A crazy ride back to Cambridge

Today was not a good day to be trying to travel north from London. The M11 was closed – but I knew that in advance and planned a sneaky route on the slightly nicer A10 but no one warned me that the A10 was closed at the M25 junction so many slow miles across country followed to that old-time route up the A1M to Cambridge. My city council garage is being demolished. Storm Eustace damaged the block – where I used to keep my Beamer on the top floor before they relocated me (luckily) to the ground floor.

Poorly built – just one brick thick

So now the whole building is being pulled down. It wouldn’t surprise anyone if the council sell this premium land to a developer to squeeze some flats onto it. Last week with the help of my son and Cambridge Car and Van Rental on Newmarket Road we emptied the artwork and furniture and relocated to Davy Road in a more residential part of the city. Today was my chance to take the bike back up there and sort out a few things like a ground anchor and some coat hooks – but everything about the garage is hard concrete so these things are either impossible with my battery operated tools or take hours. My drill got so hot I burnt myself on it.

It all looked so neat to start with
New home for a while

The clocks moved to British Summer Time today. When I left the garage for the short walk over the bridge to the station, the evening sun was shining, the playground opposite was full of families and small kids and a couple of guys were walking past with some loud soul music playing – a nice moment or two. Hardly anyone was speaking English.

My indirect route – about 85 miles and three hours riding

Back to Cambridge and back in time with Garmin

Yesterday I took the super-convenient Thameslink from Blackfriars back up to Cambridge for a winter battery-charging ride on my motorcycle. In London the sun was shining but on crossing the border into Hertfordshire we were suddenly plunged into a frosty, foggy winter.

Cambridge was not as bad but once on the road the fog threatened and I tried to flee it, first toward Grantchester then out toward Linton. The frost warning on the dashboard told me to go home and have a cup of hot chocolate by the fire and the temperature was only 1 degree. It must be the coldest I have ever ridden in.

For a week or so the clock on the bike and the GPS have been one hour ahead. Then the tracks of last week’s rides seemed to have been lost. On getting home in the evening I could see that the day’s ride had been saved but dated April 2000. Trying to change Garmin’s time (it thinks we are in daylight saving – hence the wrong time) and the date (you can’t do it) led me to investigate and find the GPS week rollover bug. Its to do with the satellites and the epoch we are in. Posts from Garmin seem to basically say – we’re not going to do anything about it so buy a new unit.

Chancellor of Cambridge University

Yesterday morning I queued in the autumn sunshine to vote for Abdul Arain as Chancellor of Cambridge University. We were guided by top-hatted administrators, and helped into gowns by others. I found myself next to an elderly lady who was separated from her husband for technical reasons I won’t go in to. She told me that she was a scientist and had graduated from Newnham College in 1944. She didn’t get a degree, she told me, but a certificate that told her that she would have been awarded a degree if she had been a man, but as a woman she could only be given a certificate. I’ve been reading about women and universities recently and I believe that Cambridge University only started admitting women in the 1920s.
Once inside to vote, the assistants looked up my name in two huge folders. I told them that I had not really expected them to have a computer database. One of them laughed and said ‘Give us another 800 years’.
Details of the vote and the result are at http://www.telegraph.co.uk/education/universityeducation/8829408/Lord-Sainsbury-to-be-Cambridge-University-Chancellor-exit-poll-shows.html