Update on tomorrow’s ride

From Robin:

Did a trial run from Ramsgate to Canterbury yesterday (it was very nice) and have slightly updated the route & tried to remember any notable features/hazards:

SRA ticket office opens at 09:00, we should be at the front of the queue with cash in hand! Very slow lift will only take 2 bikes down at a time, and there are a lot of stairs. Train departs 09:16, arrives 10:27.

From RAM station ~10:45, dip down to the seafront; a couple of sections here might be rather busy, but I don’t see much of an alternative and it’s not far. WC on the seafront before we climb back up on the shared path to the clifftop. We then follow an off-road path along the coast to Sandwich, passing the Viking ship (WC) and then skirting the Pfizer industrial estate. A quick go around the surprisingly picturesque Sandwich one-way system (WC), and then out into the countryside; relatively quiet roads should let us hear the skylarks. No hills in the first 2/3 of the distance, but don’t get complacent.

A brief diversion to the Mermaid pub in Bishopsbourne for lunch. I guess we will be there approx. 13:00-13:30. They have a couple of tables out the front, but more in the sun-trap garden at the back. Terrible phone reception here for some reason. Don’t know how busy it will be, but we should be able at the very least to get a beer / orange & soda with a packet of crisps. The menu is on their website http://www.mermaidinnbishopsbourne.co.uk/. If on offer, would be best not to have a full Sunday lunch with pudding, because after the pub ~14:30 are… the Duck pub, where we won’t be stopping, unless WC, Ian Fleming’s house, and…

…a couple of hills, both up and down; none are Mont Ventoux, but it would be sensible to check that both gears and brakes are functioning well beforehand. One section has grass up the middle and is adorned with some flint pebbles, and bonus potholes, but manageable on all bikes. Reward of the hills is a lovely long run back into Canterbury, with a view of the Cathedral in the distance.

We do have to cross a couple of big roads on the route, but the nastiest bit is probably the last few hundred metres into Canterbury including large roundabout.

I’ve ended at another Shepherd Neame pub in Canterbury, the Millers Arms ETA ~16:00, to refresh before heading to CBW and the ~1 hr train back to SRA. Trains: 14:43* / 15:25 / 15:43* / 16:25 / 16:43* / 17:25 etc (trains marked * require change at Ashford and take 15 mins longer). Could easily go straight to the station if the times don’t match up nicely.

Route is here, for some reason it comes up as 50km, but it’s really ~40km / 30miles: http://www.gpsies.com/map.do?fileId=kntddwmavaesqwvh


Bike stall success

We had a great day on Saturday at Woodgrange Market, helping a number of people of all ages and from all backgrounds get their bikes back on the road. One of our favourite visitors was Jan who had not ridden her bike for 4 years and wanted to get back on it.  She had a lovely dutch Gazelle bike which had a flat tyre & needed some general TLC.  We helped her replace the inner tube & get the wheel back on her bike.  She was spotted riding around Forest Gate the next day!

Our aim is to teach as many people as possible – especially women – to deal with basic problems, in particular fixing a puncture!

A few weeks ago, Woman’s Hour had a whole feature on cycling including this great video with Jenni from London Bike Kitchen which does just that, with some great tips & tricks!

Our next stall is on Saturday 10th June – see you there!


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:


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.

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