Friday, 6 September 2013

Spokesman for a Generation

Occasionally I need a break from my cardboard engineering, logistics facilitating, image presentation and IT duties (pause for Mexican wave of sympathy to ripple through extensive readership).

So on Wednesday I just got on my (t)rusty steed - Raleigh Pioneer 2 with Mudguards for you Tour aficionados out there -  and set off to baldly go where more hirsute and fitter chaps have been before. I felt like The Lone Striker ("He knew a path that wanted walking..") having left Holly the tiny TT in charge of wandering the house being slightly grumpy. Thanks to the wonder of camera phones and the interwebs you, dear reader, can benefit from a whole day's pedalling from the comfort of your settee:

1. Hour long train to Cambridge with tension mounting as too many bikes get on at Ely. Apparently they should have had people with them.

 2. I arrive, fresh faced, at Cambridge Station with the hoodies and business executives and take a picture of the clock for future reference:

3. After a slightly hair-raising (unsuitable metaphor-ed) cycle through Central Cambridge I commence my journey proper along the wooden boardwalk where they store all the original Irish currency. 

4. Leaving the metropolis, I find myself in the lonely fens and discover two more Swaffhams. This is the nice little church at Swaffham Prior:

5.  The road zig-zags across the flat black arable terrain in fabulous clear blue sky weather and blistering heat mitigated by a stiff breeze (in my face). I arrive at the centre of equine excellence, Newmarket, but am held up by some equines:

6. As lunchtime approaches, I set off from Newmarket and discover that Suffolk isn't quite as flat as Norfolk. This is the view out on the Moulton Road which was starting to feel a bit like the Molten Road:

7. The section of Suffolk between Newmarket and Bury St Edmunds is beautiful, with miles of gently rolling hills and little hamlets in valleys. About 6 miles out of Bury is the small village of Barrow where I stopped for a light organic luncheon with some ducks at a bus stop. (No idea where they were off to)

8. Refreshed and invigorated by the chips and Lucozade I set off into Bury-St-Edmunds, one of the top 10 towns in England according to Alec Clifton Taylor and originally called Beodericsworth, presumably after the bygone film actress Bo Derrick. This is Abbeygate, a Norman tower next to the Cathedral:

9. Pedalling East out of Bury I eventually began to reach the more familiar landscape of Norfolk. By this time I'd taken my helmet off having weighed up the relative risks of head injuries vs heat exhaustion and was beginning to struggle. This was the longest section but I broke it up with afternoon energy tea from a melted Twix and by about 4.30 was two miles from home. However, a sudden onset of leg cramp gave those last two miles a slightly ridiculous flavour as I adopted a weird standing-up-sitting-down pose to keep the legs moving. It wasn't very Chris Hoy.

10. I arrived home just before 5 and ready for a nice evening dog walk.


Rosemarie Blackthorn said...

Check you!

You do know that despite my dire attempts at humour, you are my cycling idol?

Z said...

Now I understand the leftover mince! Well done, the Mexican wave is one of sheer admiration.

Liz said...

A photo journal; hurrah!

I like the look of that church at Swaffam, the tower looks an interesting shape.

I don't think I could manage to cycle home from work never mind all the way from Cambridge. Top effort.

Sir Bruin said...

Am totally impressed. Well done, sir.

Martin Hodges said...

Excellent post, Rog! I'm off for a well earned sit-down now.

broken biro said...

Well, it all looks very lovely and all, but the most enticing part for me was the chips and Lucozade! Mmmm!

Mike and Ann said...

Once again- what Sir Bruin said - Well done indeed, Sir.

But I did feel a little short changed by your photo of Swaffham Prior, which has one of the few churchyards in England to have TWO churches in it, and you only showed us one of them!!!!!!

Generally though, and once again - WELL DONE, Sir!!

Rosie said...

What? No Irn Bru?

John Greenwood said...

I'm knackered now!

Anonymous said...

wow, looks wonderful - I lived in Cambridge for 6 months when I was 13 (loved it) and I remember one day when the sun shone ;)

Nota Bene said...

How lovely...I used to live in Stradishall...between Bury and Newmarket; fabulous part of the world

Rog said...

Roses: I think my trip is about the same distance as Norwich to Harwich - you go girl! (I've morphed into Gok Wan :-()

Z: Thanks you! If Mexican anyone can!

Liz: I was taken with the Church but Mike has alerted me to the fact that I missed another Church just behind it!

Sir B: When I said I was nostalgic for a hair dryer, I meant an actual hair dryer ;-)

Martin: Good! You deserve it!

BB: Thank goodness somebody appreciates top Suffolk fare!

Mike: I had to go and look it up and (as usual) you are spot on. I think I chose the prettier one (as usual).

Rosie: I think I probably Irned it. Lucozade is as near the edge I get.

John: You'd have done it in 17 minutes in your biking days.

Gab: Selective memory! Actually it gets the least rain of just about any area of Britain.

Nota: Hmmm...there's an H.M. Prison there ... how long were you there?

Mike and Ann said...

Yes, I think you're right Rog. The one you photoed is the prettyest (and the earliest) of the two. The other one has some incredible and unique (I think) stained glass windows of the First World War - Zeppelins, tanks, etc.
The locals will tell you that as the village is Swaffham Prior, one of the churches is the parish church, and the other one the Priory church. Can't vouch for that one, though.

Pat said...

All that exercise and the photos too. Well done.
Mum used to clutch a cork to hold off the cramp but I expect your hands are full.