stuck in another person’s blog. Which does not seem right. Now I am not looking to make money out of my blog and don’t put adverts into it. I also respect those Bloggers that do, they take time and effort creating interesting, inspiring and thought-provoking posts.

What I don’t respect is those that copy other peoples blogs and then wrap ads and donate buttons in what seems to be a cynical money-making exercise. The trouble is that from an advertiser’s point of view as long as the adverts get seen and occasionally acted upon then they are getting their money’s worth. Consequently Google gets its cut. However I certainly don’t feel that I have given permission either wittingly or unwittingly although I would need to check on the Blogspot terms and conditions to really be sure.

The trouble is I don’t pay for my Blogger use and so there is no direct economic link with me and Blogspot. I had filled in a bunch of DMCA requests but I left them in a Chrome window pending and lost them before sending them. To be frank it was pretty tedious because I seemed to have to do a request per page and several hundred of my posts seem to have been copied and are intermingled with what looks like two other blogs. They could do with a reporting guide a la Facebook.

What I have done is amend one of my pictures that appears on the home page of the Blog that is using my posts. It now includes a message saying it has been copied. the picture has been seen way more times than my blog gets viewed, which makes me think that there has been some pretty nifty SEO or there is a concerted effort to get “people” to view their blog regularly.) I did edit the post the picture appeared in so that it did not have the additional text on.

Still back to some pleasant cycle rides, what I like about this time of year is the way wild (and not so wild) flowers bloom, there is a constantly changing picture.

I was still feeling pretty knackered with my long-lingering man-lurgy. Although my family just called it a bit of a cough. The trouble is it came upon me at the most in opportune times like from 1am to 2am. I would get up to swig some cough stuff and then read so as to avoid waking up every one else in the house. Then, surprise, surprise I felt pretty tired during the day.

So my starting plan was a small loop out of town looping around Anglesey Abbey for a bit of fresh air, which I did. On the way back I decided that although I felt tired and slow I was enjoying the fresh air so took the Southern section of the CGB cycleway to Trumpington and then sort of completed the circle around the town.

Such is the hold the lurgy had upon me I even forgot to put the route into Bike Route Toaster and am doing it as I type this, along with process some pictures from yesterday’s trip to London for meetings. (I am also feeling a bit peckish as it is lunchtime.)

So here is the Plan a. bit – I was just going for a potter, trying to avoid traffic catching up with The Archers (whilst hoping that the storylines were going to be more positive than negative.)

The first stop was along a bridleway out of Quy (or Stow cum Quy) along Station Road. The new signposts have reached this far – so perhaps it is an initiative led by the good people of Quy rather than Horningsea. The implication is that the route is available for walkers, horse riders and cyclists to Lode. although it does mention Footpath or “F/P” on the left pointing sign. I wonder if new posts will be put in along the way?

One of the things I notice about the fens is that despite what can be quite heavy periods of rain the bridleways and byways tend to dry off pretty quickly. I’ve always assumed that this is because of the drying winds.

New signpost on the bridleway from Quy to Quy Fen

Here is the map – a ride of two loops – here is the Bike Route Toaster link to that map. It is a respectable 39Km/24 miles, flat and generally on shared-use cycleways or off-road. I felt I had achieved a pretty good despite despite the lurgy. Mind you it was all I could do not to fall asleep in the bath when I got back.

A ride of two loops  around Cambridge and Quy

A little further along the path is a permissive bridleway (well on the bit owned by the NT).  This was the route of the Cambridge to Mildenhall Railway line which accounts for its straightness.

Route of the Cambridge to Mildenhall Railway Line near Anglesey Abbey

As I was heading home after short loop around Quy, Lode and Bottisham I felt like a longer cycle ride and headed down the Airport Cycleway and decided to cycle along the Southern Section of the Cambridgeshire Guided Busway (CGB) cycle way. Which meant heading towards the railway station.

This time around I cycled down The Tins and straight down Mill Road. I usually don’t although now there is a 20mph speed limit on Mill Road it has become more pleasant, but it was a Sunday and even better.

As I cycled through the Station car park there was a reminders as to just how pitiful the provision for cycle parking is. Let’s face it you wouldn’t choose to park you bike there if you didn’t have to.

Cambridge Railway Station – evidence of just how poor the cycle parking is

At the moment they are trialling various double-decker cycle parking schemes. I hope to get to try them out – but it will be more than judgement as to whether I get to find a space. In the meantime they moved the cycle racks along the station area – so that they are out of sight. This might be a trick worth knowing the next time I have to go to London – there might be spaces available around the corner.

Let’s hope that the plans for the new railway station in Chesterton get it right. The access for Cambridge railway Station seems designed to maximise the conflict between buses, people, cars, cyclists and taxis. The design needs to prioritise for walkers and cyclists and then buses – taxis and cars should be less favoured. The map/plan indicates parking for 450 cars and 1,000 bikes.  The current city railway station claims to offer 435 car spaces and cycle storage. It is not good enough really.  Cambridge Cycling Campaign estimates a need for up to 5,500 spaces by 2014.

In my cynical view the problem is that money is made from station car parks, So we seem to be planning for failure. Apparently in Denmark according to Copenhagenize  there are around 80,000 cycle spaces and 20,000 car spaces.

A reminder, if one is needed has been temporarily located on Kingston Street – a car parking space has been replaced by a car-shaped 10-space bicycle “park”. Bicycles are more efficient when moving and at rest.

Winking smile

Why does this matter – well NASA pictures show the polar cap is shrinking in mass by around 15% per decade.  Global warming matters.

Displaced Cycling parking – Cambridge Railway Station (Sunday)

After that I had a pleasant cycle along the CGB cycleway. What makes it pleasant- well it is flat and passes under various roads so you don’t end up having to wait at light-controlled crossings for those oh-so important motor vehicles to get through. For the moment it also passes some open and green spaces. Although in this case the green spaces have gone a little red as the field poppies flower.

Poppies in the field alongside the Southern CGB Cycleway

A little further on the CGB cycleway passes through quite a deep cutting. Where you will see some garden flowers. Apparently some gardens were made the subject of compulsory purchase orders to allow the CGB to be built. However some residents are still waiting for their compensation years after losing their gardens.  The whole CGB development seems to have been undertaken in treacle.

Talking about taking property – there have also been a “Spate of cycle thefts on guided busway”. Apparently it is the fault of the cyclists using very inexpensive, poor quality locks. There must be a market for super-light, super secure bicycle locks. It is all well and good saying we need to lock our frames and wheels but the blooming locks weight at on.

Still there is scope for cooperation between the Police and cyclists – “Cyclists in Cambridge give police their bikes to chase escaping offender”. I wonder how many Police officers regularly patrol by bicycle in Cambridge? I don’t know the answer to that questions but the Cambridge Police Department (Massachusetts) has 12 bicycles. This item on the Cambridge Cycling Campaign dated Dec 1998 indicates that the Cambridge UK Police have access to bikes. I can’t say they are a common sight.

Like all organisations there is significant budget pressure already affecting the organisation of Policing activities in Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire.

Poppies along the Southern Section of the CGB Cycleway

As there are quite a few poppy pictures and I am not going to write that much about them here is a tenuous link. I’ve mentioned before about the problems with declining bee populations  well apparently viruses might be the cure. These are viruses that will kill the bacteria causing some of the decline. One such problem is AFD – American Foulbrood Disease.  The recent bee swarms have also resulted in an even cornier headline “Anyone for a ride on a bee-cycle? This one settled on a bicycle neat the Cambridge University’s New Museum site.

Poppies along the Southern Section of the CGB Cycleway

On the topic of open and green spaces it would seem that South Cambridgeshire District Council has proposed plans for 23,500 new homes in South Cambridgeshire. (The same Council that has found that traveller pitch demand has halved).We are set to be losing a lot of countryside and gaining a lot of pollution and congestion. Apparently British traffic jams are among the worst in Europe.The challenge is that house prices are high and difficult to afford for the young first-timers. Price is a function of supply and demand, if there were more houses then the price would come down. But land is in short supply and in any case if lots of houses were  suddenly built that were much cheaper than the existing stock it would disgruntle the voters existing home-owners. 

I guess the question I have is what say do and should the inhabitants of a region have when it comes to significant changes in their area. Why should National Government impose such targets. I accept that London is pretty densely populated (5,000 people per square kilometre, but is our approach to make all places as unpleasant as London. Here is the Daily Mail’s take on rising populations.

Personally I think we have to consider what structures we need to support a better and sustainable quality of life – which depends upon the quality of our countryside. Just stuffing more houses into the South East and then having gazillions of people commuting and polluting does not sound like a plan to me.

Options for the A14 upgrade have been published – I am pleased to see that there is some focus on improving public transport. Some of them including tolling options. The bottom line is more roads will equal more congestion. We also have to accept that better roads will support more house building – which is both a good and a bad thing. However it worries me that those that have the power to decide live in places which will be little affected. What about the people who live near these roads?

Poppies along the Southern Section of the CGB Cycleway

Amongst this pressure to build is also the economic reality that you can make more money by using pubs as development sites than as pubs. So the Flying Pig  is “at the end of the day a development site”. No it is not – and I don’t believe you can just transplant it into a new building either – that ain’t lovely IMHO.

Poppies along the Southern Section of the CGB Cycleway

And finally some pictures: British landscapes – my favourite is the one with Glastonbury Tor – although why no flatlands pictures? Who do you call when you want to ship an oil rig or stricken destroyer? Not that many of us own such things.

Some “stars” on their bikes – Leonardo and girlfriend Erin. Alec Baldwin, although you will have to look about half way down to the fifth of sixth picture – where he is pushing his bike. And Nigel Mansell, who was an incredible F1 driver in his time, but now cycles and owns a cycle team. He has broken his collar bone in a bike crash though.

And  really finally the ‘Bionic woman’ who competed in the London Marathon over a number od days is to cycle from London to Paris. Or if you like down-hill cycle racing – try this 3,500m downhill race on a Swiss Mountain.

Most of these links highlight why the Daily mail is the most shared British media outlet on Facebook – they do good pictures and aren’t behind a paywall (IMHO).

Oops I lied – one last picture – I wonder what car Danielle Lloyd used when I saw that she had to arrive at a charity event with it on the back of an AA lorry. What a surprise – a Range Rover. I’ve had to have my Disco shipped to the garage on the back of a pick up truck when it failed under warranty.

No comments:

Post a Comment