Thursday, 9 November 2017

9 Nov: Thursday ride to Gamlingay and Biggleswade

Mike P writes: Our ride from Brookside to Gamlingay and Biggleswade turned out to be an eventful one – at least for me! Seven "regular" riders joined me for the 9.15am start where we welcomed Dennis who was joining the Thursday run for the first time having recently become a Cycling UK member.

The morning was overcast yet dry with the forecast suggesting improving conditions with the promise of sunny intervals by the afternoon.

Dr John led the group out of the City along the Barton Road cycleway with myself taking up position at the back of the group. Crossing the M11 we continued along the cycleway towards Barton before forking right towards Comberton.

The bend in the cycle path at this junction is blind and, unfortunately for me, an approaching cyclist and I collided at speed with both of us coming off our bikes. I escaped unharmed save for a minor sprain to my wrist although, unfortunately, the same could not be said the city bound rider who was in a bad way with a broken collar bone and several bruises from the fall.

An ambulance was called. Peter W and I remained with the casualty for the 50 minutes or so that it took for the paramedics to arrive. In the meantime, Rupert and Dr John assumed “joint” leaders to take the remainder of the group onto coffee at West View Farm.

With the casualty safely on board the ambulance back to Addenbrookes, I checked over my bike to ensure it was rideable. Apart from the shifters having taken a knock out of alignment, all was fine and Peter and I set off to catch up with the ride. We duly achieved this by taking a more direct route to Gamlingay than originally planned albeit arriving just as the main groups were exiting the café.

After a quick pitstop (latte and huge slices of chocolate cake) Peter and I routed via Potton, Everton and Sandy before once again departing from the planned route to arrive at Jordan’s Mill in time for lunch some 5 minutes later than the remainder of the Brookside group and well before the village group.

As ever lunch was served very efficiently, and we were soon being led out of Jordan's by Rupert on one of his "secret" cycle paths which runs north along the River Ivel into the centre of Biggleswade.

Thereafter, we reverted to my planned route home along the B1042 to Dunton and Wimpole. Several of the group turned left at Wrestlingworth to take a more northerly route back to St Ives whilst Rupert, Peter W, Simon G, Dennis and myself continued back to Cambridge via Orwell and Barrington. By now the sky had cleared and, with a tail wind helping progress, it made for very pleasant cycling.

I left the group at Barton to head home at 3.30pm whilst the remaining riders headed into town.

On Reflection: This is the second incident in the past three months when I have come off the bike and count myself very fortunate that I haven't picked up any injuries save for some minor grazes and bruising albeit at the cost of one Condor bike frame.

Could either incident have been avoided? These were unrelated accidents which occurred on unforeseen occasions. Perhaps it was just bad luck although the lessons I have taken away are always to wear the correct gear and to exercise more caution especially when you least expect it.

Cambridge has many cycleways which make travelling and around the City both safe and enjoyable to all. As an inevitable consequence they are popular for commuting as well as for pleasure and heavily used particularly in the rush hours and mid-afternoon when the schools finish. Particularly when cycle paths are narrow (for example the DNA) keep an eye on your speed and exercise considerable caution on bends / junctions and when passing others. Mike Pearce

1 comment:

  1. Good balanced report, Mike, with lessons for us all to learn. However, I do believe that the injured cyclist was riding irresponsibly (too fast, on a sub-standard bike & carrying a destabilising ruck-sack) & you were not! JJ