Thursday, January 30, 2014

There may be trouble ahead

Thursday, 23rd January 2014: Well it only seems like yesterday that the Advertising Standards Authority , a quasi-QUANGO were banning a Cycling Scotland advert advising motorists to treat cyclists with care than there decision is now under review! You can also read about it here – on Bike Radar – which when I look at the webpage is advertising a Jaguar car. Clearly Jaguar must feel that cyclists are a target market. (Or someone has been using my computer to look at Jaguar cars – not me though.)

Whilst quasi-QUANGOs might had a rather unaccountable accountability it would seem that with the weight of various cycling organisations (CTC), the All Party Parliamentary Cycling Group and petition. Now this is only a review of their decision – they might still uphold the ban…

I am sorry if my cycling is a bit boring to read about at the moment, I am easing into gently. I consider cycling good for my back, but I also want to re-build strength in my back and leg muscles.  So I am not doing too much stomping on the pedals at the moment and avoiding hills. Although it is probably more difficult finding hills than avoiding them here in the flatlands. I am also keeping away from too much mud (byways and bridleways) and flooded Guided Busways – which means I have been cycling the Lodes Way on a regular basis.

One of the good things is that the weather has actually been quite kind to cyclists. I have been managing to get out every other day so far (my plan) and have managed to avoid serious wind or rain.  A quick check of the Cambridge University DTG (Digital Technology Group) shows that during January 2013 we had 26.7mm of rainfall and during January 2014 (to date – 30th January) we have had 55.2mm of rain. So despite twice the rainfall I have been lucky…  Apparently parts of the UK have had the wettest January since records began.

For this ride I went up to Upware and around through Wicken into Wicken Fen. It was another fine evening, with blue skies and the sun setting through the clouds. Where crops are being grown it looks pretty green at the moment – partly temperature and partly rain? Another look at the DTG website shows the average temperature for January this year as 5.9oC (range –2.0oC to 12.7oC) whereas for January 2013 it was 3.1oC (range –9.4oC to 14.5oC).

Setting Sun – near Upware

I couldn’t resist popping up to the Upware washes to take a picture of the sunset.

Upware Washes – Sunset

As was mentioned in the Rangers’ Blog (there are more than one – rangers that is)  they have been trying to do something about the shared-use cycle track alongside Wicken Lode. The path seems to be set lower than the ground around and so puddles collect.  The drainage ditches have helped – but I reckon the path itself is the problem.  I am glad I have mudguards on my bike at this time of year.

NCN11 through Wicken Fen alongside Wicken Lode

If you look at that last picture then the skies were starting to look less promising.  I stopped on the Burwell Lode Footbridge to take some pictures. The weather to the West didn’t look too promising.  There was low cloud.

Burwell Fen

A closer look and some of the cloud seemed to had fallen down on the horizon. It looked like there was a rainstorm ahead. I hoped it wasn’t going my way. Although I was heading in that general direction.

The cloud that fell to earth – there may be rain ahead

Once I had cycled along Split Drove it was pretty clear that I was heading straight for the storm.  It suddenly seemed to get much darker with the wind whipping in horizontally. Fortunately I had a hood which protected my face against the hail and the rest of me was covered. Despite it being warmer this year than last I hadn’t switched back to cycling in shorts.

As I cycled towards White Fen the wind was so strong I was worried it might blow me off the road or off my bike. Cycling past gaps in the hedge was worst. I had a waterproof top and gloves so wasn’t feeling to bad. Actually once you accept that you might get wet then cycling in a bit of a gale can be exhilarating.

As I crossed over Swaffham Bulbeck Lode I swapped greeting/commiserations with a cyclist coming the other way. He had resorted to pushing his bicycle it was so blustery.

Dark Clouds over White Fen ahead

Almost as quickly as the wind had brewed it died down again and the hail turned to rain and not too bad rain either. It was nice to get home despite the invigoration – the soak in the bath was also very welcome.

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