Cycling Around Dry Drayton
Where to cycle round Dry Drayton?
With the speed and proximity of the traffic on both Oakington and Scotland Roads, one could be forgiven for feeling this is not a particularly safe base from which to set out on a pedal cycle. These are routes for the experienced and are not for the faint hearted. There have been cycling fatalities on these roads. However, the other two routes out of the village offer better prospects for the less experienced.
The footpath and cycle way to Bar Hill offers a short route to the local shops or the library. Bar Hill perimeter road needs crossing carefully, but thereafter there are traffic free routes into the centre of Bar Hill. Don't be tempted to buy too much at the shops though as the gradient back up the path to Dry Drayton is very taxing. Once you have arrived at Bar Hill, the only other route out of that village involves even more heavy traffic than Oakington and Scotland Roads.
Madingley and Cambridge
The Madingley Road is probably the best cycle route out of the village. Although narrow and winding, most motorists behave with care, and give you a wide berth. However, be warned it is not entirely unknown to encounter a juggernaut along this road trying to find the A14 nor the occasional double decker bus. The road has a very pleasant rural feel, and a cycle seat gives you a view over some of the hedgerows. You can expect if cycling at a moderate pace to have at least five or six motor vehicles pass you down this stretch.
Madingley itself now needs careful navigation. There are always parked cars on the bends between the Dry Drayton turn and the Three Horseshoes pub. Many drivers misjudge the width of the road and try to pass each other and you on the bend beside the parked cars. Turning left at the entrance to Madingley Hall there is a steep hill, and more rows of parked cars outside the school. At peak times, expect careless parents to throw open the doors to their 4 x 4s as you pass. You can also expect at peak times on weekday mornings to encounter drivers trying to tear down this road as a rat run to avoid near stationary traffic approaching Cambridge along Madingley Hill.
Then, after crossing the bridge over the A14 you enter an altogether different area. The lovely views on both sides behind the American Cemetery give this road an open country feel. Here you will find that the motorist thinks s/he is on the sweeping roller coaster of a racetrack. Down goes the right foot and the charge is on, even though visibility round the bends is very restricted. Cyclists are overtaken on the blind bends with impunity, and you will become very aware that at places the edge of the carriageway drops away sharply. This is a place where you are grateful for the fluorescent helmet and tabard. There is more traffic here, and you will encounter other cyclists. This is surely a road where the local authority should introduce more safety measures for the benefit of the cyclists, like banning the motor car except for access, or making the road one-way for motor vehicles.
At the end of this road you will probably join the traffic queue on the Madingley Road into Cambridge - but yipee, there is a cycle way now to keep you safely away from the traffic. The Park and Ride site offers you an opportunity to lock up the bike and change to public transport. Alternatively, cross the Madingley Road carefully (walking the bike unless you have a death wish) and head into the University's West Site, past the British Antarctic Survey. There you will find a quieter road parallel to the one you have just left. You can then turn right through the Cavendish Lab and join the quieter Cambridge to Coton footpath. At the Cambridge end of the footpath, go straight on along Adams Road. There are loads of parked cars here, but little traffic. At the end of Adams Road, crossing Grange Road takes you into the cycle track of Burrell's Walk. At the end of this is a crossing over Queens Road, and another cycle way, Garrett Hostel Lane. On this stretch you become the predator, trying to avoid the tourists posing for photos on the river bridge. Once over the river, turn right in Trinity Lane and Left into Senate House Passage. You will emerge outside the Senate House by Great St Mary's Church, right in the heart of Cambridge. The journey time is something over 30 minutes, and the return trip will leave the "occasional cyclist" ready to put their feet up at the end of the day with a sense of achievement.
Do you have other local cycling suggestions or favourite rides? Got any safety tips to pass on? e-mail - email@example.com
We strongly ehort anyone cycling around the Dry Drayton area to wear a cycling helmet of a recognisable standard and reflective clothing.
Cambridge Cycling Campaign
Anyone interested in cycling in and around Cambridge will find the Cambridge Cycling Campaign a must. Membership gets you discount at some of the best local cycle shops.