Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Late for London- Cycle parking at Cambridge Railway Station gets crappier

Wednesday, 25th July 2012: Regular readers will know that one of the more pleasurable uses of a bicycle is to cycle to the railway station. What could be better than a stretch of the legs before settling down to read the paper (or work stuff) whilst rattling into London in the blink of an eye. Alright there is a bit of poetic license there. The train takes around 45 minutes except during the rush hour when it slows down to stop a couple of times on the way. (Something that annoys me – but hey there you are).

Regular readers will also know that one of the least pleasurable cycling related activities is finding a flipping cycle parking space at the Cambridge Railway Station.  Basically the provision for cyclists is crap and it gets even crapper during the Summer as more people, reasonably, choose to cycle to the station.

For ages now there have been excuses galore as to why the cycle parking at the Cambridge Railway Station is so poor, despite the Cambridge Cycling Campaign’s efforts. The provision is absolutely abysmal, currently they are trialling double decker stands, presumably to increase the number of cycle parking spaces available.

In fact, it has almost got to the point where I reckon it might be quicker to drive.  The actual driving bit would be slower but the parking bit would be quicker. Now I don’t do that – but it does p*ss me off that those of us who cycle and so cut the level of congestion in Cambridge (not to mention pollution) then get treated so badly when it comes to parking our bicycles. And yet the bikes are also so much more space efficient when it comes to parking.

It has gotten so bad that I tend not to take any pictures on my way to the station and instead save the time for hunting up and down for a space. This time around I found a space down by the CGB area. Whilst they are trialling the double decker cycle parking they have moved the single-deck spaces further down. Fortunately, although these “Sheffield stands” are designed to allow two bikes to be locked  up (one each side) it is possible to get 4 bikes, two each side – with a bit of overlap. I wouldn’t do this for choice your bike can get a bit scratched up – but in a pinch it makes the difference between catching a train or missing it.

Maisie Marin is parked up on the “far end” although it all looks a bit confused. These stands also have a triangular tube across the top rather than a flat one – which makes it all a bit harder.

Cycle Parking at Cambridge Railway Station

At first I thought that whoever owned this bike had lost his/.her front wheel – but no – they were being cautious and had locked up the front wheel to the frame.  This is sensible – but I never do it – it also makes it harder to pack more bike in.

Cautious Cycle Parking Cambridge Railway Station – lock front wheel to the frame

The trouble is when you cycle to the station you get a bit desperate as the time ticks away and you have still not found a cycle parking space.  That is the simple reason why so many bikes end up parked against any available place – like these two looked to the tree stand. Which if you think about it is not a bad use of space.

Bicycles parked against a tree – Cambridge Railway Station

In fact any available space is used – the trees on both sides of the road are all being protected by the kinds cyclists. (There are three trees and six bikes in the picture.

Bicycles parked against a tree – Cambridge Railway Station

In fact the cycle parking is so dire that quite a few people don manage to lock their bikes to anything.

Bicycles parked against a wall – Cambridge Railway Station

As luck would have it after parking my bike I rushed in to buy a ticket from the automatic machines – the first one refused my credit card, so I tried another credit card – which was also refused. The ticket machine next to me was being serviced, when I mentioned it I got an unhelpful – “not my machine”. It was a good job that the queue for tickets provided by humans was moving quite quickly – so I got on the train.

The only snag was the train didn’t run to tie so I still arrived late for the meeting I was supposed to be chairing. It was also an incredibly hot day and so I sat for a while in a sweaty heap, when I did get there.

I don’t even know why the train was late – by a good 20 minutes. It wasn’t a landslide though. It amazes me that despite the fact that they have unhappy customers rail chiefs are getting a £1m bonus to stop them leaving.  According to the article they get paid £360,000 plus salaries and then get £300,000 bonuses on top. It is hardly surprising that we have had strike threat from transport workers prior to the Olympics – snouts in the trough together it seems.

There was also quite a lot of hoo-hah with large rings stuck up in King’s Cross Station as well.

The meeting went well though and so did the journey home, which although the train was scheduled to be slower than the mid-morning train – it was quicker, because it didn’t suffer from a go slow.

I cycled back along  Coldham’s Common, past the Cambridge United Football Ground. The lights were on – but I am not sure anyone was at home.

It was very pleasant though after a hot and sticky day in London to cycle “through”  Cambridge – but away from noisy smelly cars – well for some way anyway.

When I got home the family were eating in the garden and I was able to join them – albeit a little behind. A cold beer is a jolly good way to end a hot day – it is a pity it didn’t last.

Oops I almost forgot – Jeremy Clarkson on a bicycle – who have though it – and he seems to be enjoying it. Some beautiful blue waters in Japan and a sixties-built Garage and diner is named as a top cultural heritage. I think we might have to limit the number of listed buildings and heritage sites – otherwise this country will end up as a museum. Sometimes you have to look forward – to more dedicated cycling route for instance.

Winking smile

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