Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Cycling to Nearly St Ives on the CGB–last week’s flooding

Sunday, 15th July 2012: I am a little bit slow in getting my posts out at the moment and since things like flooding are topical I posted a few pictures from this ride on Monday, 16th July (Cambridge and CGB flooding). I cycled along the Cam through town and then up through Girton on the old NCN51, which I followed until Gravel Bridge Road. When I reached Swavesey I joined the cycle way alongside the Guided Busway.  I cycled up the the first sign of trouble (floods) and after a bit of dithering decided I didn’t want to paddle and cycled back down the CGB to Cambridge. (here are some more FLOODING pictures from the Cambridge News.)

Cyclists on the NCN 11 to Upware alongside a brimming River Cam

It looks as if there was also an angling competition – I’ve not seen so many anglers along here for a while.

Anglers on the River Cam opposite Ditton Meadows

The King’s Lynn Cambridge Railway line as it passes over the River Cam.  NCN51 passed alongside the river under the line on a wooden bridge. A few years back I ended up in casualty after cycling (a bit too  fast) onto the wooden bridge, my wheels slipped away from me – fortunately nothing was broken.

River Cam flowing under the Cambridge to King’s Lynn railway Line

A bit further along and the River Cam had “burst” its banks – well on the side opposite Riverside anyway.

An Overflowing River Cam, Riverside, Cambridge

This is the view looking back down Riverside towards the Cambridge Museum of  Technology.

Cambridge Riverside – a brimming river

A little further along the River (on NCN 11 & 51) underneath the Victoria Avenue Bridge – I decided not to try it out detoured via the avenue of trees on Jesus Green.

NCN 11, 51 – flooded under Victoria Avenue Bridge, river Cam, Cambridge

As it happens the shared-use path through the avenue of trees on Jesus Green was also flooded. There were some convenient park benches should passers by wish to sit and paddle their feet at the same time.

A flooded Park Bench, Jesus Green, Cambridge

As you can see the shared-use path was also flooded although not so badly that you couldn’t cycle through it – it did deter pedestrians though.

Flooding – Jesus Green, Cambridge

Although we have had a fair bit of rain recently it was actually a very pleasant day. This is the view of the CGB form  Gravel Bridge Road.

The Guided Busway from the Gravel Bridge Road Bridge

After passing the outskirts of Over and heading down to Swavesey I passed Mare Fen – I had expected it to be more flooded.

Mare Fen – Swavesey

Just as I was about to join the Guided Busway cycleway I noticed a “drop off” point for users of the Guided Busway. I guess that it demonstrates that the Guided Busway has attracted some local users who presumably drove before. Apparently the original plans had a Kiss and Ride, which was then dropped, it was re-instated this year.  I assume that the users of this facility will be relatively local so it is a pity that they are not cycle users. I count that as a failure to attract what should be “easy targets” to switch to cycle/guided bus as a means of transport.

It would be interesting to know why there is such an automatic response to favour car users. is it concern about cycling safety on country lanes, or cycle security at the P&R site, or…

Swavesey Guided Busway Drop-Off Point

After that I was surprised that the cycle way alongside th4e CGB was actually not as bad as I had expected – until I reached the Culvert. (Fairly close the the River Great Ouse. This was flooded.

Mind you some cyclists were getting through – by sticking to the edge of the cycleway where it is presumably slightly less deep.

Flooding on the Cycleway alongside the CGB

the problem is there are no depth markers – so it isn’t that clear quite how deep it is. As you can see you can just about make out the SLOW marking on the tarmac.

Flooding on the Cycleway alongside the CGB

Just in case you couldn’t here it is in close-up. You have to be a bit careful not to stray off the tarmac as well. I am surprised that there are not depth markers alongside that might help cyclists.

Flooding on the Cycleway alongside the CGB

As you might expect there were quite a few cyclists and walkers who chose to take to the tracks. Some cycled alongside, whilst others cycled on the tracks. (See how the buses have already marked the concrete.) I also saw a family with a pram take to the bank. Personally I think they are mad – buses move along this stretch of the track. You can see the bridge over the River Great Ouse to the right of the picture.

I think that Council should consider a walkway along the edge of the bank so that walkers and cyclists alike could avoid the floods. The trouble is the alternative routes for cyclists are longer. Why is it that cyclists and pedestrians get the short straw?

Cyclists avoiding the Flooding on the Guided Busway Cycleway

Although it was deep enough to get wet that didn’t deter some cyclists, who didn’t mind wet feet and getting a wet spray up the back.

Splashing through the flooded Cycleway on the CGB

Here is a family out for a ride – all helmetted-up – they didn’t let it stop them.

Splashing through the flooded Cycleway on the CGB

Although the ramp at the culvert required a bit of effort for those cycling at a sedate pace through the flooding.

Splashing through the flooded Cycleway on the CGB

the trouble with MTBs is that they don’t have mudguards and yet you have to maintain momentum when cycling through water – which throws it up.

Splashing through the flooded Cycleway on the CGB

As I stood here a chap who had cycled up from Swavesey had a chat. We both decided discretion was the better part of valour. The shame is that this is the more picturesque part of the cycleway to visit.

I would have cycled through if I had been wearing my sandals.

Splashing through the flooded Cycleway on the CGB

So I headed back, this is one of the other areas that flood – although as you can see there is a dry line.

The partially flooded Cycleway on the CGB

Although this might look like a river it is actually a path alongside Moore lake (I think).

A Flooded Path from the CGB to Fenstanton

As you can see using the path high up on the bank does not give a lot of clearance. I definitely think a raised “bridge” on stilts would be beneficial here. It would stop walkers and cyclists from taking risks.

What happens when the Cycleway alongside the CGB floods?

As you can see the brooks running past the CGB were all pretty full. To be honest I can’t remember which of the brooks this is – the one by Covell’s Bridge I think as you can see Hale Windmill in the distance. If it is then this is Covell’s Drain.

There has been a plea to Busway users after a raid near Oakington.

Covell’s Drain – Guided Busway

After that it was an uneventful, but most pleasant cycle back. This is what the River Cam looked like from the Green Dragon Bridge.

River Cam from the Green Dragon Bridge

It looked as full as it could be without actually spilling over too much. Unfortunately some parts of Cambridge were flooded, including parts of Girton. Lets hope they didn’t get tickets likes this Flood victim – I would like to think that our Councils are there to serve us – they don’t always seem to behave like that though

River Cam from the Green Dragon Bridge

I did cycle up this weekend as well (22nd July – it was completely clear – the post will follow.)

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