Ride Report – Hoo Peninsula

The Hoo peninsula is a wild and desolate place, especially on a cold winter’s day. However, with Gravesend only 17 minutes from Stratford international station it is a very accessible location to explore on two wheels.

The eight of us left Gravesend and cycled anticlockwise around the peninsular. At Lower Higham we picked up the national cycle network route across the agricultural landscape, with lots of polytunnels and orchards. Along the Medway coast we went through Hoo St Werbergh, the largest settlement on the peninsular. We passed the infamous Kingsnorth dual oil and coal fired power station on our right as we rode over the central ridge and could see the confluence of both rivers in the distance, beyond Grain. At Allhallows, the most easterly point on route, we stopped at the mobile home park for a photo opportunity with the North sea and bright lights of Southend in the distance.

With the wind behind us we sped along to St Mary’s Hoo where we had a pub lunch. Refreshed we whizzed through High Halstow and as we approached Cooling, house names like Havisham and Fezziwig indicated the Dickens connection. St James church with its reference to “Great Expectations”, was worth a brief stop, passing Cooling castle we then picked up the NCN track next to the railway and the Gravesend to Rochester canal, which brought us back to Gravesend and the short train ride home

See more photos (thanks to Robin Stephenson): https://flic.kr/s/aHskR4Bs5m

Read some background info https://content.historicengland.org.uk/images-books/publications/hoopeninsula-landscape/hoo-peninsula-landscape.pdf/

Readout from 30 January Meeting

It was standing room only at our January meeting and a wide variety of interesting issues were considered.  Please therefore forgive the long post.  If you would like further details on any of these matters please get in touch.

  • We decided to hold our annual meeting on 26 April 2017, venue to be confirmed.  There will be some catering.  All ideas for speakers or events gratefully received.
  • We decided to progress the idea of taking a monthly stall at Woodgrange Market on the second Saturday of the month (except winter) from 10 am to 2 pm,   to offer minor bike repairs (with a strong teaching element) to promote cycling; to promote LCC and Newham Cyclists; and to have a  jumble of unused bike equipment.  We agreed to apply for a grant for tools and other essential equipment and to use some of our existing funds for this purpose, initially £100 to establish a stock of spares.
  • The transfer to a new website is proceeding .  The new site (which is now in use) is being degliched and ought to offer new possibilities to communicate, such as e-mail alerts.
  • Two charities have offered us places on the summer Ride 100 – should anyone want to take this up please get in touch.
  • We decided to invite  the local charity Aspire, Ambition, Achieve to our next meeting to talk more of their proposed Saturday club for children based in Hermit Rd Park.
  • Steve outlined the ride programme.  He is intending to reschedule the Greenstead Ride that was rained off.  The next rides are a country ride around the Hoo Pensinsula on 12 February and a short family West Ham Heritage Ride in conjunction with the Bike from Boleyn Campaign on 4 March.
  • There is enormous activity on infrastructure at the moment, illustrated by number of outstanding consultations at the time of the meeting.Thanks to Olawale’s efforts we have been more active than ever in promoting good infrastructure.The outcome of the regular update meeting with Newham Council’s Sustainable Transport Officer before Christmas is available in chart form.  Get in touch if you would like to see it or discuss any particular infrastructure development (photos help).

    If there are particular infrastructure concerns they can be raised with us.

    The meeting appreciated the need to try to influence plans as they were being formed; the need to photograph and report (via ourselves) facilities not in good order, such as gates left open.  Generally when these have been raised with the Council there is a positive response.

    Issues which aroused particularly strong discussion were the Greenway (for which we will now seek a ride with Council officials) and events in the QE Olympic Park (which is also being looked at by LCC centrally).  We also  decided to assist those who had been waiting longer than they should for on-street secure cycle parking agreed by the Council.

  • Finally we discussed two disturbing local Labour Party developments:

First, West Ham Ward passed a motion seeking primary legislation to make it mandatory for cyclists to use cycle lanes.  It was pointed out that this was a retrograde battle fought and lost some years ago in the redraft of the Highway Code.  Also it was inappropriate in a borough where the cycle lanes can be very substandard (CS2 Warton Rd, Romford Rd) and the Council has even insisted on the  removal of a  protective lanes at a patently dangerous slip road (Tramway Ave) in order to accommodate driver misbehaviour.  We have sought advice from LCC and agreed to engage with this issue on social media and in the forthcoming borough insert to the LCC magazine.

Second, a motion was put at the Labour Group for the Council to reverse its position of support for the Silvertown Tunnel and to call for the project to be cancelled.  although this was in line with recently expressed  deep concerns about the project by the Council this motion was wrecked by an amendment proposed by a Cabinet Member.  The meeting noted this development with deep disappointment given the significant environmental degradation that this project will cause.

Arnold

Start of 2017 Miscellany

Quiz Night

Newham cyclists are fielding (at least) one table for the Bike From Boleyn Group’s Quiznight on Friday 13 January at 7.30pm at West Ham Supporters Club, Castle St.  This is essentially a fundraiser but two prizes already secured are two taster sessions at the Velodrome and tea for two at the House of Commons.

If you would like to come along please do.  It would assist if you let me know in advance.

Our Next Meeting …

will be at Coffee7, Forest Gate, at 7.30pm (note the new time) on 30 January.

Rides

Steve’s  Ride  to Greenstead is scheduled for 15 January.

Workshop Space

We are looking into having some kind of workshop – probably at Forest Gate market.  Plans still at an early stage.

Infrastucture

  • We have lodged objections to the conversion of Bridge H14  in the Olympic Park to vehicular traffic (7/12/16).
  • We made representations in respect of a traffic scheme for roads off High St North in Manor Park.
  • We have been receiving plans for the Tower Hamlets section of the proposed Quietway 6 (from Victoria Park to Fairlop).  They are not good, unfortunately.
  • Just before Christmas three of us had one of the regular catch up meetings with Newham Council’s Sustainable Transport Officer.  As usual Richard was open and informative.

    Headlines:- The ramp at Twelve Trees Crescent is now open making it much easier to get from Three Mills to Cody Dock along the Lea Pathway.  However the completion of the path from Canning Town is now so delayed that an (unsatisfactory) cycle diversion is being signposted.

    – The Greenway improvements (Quietway 2.1) comprising lighting, longer opening, some resurfacing, more ramps, some targeted training- are beginning to be put in place.  This will be complemented by the long awaited examination of these sequencing of the lights at the A13 flyover.  These improvements will provide a key artery for cycling through Newham.

    – Some improvements to Quietway 6 through north Newham are  being put in place, but there remain some critical uncertainties over key junctions crossing at Leyton Rd, Leytonstone Rd and Woodgrange Rd.  Astonishingly the Council have recently introduced pavement parking for vehicles in Cemetery Rd.

    -The Council are planning to extend cycle improvements from Silvertown Way (delayed further whilst more remodelling is done for TfL) along North Woolwich Rd.

    – Stratford Gyratory work is envisaged to start in August 2017.

    – Some improvements to CS3 designed to improve access to Barking could bring cycle benefits to Jenkins Lane.  The cycle parking under the Westfield bridge is well used, but closed between midnight and 5.00am.

    – We have been provided with an early draft of a long awaited Cycle Strategy for Newham. It includes an assessment of the main  routes through Newham (which are mostly very sub-standard) and an interesting factual introduction:  Cycling has increased as a share of travel in recent years but the  biggest increase has been on public transport (buses), whilst motor vehicle use and walking has declined;  less than half the households in Newham own a car.
    A new chart of ongoing infrastructure issues in the light of this meeting is available on our website.
    Please get in touch if you would like any further information.

Christmas Lights Ride 10 December 2016

We had a good turnout for the last Newham Cyclists ride of 2016, despite the rainy weather. Taking the CS2 into to central London was a breeze and suddenly as we entered the City and St Paul’s we were surrounded by hundreds of young people dressed as Santa Claus, wasn’t he supposed to be an old, bearded man? Bemused we negotiated the West End traffic, both on the roads and pavement, well, there are not that many shopping days to go. Our aim was to see as many of the fancy street lightshows as we could. This included Oxford Street, Carnaby Street, Regent Street, New Bond Street, Piccadilly Circus, Leicester Square, and Trafalgar Square, where there appeared to be a Santa rally occurring, so we had a photos taken with a couple.

christmas-lights-3

 

Our route then continued towards Covent Garden and Somerset House, where we descended to the Embankment to take the CS3 route home. The scorecard on this year’s lights still seems to be weighted in favour of Carnaby Street, although, on recommendation, we included Neal Street this year it was hard to reach a consensus (11/10 Bernard, 4/10 Bill). I suppose everyone has their own idea of Christmas

christmas-lights-2

More photos at https://www.flickr.com/photos/rsstephenson/sets/72157675936870792

Steve

(Belated) Readout from November Meeting

A well attended social gathering at the Wanstead Tap.

We managed to conduct some business. The main item was next year’s ride programme which is shaping up nicely and should be ready in the early New Year.  Early dates for your diary are 10 December for the Christmas Lights Ride and 14 January for a ride to the William Morris museum exhibition, “Posters of Protest”.

Other issues:

  • After further discussion we decided to maintain our opposition to the current Quietway plans for the junction at Leytonstone Rd between Henniker Rd and Buxton Rd.
  • Bike form Boleyn are holding a Quiz night on 13 January.  Newham Cyclists will be fielding a table.  If you would like to participate please get in touch with me.
  • All who had not were urged to respond to the Stratford gyratory consultation which closed on 30 November.
  • Our next infrastructure catch up meeting with the Newham council Sustainable Transport Officer will be on 16 December. if you have any infrastructure issues that you would like to raise please let me know.
  • We discussed Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park issues.
  • Our next meeting will be on 30 January 2017

Happy Christmas and New Year!

Arnold

 

 

Support the Stratford Town Centre improvements

Please support the Stratford Town Centre Improvement plan by filling out the consultation questionnaire by Monday, 28th of November 2016.

The link to the online questionnaire is:

https://www.snapsurveys.com/wh/s.asp?k=147791813793

Olawale has produced a very easy and quick guide to help fill in the questionnaire (a total of #11 questions) with regards to specific support for the proposed cycling infrastructure.  It should only take about 5 to 10 minutes to complete!! (see PDF file nc-recommended-answers-to-sg-questionnaire-1)

The NC ‘recommendations’ focus on Questions #1, #3, #6, #7, #9 and #10 (6- choice tick answer option) with short ‘further comments’ additions for Questions #3, #6, #7and #10. All highlighted in bold italic red font in the PDF file attachment.

If you have more time don’t hesitate to elaborate further in your own words when filling in the questionnaire. Many thanks for support.

East London Brewery Ride 5 November 2016

We all knew that this ride would not be dry, despite the weather forecast. The day started cold and cloudy as we met at the Viewtube base camp for the much previewed brewery ride. The idea for this ride came from and article in the London Cyclist magazine a few months before. They had suggested a tour of six taprooms and microbreweries in east London. However our own resident expert, Bill, had discovered that there were approximately 20 breweries in east London, some in pubs, some with taprooms and some without, and we could therefore improve on this small sample. Although it was ambitious to cover all twenty breweries, we decided to limit the stops to three, Howling Hops, I Mile End and Wild Card.

We set off at 12:15 and it was not long before we alighted on the first stop in Hackney Wick. After the first sample we left just as West Ham fans were arriving for the home match against Stoke. We crossed into Victoria Park where we found the first brewpub. Through the park and into Bethnal Green we were tempted to stop at Redchurch with it’s cosy bar, however we were on a schedule and so had to limit our trade to offsales. Down Cambridge Heath Road to 1 Mile End and stop number two. This gorgeous pub is located in Whitechapel, adjacent to the Blind Beggar and the old Watney Manns brewery, and we had a group photo with no bikes and no beer, strange.

brewery-ride
Group photo outside the White Hart

Then back to the Bethnal Green Working Mans Club which houses the Three Sods brewery. Continuing north though the back streets to Hackney Central, where we found the Cock brewpub and identified two other breweries nearby. The tour relentlessly tracked north along the Lea towpath to the Beavertown brewery in Tottenham Hale. Despite a rather inauspicious location, on an industrial estate, and the near freezing temperatures the place was packed with people sitting both inside and outside eating and drinking. This beer must be good, they certainly have some excellent artwork. But, we had only one more stop and it wasn’t here, so we pressed on through Waltham Forest to another quite unique little industrial estate with two breweries, a gin house and God’s Own Junkyard, which is difficult to describe and impossible to classify. After supping the Wild Card we returned, utilising the superior mini Holland roads, to Stratford, where we had planned to end the ride at the only Newham brewery taproom, Tap East. However we were late and as we approached the Westfield centre, we could see crowds of WHU fans pouring through the streets around the station on their way home. So we tactically ended the ride on Victory Way

Thanks to Bill for his comprehensive research, more details are on the Newham Cyclists website and also to Robin, whose photos provide and excellent record of this unusual day out.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/rsstephenson/sets/72157672535706514/

Steve

Readout of October Meeting

A meeting packed with discussion set in the congenial surroundings of Eat 16.  Apologies for the long post.

On rides:

  • Steve related the success of the Bike from Boleyn ride which attracted over 50 riders including 7 Councillors and Stephen Timms MP.  It has been reported in the Newham Recorder and will be in the Newham Mag to be issued on 4 November.
  • A bigger Bike from Boleyn ride is planned for April 22 (the Everton game).  Put this weekend in the diary (in case the match is shifted to Sunday!).
  • Some other side benefits include; contact with the West Ham Supporters Club which is able to accommodate meetings; fundraising/social events are planned; we can adapt a Newham ride in February to bring in  with West Ham heritage sites, with a view to attracting these participants.

We will discuss our 2017 ride programme at the next meeting which will have a more social focus.  Inm the meantime our Brewery ride will take place on Saturday 5 November, meet at the View Tube at midday.

In respect of the Greenway (which was brought to Councillors attention as a cycle resource by the Bike from Boleyn Ride) there was good news: Planning applications are in for the 24 hour lighting and CCTV;  work should start on a new Abbey Rd ramp and signalised crossing to the Channelsea path shortly; Newham Council has prioritised the other new ramps in this order (1) West Ham Memorial Park (2) Newham General Hospital (3) Lonsdale Ave/Stokes Rd (4) First Ave (5) Gallion’s Reach (6) Khartoum Rd (7) Corporation St.  The funding is likely to reach to (3) and might even stretch to (5).

Furthermore TfL are going to look at the rubbish phasing of the lights at the A13 crossing (at long last).

However, the closure north of Stratford High St is likely to continue to at least spring 2018, but with any luck the pavement outside the former Porsche garage should be widened again soon to assist teh alternative shared path route.

Peter outlined the excellent progress he and Thom we making on building our new  website.  It should be possible to switch over shortly.  It will be more mobile friendly and simple that the current site. The features suggested at the meeting, based on the current experience (and seemingly possible) were:

  • better links., e.g. between  the calendar and rides and with Facebook and Twitter;
  • a facility to cut down posts with a “read more” button;
  • a facility to archive, e.g. our responses to consultations;
  • greater ability to download routes.

More long term we thought a “how to get there facility” would be useful, as would an weekly/fortnightly e-mail (with a view to replacing the current Yahoo Group) and an easy way for those interested to respond to consultations – see below.

We appreciated the need to cater for casual interest as well as the hard core supporter, and to seize the opportunity for educating Councillors.

On infrastructure:

  • The Forest Gate response had been lodged by Olawale and followed up with an e-mail to all local  Councillors.
  • He had also lodged a response to the Westfield Ave crossing  and elicited a helpful response from the responsible Council traffic officer.
  • The two Quietway consultations for crossing Leytonstone Rd at Buxton Rd which needed to be submitted this week  were discussed at length and the meeting concluded that we should (a) remind the Council of the better option of using Chobham Rd (b) stick to TfL and LCC standards by calling for a signalised crossing – even if that were to be sensored or push button in order to  avoid needless disruption at time of few cyclist crossing, and (c) indicate that we could accept Buxton Rd being two way.
  • The meeting confirmed there was no objection in principle to a zebra link from the floating bus stops on Stratford High St to the pavement but considered that further information should be sought as to their width and their lighting.
  • Straford gyratory consultations are taking place on dates and at venues found in this link,  and are important.   As we have been very closely involved in the development of the plan it is good.  Olawale explained that it would be helpful if as many as possible went to the consultations to give vocal support in principle, in the light of the current organised opposition taking place, especially in central London, to cycle schemes.  Information on where opposition was likely to arise would be useful.  The outstanding points that can be made are (a) phasing of lights should not discriminate against cyclist as on CS2 (b) there should be coherence with other schemes especially Maryland and “the Leyton ladder” route to Leyton (c) steps should be taken to stop rat running in surrounding areas, and  (d) the footpath between Station Rd and the DLR should be shared.  If there are individual questions on this scheme please get in touch.

As a matter of general principle it was suggested that in consultation we repeat our established view on schemes and press for illustrative drawings when these are not supplied as part of the consultation.

And there was even a short time for some AOBs:

  • Olawale will share the slides from the recent PASTA event.
  • Individuals encouraged to support cycling consultations even if out of Borough, such as Tavistock Place.  A positive approach was needed to counteract organised opposition.
  • Ken suggested providing a core briefing on cycle issues to Councillors and reported that Lyn Brown MP had been persuaded that the use of buses to transport bikes through the proposed Silvertown Tunnel was a poor idea.
  • We should emphasise the role of cycling in improving air quality.
  • TfL moving to the Stratford International Quarter provided an opportunity.

Arnold

 

Ride Report: Rainham Marsh 9 October 2016

Confident of excellent weather for the third year running for this traditional October ride a select band set out from the View Tube for coffee and cake at the RSPB centre on Rainham Marsh.   Having survive the industrial and post-industrial stretch from the Greenway at Beckton to Rainham Village the marsh provided an excellent ride including evocative views of the Thames:

rainham-2

Having refreshed ourselves we took a very short diversion to examine a new  gunpowder museum, shown in thee background of this photo

rainham-1

and headed back up through the Ingrebourne Valley country park to Upminster, taking in the Col de Ingrebourne Hill with its panoramic views of East London.

By the time we reached our destination there was a hint of light rain through the sun, but nothing to compromise an enjoyable 26 mile runaround.

Arnold