Friday, July 27, 2012

Saturday not Sunday–Summer Cycling

Saturday, 21st 2012: Sunday, 22nd July 2012: (Update – I got the day/date wrong- duh). As you might have deduced there was not a lot of cycling last week, partly the weather and partly because I felt a bit headachey for a few days. Nothing serious, just some minor lurgy brought into the house by one of the plague-carriers other family members. About the only thing it stopped me doing was cycling, so I compensated by watching bits of the Tour de France – and a jolly good tour it was too – well done to the Sky Team and Bradley.

Although I am afraid this doesn’t change my view about the Olympics – sport seems to have become way too commercial. But if society “thinks” it is ok for young men to get paid loads to kick a bit of leather around then who am I to complain – although I would still far rather see more kids engaged in physical activity, as they reckon that a third of 16-24-year olds suffer from back pain from spending so much time in front of the Television.

Whilst we cyclists might feel that although a huge amount could be done to improve the lot of cyclists it isn’t dangerous enough to put us off that is not what a lot of parents feel about their children cycling. A recent survey indicated that 52% of parents won’t allow their child to cycle unsupervised one they reach the age of 12 because of traffic danger. When I was a kid the deal was pass my Cycling Proficiency and then I was free to go of cycling – it was in my last year of Primary School. Mind you as I was also expected to start cycling to my new school after leaving Primary school – why, well ferrying kids to school just wasn’t what happened.

I was pleased to see that Prince William is concerned about the dearth of green spaces and its impact on children. The problem is land is scarce and so valuable so Councils see advantage in selling it off and no longer have to pay for its upkeep. The trouble is we seem to live in a world of sound bite politics. Despite winning the “Olympics” and a pledge "’to inspire young people around the world to choose sport’ Teachers spend 60% less time on sport. Probably because they are so busy responding to all the changes that keep getting thrown at them.

Instead we get government Ministers throwing their toys out of the pram because they have been told to use Public Transport rather than chauffeured cars to get to the Olympics. Also if you do go to the Olympics, you must not wear a Pepsi T-shirt otherwise you might get turned away. I presume that will only happen if the logo is visible.

Mind you I am still a week behind in my Posts, so less pontificating and more about my cycling. I have not been very adventurous recently – barely deviating from either Lodes Way of St Ives (via the CGB cycle way). This ride is no different. I went out to Wicken Fen via NCN 11 and the up from Burwell and back via the Lodes Way.

I do like to see the wild flowers growing on the verges alongside the roads and cycle paths. As the Summer moves on the plants in bloom also changes. Purple seems to be a popular wild flower colour and after passing Quy on route to Bottisham there are quite a few flowers in the verge between the road and the shared-use path. So I stopped to take a picture of this Knapweed – known as Lesser or Common Knapweed (Centaurea nigra), I think.

Common Knapweed

As you can see one of the other changes over the Summer is that land turns from a lush green to a harvest brown as the crops ripen in the fields.  Here is the Wadlow Wind Farm – not quite fully operations, but all the wind turbines are up now. (Seen from NCN51 near Quy).

Wadlow Wind Farm, NCN51 near Quy

There is some concern that Addenbrooke’s Hospital plans three more chimneys as part of a new energy centre which would generate heat, hot water and electricity whilst reducing carbon emissions by 47%. I have sympathy for that concern – but the challenge is that the Western world is wasteful of energy and we do need to sort out the climate issues. We can’t keep out heads in the sand and ignore it. It was recently reported that in the Antarctic a “grand canyon-sized rift was speeding ice-melt”.

Mind you in the countryside we have had such “blights” for ages – power the for conurbations has to travel over loads of rural England.

Electricity – heading to/from Burwell Sub-station

As the centre of the universe some power distribution there are various pylons marching in and out of Burwell.

Pylons Marching away from Burwell

I guess after a while you get used to them – and they can make for interesting pictures.

Pylons marching away from Burwell

Heading through Wicken Fen, along NCN11 past Monk’s Lode – some Rosebay Willowherb (Epilobium angustifolium or Fireweed or Chamerion angustifolium)growing alongside.

Rosebay Willowherb – Monk’s Lode, Wicken Fen

And after circling Wicken Fen and heading back along the Maltings Path this is the view looking towards Wicken Fen – this field will be ready pretty soon I reckon.

The back (or side) of Wicken Fen from the Maltings Path

After that it was a quick ride down the Lodes Way – stopping to look at some more man-made structure – these distribute electricity alongside Reach Lode.

Electricity poles alongside Reach Lode

Although I don’t feel that the weather has been very encouraging for cycling the crops in the fields seem to have done ok, these spuds along Split Drove/Headlake Drove are nicely in flower.

Potatoes in Flower along Lodes Way

A few field along some hay making or perhaps raking

Farmers work on Sundays Saturdays 

I cycled up Headlake Drove a bit to get a better vie of some late Oil Seed Rape.

Oil Seed Rape in flower in July (Lodes Way)

Another view of the spuds in flower

Potatoes in flower – Lodes Way

It will not be long before the field poppies have passed their best – still standing proud of the wheat though

Poppies in the fields, Lodes Way

Poppies in the fields, Lodes Way

As always, even on routes I know well there is something to see – I also passed quite a few cyclists out as well – speedy and family cycling.

Talking of cycling – here is Keira Knightley – looking fragrant on a bicycle and also some wonderful pictures of old railway stations now in decay and finally some vertiginous pictures looking down from skyscrapers in New York city. Oops, another picture of a “fire rainbow” in Scotland.

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