As mentioned at the AGM, there is going to be a cycling ‘networking’ event at the Gate in Forest Gate later this month. The details are below. If you are interested in helping out, please let us know – and please spread the word to your non-cycling friends!
On your bike
A drop-in evening to find out more about how you can get cycling
Do you have a bike you never use? Thinking of getting one? Keen to try cycling but don’t know where to start? Come to our drop-in event to find out more and to get you started.
At the Gate Community Centre on Woodgrange Road we will have people to advise on cycle confidence training, cycle maintenance, some bicycle accessories for sale, the police who will security mark your bike if you bring it, information on local cycle routes and more.
Brought to you by Newham Cyclists and Newham Council
After a false start our annual meeting was held last Tuesday at the Wanstead Tap. There was an excellent turnout including three local councillors who have been supportive of cycling initiatives (John Gray, Terence Paul and Rachel Tripp). We were assisted by some excellent cheese and beer.
As for the formalities :
- We approved the minutes from last year .
- We agreed a new constitution to update our organisation in line with LCC requirements.
- We agreed the annual report and accounts for 2015/16 .
- We agreed a budget for 2016/17.
- Kerena Fussell and Arnold Ridout were elected as joint co-ordinators, Bill Bremner as Treasurer, Olawale Ajibola was elected Local Schemes Lead and Steve Smith as Ride Co-ordinator.
We decided to produce for sale a group T -shirt.
Less formally, we had wide ranging discussions on the following topics
- Stratford Gyratory – proposal now reasonable in principle but details of the junctions will need further work.
- Other infrastructure developments – key funding available from TfL, Newham LIP allocation, and from developments such as Crossrail for some potentially significant improvements. More information is available from the current list of issues.
- LCC Sign for Cycling campaign – last push before the election.
- Our contribution to the Forest Gate Cycle network Evening 26 May.
We ended with a discussion as to our future focus. As a result we will consider how the group can focus on schools, as some money is available for promoting cycling in schools and our efforts could pay dividends in terms of increased cycling by both children and their parents.
We had a very productive discussion with Richard Wadey, sustainable Transport Officer for Newham Council, based around a PASTA presentatation (an EU funded project promoting physical activity through sustainable transport approaches) in which a number of towns and cities are participating. For London this is Newham, Tower hamlets and Waltham Forest. He also provided a general update of cycling in Newham showing an increase in the modal share of cycling .
Richard shared the information on the Cycle Level Of Service studies of routes in Newham,and projects, particularly Quietway 6, the Greenway, Stratford gyratory and the Leaway. These will form part of the Cycle Strategy of the Borough and inform future decision making, hopefully by integrating cycle considerations into all transport schemes. He showed a Cycle Strategy map showing the potential in the Borough for a dense network of routes with a high level of service (i.e. over 80%).
He also introduced the possibility of secure on street parking hangers and the tool library at Stratford Mobile Garden.
As part of Newham “New Deal” was a new deal for roads involving investing over £100m over the next ten years. There was potential to ensure cycling was adequately integrated into this vision.
Slides and on-line maps available from me.
- noted the acquisition of a cargo trailer that can be made available to anyone who would like to borrow it;
- discussed the LCC Sign for cycling Campaign;
- confirmed our Annual meeting for 11 April at Eat 16 cafe, at which light refreshments will be served; and
- decided that the first in the summer series of evening rides will take place on 23 May and will visit Walthamstow Village improvements.
Valentine’s day ride around the Hundred of Hoo
With Gravesend only 17 minutes by train from Stratford the Hoo peninsular was a convenient destination. Ten of us, with our bikes, took this train and met two more, Nick and Nigel, at Gravesend station.
The weather was cold but bright with a north easterly breeze providing a slight headwind as we set off towards the medway and the infamous Kingsnorth power station. We were soon out of Gravesend and riding through the bleak and open farmland which makes up much of the peninsular. As we passed Hoo St Werburgh the route provided us with some great views of the river Medway and Kingsnorth, the pretty village of Stoke gave us a convenient comfort break and we were then approaching Allhallows, the most easterly point of the ride. This was significant as the wind should have been behind us for the rest of the ride. In the 1930’s All Hallows was planned to be a major resort, to rival Southend, which can be seen across the Thames, but WW2 intervened and the Pilot pub and a large estate of mobile homes is all that remains of this dream. However the views from the beach were impressive as a huge container ship sailed up the estuary confirming that the river must be deep despite the tide being so far out.
We stopped for a good lunch at the Fenn Bell Inn in St Mary Hoo, where we had a group photo with the pet shark:
After lunch we had a couple of navigational challenges and went off piste before regaining our route and finding the delightful village of Cooling, with its fascinating church and castle. The 13th century church provided Dickens with the inspiration for the opening chapter of Great Expectations, where Pip meets the convict Magwitch, and more recently where Jools Holland married Christabel McEwan and they now live, happily ever after, in the castle.
Another detour saw the group split, although we both followed basically the same route. This led us along the Thames and Medway canal and alongside the Eurostar rail track and into the industrial side of Gravesend. Although a designated cycle route, we had to negotiate flood water, glass and fires to complete our intrepid adventure into this wild and desolate corner of Kent.
The group were reunited at Gravesend station for the short ride back to Stratford
If you are interested in the ride statistics here they are:
Please see Arnold’s latest list of cycling issues and actions around the borough here: Outstanding stuff 7 Feb version
Another healthily attended and lively meeting at Coffee E7:
- Following the meeting with Councillors Gray and Paul before Christmas concerning the various issues surrounding Stratford High Street and gyratory we submitted a briefing note on which we are waiting a response.
- There was a very open catch up meeting meeting with the Newham Council Sustainable Transport officer. Headlines are:
Designs have been submitted to TfL for the junctions of the northern Quietway. Our view was that these were disappointing , and we indicated that we could not support a Quietway which had substandard junctions. Better progress on upgrading the Greenway. A small pilot lighting project will shortly be put in place. Limited improvements are in prospect around Westfield (Stratford Place) as changes are made for taxis and coaches. There are good designs on the shelf for the wider area waiting for the opportunity to be implemented.
An cycle assessment of the main roads (but not junctions) has been undertaken which will form part of a proposed cycle strategy from the Borough along with an audit of cycle parking.
There are further delays in establishing the Leaway between Cody Dock and Canning town.
All current issues have been recorded for monitoring and it was decided to publish this on this website (to follow). By way of general follow up we have been told that Newham’s cycling mode share has increased again,according to the London Travel Demand Survey (Travel in London report 8), up from approx. 1.3% to 2.3% in 2012/13-2014/15.
- A Greenway users group is planned.
- We noted that the work undertaken so far on the northern Quietway was heavily engineered and that there was still an issue of parking in Cemetery Rd.
- We will be actively participating in stakeholder consultation on the plans for Stratford gyratory, a meeting taking place on 8 March.
- We discussed our ride programme and in particular the forthcoming, and much anticipated, Hoo Ride on 14 February. To ensure smooth practical arrangements (not least securing the cheapest train ticket to Gravesend), it would be helpful if anyone intending to come on this ride gave advanced notice (firstname.lastname@example.org)
We will be coordinating rides with a new Community group in Stratford City and we may also be joining in with a CTC ride around Witham in April.
- We agreed to buy a further banner , some equipment for rides (tools/first aid) and some T shirts for ride leaders.
- The current exhibition at the Design Museum was warmly recommended and there are still tickets for the talk by Emily Chappel at the Wanstead Tap on 15 February.
- Richard Wadey will be talking at our next meeting on 29 February and then our AGM will be 11 April.
- Funds are available from the Council for high quality on street parking bays. Please let us know of good sites.
- We decided to support, with a stall, an indoor car boot sale on 20 February at the Field Community Centre, Station Rd. If you are able to provide some time to man the store please let us know and we will be putting together a rota.
By Steve Smith
Forest Gate to Greensted Church 10th January 2016
We were 13 at Coffee7 at 9am on Sunday morning which was an excellent turnout for the first ride of the year. Perhaps the New year resolutions were applying some leverage. The weather was sunny and dry but after so much rain had fallen over the previous days the roads were still wet. The route followed suburban roads through Woodford, along the Roding Valley to Loughton and then out to Theydon Bois. We then found a few undulating and invigorating hills as we followed country lanes through Toot Hill to Greensted in the bright winter sunshine.
The church, claimed as the oldest wooden church in the world is charming, and includes the grave of a crusader and a lepers view hole. All these elements give the church a fantastic opportunity for imaginative stories about their origins and those visitors who were here long before us.
After restarting the ride we followed small lanes toward Navestock and Stapleford Abbots. The lunch stop was at the two Brewers Chigwell Row was a busy pub/restaurant, this meant lunch consisted more of a refreshment stop with a drink and a few crisps and nuts for most. It may be a good idea to let the lunch venue know of our arrival on future rides, if we can estimate the number of riders
On the way back we followed the newly emerging quiet way from Fairlop to Wanstead and finished the ride where we started, outside a coffee7 under a darkening sky.
We had a few punctures which slowed our pace, however the group was well equipped and we were easily able to fix them.
More photos (taken by Robin Stephenson) can be found on Flickr
We will be meeting with Terry Paul & John Gray on Monday morning (14th December) at 8am at ‘The Rhubarb’ to discuss the various issues around Stratford, including plans for the gyratory, Warton Road and the changes at Sugar House Lane. Please join us if you can.
On the evening of Monday 7th December, Newham Cyclists toured the extravagant lighting displays of London’s West End. We met by the steps at St Pauls Cathedral before following a route that took in all the major shopping streets and some iconic London venues such as Trafalgar Square and Somerset House.
Bill joined us on Bond Street outside Burberry’s, had he been Christmas shopping? It was not clear, as he wasn’t saying. The route deviated from the plan and we took Regent Street instead of Piccadilly down to Piccadilly Circus. A minor route planning mistake by the ride leader caused a little confusion, but once regrouped we headed for the bright lights of Leicester Square and Trafalgar Square
The famous Norwegian Christmas tree in Trafalgar Square looked as if it had been exposed to strong winds as it seemed to have a natural tilt, and the horse skeleton with the stock market data stream on the fourth plinth required some interpretation. Carnaby Street lights were impressively gaudy and Covent Garden had an excellent tree, as did Somerset House.
There were some challenges as the roads were busy and there were lots of pedestrians, however the evening temperature was mild and and dry and there was no wind. We returned via Winterville in Victoria Park, but the bike parking was woefully inadequate so we did not go in and diverted to the People’s Pub on Victoria Park Road for deserved and festive refreshment.
More pictures, courtesy of Robin here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/rsstephenson/albums/72157662020002231
Again a well attended meeting with a full an interesting agenda. Our first meting at the Black Lion in Plaistow:
- Following up last month’s meeting with Living Streets we heard that Living Streets were progressing setting up a Newham branch which some Newham Cyclists were likely to join. This would maintain co-ordination.
- Following last month’s meeting on Forest Gate Crossrail related improvemetns, a collective Newham Cyclist response has been given to this consultation as well as well as other consultations on Manor Park and the Silvertown Tunnel. These to reinforce the individual responses.
- There was a very positive meeting with Councillors Terry Paul and John Gray over the Greenway closure. Interestingly,The day before this meeting the signage had been improved by Thames Water. Notable also was the number of people cycling in the area and the number that stopped to voice their opinions.
There is hope for the end to the closure from West Ham station to Stratford by April next year, with some limited provisional access before then The reopening paves the way for the planned improvements for the Greenway as part of TfL second round of quietways – in this case 24hr opening and lighting, and 4 additional ramps for access. The closure on the northern side is more uncertain despite the overrunning Crossrail related works coming to end.
- We are seeking a similar engagement with these two local Councillors to look at the multiple issues surrounding Stratford High Street and the Stratford Gyratory. To the obvious ones can be added the frequent parking of construction traffic blocking the shared use pavement.
- Some more works on the Victoria Park to Hainault Quietway have started in Forest Gate. We noted that the introduction of a CPZ had led to more parking in Cemetery Rd to the detriment of the route as a Quietway. We agreed that we could not endorse this Quietway unless the crucial junctions were suitably addressed.
- We decided to go ahead with some traffic counting pilots.
- We noted the recent poll in the Newham Recorder on cycling issue. Steve Smith put forward an excellent case for cycling.
- We decided to seek a catch up meeting with Newham’s Sustainable Transport Officer in the New Year.
- We noted that further cycle parking has been casually removed without replacement by Newham Council – this time outside Wilkinson’s in Stratford.
- The Christmas lights ride on 7 December was discussed and the 2016 Ride Programme was launched. (Details elsewhere)
- On street secure parking has been installed by Newham Council in various locations. A welcome development. All were urged to identify further suitable sites.