Friday, 5 September 2014

Halesworth to Wenhaston

Halesworth has recently put in a new cycle route and converted some of the riverside fields into a recreational area. This seems to be very popular for all kinds of outdoor activities, as well as giving a great way to avoid a rather unpleasant A-Road route.

Here's the map with the journey on to Wenhaston.

View Wenhaston to Halesworth in a larger map

The red line represents the old way of getting to and from town. It's a distinctly unpleasant road environment.Busy, often speeding cars. I've been doing the 30mph speed limit and had cars flash pass me far too close. Used by lorries too.

Additionally, it's a small hill with a bit of a slope. Not enormous but still not ideal for commuter-style cycling, especially with kids for school or a full shopping load. I've clipped this route before in blogger (Halesworth to Mells Lane) as part of a bigger route so just how unpleasant it is can be seen.

And here are the clips showing just how the route has changed for the better. The cycleway is the yellow route on the map, with the single track road onto Wenhaston as the blue route.

From Halesworth to Wenhaston

Open in YouTube at the start or at the start of the single lane track

From Wenhaston to Halesworth

Open in YouTube at the start or at the start of the cycleway

A Few Photos along the Cycleway.

A "Get off and walk" sign on NCN1. Sigh. I've put it on Cyclestreets. Surely, amongst a space that was once wide enough to have a road along it, there is space to put a 3m wide cyclelane down the middle.

Blossom in mid April

Woven Wheels

Woven Wheels

Note the segregated space for people walking (probably just missing a gate) and riding. Also the cattle grid approach for bikes. This looks wide enough for most cargo bikes and chikd carriers. All in all a really good example of properly built active field separation. I've put it on Cyclestreets

Wednesday, 3 September 2014

Round Cambridge Circuit

Literally just that. Round Cambridge. Travel out from near the centre (well station), and take a route that goes round the town between 2 and 8 miles from the city centre.


Here's a picture of the map.

And here's the interactive Google map.

View Round Cambridge Circuit in a larger map

Video Clip.

well worth going full screen and HD 720 to get the best of this.

A few pictures along the way.

I've loaded all these pictures onto Google Drive with access for all with the link here. I'd like to display them as (admittedly quite big) thumbnails that can be clicked to see bigger, but Google keep changing the direct link to the native picture. So, they appear below for a short time then fail again. Sigh.

01 Cow Muck on the Coe Fen (NM-77755)

and on Cyclestreets. Thick Cow Muck on the Coe Fen, reported to County Council, reference NM-77755.

02 Coton Path

A quiet route, despite the nearby motorway. Shaded can mean a bit damp in winter.

03 Girton Path

and on Cyclestreets. Path from near Madingley American Cemetery to Girton. Probably usuable throughout the year. The goes through the A14/M11 interchange later, but is fully segregated from traffic with 3 slightly fraught lane crossings.

04 Overgrown Girton Path

and on Cyclestreets. Path through A14/M11 junction overgrown. My hand got ripped from my handlebars trying to get through this bush. Reported to County Council, reference NM-77757.

05 Signs Off Path Next to A14

and on Cyclestreets. This is a cycle route across and through the A14/M11 junction. It goes along the side of the A14. Notice that the signs are NOT in the path. An example of good practice!

06 Overgrown Washpit Lane

and on Cyclestreets. The bottom end of Washpit Lane is overgrown. Quite awkward to get through here with brambles seeking blood! Despite this being the same bridleway route through to Girton as this bit isn't listed as being managed by the county council, so can't be reported. Any thoughts as to whether this is a map error or does the county council only manage bits of paths?

07 Washpit Lane

A shaded route into Girton.

08 Cambridge Cycle Club Run

Bumped into the Cambridge Cycle Club on the Guided Busway, although only when they had to stop!

09 YouCanBikeToo at Milton Country Park

You Can Bike Too having fun riding around Milton Country Park

10 YouCanBikeToo at Milton Country Park

You Can Bike Too teaching balance riding around Milton Country Park

11 Milton Country Park

and on Cyclestreets. The NCN11 route through Milton Country Park. As lovely as the route is, it's not really a proper commuter route. It's slowed considerably by being shared-use and a very twisty route. It's not impossible to create a segregated route with the cycling on the outer side of the woods?

12 Baits Bike Lock Crossing

and on Cyclestreets. Baits Bite Lock provides a way of crossing. However, the bicycle ramps are very difficult to use (and I'm a quite fit strong person with a light bike). This is almost certainly a barrier to older and younger users and pretty unusable if you have a cargo bike or child carrier.

13 Low Fen Drove Way

and on Cyclestreets. Low Fen Drove Way really feels like the back of beyond. A very quiet and remote spot. It's actually listed as a byway, open the motor vehicles, but I've never seen any. It's just about to get to a muddy section where progress is difficult, but it's worth peservering, as you can see since the Google Streetview vehicle DID get through!

14 Low Fen Drove Way Roadworks

Very oddly, traffic works down this track. And genuinely there were workmen waiting to start.

15 Fen Ditton Road

A pleasant road, apart from the odd car going quite fast.

16 Teversham Drift Cut Through

and on Cyclestreets. This is the cut through to Teversham Drift which keeps you away from the awful High Street environment. The barriers make it difficult for cargo bikes and child carriers. And there's no drop kerb.

17 Daws Lane

Shady lane has a stream for playing in right next to it.

18 Gunhild Path Barrier Removal

and on Cyclestreets. Some of the barriers have been removed to make this route accessible by cargo bikes and child carriers. About time, given it goes to a local primary school!

19 Gunhild Path Barrier Removal

and on Cyclestreets. Some of the barriers have been removed to make this route accessible by cargo bikes and child carriers. About time, given it goes to a local primary school!

20 Red Cross Lane

A useful cut through, although the surface is awful and cars can be unobservant whilst parking.

21 Trumpington Allotments

Paths around the allotments have been opneed up to bikes, always good to look for chickens!

22 Grantchester Mill

Quite pretty looking over the bridge.

23 Grantchester Meadows

A well used walkers area.

24 Grantchester Meadows

Broad meadows.

25 Grantchester Meadows Cows

Cattle on the meadows

26 Grantchester Meadows Path

The narrow path to and from the meadows

Monday, 1 September 2014

Hildersham Circuit

A quiet 22 mile ride around the country to the south east Cambridge. A few villages along the way and very little Sunday traffic. This is an update with much better video from last year.

Here's the picture map (starting in the top left corner).

And here's the map in Google Maps.

View Hildersham Circuit in a larger map

A few photos along the way.

01 Worsted Street near Copley Hill

and on Cyclestreets. Worsted Street near Copley Hill. Fantastic, all year riding route here.

02 Worsted Street

03 Worsted Street Beech Avenue

Glorious colours all autumn.

04 View Towards Hildersham from Worsted Street

and on Cyclestreets. View Towards Hildersham from Worsted Street. Fantastic, all year riding route here.

05 Cat Crosses the Road in Hildersham

06 Bike 'Infra'. Not so good for Cargo Bikes

and on Cyclestreets.

07 Centre Rut Surfaced for Bikes, Outer Ruts for Farm Traffic

and on Cyclestreets. Centre rut has been surfaced for bikes with a rough hardcore. Good enough for most tyres/wheels. Outer ruts remain for farm traffic in an interesting combination approach

08 Bike Infra Around Farm Centre

and on Cyclestreets. Clearly the farm here both wants cycling to happen and needs to keep some space for farm work.

09 Bike Infra Around Farm Centre Ending

and on Cyclestreets.

10 Bridge Over River Granta (Bourn Branch)

and on Cyclestreets. Bridge Over River Granta (Bourn Branch). A bit narrow for a shared-use path. But better than the roadspace next to it, and pleasantly green (which also means wet and slippery in winter!). This is over the Bourn Branch of the Granta river. Both are called the Granta.

11 End of Shared-use Path

and on Cyclestreets. End of Shared-use Path. Is it useful to end next to a bus-stop? Or would it be better to go to the road crossing further up? As a confident rider, I'm happy to use the bus-stop to pull into the main road and turn right to follow NCN11. However, I can see that being really awkward if you are not confident. Get off bike, walk to crossing, wait at crossing, cross, then walk to side road, cross that as well without any assistance and near the junction, finally set off from a position where you can't see well.

12 Stapleford Church

13 Temporary Path Around Railway Works

and on Cyclestreets. Temporary Path Around Railway Works. Path around temporary railway works. A short diversion, and not bad to use. How long will it be there?

Friday, 30 May 2014

The Tour of Cambridge

Tour of Cambridge. 

On Monday 7th July, the world's biggest bike race is coming to Cambridge. Whilst most people may think this is just a bike race, my experience of it over many years of going to see it in France, is somewhat different. It's a pageant, a festival, a celebration of all things good about being outdoors in glorious summer. Locals do their utmost to show off their neighbourhood, to let the world see why coming to their part of the world is more than desirable, it's essential for wellbeing.

With that in mind, I set out to record the route through town and celebrate, with a little British panache, the places that it passes. I've created a guide to the route with some musical accompaniment (of fanciful quality) and listed places of interest with links for further interest.

I'd recommend watching the video in full screen with the sound turned up. This has lots of twists and turns that's worth staying around for!



Places of Interest.

Cambridge has many places of interest. I attempt to give you a brief guide to the more famous ones as they appear on the clip. If you need more, Wikipedia has all these places listed and tourist sites, such as Visit Cambridge, contain much more information.

There are many further curious corners, along with hotels, restaurants, and a large selection of independent shops, throughout the location of this film. This is all easily accessible along verdant paths and quiet streets by bike, the quickest way to get around!

0:42 to the right. Parkers Piece. 25-acre common, now regarded as the birthplace of the rules of Association Football.

0:51 visible ahead to the left. Our Lady Roman Catholic Church. An imposing example of the 19th Century Gothic Revival, it was built to the designs of Dunn & Hansom of Newcastle between 1885 and 1890.

1:47 on the left. Entrance to Downing College. Downing College was founded in 1800 and is often described as the oldest of the new colleges and the newest of the old.

2:03 on the left. St Andrew’s Street Baptist Church. The Bunyan Window is a notable feature of the building.

2:10 on the right. Emmanuel College. The college was founded in 1584 by Sir Walter Mildmay, Chancellor of the Exchequer to Elizabeth I.

2:33 on the left. St Andrew the Great Church. Informal evangelical church with elegant iron interior pillars and a typical Victorian exterior.

2:33 on the right. Christ's College. The college was founded by Lady Margaret Beaufort in 1505 and was the twelfth of the Cambridge colleges to be founded in its current form.

2:45 on the left. Holy Trinity Church. Started in 1189 and built on up to and during the English Reformation (1550–1750).

2:56 on the right. Sidney Sussex College. The college was founded in 1596 under the terms of the will of Frances Sidney, Countess of Sussex (1531–1589).

3:04, on the left. Wolfson Building, Trinity College (see Trinity below).

3:21, on the right. The Holy Sepulchre (Round Church). The church was built around 1130, its shape being inspired by the rotunda in the church of the Holy Sepulchre, Jerusalem.

3:35, on the right. St John's College. The college was founded by Lady Margaret Beaufort in 1511.

3:53, on the right. Trinity College. The college was founded by Henry VIII in 1546, from the merger of two existing colleges: Michaelhouse and King's Hall.

4:17, on the right. Trinity Lane, public access to The Backs. The Backs is a picturesque area to the east of Queen's Road where several colleges of the University of Cambridge back on to the River Cam.

4:18, on the right. Gonville and Caius College (pronounced "Keys"). It was refounded in 1557 by Royal Charter as Gonville and Caius College by the physician John Caius.

4:19, on the left. Saint Michael's Church.A valuable social centre.

4:33, on the right. Senate House. The Senate House of the University of Cambridge is now used mainly for degree ceremonies and was built in 1722–1730 by architect James Gibbs in a neo-classical style using Portland stone.[2]

4:35, on the left. Great St Marys. The present building was constructed between 1478 and 1519, with the tower finished later, in 1608. The cost of construction was covered largely by Richard III and Henry VII.

4:35, ahead on the right. The iconic Kings College Chapel. The building of the college's chapel, begun in 1446, was finally finished in 1544 during the reign of Henry VIII. King's College Chapel is regarded as one of the greatest examples of late Gothic English architecture. It has the world's largest fan-vault, and the chapel's stained-glass windows and wooden chancel screen are considered some of the finest from their era. The building is seen as emblematic of Cambridge.

4:54, on the right. Kings College. King's was founded in 1441 by Henry VI, soon after he had founded its sister college in Eton. The screen and gatehouse of Front Court was completed in 1828 under plans drawn up by William Wilkins.

5:14, on the left. Corpus Chronophage Clock. Translated as "time eater", this clock was officially unveiled to the public on 19 September 2008 by Cambridge physicist Stephen Hawking.

5:26, on the right. St Catherines College. The three-sided court was built during the period 1675 to 1757 and is one of only four at Oxbridge colleges.

5:31, on the left. Corpus Christi College. Founded in 1352 making it the sixth-oldest college in Cambridge. The only college established by Cambridge townspeople.

5:38, on the left. St Botolph Parish Church. The church was by the south gate of medieval Cambridge. The existing church was built in 1350.

5:42, on the right. The Pitt Building. Neo-Gothic building designed by Edward Blore, & completed in 1832. Named after William Pitt the 18th Century Prime Minister.

5:49, on the right. Mill Lane to Mill Pond and Coe Fen. A large part of the green swathe through Cambridge following the river Cam, often with cattle grazing. Coe Fen forms a natural area that was once important for the commerce of Cambridge.

5:51, on the left. Pembroke College. On Christmas Eve 1347, Edward III granted Marie de St Pol, widow of the Earl of Pembroke, the licence for the foundation of a new educational establishment in the young university at Cambridge.

5:54, on the right. Emmanuel United Reformed Church. The current church was built, opening as Emmanuel Congregational Chapel in 1790.

5:58, on the right. Little Saint Mary's. The current church was built in 1352, having the dual purpose of College Chapel to Peterhouse and Parish Church.

6:03, on the right. Peterhouse College. It is the oldest college of the University, having been founded in 1284 by Hugo de Balsham, Bishop of Ely and granted its charter by King Edward I.

6:14, on the right. The Fitzwilliam Museum. The museum was founded in 1816 with the bequest of the library and art collection of the 7th Viscount FitzWilliam. The "Founder's Building" itself was designed by George Basevi, completed by C. R. Cockerell and opened in 1848; the entrance hall is by Edward Middleton Barry and was completed in 1875.

6:33, on the left. Old Addenbrookes. Addenbrooke's Hospital was founded in 1766 on Trumpington Street, but in 1976 it relocated to larger premises further out of the city to the southeast at the end of Hills Road, hence the name of this site now.

7:09, on the left. Hobson's Conduit Monument. Hobson's Conduit is a watercourse that was built from 1610 to 1614 by Thomas Hobson to bring fresh water into the city from springs at Nine Wells.

7:59, on the left. Botanic Gardens. The garden was created for the University of Cambridge in 1831 by Professor John Stevens Henslow (Charles Darwin's mentor) and was opened to the public in 1846.

8:11, on the right. Coe Fen. A large part of the green swathe through Cambridge following the river Cam, often with cattle grazing. Coe Fen forms a natural area that was once important for the commerce of Cambridge.

10:53, on the left. Wingate Way. Not currently historical, but will be when the bike race really starts at this point, having been neutralized through the streets of the centre.

11:21, on the left. Trumpingon Village Hall. Trumpington is a village on the outskirts of the city, with a long tradition of agricultural learning centred at Anstey Hall is a former country house built c.1700 within its own parkland.

12:22, underneath. The Guided Busway. It is the longest guided busway in the world, and was opened on 7 August 2011.

12:35, on the left. Addenbrookes Road to Addenbrookes Hospital and Nine Wells. The springs at Nine Wells is the source of Hobson's Conduit, bringing fresh water into the city.

13:52, ending in Great Shelford. Great Shelford is a village located approximately four miles to the south of the city. President of the United States Barack Obama traced his ancestry to the village in 2009.
And to Come. The route out from Cambridge to the Cambridgeshire border....


A guide to the musical whimsy behind the video, with a fantasia of popular British classical pieces. Although it's interesting to note the wide variety of European influence included!

We start with the 1812 Overture (Tchaikovsky) with it's use of La Marseillaise (French national anthem) to mark the entrance of this great French race. But are we in France? No, this is Britain!

So, we quickly despatch Tchaikovsky and move to the central piece in The Planets Suite, Jupiter (Holst). Holst, of mixed Swedish, Latvian and German ancestry, composed it in 1915 whilst living in nearby Thaxted. The piece has long been associated with traditional English culture having been influenced by folk music. It takes us from Our Lady Roman Catholic Church at the north end of Hills Road (locally referred to as Hyde Park Corner), up Regent Street and St Andrews Street, with the final crescendo as we enter the centre of town.

In town, we switch to a short phrase of A Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra (Britten), written in 1945 to be an inspiration to youngsters by another East Anglian composer. Then, as we pass through the historical, collegiate centre of town we go through an inconic classic, The Pomp And Circumstance March No.1 in D Major (Elgar). This is called "The Graduation March" in some parts of the world, so it seems appropriate here, especially at the surge of "Land of Hope and Glory" as it passes the Senate House where Cambridge graduation takes place. And it's no co-incidence that this is where the most iconic sight of Cambridge, Kings College Chapel, also appears!

As we start to pass out of the centre, we move into Zadok the Priest (Handel). Handel was born in 1685 in Halle, Duchy of Magdeburg (now in Saxony-Anhalt, Germany), and moved to London in 1712. He composed Zadok the Priest for the coronation of George II of Great Britain in 1727, and has been sung at every subsequent British coronation. Again, the rousing vocal entrance happens as we see the stunning Fitzwilliam Museum in all it's glory.

As we start to move out of town, the riding will speed up in anticipation of the bike race to come. And the music seeks to follow this excitement with The Sailors Hornpipe from the Fantasia on British Sea-Songs (Wood). It was written in 1905 by Sir Henry Wood to mark the centenary of the Battle of Trafalgar. The hornpipe is a traditional Irish, Scottish and English dance.

Finally, we come back to France with Boléro (Ravel), knowing that we are on our way there! Ravel was born in the French part of the Basque country and was influenced by Basque-Spanish heritage, including local folk songs and dances. The piece, which premiered in 1928, is based on traditional Spanish dances. It seemed very appropriate.

Map of Streets.

View Cambridgeshire Tour de France Route in a larger map

0:10 Gonville Place,

1:24 Regent Street,,_Cambridge

1:58 St Andrews Street,,_Cambridge

2:37 Sidney Street,,_Cambridge

3:10 Bridge Street,,_Cambridge

3:30 St Johns Street,,_Cambridge

4:02 Trinity Street,,_Cambridge

4:37 Kings Parade,

5:16 Trumpington Street,

7:08 Trumpington Road,

11:08 Trumpington High Street,,_Cambridgeshire

12:02 Shelford Road, Trumpington,,_Cambridgeshire

12:46 Cambridge Road, Shelford,


Cambridgeshire County Council have given much encouragement and support to creating this film. Please do note, no taxpayers money has been spent! I've done this to celebrate the city of Cambridge and it's bike culture.

Simon, my trusty companion during the main ride. He had my back as I was trying to get the best camera angle on the road. A job not without the odd jumpy whistle!

Outspoken, for the loan of some of the camera equipment and for general support in getting this project underway.

Cab, for the loan of more of the camera equipment.

Explosion at 0:49 courtesy of Mark DiAngelo.

And to Come.

The route out from Cambridge to the Cambridgeshire border....

Monday, 17 February 2014

Sunny February Cycle Ride

After the weather of the past few weeks, it's good to be able to get out in better conditions. Here are some pictures from around town on a lovely lazy Sunday afternoon with lots of people out enjoying the break in the storms.

Remember when riding amongst lots of others, including those on foot and with animals and children: patience, eye-contact, and give space.

New and Neville's Court, Trinity College from Garret Hostel Lane (click to enlarge)

Clare College from Garret Hostel Lane (click to enlarge)

Fellows Garden, Trinity Hall College from Garret Hostel Lane (click to enlarge)

Trinity Bridge, Trinity College from Garret Hostel Lane (click to enlarge)

Avenue of London plane trees on Jesus Green (click to enlarge)

Slightly flooded path under Victoria Avenue Bridge (click to enlarge)

There's a video clip of this, including riding in the water.

Riverside from the North West end of Riverside Bridge (click to enlarge)

Logan's Meadow from the middle of Riverside Bridge (click to enlarge)

Logan's Meadow and river willows from the middle of Riverside Bridge (click to enlarge)

River willows from Riverside Bridge (click to enlarge)

View on YouTube here