Oliver Cromwell, a speed camera, and a proper Roman road.

Busking at the feet of Oliver Cromwell

I upset a speed camera today.  Being told off by a speed camera when you’re on a bicycle is a matter for wild celebration.  I admit, it was a 20mph zone, but still, over the limit is over the limit.

And the satnav, which sulked all day yesterday, and just refused to download the agreed route, has been trying to restore the relationship.  It’s been very well behaved.

And I’ve been on a Roman road that was not just a proper road, but wide and straight, and almost devoid of traffic, and felt downhill all the way.

This was the Old Great North Road, once the A1, before that the Great North Road, before that Ermine Street, and now just a local B road, more or less abandoned since the A1(M) opened.

The motorway roars beside it, audible but unseen behind a thick screen of trees.

So altogether it’s been a good day of biking.  And made better by a bit of sunshine and a complete absence of deadlines.

There was also an absence, however, of possible coffee stops, so it was forty miles, and lunchtime, before I stopped in St. Ives for a bistro lunch and a bit of busking.

I hadn’t planned the busking, but there, in the middle of the highway, looking stern, all-conquering, and all-abandoned, was Oliver Cromwell.  And being the day before the Jubilee, I thought I should at least give him a little bit of consolation.

So I leant the bike up against him, got the cello out, and played some Irish laments.  OK, so maybe the choice of music was rubbing it in a bit.

Then, feeling as though suddenly I was on a proper holiday, I walked down to the Great Ouse, and across St. Ives’ famous bridge, before setting off for Cambridge.

The road to Cambridge is the flattest 14 miles I’ve ridden in my life.  A railway line has been taken up, and replaced with a “guided bus”, whatever that is, and a bicycle super-highway along which commuters race between their work in Cambridge and their dormitories in St. Ives.

And because I wasn’t working to a timetable, and the sun was shining, I stopped outside Great St. Mary’s, smiled at the welcomer who said I couldn’t leave my bike there, and played for an hour.

I think I featured on about a hundred tourist videos.  Doesn’t that just make you feel loved?

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