Cycling the floods!


Hesitating before he committed himself, a 4WD driver asked me if I thought he would get through a flooded stretch of road. Without committing myself to a direct answer, I suggested he might get his feet wet………. So, taking the bull by the horns, he went for it…..hesitated half way through…….nearly stalled…..but he eventually struggled out the other side. But only just.

During a break in the weather today, I did one of my favourite 60 mile routes into Northamptonshire and Bedfordshire: through Sharnbrook, Harrold and Lavendon to Olney on the outward leg; returning via places with evocative names like Clifton Reynes, Newton Blossomville, Turvey, Felmersham…….all of them skirting the banks of the River Ouse, some of them inevitably cut off by the rising water. I witnessed several vehicles taking their chances. A cyclist I met, along the narrow walkway outside Radwell, was well accustomed to riding the narrow bridging. He did it twice a day on his daily commute, but claimed to have been a little nervous at 5am this morning when the water was actually covering the walkway (over 2 feet deep).

The surrounding countryside, as far as the eye could see, was simply one huge lake. The river basin of the Ouse was completely covered, making the river look half a mile wide instead of about 50 yards. Water fowl were having a ‘field day’. Recently sown crops, however, were probably now doomed never to see the light of day.

Apart from one diversion I had to make, the bicycle gave me the freedom to counter, or bypass, the flooded stretches.

The narrow walkway ridden by a local cyclist


About Frank Burns

Looking for the extraordinary in the commonplace………taking the road less travelled……..striving for the ‘faculty of making happy chance discoveries’ in unremarkable circumstances. Click on the Personal Link below to visit my webpages.

Posted on November 26, 2012, in Aspects of Britain, Cycling UK and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 9 Comments.

  1. I can suggest only one ride to match that, Frank.

    Though I know we shouldn’t be bragging about such things – driving or riding through floodwaters is never a smart idea.

  2. Having witnessed floods in Australia I would caution anyone to ford a flood by foot or wheels. What looks harmless can have strong current and you dont know what is coming down the catchment.

  3. wow, quite surreal, quite dangerous, and poor people with their properties there! 😦

  4. mouthfulofwords

    Sad about he people, and the crops, but awesome adventure. Good luck and stay safe.

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