Our annual awareness ride was on Sunday May 17th 2015. We organise rides each year to highlight infrastructure issues that need to be addressed, to meet up with people who have an interest in cycling from the area and to generally socialise with other riders. Two rides take place, one starting from Trumpington and one starting from Royston.
Cambridgeshire County Council had arranged for a Festival of Cycling to be enjoyed at the finish.
This year we were also joined by 3 tandem teams from Cam Sight for the ride from Trumpington.
The three tandem teams set of a couple of minutes early as they need a little more space, followed by about 40 riders on solo cycles. A tandem soon highlights the weaknesses in any infrastructure. The route from the park and ride to the new path through Trumpington Meadows isn’t particularly well integrated with the entrance to the park and ride and Guided Busway path. Sharp 90 degree turns and barriers require low speed manoeuvring which requires some skill. Once on the path, it’s fairly plain sailing along the path on a light, sunny day (reports on dark winter nights are less favourable) until you reach the far end at Hauxton where a poorly positioned post makes another sharp 90 degree turn a more stressful exercise than is necessary on such a long machine.
From Hauxton, we continued on the shared use path to Harston. With its crossing of driveways every few yards that are hidden by thick vegetation, Harston is always an uncomfortable experience. Funding has been made available to improve this section. We look forward to seeing the proposals.
From Harston to Foxton, funding is also in place for a new path, which should be straight forward, there is plenty of space. Driveways are the only issue there, though there are far fewer.
On arriving at Foxton, we took the Barrington Road intending to use the gates to cross the railway. We found the gates broken and therefore locked. We turned back and headed down the A10 to use the gates on the other side of the road. They were broken and locked. This is an on-going problem.
Bikes were now on either side of the road looking for a way through. People had to shuffle through the narrow gaps as best they could around the typically heavy traffic.
From here it is relatively straight forward to Frog End. Once on the decent bits of path, a bicycle becomes a really nice place to be. We look forward to the funded stretches which should begin to link up the places people live with the places people wish to travel to. Cycle infrastructure might suit a piecemeal approach from an engineering perspective, but it does little for its usage. Short sections of path that connect nowhere useful invariably look like under used white elephants. Now for our third crossing of the A10. There are no half way refuge islands between Harston and Frog End, so you just have to take your time and wait for a gap from both directions. With the natural gaps in the traffic often filled by traffic turning onto the A10 from Melbourn, Fowlmere and Shepreth, this can be a lengthy task. With patience, all were eventually across and able to proceed to Phillimore’s Garden Centre.
Once at Phillimore’s, we were able to relax and enjoy the festival of cycling and the cake stall. There was a Doctor Bike and lots of unusual bikes to try amongst other activities. This drew a lot of people who were not on the ride. They were still busy several hours later and with new people still wanting to use the novel bikes at 2 o’clock when they had to close. A good time was had by all.
Many thanks to everybody who made this happen and attended. A special thank you to Phillimore’s Garden Centre, who allowed us use of their field again. A huge thank you to the Teapot Café for their excellent cake also.
A report of the Royson ride will follow when available.