Sunday, March 31, 2013

Rambling on a Sunday (and remember the clocks changed)

Sunday, 31st March 2013: Well they tell us the weather is record setting. Mind you given how much weather we have there are bound to be records in all the data somewhere. Last year it was reported that March 2012 was the “third warmest on record” this year they tell us that it was Britain’s coldest end to march on record. Temperatures of –11.2oC were recorded in Braemar. As I sit in front of my computer the sun is streaming in and I am slightly warm from having dusted and vacuumed, in preparation for my the build of new computer. Pretty much everything has arrived and I am busy trying to make sense of the manuals.

I will be going out shortly on my bike. – I have got a load of The Archers to catch up on. Although it seems that “Vanessa Whitburn who has edited the show for two decades is to step down from running the show”.  Apparently fans of the show want to go back to basics. I certainly wouldn’t mind a little less heartbreak and doom and gloom.

Talking of doom and gloom it would appear the Jessops, the camera store has been “re-launched”. They will need to understand their niche and how they differentiate from the specialist websites and the offerings of stores such as John Lewis I reckon. Who will they try to appeal to? The random shopper or the hobbyist. My last three cameras were all bought on the web, although my first SLR was bought from Jessops on the Hinckley road, Leicester in person.

Whilst reading the Sunday Time I noticed an article about bicycle lights and how with modern technology they are becoming too bright. The rules have become rather convoluted it seems. What with flashing lights and rechargeable lights and high-power LED lights. I switched to higher-power lighting systems when commuting on my bicycle along country lanes (rechargeable halogen lights). I would sometimes find myself cycling along a dark country lane and found that the problem was not seeing the road with my old-style battery lights but being taken seriously by oncoming vehicles.

I used to find that oncoming cars and vans would leave it until the last moment before dipping their headlights, if at all. The meant they either didn’t see me or didn’t think they needed to dip their headlights for a mere cyclist. The trouble is with main beam headlights I was blinded and was practically unable to see anything or judge my position on the road. With a brighter front light oncoming vehicles would dip their lights a reasonable distance away and I wasn’t blinded. When LED lights with better (lighter and easier to charge) Li-ion batteries I made the switch to Exposure Lights and have been very pleased. For about town cycling I use a Joystick and for country lanes and byways and bridleways I used a MaXx-D.

They have been very reliable, easy to charge and have good battery life. They also have a user-switchable power output. According to Wikipedia a car headlamp outputs around around 1,500 lumens (Halogen) and 3,000 lumens (HID) whilst the MaXx-D outputs 1600 lumens. So cyclists still have a way to go in terms of power. I guess the issue is that headlight beams are shaped whereas cycle lights tend not to be, which is why some of the poor motorists are complaining.

Personally I have never be dazzled by cycle headlight when driving. The problems are worst when on a shared use path where there is barely any separation between oncoming cyclists. The trouble is such narrow paths also require bright lights as they can be somewhat dangerous in the dark. I once got raked across the face by brambles hanging down and ended up getting some rather strange looks in the meeting I was cycling to.

Well I have been out for a ride – it as wonderful. Here are some pictures I took of the snow last weekend.

4cm of snowfall in the flatlands of East Anglia

Although it snowed for a long time the ground temperature caused a lot of it to melt away. So it looked very wintery, but we didn’t get any drifting.

Snowfall in the flatlands of East Anglia

And now for a bath Smile

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Pollarding along Lodes Way

Tuesday, 19th March 2013: A little bit of history, well a ride from last week anyway. We have had some snow over the weekend, but not as bad as some parts of the country. Some friends had to abandon a long weekend in the Lake District as the cottage was snowed in and the owners couldn’t get in to change the linen and clean up. Mind you there were reports that ATVs (All terrain vehicles) were used to rescue cars stuck in the snow in the Lake District.

I also realise that I seem to have become a fair-weather cyclist. Or at least cycling in the bitter cold against a strong and bitter easterly wind is not enticing. Even worse apparently the jet stream is stuck and sending our warm air to Africa and leaving us with arctic air.

Which has left me sorting out my new computer build – bits have been arriving over the last few weeks. (Although as if often the way, my current desktop computer has given no problems recently. Mind you I am not the only one with computer glitches – NASA Curiosity running again after week of glitches.)  I have been cycling – just not very far. Earlier this week I popped into the city centre – it was bitterly cold on the relatively short journey home.  My original plan was to take pictures of various things – such as how many cars use the Newmarket Road Bus lanes illegally and the Green Dragon Bridge and vehicles parked on pavements.


suggest that it might be one of those anti-social behaviours that will at long last be dealt with. The trouble is some car owners feel a sense of entitlement with regards to parking their car on the road or in a city centre for that matter.  Like this “furious homeowner” who seems to believe that he is entitled to park on the public road outside his house. It is not that uncommon to see cones reserving spaces outside houses.  Such topics even get discussed on Netmums.

It was too cold though, so I didn’t.  The Green Dragon bridge did have a meeting in its honour to discuss “ending conflict between cyclists and pedestrians”. To me it seems to be more of the “busybody”  attitude of  “not liking cyclists” and so focusing on making things worse for cyclists. I do wonder just what real evidence got considered in order to make a reasoned decision. The CN piece doesn’t mention any facts. It is annoying that rather than focus on fixing the real issue – providing appropriate bridges to enhance the flow of cycle and pedestrian traffic the approach seems to be one of wasting a bit of money. (One idea was to put rumble strips on the bridge to slow cyclists –  whoever thought of that idea doesn’t have much concern for wheelchair users or pram/pushchair pushers.

The Cambridge Cycling News has had a few cycling stories recently. With a piece on cycling theft hotspots. Apparently it is one of the PCC’s care-abouts. The Chief Constable does make the point “that proper lighting, proper CCTV and proper racks” do matter. Apparently 2,001 were stolen in Cambridge during 2012.Let’s hope the up to 1,000 cycle parking spaces for central Cambridge are appropriately designed.

The CN also has a piece on “Dooring” where one of the commenters refers to the cycle lane along Trumpington Road – the cycle lane seems to follow the door zone. A classic example of provision for cyclists that would be laughable were it not for the danger that it causes. Cyclists who use it increase their risk of dooring, cyclists who don’t increase their risk of suffering the ire of ignorant motorists being “held up” by cyclists cycling at a safer distance from the doors.

I forgot to mention, the Cambridgeshire PCC has mentioned getting the 20mph speed limits enforced, well the British Medical Journal has a study of the effectiveness of 20 mph speed zones on road injures.  Well their study indicates a 41.9% reduction on the areas studied.

The world is changing as electronic systems support many aspects of our daily life, from GPS to Facebook. When buying the parts for my new computer I did all my research and purchasing on the web. It is no surprise that newspapers are having to look at other ways of generating revenues as demand for printed newspapers falls and yet the expectation is that information on the web is free.

I have wondered just how the switch from print to web affects their revenues, so I was interested to read this blog post “Newspapers’ digital strategy amounts to clutching at straws” and by the same author (Keith Perch) this one “Newspapers lose £228 million in print advertising and replace it with just £20 million of digital revenue”. The message is that the internet transition is placing huge pressures on just what newspapers are supposed to do. they are after all commercial operations. They are in the business of attracting eyeballs – once it was paper – now it is electronic. 

Anyway onto my ride – a cheeky mid-week number – well all this time I am saving not commuting is going to waste! This was a ride up and around Lodes Way, which was looking somewhat different. The trees are still bare though and there are a few fairly recently ploughed fields around. The skies were grey, but some shafts of light shone down.

Trees in the spotlight

A bit further along Lodes Way, on the bridge over Reach Lode the stillness was evident form the flat water surface.

Tree Reflecting in Reach Lode

I forgot to mention, this is Maisie (Marin) along with my new Carradice saddle bag. It stands out in this picture – well the orange bit does anyway.  This time around it now has two spare inner tubes, a small pump, an aerosol sealant/inflator, three tyre levers, a puncture repair outfit, some zip ties and a multi-tool. There is a small bit of space left for a foldable shower-proof as well.

Maisie Marin on Reach lode Bridge – Lodes Way

Burwell Fen was looking even more flooded than the least time. To think that this time last year we were enduring drought conditions and there was going to be a hosepipe ban in Cambridgeshire.

Burwell Fen – nicely flooded

This is the view along Lodes Way skirting along the bottom edge of Burwell Fen.  The track is a metre or two higher than the land to the left. Which is a good thing as it would flood.

Lodes Way – Burwell Fen

That ridge is a footpath across from reach Lode Bridge over to the Burwell Lode footbridge, via Burwell Fen Farm.  That deer is making use of it as well.

Deer – Burwell Fen

As I got closer to Burwell Lode the scene was somewhat changed. There was a track up the bike ramp. But it also looked as if the trees had been near a bomb blast – their upper branches had been stripped.

Work on the future Burwell Lode Bridge along Lodes Way

I took this picture because it provided a splash of colour! Here is a bit more information, both about the Burwell Lode Bridge Ramp and 5he tree work. The line of trees (Willows) are being pollarded to by the Environment Agency which owns that bit of the land.

There will soon be some fencing work along Burwell Fen

Work on the future Burwell Lode Bridge along Lodes Way

As you can see the pollarding is pretty severe – but it takes the weight off and allows for new growth.

Man up a tree with a chainsaw – along Lodes Way

They had somewhat blocked the path with their vehicles – although I suppose it meant that passers-by took care. A fair bit of wood has been chopped.

Willow trees being pollarded along Lodes Way

This is Burwell Lode – it was still calm with little wind – thank goodness.

Burwell Lode from the Lodes Way Footbridge

On my way back there was some heavy equipment being loaded onto trailers on Newnham Drove so I headed back via Reach and Little Fen Drove. The yield in this field is looking pretty good so far.

Even distribution of crops growing along Little Fen Drove

On my way back I took the farm track turning right off Headlake Drove. It appears on the OS 25K map as Rail Drove. I followed it left on towards Swaffham Bulbeck Lode and then back down the bridleway back to join the Lodes Way. It took me past the fields that had been fleeced.

The bridleway alongside the Lode has suffered a bit of wear and tear recently. There were puddles along the track. One of them was somewhat deeper than I had anticipated. I didn’t fall off my bike, although one foot slipped a pedal and into the pedal. The back of my leg got banged by the pedal. I should know better,there are optimum speeds for crossing puddles of unknown depth and I was going to fast, or too slow.

Fields laid with strips of fleece to bring on the crops – near Swaffham Bulbeck Lode

On the way back towards Lode – yet more deer in the field. That one kept its beady eye on me for quite a while.

Deer along Fen Road, Lodes Way

And finally some pictures – how the world might look with when the power runs out. The beautiful cherry blossom in Japan – good that the weather is ok somewhere in the world. It is quite a sight, I have been past some of the cherry blossom parties when travelling in Japan.

If you think I am joking about the power – well electric cars could overload the French power grid and look how much effort there is to promote green energy in the UK – why do the parties argue so much about it.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Cars and Bicycles – why the irritation - cause and effect?

The other night I had to drive through the middle of Cambridge, whilst I might be prepared to cycle into the city centre when it is dark and freezing other members of my family are somewhat less keen. I’ve can’t work out why.

It was whilst I was waiting at the East Road / Mill Road traffic-light controlled junction that two thoughts popped into my head. Now I was coming down the Mill Road and turning left into Gonville Place. The first was that as I sat that scanning around me I confess to being mildly irritated when cyclists jumped red lights and “snuck up” on the nearside of the car and then sat ahead of the lights. I was aware of the cyclists, lights or not and also where or what they were likely to do.

No I am not a red-light jumper (bicycle of car), yet if I had been on my bike I would have been probably more than mildly irritated by the way some drivers seem to feel that cars have an innate right to be at the head of the traffic light queue. This often manifests it self as you cycle up to the lights and they squeeze past at speed and then force you into the kerb. The as a cyclist you are expected to sit there whilst those self-satisfied cars drivers belch out their fumes in my face. The DM reports that “Traffic pollution causes as much childhood asthma as passive smoking”.

It is amazing how much your (well my) frame of reference affects your (my) perception of a situation. It is also surprising how quickly you can switch a frame of reference. I have driven in the US and Canada a reasonable number of times, sometimes for hundred of miles. When I first drove there the challenge was not just being on the wrong side of the road and the wrong side of the car. No the challenge was ensuring that I looked in the right places for all the information I need to drive safely. There are all sorts of differences from where to look for traffic lights (traffic signals) to different speed limits. Once you get used to it then the switch becomes straightforward.

The good thing is that although I do alter my frame of reference for driving or cycling I still maintain a reasonable appreciation of how either type of road-user is likely to behave. So although bicycles can swarm around at junctions or even jump red lights when I am driving I don’t really care that much about it. I don’t find it stressful driving in Cambridge because of bicycles. No the stress comes because of the other motor vehicles.Cars jump red lights quite frequently in Cambridge. They can be often seen driving illegally in bus lanes or parking illegally and so blocking the roads. That is what irritates me.

So why do many motorists dislike cyclists on the road, well I think there are three issues. There are some drivers who are worried that they will run into a cyclist. There are drivers who resent waiting/congestion and blame cyclists for either getting in the way or lack of “investment” on the road infrastructure. Finally there are drivers who fear that they will be “made to cycle or walk more”.

So the first group need to learn where to look – perhaps by becoming cyclists themselves, the second group needs to realise that cities have been clogged up for ever and the third group – well you probably do need more exercise. And let’s face it motoring isn’t going to get any cheaper – MOT checks are going to become more stringent apparently. Congestion has been around since the horse and carriage and is only made worse by big roads, in my view. Essentially it all boils down to a large group of people converging on a place – whether for work or shopping. Mind you I can see why motorists get annoyed – the top most congested road in the UK (Jamaica Road, Southwark) slows to 0.08mph at its worst.

Now to the other thought. I reckon that the design of on-road cycling facilities in Cambridge often makes the situation worse. Cycle facilities are at their most valuable, in terms of road safety where there are junctions.  Yet too often cycle lanes seem to stop just before a junction. Cycling along Mill Road is better than it used to be some drivers do obey the 20mph speed limit, yet just as you approach the junction with East Road the traffic lanes narrow. So what do traffic planners think will happen. They hare created an “ok” road to use as a cycle route and then they create a pinch-point. As a cyclist I am not at all surprised that cyclists try to move through.

ASLs or Advanced Stop Lines, designed to allow cyclists to get to the fore at a traffic-light controlled junction and clear on through ahead of the traffic when the lights change. What actually happens is many motorists fail to observe the ASL with little chance of getting a ticket. I have not heard of a ticket being issued for an ASL violation in the UK ever. The problem is that is is difficult to prove unless observed by a Policemen and even more worrying I found this article in the Guardian which suggests that it is unclear if it is an offense and even ACPO (Association of Chief Police Officers) who didn’t know! The Dft did confirm it was an offense to drive over the line when the light was red (£60 plus three points).

In Cambridge we have ASLs with no channel into them, motorists don’t seem to get penalised for driving into them – that seems to me to be a recipe for creating conflict. What do you do if you vulnerable – get out of the way.  I will write to our PCC and inquire whether our Police Force have ever ticketed a motorist for the offense and indeed point out that since they were created to make it safer for cyclists at junctions perhaps there ought to be a crackdown.

Now I am not against ASLs as such, but there are too many bits of half-assed cycle infrastructure around that fuel the concerns of the worried drivers, the resentful drivers and the lazy drivers.

The trouble is we seem to be stuck in the world of “more of the same please”. Our roads are congested – what shall we do – more roads. The A14 is a source of moaning in these parts (flatlands of Cambridge). Apparently it will harm the economy if it is not made bigger and more tarmaccy. Well be careful what you wish for the “region” has been told to stump up £150m for a new A14 – of the £1.5bn  estimated development cost. It is interesting that Cambridge City Council has yet to come out in support – perhaps because it  will just add to the flood of traffic coming into and out off Cambridge each day. Which will add to the congestion woes. Oh and everyone will also moan about the new A14 being a toll road and it will put the cost of good up since a lot of the traffic is heavy good traffic.

The old A14 – noisy

Mind you perhaps the issue is that housing is too expensive in Cambridge and so people have to live (or choose to) further afield in order to be able to afford a house. The odd thing is there is a lot of banging on about the need for affordable housing and the importance of making developers pay for new developments under section 106 agreements. Although if you make a developer pay money to a Council for stuff, doesn’t that just put up the cost of the houses being built. It seems that the Northstowe – “not-yet-development” will get less section 106 money than originally anticipated. (Which means less affordable housing, “at the start” than planned – why am I not surprised.)

Talking about cost – well apparently the “green” petrol will also cost more and damage our cars engines.  Oh yes – whiplash claims add £90 to our insurance each year. What else – there is a £10bn pothole plague damaging millions of cars as well. With £32m paid out in compensation and £13m in council staff time dealing with the compensation.

So what with the nation’s health issues, pollution, green issues and burning money you would think that encouraging cycling as a form of transport would be top of most political agendas – cycling is for life not just for fun. (Or charity – mind you there is the Cambridge News Big Bike Ride coming along and the London to Cambridge ride.

So it seems to me that unless this country is going to get rich anytime soon then we need to:

Travel less
Travel more lightly and exercise more
Pollute less
Burn less money buying petrol from other countries – although the balance of trade just seems to get ignored nowadays

Instead we get crackdowns on cyclists on pavements. We don’t ask why they take to the pavements – perhaps to be safe?

Cars burn money petrol

Where cyclists do find routes we don’t make them better – well look at penalising them – “Railing plan to end conflict between cyclists and pedestrians on Cambridge bridge”. Why can’t solutions be to designed to make it better – well despite the high percentage of people who cycle to work in Cambridge and the social benefits it brings to the community cyclists there is not a proper strategy around cycling. 

Green Dragon Bridge – used by cyclists trying to safe safe perhaps?

That’s enough ranting – too much tidying and not enough cycling and now the weather turns crap again.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

I like Cider too…

I have been meaning to do this for a while, well when I first saw this comment anyway. Normally I tend to delete what seem to be random one word comments. Often a check of the logs will show that they came from a random IP address in India. Someone somewhere has been paid to seed the web with some information of some sort.

One such comment came in overnight from Utter Pradesh in India, saying how much they liked the blog and the “author” linked to a supplier of Air Conditioning.  Although I didn’t even bother checking out the link – just in case.

The Cider author’s link pointed to a Blog profile which pointed to a Blogspot blog which linked to Cider We Love It, which did talk about cider. So I left the comment in. You might wonder why I don’t either use “Captcha” to make it trickier or only allow comments through once I have approved them. Well I hate using Captcha – it just doesn’t do it for me, well not often. I seem to fail to recognise the “words” too often.

Anyway here is the cider I like. It is delicious, although I haven’t drunk any for a while. I generally only had an alcoholic drink when I have been cycling, or sometimes in the middle of a cycle trip. I have been off my bike for a few days as I felt it prudent having strained my back. (My son was working on their farm and brought some back with him to try.)

Henney’s Dry Cider – delicious

Last week I was doing some Spring cleaning and took some stuff to be re-cycled. I was bending down in a cramped walk-in cupboard and picked up a heavy box and twisted round and stood. As I did it I thought – hum, this sort of movement is bad for backs in general – and mine in particular. There was no sharp pain but I could feel a bit of weakness. By the time I had loaded up my stuff to take for recycling I couldn’t lift the last box into the car and had to get my wife to do it.

Although it started off with only a mild sensation it got to the point where I felt I had a sharp stake in my back, which was aggravated by twisting movements. This tells me two things (well three I suppose). I haven’t been cycling enough – always good back exercise for me. I could do with being a bit lighter and not to go against my own better judgement. Fortunately the healing cycle is not too long and I went for a 25mile/40Km cycle ride yesterday with no ill affects.  The pain didn’t stop me doing my daily 0.5 mile ride to the paper shop either.

And finally the Cambridge History News recently reported on Cambridge’s 10 worst junctions for cyclists. The Cottenham Cyclist has clarified the matter in terms of the data and dates. Why was this old news, news again – who knows. The CN item attracted a lot of comments though.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Want it Wednesday – got it for Christmas–only just stuck it on the bike!

Wednesday, 13th March 2013: When out cycling in the countryside I like to carry some tools with me just in case.  The main hazard encountered when cycling tends to be punctured tyres. You do get other problems though, I have had a chain snap on me, a rim split, blots go missing from, mudguards getting caught, saddle clamp problems and a broken seat tube – to name a few.

For a long time I have used an Altura RackPack, something like this Arran Rack Pack. It is great for day touring, but mine got filled with all sorts of stuff even and got heavier and heavier. I would carry spare change, inner tubes loo roll, a pump, a multi-tool, spare spokes, various nuts and bolts, a rain proof jacket, spare gloves, zip ties, puncture repair kit, tyre levers, antiseptic wipes, antiseptic cream, suntan lotion, plasters (band-aids). The list grew.

I was pleased with mine, although it was fairly waterproof several hours of riding in absolutely torrential rain around tea plantations in India proved too much for it. I ended up having to dry out money, maps and my passport and so started bagging up stuff before putting it in my rackpack. It had the advantage of being easily removable from the bike. So when heading to Cambridge city centre for meetings it was remarkably easy to remove and it always used to surprise me how much lighter the bike felt.

Now that amount of gear is a bit over the top when pootling around the Flatlands so having seen reference to Carradice saddle bags on My Orange Brompton I stuck one on my Christmas list – and lo and behold after Santa’s visit I was the proud owner of a Carradice Zipped roll saddlebag. I do have a pair of Carradice Super Cs that still are super and great for cycle touring. Although I do have to work at not over-packing them.

So why haven’t I mentioned it before. Well when I went to fit it onto my bike’s (Maisie) green Brompton saddle the leather fixing straps were so wide I gave up trying to get them through the buckles. I have half-heartedly tried if few times since but it has always been too cold.

Anyway this week I decided that I wasn’t going to give up. Here is the bag sitting on my kitchen table – daring me to stick it on the bike. It was quite a sunny day, but pretty cold still when I made the attempt.

It probably looks more battered than it does in real life as a result of the “HDR” picture. The material is designed to be robust. The straps are leather and there are two for the saddle and one for the seat tube. The bag is upside down.

Carradice Zipped Roll Saddlebag

Well I persevered and by squeezing the straps managed to get them to fit through the metal buckles. As you can see the green colour is somewhat lighter than the green of my saddle but the two are in keeping in style and colour I reckon.

I will probably have to slip the Knog light down a little bit to ensure it can be seen from behind. (Note the Knog light is an emergency light – I have a Cateye LD1100 – now there is an excellent rear light. They are so good I have three, on different bikes.

Carradice Zipped Roll Saddlebag

All that remains is to stick a few tools into the bag and I am ready to roll. Which means a pump, a couple of inner tubes, a multi-tool, some tyre levers,  puncture repair kit, zip ties and a bit of first aid stuff.

The last time I used my first aid stuff was after getting bitten by a dog a few years ago on a byway in the middle of nowhere.

Here is the rear view – alright it looks a bit crumpled – but it will look a bit more shapely when I fill it out with stuff.

Carradice Zipped Roll Saddlebag

So here is the result of my short-term review. The long-term will have to wait – naturally.


Seems tough
Not too large not too small
Will probably allow me to use a rackpack as well.
It will take a bit for someone to unbuckle if they want to steal it

Similar style to my Brooks Saddle


It won’t be easy to take it off and on, so I will need to be able to fit my rackpack underneath it for longer day rides.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Task Management

Wednesday, 6th March 2013: In my experience  when working for larger companies you tend to get sent, or should that be you get the opportunity to attend various training course. Some are are about improving your skills and some are more general. One such course I went on was a Time Management Course. The only piece of advice I can remember was to start a task, complete it and then move onto the next task. As opposed to hopping from one task to the next never quite completing anything. In computer terms you want to be single threaded and non-interruptible. Of course life isn’t always like that. If a delivery turned up right now I would stop typing and answer the door, it might be for me after all.

(There are pictures down there somewhere!)

Nowadays we live in a world of hyper communication. I take for granted that despite my daughter living 400 odd miles away I can share pictures with her at a whim by MMS, talk to her by what used to be called video conferencing, but the rest of us now call Skypeing. – (other systems exist!)  Not to mention Faceboook, Txting and even good old-fashioned email. In fact with Mother’s day the archaic snail mail also got in on the act. So we live in a world where we are more interruptible than ever, it takes real focus to minimise those interruptions.

I still believe in the idea that you do one task at a time, finish it and then move onto the next task though. So during the #Boycott CN various cycle related stuff passed me by. However I did notice that the Council was going to finish the Cycle way between Impington and Milton along Butt Lane – or so I thought.

A brief recap. Butt Lane is a small country road, connecting Impington and Milton, very roughly it is parallel to the Cambridge Northern Bypass (A14). Impington has a secondary school attended by children from Milton (Impington Village College). A long time ago, well 1996 there was a proposal to join Milton and Impington in a way that would facilitate cycling access to/from the school for Milton children.  Although looking at that last link the CCyC view seemed to be that the road was ok and it only needed some speed cushions on the outskirts of Impington.

I am not sure my interpretation is correct though as a little later this article appears  (Nov 1996) which mentioned a 2m-wide shared use pavement along Butt Lane.So I think the previous suggestion was in addition to the shared-use pavement. It all floundered it would appear as by October 1997 the CCyC reports – “Whatever happened to Butt Lane?”. There was fierce opposition from Milton Parish Council because it was felt that the cycle way would spell the end of a subsidised school bus! (Although Milton is less than three miles away the route was considered unsafe and therefore worthy of a subsidised bus.) It also saved several hundred thousand pounds.

The scheme however re-surfaced, perhaps because of fat-kid syndrome and the council promised to keep the subsidised bus – maybe. There was still opposition though. Politics are compromise – never. To add further to the compromise half was paid for by the Cycle Cambridge Program and half by a developer. I still struggle to get my head around the costs of such schemes – but the link implies that half would cost £230,000. The distance is 2Km so has it cost £230,000 for 1Km of shared-use path – phew. I must look for a breakdown of costs to see where it all goes – manpower, materials …

I decided to check out the press release – only to find that I had mis-remembered it – this one as a New dual use path on Landbeach road between Landbeach and Milton Cemetery. The cost £240,000 (or £250,000), the distance well less than 1km. There has been consultation  - check this thread out on Cyclescape.

Now I am not suggesting that the Landbeach shared-path be stopped, but it seems mighty odd that the Butt lane path has yet to be finished and there is already work on another one that doesn’t seem to serve a very large population. I reckon I would make the road through Landbeach from the North to the South one-way and then use half of it as a cycleway.

The trouble is that half-built cycleway along Butt lane is rather like a bridge that goes half-way over a river – bl**dy useless. If I lived in Milton and my kids were smaller I wouldn’t be that happy about them cycling along Butt lane – especially since the Milton half is the more dangerous bit, IMHO.

Some of those Council chappies could do with a Time management course – whilst waiting for the developer? Over £200,000 has been sunk into the ground for no real benefit. In fact it seems scandalous to me.

Just to make it clear – I don’t really think they should stop the Landbeach dual-use path, I think they should close the road to motor traffic.

It interests me how Councils operate, what with the ebb and flow of different parties at local and government level it provides the ideal excuse for non-delivery of programs – just blame it on someone else. It doesn’t really seem to encourage joined-up thinking.

Just to point out that there is good stuff here is a link to the Cambridgeshire County Council cycle maps. They give good food for thought when looking for a route to use. Mind you they don’t show all of the shared-use (or dual use) paths. There really ought to be a definitive map of the shared-use (dual-use paths) as the local signage doesn’t always get maintained.(Mind you the OSM Cycle map seems to have the same omissions, perhaps they have changed the status and are trying to catch me out cycling on a pavement!)

In other Council News the cycleway alongside the Guided Busway has been getting lit up. I must get out and try it one evening – although forgive me if I wait until it gets a bit warmer. Interestingly the work was carried out at night as well, I wonder why?

Whilst on the subject of the Busway it has now carried more than 4,000,000 passengers. That sounds impressive to me. Apparently during 2013 they expect to provide 3,000,000 passenger trips which a little over 8,000 a day.  According to this report (Page 41) typically 2,500 – 3,000 HGVs use the A14 per day with flows of 5,000 HGS per direction per day  between Cambridge and Huntingdon.  HGVs account for 15-17% of all vehicles. So the Guided Busway is taking a meaningful number of vehicles off the A14. (The numbers imply that there are 60,000 vehicles per day on the A14 and assuming 8,000 bus trips removes 6,000 vehicles then the saving is around 10% – good but an incremental improvement.

Here is a report about the use of the Busway that looks at who uses it and why. This suggests that the plan was to cope with 20,000 trips per day by the 10th anniversary (Page 12). Rather disappointingly the same attention is not give to attracting other modes of transport – eg cycling Which given the high percentage of people who cycle to work in Cambridge is a major oversight.

Talking of cycling I had a meeting in Cambridge and had to be reasonably smart – which meant a jacket  (but no tie). Although it was cold it was pretty sunny at one stage and I found myself over-dressed – not for the meeting but for the cycling. That was partly because I was a bit late leaving and so had to take a more direct and fast route.. This involved a bit of Newmarket Road and Maids’ Causeway. I really don’t like the Newmarket Road in Cambridge for cycling (or driving either for that matter).  You would be amazed at how many cars break the law along that stretch of road – by using the bus lanes illegally.

The problem is that the bus lane going into town is on the left side of the road and because there are so many turns then it has to have interruptions for the left-turning traffic. Most car drivers don’t wait until the bus lane stops they use it as a normal piece of road. So why does it matter – surely it is only a minor “offense” it only occasionally causes delay for buses and helps to cut the congestion by allowing cars to clear the road.

Well for one I think it is dangerous for other road users when large speeding vehicles don’t behave as they ought – that creates danger for others particularly vulnerable users. The second issue is that if all cars did it then it would no longer be a bus lane and significantly reduce the benefits of using park and ride. It does cause hold-ups for buses, all to often. It can also win up the bus drivers which is not a good thing as they are responsible for many passengers.

If it were up to me I would install bus lane cameras along Newmarket Road – or perhaps have a clamp-down on such anti-social driving.  Although they seem a little over-zealous in Glasgow and issued a ticket because a bus used a bus lane!

At this point I ought to mention that as I was cycling along the bus lane on Newmarket Road there was a bus behind me – the driver’s behaviour was exemplary he maintained a decent gap so as not to intimidate me.

Part of the problem is that the Newmarket Road scheme is a lot of bits and pieces, with stop-start bus lanes, bus-lane traffic lights, stop start cycle lanes and then where it joins  Coldhams Lane the bus lane and cycle lane stop early. Then when you get to the East Road/Newmarket Road roundabout cyclists and pedestrians seem to be expected to sink down under the road.  A classic case of cars are king. Whoever designed it must have thought “stuff the rest of you poor people who walk or cycle, or push prams”.

I also cycled along Maid's’ Causeway, whereas I would normally cycle in from Midsummer Common and Butt Green. Even with a faux 20MPH limit Maids’ Causeway isn’t the most pleasant of roads to cycle along.

This is the road that the Police said “20mph limit must be clear before we act, police warn”. Although that didn’t seem to stop the Police crackdown on pavement cyclists on Arbury Road.

A Cambridgeshire County Council spokesman said: “Shared use footpaths are clearly marked and our advice to cyclists would be that unless the footpath is clearly signed as such they should not use it as a cycleway.”

What a naive spokesperson to believe that shared-use paths in Cambridge are all clearly marked.  He can’t have read this Blog. Strangely enough (that is three different studies I have used in one post!) there is a study of interactions between Cyclists and pedestrians on shared-use paths – Atkins again. The Department for Transport makes work for idle consultants it seems – do they get aid by the word?

Still back to the Causeway – good news “20mph limit signage to be improved – clearing way for Police checks”. Although as Richard Taylor pointed out – the councillors opted for the low key signage of 20mph limits in the first place. CCyC also pointed out the error our our Councillors ways with respect to 20mph limits.

Where did I start this post - do the job properly then do the next job properly.

Back again to Maids’ Causeway – how thoughtful of this van driver to park on the pavement and not to block the road or cycle lane. Although he has also created his own dooring zone. Almost 600 cyclists a year injured after being knocked off by open car doors. The number of door-zone accidents has increased up from around 400 in 2009.

Van Parking on the Pavement – Maids’ Causeway

As you can see there are quite a few bicycles locked to the railings along the road. Those old-folk can just about squeeze through. I think that this might not be illegal as there are no yellow lines. The CCC publish a helpful guide on “Don’t get a parking ticket” – which doesn’t answer the question.

Van Parking on the Pavement – Maids’ Causeway

On my way back I took a more scenic route alongside Riverside – where there is some conflict between those who live on the river and those who live on the land. The first issue is working out who owns the the land alongside the river and so controls the mooring of boats.  It would seem that the river-dwellers are under pressure from both the rowing fraternity and those living in the houses and flats.  The City Council is now running consultations. (The area has its own Association – Riverside Areas Residents (RAR) with a website as well.)

Riverside – A mooring mystery turns into a consultation

I guess the concern from the rowers is when there are two boats passing each other? There seems to be quite a bit of space on this bit of the river.

Good news for the rowers though – Cambridge Sport Lakes £25m complex a ‘step closer’. planning permission has been granted. although there are conditions relating to flooding and drainage. Strangely the step forward does not get reported on Cambridge Sport Lakes website. (There is something similar – camToo – although this also focuses on transport issues in the area.)

Riverside – A mooring mystery turns into a consultation

As I was in the area I had a go over the new bumps on the old wooden bridge under the railway line alongside the River Cam. They don’t look much they do rattle your teeth though.

New Plastic Strips on bridge – NCN51 under the Kings Lynn Cambridge Railway Line

I am not sure why they were put there – whether it was because the old wooden surface was get slippery or they are intended to slow cyclists down or perhaps provide an acoustic warning. They seem a little rattly already though. They have been screwed into place – lets hope the screws don’t lift and snag cyclists tyres and dogs paws.

New Plastic Strips on bridge – NCN51 under the Kings Lynn Cambridge Railway Line

I wouldn’t know where to look on the CCC website to find out where this sort of thing gets discussed and sanctioned.

And finally – a cycle helmet with built-in indicator lights – sorry but it doesn’t work for me. The designer reckons that recreational cyclists consider weight a secondary consideration – not the “all the gear and no idea brigade”. It becomes yet another thing that needs charging. However my main concern is that motorists wouldn’t actually be able to work out which way you were turning – even if they noticed you.

Monday, March 11, 2013

The Mountains near Moulton

Sunday, 3rd March 2013: As I sit here typing this Post the artic winds have returned to chill us. I got a few funny looks as I cycled down to the local paper shop this morning in my shorts.

So now the Cambridge News is back on the agenda as far as linking to some of their stories there are quite a few! Such as “Toilets may be turned into underground cycle parking”, apparently the toilets under Cambridge’s market square could be converted. I am not sure what the market traders would think about the inconvenience.

There is also a report on the Court Case dealing with the Guided Busway crash near Longstanton last November. The driver has pleaded guilty and been given 8 points and a £620 fine. The accident occurred at around 3pm and he had been on shift since 5.30am. I am not sure how I feel about this it seems to me that he might have been better claiming the sun got in his eyes and it was an accident. So fair does to the driver for admitting it, I think his punishment was a bit steep as a consequence. especially since he had been on shirt for so long. – coming up for 10 hours. That is a long time, especially since whilst on the busway they don’t do any steering, although it is a bus. (He will go down in history a the first  to be prosecuted for driving without due care and attention on the Guided Busway though.)

Now I don’t think the Cambridge News is anti-bike, but rather pro attention-grabbing headlines. I rather liked this one “’Drivers complaining about cyclists is a bit like Ray Winstone crying because a little girl is standing on his foot’”. The article refers to the mountain of comments that seem to follow any story about cycling. Whilst the story does paint an odd picture of “crazy dudes listing alarmingly from side to side” he does make the important point

“By taking up to a fifth of the city’s traffic off the roads, these crazy dudes listing alarmingly from side to side with a Sainsbury’s carrier bag on each handlebar are doing us a massive favour”

Which is what most motorists forget as they sit stewing in traffic. “Cyclists take up to a fifth of the city’s traffic off the roads”. Predictably the article is not immune from the tit-for-tat comments – although only 4 pages at the mo.

When I cycle around the countryside, well in these parts I do wonder just how will all look 25-50 years in the future. The UK needs to worry about energy sources – whether it is bio-generated, wind or solar power or coal or gas. Our demand for energy doesn’t really seem to be diminishing. Neither does our demand for more housing. As one of the economically successful areas Cambridge is set to grow - £1 billion Cambridge University development moves closer”. It will need more energy, more transport, more amenities. Making the A14 larger to transport more cars will only add to the problems as far as I can see.

One problem that we don’t talk about so much is that of waste disposal, yet it seems to me that the amount of fly-tipping has shot us this month. I saw loads on this ride, although didn’t take too many pictures as I took my long lens again. I am glad that some fly-tippers are getting caught.

We tend to think of our countryside as natural, but really it is anything but, it has been subject to our actions for many, many years. Around here there is a lot is farmland, but there are wooded areas as well. At the moment we seem to get quite a few pigeons in the garden and so do my neighbours. They seem to thrive, living alongside humans to the detriment of a more diverse bird population. Apparently a feral pigeon can eat around 64 pounds of food  in a year and the estimated British pigeon population is 18,000,000.

The latest “problem” seems to be deer.There are loads in these parts – I’ve seen then down Saffron Walden way around Wicken Fen, even on the approach to Stansted Airport.  The trouble is there are no natural predators and so the numbers just keep increasing.  The trouble is that deer can cause significant problems for woodland areas and that impacts migrant birds as well. The deer also impact the wildflowers and crops.  The Daily Mail reports that 14,000 vehicles are severely damaged each year and around 450 people injured on killed on British roads as a result of deer collisions.  I certainly see quite a lot of dead deer by the roadside.

You’ll be pleased to know that this is not another ride around Lodes Way, well not quite anyway. After a comment from the Swaffham Bulbeck Cyclist I thought it was about time I went somewhere different for a change. So I followed is pedal-steps and cycled to Moulton. Here is a link to my route, the summary indicates it was 67Km or a shade over 40 miles and lumpy in the middle as it reached the dizzy heights of 104m above sea level.  What is quite pleasant is that for every hill you cycle up there is a hill to freewheel down (or cycle). The countryside undulates which I think makes for pleasant cycling.

Roughly speaking half the route follows Sustrans National Cycle routes, but half doesn’t, specifically the bit from Swaffham Bulbeck to Moulton. Also for a change I took a different route from Exning to Burwell where I re-joined the Lodes Way.

Heading along the Swaffham Heath Road over the A14 were the early daffodils that always seem to come out here sooner than many places (including my garden). Last year they were out on the 26th of February.

Swaffham Heath Road – A14 bridge – Spring Daffodils

Here is the map of my route and here is the Bike Route Toaster link again. One thing I did find was that my front gear changer was so clogged up with mud I didn’t have quite the full range of gears I am used to. It was all still perfectly cycle-able though.

Map of My Ride – Cambridge – Moulton return

This wasn’t a planned route as such, I just headed in the Moulton direction – choosing quiet roads as I came to them. Just before Dullingham I cycled up Eagle Lane – which runs alongside Dullingham Park, a horse-breeding stud. More pictures can be found here – Dullingham House history. Towards the bottom there is a picture of Eagle Gate Cottages – alongside one of the Eagles.

An Eagle guarding Eagle Gate  - Eagle Lane Dullingham

After that I crossed the B1061 – a fast B road, not the best road for cycling and headed towards Stetchworth Park. A quick web search shows that Stetchworth Park House is up for sale – offers around £11,000,000, but it does include the House, 3 cottages, 5 flats, two converted stable units and about 116 acres.

I think this is the road before Stetchworth, it undulates.

Undulating Eagle Road, Dullingham

The road crosses the Devil’s Dyke and track that I sometimes cycle along from Ditton Green through to a Pumping Station on the B1061. It runs parallel to the Devil’s Dyke. I tend to take fewer picture when cycling on roads – which must mean something. My route took me through Cheveley and then down to Moulton with its Pack Horse Bridge. I joined the NCN 51 route into Newmarket – although I took a short cut along the Exeter Road and joined The Watercourse (NCN51) and out towards Exning. For a change I cycled from Exning to Burwell along the Burwell Road – over the railway bridge that is all that remains of the Cambridge to Mildenhall Railway line and then into Burwell.

On the outskirts of Burwell I cycled along Greenlanes a byway I’d never noticed in Burwell before and then through the village to Newnham Drove. I’d seen a lot of rubbish on this ride – but this was the last straw – at the junction of Newnham Drove and Weirs Drove yet more rubbish dumped.

A little further along and I bumped into MikeC coming the other way so we stopped for a chat, until to got too cold to stand around as I was wearing shorts.

Rubbish fly-tipped on Newnham drove, Burwell

It was plenty warm enough for the cycle home though.

And finally – one of the problems of the focus on cycling in Cambridge is that it overlooks the need to routes from the villages around and about. Some are well served, some not so well served, such as bar Hill. The A10 corridor is now being championed – here is their new website – A10 Corridor Cycling Campaign (and their old website).

And finally, regular readers know that I often listen to the week’s Archers on my Sunday cycle – apparently they are getting an EastEnder in the show. The good news is that it isn’t so stressful to listen to as it has been.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Ditches and Drains–Lodes Way with a Long Lens

Saturday, 2nd March 2013: After the previous days nigh-on 400 mile trek across to Bath and back it was rather pleasant to be able to get out for a spin on my bicycle after doing the Saturday morning shopping.

I just wanted to go out for a spin, without too much effort – which meant no muddy byways for me and no navigating. It was also a grey day so for a change I took my long lens with me. I can’t quite remember when I got my first SLR camera (A Canon AT-1) but I got a kit deal. It came with three lenses, a Canon 50mm lens, a Vivitar 70-210mm lens and a 28mm lens. The wide-angle lens was the cheapest and fairly poor quality and so I tended to use the 70-210 lens most of the time. As a result I think I favoured long zooms (or telephoto lens) rather than wide angles. I always hankered after a much more extreme zoom, but could never afford it.

What I didn’t appreciate is the benefit of a zoom is what made it versatile and so today I tend to use my 14-140mm (which equates to 28mm to 280mm on a standard 35mm camera). I have got a longer lens – 100-300mm (which is 200mmm to 600mm in 35mm speak) and although I use it it is not as versatile as my shorter lens. When cycling I don’t want to carry two lens, partly because of the weight and partly because it would increase the risk of damaging even more camera kit in the event of me having an accident. I carry my camera in a bag, that is just big enough I’d have to get a bigger bag as well.

However, every now and then it do take the long lens for an outing  - photography is about looking and seeing and you get a different view. Of course as soon as I see things I want to take pictures off – I find that I have the “wrong” lens. The reality is that I just have to think about different viewpoints.

As it happened, my son who works in Agri-Science was asking me what the fields were like on the way to Bath. The flooding has been very troublesome for farmers, either making it difficult to; lift crops, or plough and drill new crops or hit the yield of freshly drilled fields.  we got talking about the drainage in the flat lands and how it seemed that farmers had been out clearing old ditches and digging new ones. He reckoned that was as much because farmers don’t like being idle as the ditches needed lots of urgent work.

As I cycled along the Lodes Way, past Lode along White Fen Droveway just as it becomes Sandy Road there is is byway heading left and a track right. The byway is White Fen Droveway which dog-legs off.  Although the OSM and Google maps show White Fen Droveway as a straight line it isn’t on the Streetmap 1:25,000 view.

I guess that is how places change names or names get forgotten over time. I have tried looking for an old map of the area – although not that hard. I did find this Post that deals with OS GB 50K Mapping errors which features White Fen Droveway and Sandy Road and points out that Sandy Road is in the wrong place.

A few posts ago I bemoaned the difficulty of tracking down stuff on the National Trust’s Wicken Fen website. It would seem that they are moving stuff onto their main website. Mind you they do have a few other web sites/blogs around including this Wicken Fen and Anglesey Abbey blog.  and this National Trust in Cambridgeshire Fens blog. (I’d better add them to my blogroll. (Along with these – Wicken Warden’s Wildlife Sightings and Lizzie’s  Blog -  Volunteer Grazing Warden – although Sept 2012 was her last week working at Wicken Fen!). It seems that there are loads of Bloggers – here is the Regional Director for the NT in the  East of England’s blog – Wicken Fen gets a mention.

I can now see why they are rationalising on their web presence – it would seem that they don’t know how to set up a decent blogging system under their own website – hence the multiplicity of bloglets.

Back to this Blog – evidence of ditch clearance along the track.

Ditch Clearance – just of Sandy Road (Lodes Way/White Fen Droveway)

The view along Sandy Road (or as you might know it – White Fen Droveway. It doesn’t seem that long ago that the road was re-surfaced – 2009 as it happens. Here is how they did it. This is a Cyclestreets picture of the road – pre-repair.

Sandy Road (aka White Fen Droveway – Lodes Way)

Whilst crossing White Fen I passed a family group out for a walk, with a dog and baby in a pram and a young cyclist. I couldn’t resist the picture of that young cyclist – although even with my long lens she is not much more than a dot on the picture.


Young Cyclist enjoying a ride though White Fen

As the weather picks up so does the popularity of the place – someone walking a dog along Swaffham Bulbeck Lode.

Dog walking – Swaffham Bulbeck Lode

This is one of the larger drains through the area – Commissioners’ Drain. Not the most original of names – but that seems to be the way of naming. This is the view looking towards Wicken – you can see a windmill just to the left of the drain. Wicken has two windmills, one in village and one in Wicken Fen.

Commissioners’ Drain – Lodes Way / Headlake Drove

I took the picture from a bridge over the drain. I could hear the water flow over the sluice gate behind me.  Here is a close(r)-up of the Sluice.

Commissioners’ Drain – Lodes Way / Headlake Drove

Regular readers will know that I often stop at bridges for a rest to take pictures. What with the creation of a Bund around  Burwell Fen (or Adventurers Fen) and the large amount of rainfall over the last few months the area has become a grassy wetland (as intended). I wonder why this tree ended up like this?

Grassy Wetlands – Burwell Fen

This is marked as Burwell Fen Farm and I assumed that it was once an inhabited farm, but MikeC put me right.  There are plans for a corral though. – “No gun fights scheduled at Burwell’s new corral

Burwell Fen Farm – Lodes Way

After round around Wicken Fen and then back down through I took some pictures of Baker’s Fen – also pretty well flooded.

Bird Feeding – Baker’s Fen – Lodes Way

Konik Ponies adding a real sense of drama to the Fen Landscape! Although there is only one in the picture there were others, I took quite a few pictures – but this is the only one that made it into the Post.

Konik Pony – Baker's Fen – Lodes way

At the start of the post I mentioned the farmers don’t like to be idle – here is one chap doing a bit of spraying – taking advantage of the low wind levels I assume.

Crops Spraying – near Reach Lode, Lodes Way

Another random shot of cyclists – although there two are cyclists at rest, sitting on a gate, just down from Reach Lode bridge. You can just about see the bicycles as well. The bank behind them is Reach Lode bank – somewhat higher than the land. The drainage matters.

Cyclists at rest along on Lodes Way (Reach Lode)

As I was cycling along Headlake Drove I noticed some leaves coming out on one of the bushes alongside the road. The first of the year?

Leaves coming out along Headlake drove (Lodes Way)

That bush was unusual though. I can’t see many leaves looking down Headlake Drove. It is dry though.

Headlake Drove (Lodes Way)

At the place where Headlake Drove meets Whiteway Drove another sign the spring might be imminent. Field-warmers laid out in strips capturing the first meagre rays of late winter/ early Spring sunshine. Apparently it is agricultural fleece here is where you can buy it.

Fleeced Fields – along Lodes Way

The same view but with a bit more contrast.

Fleeced Fields – along Lodes Way

On my way back – I stopped on Swaffham Bulbeck Lode Bridge. One thing I have noticed is that because of the rain we have had there is more green lichen-like stuff growing on them.

Swaffham Bulbeck Lode

There has also been more planting on White Fen in order to create a Community Woodland. Apparently they planted a further 300+ trees in February 11th 2013.

White Fen Community Woodland in the growing

As I had stopped I took a picture of Mucky Maisie Marin. This one was for a recent post about my Knog "emergency lights”.

Maisie Marin – leaning against a bridge over Swaffham Bulbeck Lode

I had to stand some way way with my zoom lens in order to get more in the shot. As you can see Maisie needs a wash. It has gotten so bad that I can’t change the front gears.

Maisie Marin – leaning against a bridge over Swaffham Bulbeck Lode

I am still travelling light – well when not too far from home anyway. Although I don’t carry patches I do have an aerosol inflator/sealant for emergencies.

Maisie Marin – leaning against a bridge over Swaffham Bulbeck Lode

When I cycled along White Fen Droveway (going) I meant to take picture of the drainage work. But it was tricky taking the pictures from where I was with the zoom lens. I remembered at the way back through. A recently cleared “bridge”.

Ditch alongside White Fen Droveway

More ditch clearance along the drove way.

Ditch alongside White Fen Droveway

And to complete the series a recently rough ploughed field, also along the drive way.

Ploughed field alongside White Fen Droveway

And finally the Ely Cycling Campaign seems to have been gathering steam. Whilst on the subject of Ely the by-pass also appears to have been approved albeit with some controversy.

A celeb on a reasonably priced bike - Damian Lewis (Homeland). A Stealth bomber flying in over a tropical beach and an abandoned rocky road in the Peak District, just right for MTBers.