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/

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.

Message from Newham Green Party

From Rachel Collinson of the Newham Green Party:

“On a leaflet distributed to every resident in Forest Gate North ward in Newham, in advance of the local by-election, the Green Party mentioned that our candidate Elisabeth Whitebread was endorsed by Kerena Fussell of Newham Cyclists. While Kerena does endorse our candidate in a personal capacity, Newham Cyclists are in no way affiliated with the Green Party and remain neutral in this election, as they do in all elections. This was a mistake on the part of Newham Green Party.”

Essex Lanes Ride Report (by Steve)

Essex Lanes
Epping to Hatfield Broad Oak 26 June

Essex start

Eight of us met at Leytonstone station and rendezvous with three others, who had cycled from Walthamstow, at Epping. The weather started rather uncertainly but gradually improved throughout the ride and we enjoyed spinning through the lovely Essex countryside in the midsummer.
We faced the undulating terrain of Toot Hill before crossing the A414 and the quieter and flatter lanes beyond. Avoiding the flooded road we passed through Matching Green where Bill had to leave us. Onward we went up the stunning Sparrows Lane to the village of Hatfield Broad Oak, the most northerly point on the journey. We joined faster roads to Hatfield Heath and Sheering before diverting to Matching Tye and the Fox pub, our lunch stop, where they had some fascinating geese

Essex ducks
After lunch we followed Faggotters lane through the ford to Magdalen Laver and the through North Weald back to Epping.

A great ride with few mechanical problems, I had my chain break and was rescued by Martyn having a magic link at the start of the ride. Bikes should be in good working order before coming on rides and I will endeavour to follow this advice in future. We had two punctures on the ride and Mick decided to walk back to the station after sustaining the second of these.

Details below

Screenshot 2016-07-05 16.01.16

Greenwich & Woolwich Foot Tunnels

We have been asked to participate in trials of a new system allowing cyclists to ride through these two tunnels.

Greenwich and Woolwich foot tunnels go smart

Cyclists using the foot tunnels in Greenwich and Woolwich should check the overhead sign to see when they should walk their bikes.  A new computer vision based system can now identify the numbers of walkers, and cyclists in the tunnel, and display messages to ask cyclists to dismount only when pedestrian levels are high.

An initial trial period is currently underway and messaging will be adjusted over the coming weeks.  Please support this trial by walking your bike when the sign says to, and help demonstrate that the tunnels can permanently operate as a shared space.

Please also download and use the BetterPoints app to track your journeys through the tunnel.  You will be rewarded with BetterPoints for all of your walking and cycling trips, with bonus points when you walk your bike through the tunnel.  Points are redeemed for high street vouchers or charity donations. We will also be running a prize draw every month, and you will earn a prize entry for every recorded trip.

Visit techtunnels.betterpoints.uk for more information and look out for us at events we will be running at the tunnel throughout the summer.

Download the free app and get started.

Apple Store

Google Play

 

Networking Event

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

Steve’s Ride Report – Hoo Peninsular

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:

IMG_7420

 

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.

IMG_7422IMG_7423Cooling churg

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:

Ride stats