Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Better weather = more cycling

Tuesday, 9th July 2013: The strange thing about being so far behind in my posts is that it sort of gives me perfect hindsight.  I did the right thing and managed to get a fair bit of cycling done in July. According to my pictures I managed 17 half-decent rides or 20 miles (32Km) or more.  I will have to add it all up – when I get to that post.

Whilst not a cycling purchase one thing I am pleased that I bought – a UPS, or uninterruptible power supply.  Before I built myself a new computer I was happy with a Dell Dimension 9200 – with some modifications. I had upgraded the disk set to 2x 2Tb RAID 1 and was running Windows 7 and was considering replacing the graphics card when was had a power cut. The RAID drive always needed to re-validate the disk which took for ever and although I could use the machine it ran like a drain. Then I got the BSOD (Blue Screen of Death) and got tangled in all sorts of hardware verification, re-loading the operating system (several days). In the end I think it was some sort of software problem related to the RAID drive and perhaps the Graphics. But I couldn’t run a debugger because it would store crash dumps – pointing the finger at the RAID DISK driver.

Rather than upgrade the graphics I decided to build another computer with Windows 8. Which is what I now use. I am very pleased to date. I also bought a Maplins UPS so that random power cuts wouldn’t cause problems. Well during the last week we have had several power cuts. One lasting several hours and then glitches and now 4 or 5 2-3 minute outages. I have set my compute to turn off if the power cut lasts for more than 15 minutes. When I bought it I was concerned about the various types of UPS.  The one I bought detects the power drop and then within 15ms switches its power source on. You can get them that always generate power from their internal battery but they cost more.

When I build the machine I made sure the power supply I choose was capable of maintaining power for 20ms. I am putting in the numbers from memory so might be slightly out.  Anyway the good news is that, in the event of a power cut, the UPS delivers power quicker than required and so my computer carries on. It does provide a log of the situation as well. The only hassle was getting IED cables that were long enough.

So I admit to feeling a little smug. (Apparently the problem is a substation fault – although this fault seems to have been going on all week.

Back to my cycling – my default go out and ride route tends to be the byways and bridleways around Wicken Fen. This ride headed out towards Lodes Way and then Black Droveway towards |Reach, Straight Drove to Upware and back down Harrison’s Drove to the footbridge over Burwell Lode and then back along Lodes Way. The roads are pretty quite, the byways are even quieter. Although I find I have to concentrate on the rutted byways and bridleways.

The lack of rain and the growth stage of the potatoes makes irrigation a common site.

Potato Field Irrigation – near Straight Drove, Reach

A very common sight.

Potato Field Irrigation – near Straight Drove, Reach

We get quite a lot of air traffic, including test flights from Cambridge Airport, Medical Helicopters and US military planes (big and fast jets).  We also see powered hang gliders, when it isn’t too windy. I wasn’t quick enough to get a decent shot of this one as it headed away.

Powered Hang glider above the Fens

Quite often, when I get to Upware I cycle back alongside Burwell Lode and then Wicken Lode. This time I carried on down the footpath alongside Burwell Lode to the footbridge. I say footpath – there is also a track – which is how these vehicles got up here. The banks are being repaired.

Repair work Wicken Lode Banks

As I stood on the Burwelll Lode footbridge the highland cattle were clustered about the borrow pit used to build the earth ramp for the future bridge.

Highland Cattle – viewed from |Burwell Lode Footbridge

It seemed that cattle weren’t the only ones taking it easy. A bit of wild mooring along Burwell Lode.

Wild Mooring Burwell Lode, Footbridge

I headed back along Lodes Way, although before crossing the Swaffham Bulbeck Lode Bridge I cycled down the track a short way – fly-tipping. Let’s hope they get caught likes these tippers.

Fly-tipping along Swaffham Bulbeck Lode

As I headed back along Lodes Way (Sandy Road, which on the OSM Map appears as White Fen Drove but on the OS map as Sandy Road.) I stopped to take a picture of the potatoes growing in the field.

The farmer has recently had to remove the plants growing along this section of now bare earth in order to get the irrigation system out into the field.  Here is the Production Cycle, no mention of irrigation though. Apparently there is also concern about blight when it is humid.

Potatoes growing alongside Sand Road, near Lode

And finally – Cuckoos being tracked by Satellite and the tracking website. If you switch all the cuckoos off but Nick you can see how Nick flew all around the Wicken Fen area before migrating.

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