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Cambridge - some general advice please

(36 Posts)
alreadytaken Fri 08-Mar-13 16:10:34

After some reasonable January module results it looks like I might have a medical student there later in the year. So - any advice from parents of students (not only medical students) already there? In particular did they take/buy a bike and if so can you leave it around in the holidays without it vanishing?

boomting Sat 09-Mar-13 14:15:54

To be honest I'd always recommend taking a bike to uni. Not at Cambridge, but I took one to uni after the first term and have never looked back.

With regards to the holidays and bikes, it is possible to take a bike on a train, as i have done on multiple occasions, but do check the bike policy of the relevant train company. Two decent panniers (Ortliebs in my case; 40L capacity in total) and I can fit everything that I need for the holidays on the back of my bike - and I'm a girl who isn't known for packing light!

sandripples Sun 10-Mar-13 18:02:20

DD graduated from Cambridge 18 months ago - terrible cooking facilities in college. She had 2-3 bikes as yes they do get nicked unless you have really good D lock. She had a good time and got a good degree. Dropping off was very well organised - think it does depend on the college. Her's provided duvets.

georgettemagritte Mon 11-Mar-13 04:07:24

Really really depends on the college as to what stuff they need/how much stuff they are allowed. I'd have to say that actually there's been a trend for less and less stuff. I was up in the mid-90s at a college where we had big rooms and were basically allowed to practically refurnish the whole place ourselves - rugs, pictures, chairs, futons, fridges, sandwich toasters, rice cookers, fairy lights, ornaments, giant blocky computers and printers, TVs, throws, cushions, candles everywhere, full sets of plates and cooking equipment, the lot - there was even a fashion for making your own curtains. My parents hated taking me up at the start of the term! I'm an academic now (at a different college....) but what students can and do bring has reduced a lot. Some of this is changing fashions and equipment and so on: computer equipment is much lighter and smaller, can watch TV on laptop rather than bringing one, etc. Some is increased rules on health and safety - my current college won't let students bring furniture, fairy lights, candles, soft furnishings, or their own kettles, fridges, toasters etc. any more for fire safety reasons. Some colleges have very small gyp rooms and the culture is to eat in hall; also Cam council kitchen safety regs changes mean that colleges had to remove ovens from most gyp rooms/student kitchens a few years ago, so they can cook less now than they used to. The students seem less interested in stuff now, too - they just don't seem to bring as much any more! Plus anything you need can be ordered cheaply online or from the supermarkets and delivered to the college nowadays - a far cry from the time when Cambridge had hardly any shops. I think the best option is to bring only essentials until he really knows what he needs and what the college allows. Plus first year rooms are often very small and term is short! Agree too that most colleges now rent out student rooms for conferences during the vac, so there may be little or no storage between terms.

Yes, easy to get a bike in Cambridge (don't forget helmet....) I also have never had a bike though. Definitely possible to walk instead, unless you're at one of the really outlying colleges. I have never ridden a bike here as (as LRD says) it is not a very safe cycling city and traffic accidents with bikes are very common. I've seen a few nasty ones myself, enough not to want to cycle at all (but then I don't need to get to outlying colleges/departments often)

HermioneE Mon 11-Mar-13 04:32:45

Surprised by the comments saying it's not a safe cycling city. I'd rather cycle in Cambridge than anywhere else, sheer force of numbers means drivers are more aware of cyclists. And I've been knocked off by a car before so I don't think my view is too rose-tinted smile

notcitrus Mon 11-Mar-13 08:19:09

It's probably safer than most places to cycle, but there are black spots like Queens Road and Silver Street, where a student seems to get killed every couple of years. My pathology prof was in a right state after having to do the post mortems.

I rarely used my bike after the first year, as the hassle of unlocking and then locking in central Cambridge took more extra time than walking, but it was handy for getting to Lensfield Road for physiology etc lectures (with medics).

Trills Mon 11-Mar-13 09:16:37

I wonder if we can find some stats on deaths/injuries from cycling per mile cycled.

alreadytaken Mon 11-Mar-13 11:16:01

thanks. If they take a bike I'll make sure there is both a helmet and a reflective belt, although that would probably never be worn. Might let them try a term without one and see how it goes.

Yellowtip Mon 11-Mar-13 11:47:48

You're right, helmet and reflective belt are likely to be a complete waste of money smile

Trills Mon 11-Mar-13 11:53:14

LIGHTS on the other hand, are vital. And lots of spare batteries.

Yellowtip Mon 11-Mar-13 12:27:18

Agree Trills esp since last winter the police in Oxford had a crackdown on riders of bikes with no lights and charged something like £50 a time.

LRDtheFeministDragon Mon 11-Mar-13 12:31:44

I think of Cambridge as being dangerous because I heard about accidents all the time, but trills is doubtless right that this may not be a high figure given how much people cycle and how many cylists there are. However, I wasn't just thinking of cars when I said I thought it was dangerous. A lot of other cyclists are awful - no lights, no sense of red lights, etc. My brother was knocked off his bike by another cyclist who didn't give way, and they were both going at a clip so both smashed their bikes up badly but fortunately didn't land in the path of a car, which they easily might have done.

Any big city is probably a bit scary. My original post was just to say that bikes aren't always a necessity if you're a bit nervous (or if he is), but it sounds as if that is not the case. smile

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