Sunday, 3 June 2012

Cycling Country Lanes & Traffic-Free Routes In Suffolk

This was a trip to gather images for my new Suffolk Cycling Map....

I feel a bit of a rotter having just got home with 930 miles on the clock. That's motoring, not cycling or walking. For me to produce a greener than green product I am forced to charge all over this enchanting county in search of two-wheel bods.

We are told that cycling is on the rise (despite the fact that some saddles incur infertility, or penile dysfunction). Comments, please...Anyway, where was I?

Looking for cyclists to photograph I head for Forestry Commission lands; High Lodge and Rendisham, both miles apart, and Alton Water south of Ipswich belonging to East Anglian Water. They all charge for car parking. So carry change.  It's very hot and the sun is in its zenith (not too apposite for ground breaking photography)....I have a brilliant idea: I beg the cyclists to stop and model for me, and I present them with my current Norfolk Cycling Map. This goes down well, and I am not thus accused of being a "weirdo" whose only wish it is to photograph their kids. If ever.  I laughingly brush this thought with: "Look, my kids are all over the front covers of my other maps"....

Thetford Forest
Thetford Forest
Anyway, my models all turn out to be charming, and ever so helpful, and sweet natured....

Alton Water Circuit 
Boxford Cycling Club
 On Sunday morning I stop off at Boxford to photograph the church, turn a corner and there, surprise, surprise is the Boxford Cycling Club, all rearing to go off on a spree. I chat and find out their route. Wait for them up a side lane with wild flowers in  the background. Unfortunately, they turn up, fast, before I can get my camera ready so the pics are a bit blurred...

Butley Ferry, Orford
I then turn my attention to the Butley Ferry, the one and only, form of transport to get you along the NCN1 to Orford from the south (unless you go by the back roads).....I push the bike through the sandy track down the the embankment covered in stinging nettles and await the Ferryman who looks to be asleep across the water. He sees me and rows across. He tells me Brian has 18 volunteers who man the ferry from April (Easter) to late September, weekends and bank holidays, from 11-4. The charge is £2.00 for adults.

I need to photograph the ferry in use, and am left chatting away with the Ferryman for 90 minutes before the first cyclists appear. All is discussed; his son's wedding the following week, the economic climate, architecture (he's a retired one), my children, his children, and so on. A lovely chap. We part lifetime buddies and I go off to Orford in search of a pint!
Little Hall, Lavenham
The Guildhall, Lavenham
I was up, and about Lavenham, at 5.00 am photographing these amazing medieval buildings, and was happily surprised to come across "Roadies" cycling through Lavenham in the early hours before the sun came up!

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