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.

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