Thursday, July 31, 2014

When the wind blows in the fens–the brown stuff starts to fly

Saturday, 10th May 2014: There is always something to see when I pop out on my bike.  This morning I was held up by a traffic jam – two combine harvesters and a grain trailer being towed by a tractor. (Pictures on my phone were taken and may well appear in a post at some stage.)

The trouble is. increasingly, I am subject to some pretty poor driving by motorists. At best it is discourteous and worst it is dangerous driving. I am not sure quite why, but it seems to be getting worse.

A recent poll by the BBC suggested that “Half of British adults believe that their local roads are too dangerous to cycle on”.  That is disgusting – people don’t feel safe to cycle on their local roads – yet we are also told that we ought to wear a helmet to “make cycling safer” perhaps. Although the irony is that it also gives out the clear message “cycling is dangerous”.  Then we got all sorts of disagreements about the stats as to whether it puts people off cycling or not. Which kind of misses the big picture – it we want to get this country off its arse (or America of its ass) we need to get loads more people feeling enthused about cycling as a safe and valued activity.

Whilst I welcome the move to 20mph limits in Cambridge City I do think that the villages need them as well. So it is great to see some pressure from a Cambridgeshire County Councillor pushing for 20mph limits in the villages. I welcome it, but despair when I read the comments. I just hope that they aren’t representative of the population.

The problem is that unless the rules are enforced then they will get ignored and then that is justification by the naysayers not to have the speed limits.  Or we get some weird and wonderful traffic calming that fails. Bring on driverless cars, or put GPS systems into all cars. Then start monitoring the quality of driving and have a scale of training/punishments for transgressions. The key to the scale would be that all transgressions would be caught, but that the in-car system would provide early warnings of speed limits and also warnings of breaking the speed limit.

I reckon that Average Speed Cameras have done wonders where they have been introduced because they track all vehicles.  The current system relies on a mix of systematic and random policing – which seems like a waste of police time and clearly does not have the right affect, in my view.

back to my ride – it was a conventional Saturday around the Fens ride- mainly off-road or country lanes. Being a Saturday I usually catch up with the weeks Archers as well.

Low Fen Drove Way – two little trees coming into Leaf

The March of the Pylons – Low Fen Drove Way

I think that motorists can be pretty intimidating for cyclists – so horse-riding must be even worse. All power to the organisations that push for more bridleways, it seems only right given how hostile roads are for horses.

Horse riding near Allicky Farm

Wibbly Telegraph Poles on Harrison’s Drove
looks a bit murky in the background

Wicken Lode Sparkling in the Sun

On the way back it was into a headwind and when there is bare soil about and it is windy well you get a fen blow.

Fen Blow across Reach Lode

Fen Blow across Reach Lode

A Pickup Van Driving along the bank – Reach Lode

Fen Blow – Blinkers Hill

I was glad get back it was quite a headwind.

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