Wednesday, 13 April 2011

The flies are on me

The recent weather has made for some really pleasant cycling.

I hadn't taken my absolute favourite long-route-home from work in Cambridge for a few months so I made sure I took it while the weather was warm. The route has a significant off-road portion, is really quiet, doesn't get too muddy, and has been one of my best finds whilst out OpenStreetMap-ing.

I call this the Childerley Hall Route (BikeRouteToaster link). It is 35k to Cottenham. I tried to video the route but failed. I'll have another go before resorting to still pictures.

Cambridge - Childerley - Cottenham

The route starts in tourist dream land and is a view I never tire of: Kings College, Great St Mary's and The Senate House, then west down Garret Hostel Lane, over the humped bridge, watch a few punts go by, over the backs and Queens Road into Burrel's Walk and past the University Library.

See photos of the area in Panoramio

The route then ascends (if you are local!) Adams Road, and then onto the Coton cycle path where you finally start to leave the city behind. From Coton, the route turns to bridleway which you can take all the way to Cambourne. The full suspension on my mountain bike means I can make really good progress along here and with no cars to worry about, just the occasional off road cyclist, dog walkers, and terrain.

At Highfields, I turn north to the A428. I smugly passed a couple of cyclists here only to discover that vague grip on my rear tyre was actually a slow puncture. I turned into the Childerley service road and pumped up my tyre to see how long it would last. Of course, the other cyclist passed me at this point - a real tortoise and hare moment with flies definitely on me.

If I ever mention Childerley Hall to anyone, they have never heard of it. "Do you mean Chilford Hall?" is always the response. Childerley really does feel in the middle of know-where. Fantastic ! All thoughts of work are gone by the time I get here.

Once at Childerley my tyre was going flat again so I swapped inner tubes whilst watching cows munch grass in this very pleasant location.

From here the route stays off road to Lolworth, a place marooned by the A14, except for bridleway west via Yarmouth Farm to Boxworth and past another hall, Boxworth Hall, with a nice looking lake and garden.

Over the A14, towards Swavesey for a short stretch. This could be quite unpleasant but I am normally here at 6:30pm with lighter traffic. Then via some gravel tracks to the NCN51. From here I normally go into Longstanton and take the back route over the guided bus and into Rampton, then by shared use path to Cottenham.

I must be getting fitter, 1hr33m without pushing really hard or taking on food before I left. Last year that time felt incredibly hard. Maybe I can break the 1h30m barrier this year.

Cycling with my 5 year old

The weekend saw my son finally be able to get on a 16 inch wheel bike. His 12 inch bike was just not fast enough and he was always taking it to blurry pedalling RPMs, funny to watch but always frustrating when racing your big sister.

I took him out down Broad Lane (Cottenham) as usual and towards Archie's Way. We didn't get there. With bigger fatter tyres, today was the day he could fulfil his sense of adventure and we darted off down random side tracks for an explore. What a great time we had.

And why is there a pile of concrete rubble in a field ? And why is there farm machinery left lying at the side of the track ? The world is a strange place when you are five.

Tins and the River

With a takeaway curry and beers night to look forward to, I like to dump a few calories in advance. Inspired by Jme's post saying the Tin's path was open again, I decided to take this home, very pleasant too compared to Cherry Hinton Road, then via Fen Ditton, Bates Bites Lock and up the river to Waterbeach.

I hadn't taken the river route home in the evening since the nice weather started. What I forgot was that if you go in the hour before sunset, you are regularly engulfed by clouds of flies. I definitely spat a couple out.

Red lights

When it comes to red lights, I have decided to stop at all of them however inconvenient just to prove that not all cyclists jump red lights.

On the way to work, I passed a colleague on his rather fine Brompton, and arrived at a temporary traffic light outside the fabulous Corpus Clock. Almost every cyclist went through this red light including my colleague to which I jokingly said "red light!" as he went past.

I waited there for what must have been almost two minutes able to see that no other traffic was coming from the two other directions. I shrugged, gave up and went through. I think the traffic could quite easily self manage here.

That was the third and final time the flies were on me. Still, what a great week of cycling.

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