Kent Coast Ride Report

This was the first time Newham Cyclists ride programme had included this lovely ride around the north Kent coast, also known as the Viking way. It was the warmest day of the year so far and this may have encouraged the large turnout, as there were 17 of us leaving Canterbury station, under clear blue skies.

The ride started with a sharp hill up past Kent university where we joined the Crab and Winkle way, a disused rail line to Whitstable. The route led us through beautiful countryside, woods and into Whitstable via the back streets to Whitstable station. As we arrived at the coast we had to negotiate some traffic as we went through the town along the coast road to Herne Bay. The good weather had brought out the crowds and all the seaside towns along the way were full of people enjoying the sun, while the sea was completely calm and looked more like the Mediterranean.

From Herne Bay we climbed up towards Reculver, where we had our first puncture, it was a picturesque spot and timely rest. The promenade merged into the open coastal path with lots of walkers and cyclists, then past mini chalk cliffs and on to Westgate on Sea where we had lunch, some of the group pressed on to Margate aiming for a different lunch stop.

We reassembled in Margate, close to the Tate and carried on through the town and up into the road overlooking Palm Bay and Botany Bay, and the Australian weather continued. Broadstairs is a pretty town with endless references to Charles Dickens and long queues for ice cream, it was necessary to walk the bikes through some of the narrow crowded lanes there. At Ramsgate we had to leave the coast and turn in towards the station where we were in good time to catch the fast 16:05 train back to Stratford.

Many thanks to all riders, especially Robin for researching the route and leading the ride

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/

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.

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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

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

Steve

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.

Newham Cyclists gather outside the White Hart pub
Outside The White Hart (Photo courtesy Robin Stephenson)

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

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:

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

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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

 

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

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:

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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

 

 

 

 

Ride Report – Greensted Church

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

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