After the inclement weather of the previous day, it was great to see 15 ladies gather at the View Tube (8 of us having ridden together from Forest Gate at the WI ‘collection point’). Our glamorous ride leader Anita briefed us on the route before we set out along the Greenway & down the Lee Navigation, leaving at Bow to cross the A12 via the underpass and head into the streets of Poplar.
Of course, it also featured a tea stop by the Museum of Docklands and a lunch stop on Pepper Street!
Like all good tour guides, Anita saved the gem of the tour until last. The real ‘Nonnatus House’ – actually St Frideswide Mission House on Lodore Street (sadly now flats), where we could peer down a gated alley to see where the midwives bicycles would have been stored!
Given that the clocks had gone forward to BST and everyone had an hour less sleep we had an excellent turnout for this ride. Eighteen of us gathered at Leytonstone to catch the tube to Epping where three more riders awaited our arrival. The weather was clement, 10C and no wind, which was helpful as we were a large group on a slightly longer ride than usual, 37miles riding clockwise around Harlow. The road from Epping to Roydon in Hertfordshire is quite fast, and there was a fair amount of Sunday traffic so it was nice to cross the level crossing at Roydon and enjoy the quiet roads to Hunston and Much Hadam. There we crossed the ford and rode up towards Perry Green and the Henry More foundation, this is where the technical problems started.
Arnold’s derailleur sheered off just outside Perry Green. A few of us stayed to help, while the majority rode on for a mile to see the HM foundation and get a coffee. We broke the chain, disconnected and removed the derailleur and shortened the chain, so it became a single speed machine. About to move on and I discover I had a flat, the first of two for me and these deflations were followed by those of two other riders, four punctures in all.
The cafe at the HM Foundation was closed and so we continued with a caffeine deficit. We crossed the M11 and arrived at Sawbridgeworth, where Arnold’s single speed repair finally failed and he took a train home.
We followed the Essex lanes to Matching Tye where we had a well deserved lunch at the Fox, the food was good and it was warm enough to eat in the garden for those that chose to. The route back followed Fagotters Lane towards Blake Hall and Toot Hill. We fixed another complicated flat, where the valve broke in the pump, and tackled the final hill to Epping Station in the sun. Overall an eventful ride, but very satisfying that we overcame our problems and enjoyed the day’s riding in the spring countryside in good company.
As always, thanks to Robin for the photos! More can be viewed here:
& the route here:
These two documents have been produced by LCC HQ as a guide for what we are trying to achieve for the local elections in May and why.
My Liveable London Campaign Guide FINAL
My Liveable London policy brief FINAL
Approved at Cabinet this week:
In case you didn’t see the piece Arnold was interviewed for in last week’s paper…
Newham Recorder Feb 18
Following on from our borough insert feature, Anita tells us what cycling means to her.
I have been cycling since I was seven, using my bike to get to school both at primary and secondary. I have been a London cyclist off and on for the last 25 years. When my son Merlin was born I was keen to be able to cycle with him as soon as possible. He was on the back of the bike in a child seat as a baby and used to love the cycle rides for sleeping. He started with a balance bike and has been on his own bike since he was 4, sometimes with a tow bar in the early days and now cycles to secondary school as well as weekend and evening rides with me. It is important to me that he is a confident cyclist and feels safe as well as being active and in the outdoors. We have been on cycling expeditions up the Lee Valley and to Debden House for camping on our own and with Newham Woodcraft Folk.
When I took on my current job it involved a lot of changes and one of those was committing to becoming a daily cyclist as it was the only way I could fit everything in with both work and childcare and also saved me the cost of the annual travel card I used to need before. I work as a Baby Feeding Specialist for Barts Health in Tower Hamlets, cycling for work involves more than just commuting as I am not only cycling to work but around during the day to visit clients, move between work places, attend meetings and trainings. Cycling is the most efficient way to get around, when I work with students who are not cyclists I usually give them a 15 minute head start on public transport and usually still arrive ahead of them. I use the Cycle Super Highways but also the canal and riverside paths.
I cycle in all weathers. Wearing specialist cycling clothing and shoes isn’t really an option as I can’t change easily every time I visit clients in their own homes so I have had to come up with a work wardrobe for cycling which can take me from my bike to a hospital ward, meeting or client’s home. I’m not cycling fast aiming to get a best time on the commute but aiming to arrive in good time without breaking out in a sweat! Knee length skirts and dresses that are not too wide nor too narrow are great as they keep clear of the chain and wheels and dry quickly if caught in the rain! Long leather boots are good in winter and can be wiped down after a muddy cycle along Limehouse Cut!
I am a keen Geocacher (www.geocaching.com) and go out on cycle rides after work seeking out hidden containers around London or attending events. This has taken me further afield by bike than ever before and using google maps to find cycling routes to geocaches has expanded my cycling knowledge, fitness and confidence in London taking me on routes I never knew about. I also combine train and bike for longer journeys.
I am now trained as a Ride Marshal and Ride Leader with London Cycling Campaign and hope to be able to encourage more women to gain confidence in cycling.
We had asked riders to book into this ride as it has been very popular in the past. However, several booking were either cancelled or were simply ‘no shows and we numbered just 9 riders, including two who had not booked. This was however a good number for the ride as we had two marshals, Ken and Robin, and were able maintain a tight group for the ride.
The weather was cool by dry and despite some traffic around Blackhorse Road and Hackney Central we were able to make good use of the Waltham Forest cycling infrastructure, the river Lea towpath and the Hackney Parks.
We managed three stops, namely, Wild Card, People’s tavern (Laines) and Truman’s, taking the traditional route in reverse. We had planned to stop at Redchurch, but the shutters were down and there was no sign of life. Other notable changes, Pressure Drop are moving from their current location in Hackney Central, to the same industrial estate as Beavertown currently occupies. Forest Road had a lively taproom, worth a stop on a future ride. Three Sods and the Bethnal Green Working Man’s Club were also not open.
The ride continues to evolve and there are still more brewery’s to visit than we have time available on an afternoon ride, but it is fun to try, and also to experiment with different stops
Click on the photo below to be taken to Robin’s pictures of the day – & the link to see the ‘live’ route. Thank you Robin!
As some of you know, our ride leader Steve is riding the RideLondon 100 this year for AAA. Please sponsor him if you can. We are building a relationship with AAA, supporting their weekend cycle club, so this is a cause that we are very happy to promote!
I’m am riding 100 miles for a very worthy local cause; to help young people in need and promote cycling.
Can you help us raise money for the Ambition, Aspire, Achieve Cycling Hub for disadvantaged and disabled children and young people?
Please donate to their JustGiving Crowdfunding Page:
Thanks for your support
With our first official ‘Women’s Ride’ coming up, we’ve been chatting about the things that put women off getting on their bikes. There are many things – and the next issue of London Cyclist magazine will have a feature on this.
It’s pretty obvious that infrastructure – or lack of it – is a huge factor, but it’s more than that. Some women feel threatened by having to share a cycle lane with more confident, faster cyclists, others are concerned about the safety aspect of using quieter routes through parks and along towpaths.
Some are just put off by the clothing!!
The infrastructure and safety aspects are harder to tackle quickly – but the clothing one is not. It is perfectly possibly to ride a bike in your normal clothes! If you’re just doing a short journey, it’s really easy – you’re not likely to get too hot and sweaty and saddle comfort isn’t really an issue. If you’re doing longer rides – commuting or travelling around for work – and are worried about comfort, it’s not much harder. There are some great brands out there who have started to think about simple things like nice light floaty tops that don’t make you all sweaty and shorts or trousers that are cut so that there are no seams where you don’t want them. There are also some very stylish padded knickers out there – one particular brand you would hardly know they were padded to look at them.
One of our members and regular marshals (soon to be ride leader too) rides miles around Tower Hamlets every day in her job as a breast feeding specialist. Wearing a helmet & sometimes gloves is her only concession to the fact that she’s on a bike. In fact when I bumped in to her earlier this week, she looked positively glamorous in her summer dress and heels!
Our ride later this month will very much be embracing the social and relaxed aspect of cycling – wear whatever you will be comfortable and feel yourself in.
Don’t forget, if your bike needs a bit of TLC ahead of the ride, we’ll be at the Forest Gate Festival on the 15th – bring your bike along and learn how to do the basics (fixing a puncture etc). If you’ve got a friend who would like to come on the ride but doesn’t have a bike – they’ll be able to hire one from our lovely friend (and Newham Cyclist member) Nigel at View Tube Bikes.