Saturday, January 19, 2013

Last ride of Last Year

Sunday, 23rd December 2012: Hey I have finally written about the last ride of 2012.  In case you are wondering, my sick Desktop computer is getting better, but is still having one or two sneezes and I am learning way more that I want to about Windows 7 and its oddities. In the main most of the “fixes” have been tweak aimed at reducing the amount of stuff that ends up in the Error Logs, which are a great source of obfuscated information. 

I am not entirely happy yet. I have fixed a long-standing problem with my Acronis backup software which had problems with phantom tasks scheduled. I don’t know why my machine isn’t writing dumps when it crashes, however I do have McAfee back up and running and the machine isn’t crashing every 5 minutes.

At one point I did wonder whether it might be a virus or rootkit infection. But that seems less likely having run various AV scanners and checked for various file names indicating infection.
My current theory is that two pieces of software are occasionally stumbling over each other (and that means software that plays in the kernel) or that there is a file somewhere in the bowels of the system which is either corrupted or has the wrong permissions.  The good news is I feel I can start using the machine again and that the hardware isn’t the problem. I was thinking about building a machine this year as a hobby – that might be a bit time-wasting though.
The good news is that the nights will get shorter – or rather the dark bits of the nights. So far I have only forgotten to take a front light with me once and I managed to get home before it was dark. 

So what have our Police Force been up to in Cambridge – well catching heinous crims – “1,000 fined in blitz on bike lights”. Although if you read the article it turns out that 850 bought lights in the LIT campaign. (Lights Instead of Tickets).  Whilst I still think Policing should be about what really causes problems – I do think this form of justice makes sense. Apparently 9 out of 10 cyclists now have lights in Cambridge. My own surveys have shown that all cyclists who cycle on the outskirts seem to use lights, but quite a few out of 10 don’t in the centre. (As a comparison 1971 seat belt offences have been detected on Cambridgeshire roads since 1st April 2012

So not a bad result if it makes cyclists safer, but no evidence or data has been offered as to why that was a priority. At the same time we have the “Cambridge Police promising to enforce a citywide 20mph limit in Cambridge – so long as it is well enforced”. I hope our PCC is made of sterner stuff and doesn’t allow too much picking and choosing there.  20 is plenty and we do know that speed kills – often the vulnerable road users – children, cyclists and old people.

You get people moaning about driving around in third gear being inefficient and how dreadful and impossible it is – well it is more dreadful for those not in cars and motor vehicles. (This link has a graphic representation of how driving at 20mph can significantly reduce the risk of death. (For pedestrians: 40mph collision – 85% die, 30mph – 45% die and 20mph 5% die.) So reducing the speed from 30mph to 20mph reduces the probability of death from almost 1 in 2 to 1 in 20 – that sounds more than worthwhile. 

Here is one motorist admitting that 20mph makes sense for urban areas.
It might also help to make parents feel happier about letting their kids have a bit more freedom. Apparently just one in four primary school pupils is allowed to walk home alone.  In 1971 it used to be almost 9 out of 10. Now the issue is not all down to dangerous roads. Paradoxically allowing greater choice of where you kids go to schools has contributed – it is still pretty sad though. 

Apparently Ely is suffering from the menace on the pathway problem – or should that be the vocal minority. I do think that whenever you try to change an ingrained behaviour it is better to use more than a crackdown and fine approach. When it comes to the 20mph limits in Cambridge I reckon the first port of call should be an awareness course for all but the most serious of speeders. In the case of Ely it could do with a better route for cyclists to the station. They seem happy to spend a fortune (£30m) on an eyesore to help motorists. Which will speed traffic flow and also increase noise and traffic congestion in other parts of the city. They ought to sort out the cycle routes as well. 

Now onto my ride – a really pleasant leg-stretcher out to Upware and back via Wicken and Burwell, Reach and the Lodes Way. It wasn’t that cold or that windy and it just felt great to be out. Before I get carried away I should say that I am suffering from cabin fever having been slaving over a hot computer for what seems like ages.

We have had so much water that the land is water-logged and it is just sitting around – not good news for farmers or us as consumers – lower yields mean higher prices.

A field across Bottisham Lode – water-logged

A little further along having turned off the Lodes Way and onto Great Drove towards Upware – more water-logging in the fields. Although this won’t put the price of turnips up – this crop is turf.

A water-logged crop of turf – on the road to Upware

This is where Harrison’s Drove meets the road in the linked OSK map. (I have switched to using the OpenCyclemap because it moves when I drag it in Chrome – unlike the OSM map.)

More Water-logged fields – near the Upware Washes

This is a water course that runs from the pumping station in Upware through to Reach Lode and thence the River Cam.

Flooding Near Upware

And on my way home – a quick stop as I head down towards Burwell to take a picture of the sugar beet piling up.
Sugar Beet – Factory Road

For some reason the font sizing has gone wrong – and I can’t fix it – it seems to be because I have used my iPad to edit the post!!! Well I have increased the font size - but can't really recommend the interoperability between Blogger and WindowsLiveWriter.

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