Monday, September 22, 2014

Poppies around the Fens–Mid Week Ride

Wednesday, June 11th 2014:

So just for a bit of confusion here is a mix of “now” news and a ride I did a couple of months ago.  I am certainly getting out on my bike more this year compared with the year before. Which can only be a good thing, but with that and then other things I am slipping behind on my posting of those rides. My goal for next year to is catch up and be a bit more topical again. Which also probably will mean I have to become a bit more selective on both taking pictures and which pictures make it into my posts.

So first a bit of topicality.  I have a Scottish roots and took a lot of interest in the Scottish Referendum, if anything I felt slightly left out as such an important matter was being decided without the Scottish diaspora. The challenge was that this was both a decision for the head and the heart. However at least my daughter was getting a vote as she lives in Scotland.  She stayed up all night to follow the results, as I am sure did a lot of people and after a 30 minute nap in the morning went off about her business. Being young has its benefits (lots). 

It did get me thinking that maybe the issue is that for many, Westminster has too much power and/or decisions are made  without the benefit of much evidence.  Watching Parliament on TV would suggests that he (and it is mainly hes) who who shouts loudest gets heard. For all the talk of evidence-based policy making it is difficult to see it in action.

The other bit of news, local this time, is that Ben Hayward Cycles is to close down its city centre shop and focus its activities around the store in Horningsea. This was probably another of those Head and Heart decisions.  If you read the item, Rob Turner of Ben Hayward Cycles is quoted as saying (amongst other things):

“Retail is changing – we have been trying to address this but trade keeps moving out to Horningsea, to some of our competitors and on the internet.”

He also comments on the difficulty of driving into Cambridge. I suppose I ought to put my cards on the table, I buy cycling-related stuff off the internet - because it is convenient and the price is reasonable (mainly tyres and inner tubes). The happens when I know what I want and I know what the quality is like, they also tend to be things that I can order just before I need them  I have also stopped visiting their Trumpington Street shop and transferred over the Horningsea shop – pretty much because I can get to the Horningsea shop more easily in my car –despite the fact I cycle more miles than I drive!  I can service my own bicycles, but life is short, I’d prefer to be out riding than tinkering.

They do a great job on servicing and repairs and I have had some excellent wheels built by them. I can also pop a bike in at my convenience as they have the space to “store” them.  As it happens I I use my bike to get home when I take my car in for a service and my car when I take my bike in for a service. (Although the bike is always a lot cheaper.)

Over the years I guess we have also bought a reasonable number of bicycles from Ben Hayward Cycles – perhaps 10 or more, (not all of them mine, some where for the kids). When I had a bike stolen I didn’t have the frame number to hand so I rang them and they retrieved it very quickly so I could report it to the British Transport Police (yes it was stolen from the Railway Station Car Park.) Importantly you can both check out potential purchases, compare the alternatives and get advice on the bike, the “fit” and alternatives.

They also have a bigger selection of accessories to choose from and advice on what makes sense.

So my heart is sad, but my head tells me that, at least from my experience, it makes sense. I wish them well, for selfish reasons – it suits me! I hope it suits others. 

Ben Hayward - Trumpington Street

Cambridge has loads of Cycle Shops – some big, some small, some old some not so old. According to this Guardian Article there are 30-plus.

Some of the Cycle Shops – Cambridge – old and new

As it happens my most recent bicycle purchase was from Ben Hayward Cycles, back in July. It is a Trek Stache 8, a 29er. It was my N+1 bike. Here it is on the day I picked it up and naturally I had to cycle back via a few byways and bridleways. It replaces my 20 year-old MTB and boy have things moved on. Reasons why buying from my LBS (Ben Hayward Cycles) made sense. Well at the same time as I ordered it I also had some tweaks – a Brompton (I often get the two mixed up) Brooks Saddle, fave pedals, Ergon grips, orange bottle cages. The second reason, well the front disc was a bit of a shudderer. BH totally sorted that out for me.  I am officially a fan of hydraulic disk brakes on bicycles – they are really good.

I will write more about the bike, but for now riding it makes me smile. 

My N + 1 Bike – Trek Stache 8

The 29er was bought after theses pictures were taken – it was a ride on my Marin hybrid – Maisie. (Which reminds me the 29er bike needs a name.) So going back in time to when I rode this route It was my route for catching up on the Archers. Having been away there was a lot of Archers to catch up on. Would I be able to take the, to mymind, surfeit of over-drama and misery?

My catch-up route is basically a rider from High Ditch Road to Horningsea via Low Fen Droveway,then just north of Horningsea across the fields to Lode and then up to Wicken Fen, either via Upware or Lodes Way and then back.

Red Poppies Low Fen Drove Way

Thistles almost ready for harvest (near Stow-cum-Quy Fen)

More Poppies
the route of the Old Cambridge to Mildenhall Railway Line (Anglesey Abbey)

Even More Poppies
the route of the Old Cambridge to Mildenhall Railway Line (Anglesey Abbey)

Spuds growing near White Fen

Poppies – Little Fen Drove

Poppies – Little Fen Drove

Campanula – in the garden at home

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