Saturday, August 18, 2012

Cyclists that lunch

Friday, 3rd August 2012: Although it was Friday it wasn’t a POETS day for me, but I did get to have a lunch meeting over at the Crown and Punchbowl in Horningsea (and one of the homes of Ben Hayward Cycles). Lunchtime meetings are always a good excuse to cycle. Even popping out to the countryside generally doesn’t take any longer. Mind you I generally end up taking a great (or medium) circle route if I can.

It was a glorious day so I set of for my meeting in shorts and short-sleeved shirt. I did leave a little later than planned and so arrived a bit of a sweating heap. This is the second time I have eaten here just recently, the last time was with my wife and daughter and the meal was delightful and upmarket. This time around  it was a pint of Wherry and a plate of bangers and mash – always a good Friday lunchtime choice.

After the meeting I really needed a bit of exercise to burn off the calories and so cycled home via the byways and bridleways to Lode and then NCN 51. It amazes me how quickly the fields change – one minute there is a field of wheat, then stubble and no it has been ploughed.

The only challenge was there were quite a few people out walking their dogs and I got chased. Whilst the dog might “not harm me” or only be “having a bit of fun” I don’t really want to get tangled up with a dog thanks. I certainly don’t want to get bitten. I do realise that dogs need exercise. Too many dog owners seem to think that their dog will stay put without a lead and not chase me. You know what most do, but probably 1 in ten don’t – those are not good odds for a cyclist.

Fortunately there is not too much of a problem with “dog mess” perhaps because the dogs use the fields alongside – which gets combined.  There aren’t any dog wardens either – unlike Islington Council that employed a team of 22 dog wardens. The cost was £134,000 and it was meant to be self-funding but the amounts of fines levied was £2,000.   Why is it so easy to spend other people's tax–payers’ money. I am not so keen on the idea that everything has got to be self-funded as well. Certainly in the overall scheme of things we shouldn’t spend more than we get – but as a general approach it doesn’t always work.

Freshly Ploughed Field on a bridleway near Horningsea

As I was passing Allicky Farm the open barn was full to bursting and looked to have been getting a bit of air-conditioning as well.  Although it might seem counter-intuitive haystacks with too much moisture content can spontaneously combust and so the moisture levels have to be monitored and managed – just in case.

Controlling the Haystack moisture levels – Allicky Farm, Quy

How about that for a noise-free, pollution free, traffic-free cycle route home (well sort of home). This is the route of the Cambridge to Mildenhall Railway line (that was). Most of the time it is a decent walking, cycling and horse-riding route. There is nothing like a ride like this to lift the spirits (not that mine really needed lifting).

I met a family cycling along here who wanted confirmation they were heading to Anglesey Abbey – this has to be a much nicer route than even the NCN51 to Bottisham and then across to Lode.

Old Cambridge to Mildenhall railway Line, Anglesey Abbey

One of the aspects that I like about this sort of route – there is no clutter, barely even a signpost and you aren't always sure about them. Unlike this road which has a 40mph sign with 30mph painted on the road. Or this road where even potholes get the paint treatment.

These sorts of routes are important and need to be protected. (Just like school playing field ought to be protected.) They are just the sort of antidote we need to quell the rising anger at the pumps. What people have to realise is that prices is all about supply and demand – it is bound to go up in price.

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