Monday, April 27, 2009

Out and About

So nine weeks after my accident I am really enjoying my cycling. Being a glass half-full sort of person if anything the accident has renewed my pleasure in cycling and taking pictures whilst pootling around. I have already explored some by-ways and tracks that are new to me and I thought I'd been along most of them in the area. Mind you I am more aware of other "road-users". One of these days I am going to spend a day cycling around Cambridge and surrounding countryside and try to take pictures of all the selfish behaviour I see. It could be tricky stopping to take pictures of drivers using mobile phones though. Whilst cycling through Cambridge the other day an open top sports car pulled up alongside me. I was in a cycle lane and hopefully we were both going straight on, but once bitten twice shy, I gave the driver a hard stare - yep the t*sser was on the phone and for some reason was using the holding the phone but in speakerphone mode. He was clearly distracted as his getaways at the lights were definitely slow - he was on the phone for at least half a mile before I had had enough and turned off along another road.

Forgive the font colour, I have been experimenting with Zoundry Raven (off-line Blog Editor -, it has certainly been easier than posting through the Google Blogspot Internet window. As I get more used to it and RTFM - (yes Read The Flippin' Manual) I find it does most things I want to do. I have been reading quite a few other Blogs at the moment and have been inspired to do a little more to mine. I have also added a couple to my Blog reading List. Readers of my last post will also see that I have finally cracked how to add a Google map to a post - not rocket science, but it all takes time :-)

There are often little publicised cycle/walking routes between adjacent villages that shorten what would be a much longer ride along a very busy road. Two such adjacent villages are Dry Drayton and Bar Hill in Cambridge. They are also both alongside the A14, which is a horrible road to cycle along, fast and noisy and the scene of at least one cyclist fatality in the last few years. as you cycle down to the path in Dry Drayton there is a tree sculpture that amused me, it will also presumably be a place for insects and other wildlife to flourish as well.


On my way back from meandering through the villages around Cambridge I returned back through Histon where I was knocked of my bicycle in February (broken collar bone and bruises). I was interested to have a closer look at the junction where I was hit by a car to see if there were any intrinsic problems with the junction. Here it is, I have annotated it to show my original intended path, the path of the car and the route I actually took. The day of the picture was pretty similar to the day of the accident. Helpfully a cyclist went by to help my illustration, although he turned left whereas I wanted to go straight on. There do not appear to be any sight-line issues, it was a case perhaps being distracted and failing to see me, fortunately the car bumped me up the road rather than running over me so all in all although I was unlucky to be hit I was lucky not to be actually run over.


I have taken loads of photographs recently, this one caught my eye because of the aeroplane contrail in the blue sky.


As the weather gets warmer the crops and flowers grow - but so do the weeds and somehow they seem to race ahead of the intended crops, which is why they call them weeds I suppose! No sooner have you got fields of dandelion flowers than they turn to seed heads ready to seed more weeds. Alternatively they can be picked and when I was younger we used to call them Dandelion Clocks, the time was indicated by how many puffs of breath it took to clear the head of seeds.


Whilst I have reported on the Cambridge Guided Busway in earlier posts which in the main follows and old railway track bed, there are others still available for cycling along here in Cambridge. This one is along the track of what was the Cambridge to Mildenhall Railway line, it closed to passenger traffic in 1962, further information can be found here. The picture is a composite showing a 180 degree image of both sides, they did not actually build it with a 90 degree bend in the track. It makes for good cycling, a flat cinder bed is quite easy to cycle along and does not seem to suffer from ruts. Which implies it is not a tractor route.

Lode to Quy rail track_Panorama1.jpg

It does lead on to some rather pleasant by-ways though. There are quite a few pretty steep drainage ditches around separating some of the fields though.


Fortunately there are wooden bridges around to facilitate crossing them. I have noticed one slight niggle with my shoulder - as I have been resting it, it has gotten weaker so heaving my bicycle over stiles has been a bit more of a challenge than usual. Whilst in niggle mood I also lost my drinks bottle before I set off I fill a bottle with crushed ice then lemon squash and top it up with water. It tends to stay cold quite well then although they are only plastic and do not have much insulation. Unfortunately this also slightly shrinks the bottle and it must have jumped out of the bottle cage when going over a bump or two. This one was a replacement, with an "A to Z London MAP" pattern on it that I got for Christmas as a replacement for my "Dennis the Menace" bottle that I lost cycling in Cambodia, as you do. That was one I got for my birthday last year. The good thing about them was that they had screw tops which made it easy to get ice in, although perhaps the fact I've lost two (both from Foska) perhaps indicates the fit is not the best? The bottle cages were two different makes so it was not a problem with a dodgy bottle cage.

There was one other slightly strange thing I saw when out. Normally, at minimum say I hello to people I pass when out in the "wilds" of the Fens. Most people tend to be friendly and sometimes you can end up having quite a chat. Well today in a relatively secluded but popular spot, )near where you can find a memorial stone to a chap called William Ison who was struck by lightning 1n 1873) I passed a chap who appeared to be carrying his trousers over his arm, fortunately his shirt was quite long, but I did not stop to work out exactly what he was wearing, nor did I say hello! Hum there is nowt so strange as folk.


Although I am a glass half-full sort of person I can also adopt a Grumpy Old man state of mind as well. Here a couple of my pet peeves when I am out and about cycling. Here in Cambridge in the shared use walking/cycling paths there are constructs built into the path surface to indicate "junctions" or crossing points. For some reason they have ridges in the direction of travel for the cyclists and across the direction of travel for the walkers. I presume this is allow visually impaired people to navigate. I for one find the cyclists ridges very off-putting, when cycling along they cause the cycle to jink uncomfortably, randomly to one or the other side, it is worse in wet weather as the surface is smooth and really causes the bike to slither around. The one thing they do for me is encourage me to cycle on the roads.


And finally what really winds me up - vehicles routinely block pavements and shared-use paths. In this case I had to cycle on the road, anyone pushing a pram would struggle to get by. This one is delivering coal, why they could not reverse into the customers drive I don't know - laziness perhaps. For a visually impaired person it would be a disaster. It is an example of how selfishness has become the norm for motorists, I probably do the same when driving a car. It becomes routine to feel so hard done by because of the volume of traffic and our belief that our road tax/petrol tax entitles us to better that we feel entitled these "short-cuts"


And really finally during my recuperation I have been doing way too much Internet browsing, reading various cycling-related Blogs but also finding one or two sites with interesting whimsical cartoons. here is one such cartoon that is both whimsical and cycling related. As required by the author I have pointed out that if you want to manufacture it you need to get in touch with him :-) You would definitely need clipped pedals for that bike.

"You can put this blueprint on your blog as long as you put a clause underneath it saying that people cannot manufacture this bicycle without their people talking to my people first."

No comments:

Post a Comment