This article was published in 2003, in Newsletter 50.
Phil Rodgers works in modern offices built on the site of the old Fulbourn Hospital and lives in south Arbury. We follow him home one evening.
Starting from the office [A], I leave the hospital site and turn left onto Fulbourn Old Drift. It’s downhill and along the new cycle route beside Tesco. This is a big improvement on the old route over the level crossing and down the very bumpy part of Fulbourn Old Drift. You can get up a good speed going down the hill, but you need to be careful at an awkward wiggle alongside the Tesco car park [B].
Yarrow Road is sometimes tricky to cross safely [C]. It’s usually not too bad in the evenings, but in the mornings I can have a long wait if I arrive just after a train has been through the level crossing. On the other side of the road, the way through to the next bit of Fulbourn Old Drift is also much improved with just a bollard to negotiate [D].
Then it’s along the last bit of Fulbourn Old Drift. Last year I was knocked off my bike here by someone in a parked car opening a door, so I’m particularly alert to this now.
At Cherry Hinton High Street it’s left and immediately right into Coldham’s Lane. The cycle lane markings want me to use the pavements and pedestrian crossings, but this takes ages. Instead I sit assertively in the middle of the right turn lane and wait for the lights [E]. (A few months ago I was pushed off the road at this junction by a Stagecoach bus making space for another bus. I complained and they sent an apologetic reply.)
After all that, it’s a nice straight run [F] past the airport to the scary roundabout by Sainsbury’s [G]. There’s often a long wait for a gap here, with the added excitement of car drivers from Coldham’s Lane trying to turn left across me. Again I go for assertive lane positioning and hope!
New cycle lanes are being built in the next bit of Coldham’s Lane, though all there is so far is some red tarmac across side roads [H]. The new cycle lanes should make it easier to pass queuing traffic but I don’t want to cycle too close to the parked cars.
Past Greens gym – my company offers subsidised Greens membership, but I reckon cycling to work is a better way to keep fit – and over the railway [I]. This is a steep climb with impatient car drivers (mostly) unable to overtake. I gather the proposed cycle bridge here has been delayed but I’ll be interested to see how it works. Past the Beehive roundabout where drivers seem particularly bad about signalling [J].
Then left onto Newmarket Road. When the new bridge over the Cam is built, I’ll probably go down River Lane and over the bridge instead, but for now it’s down the Elizabeth Way underpass – I reckon the risk of being mugged in the underpass is smaller than the risk from the traffic on the roundabout. Cyclists never like dismounting, so I go the longer way round and ride down [K]. I actually use some of my lower gears on the way back up on the other side [L].
Over the Elizabeth Way bridge and past two more slightly scary roundabouts [M] and I’m in Highworth Avenue. Now I can relax – Leys Road [N], Leys Avenue, round the back of Arbury Court, down an alleyway and I’m home [O].
My cycle computer shows just over five miles. The journey usually takes me 25-30 minutes. By car, the quickest route is ten miles. That’s along the A14 and round the airport, and still takes 20 minutes, even when the A14 is in a good mood. There’s also the C1 bus which runs all the way from the end of my road to just outside the office, but takes over an hour!
We’ve recently become a no-car household, which has definitely helped my motivation for cycling instead of driving. Of course, it’s been a lovely summer for cycling; I’ll have to see how things go when the autumn weather starts.