Papworth Everard is a large village in South Cambridgeshire containing a hospital renowned for heart transplants.
At the end of WWI, the Cambridgeshire Tuberculosis Colony moved there from nearby Bourn (which is now renowned for infertility treatment). Papworth became a settlement that combined a hospital with community rehabilitation, including appropriate work and housing.
The settlement diversified into other disabilities, and Papworth must now boast one of the highest rates of disability in the country. By contrast, nearby Cambourne certainly boasts the highest birthrate.
Papworth happens to contain my GP's surgery, so I need to pop in from time to time. I pedalled around the village and hospital today, looking specifically at the cycling facilities. A place devoted to rehabilitation and fresh air would hardly neglect cyclists, would it?
How many cycles did I see parked at the hospital, or even cycle stands? None. Maybe they were all tucked up inside.
How many Sheffield stands in the recently redeveloped centre? Eight. None were occupied (except mine).
How many cyclists did I encounter? None. There was a chap in hi-vis jacket and cycling helmet, but he was in a wheelchair. It was a hand-propelled wheelchair, the only one amongst many electric mobility chariots.
At the hospital restaurant, I managed to lock Brown Bike to part of the building. At the doctor's, I had to use a children's plastic climbing frame. (I must write a letter to the practise manager.)
Were there any cycling facilities? Yes. The main road has traffic-calming pinch-points, and some of these have bypasses for cyclists.
Why do I see a dozen cyclists every time I go to Cambourne, but none in Papworth? Cambournians are on average younger and more able-bodied. But Papworth does contain plenty of young people, including many medical staff.
Until recently, the main street through Papworth carried heavy traffic. The village was only bypassed a year or two ago. This bisection may have discouraged cycling.
The non-cycling culture seems to have an effect. Twice today I was on a quiet residential street, with cars parked on the other side. I took primary position to discourage overtakers and oncomers. Despite this, on both occasions an oncoming car decided to pull out towards me on my side of the road. On both occasions, neither of us gave way until I chickened out at the last moment and swerved for the gutter. This behaviour would never have occurred in Cambourne, where motorists seem accustomed to cyclists and our rights. There really is safety in numbers.
Papworth Hospital is soon to be transplanted to Cambridge. The end of an era, doubtless. But Addenbrooke's does, at least, provide plenty of cycle stands.