Our first ride of the new year was blessed with mild weather and a good turnout. We took the Central Line from Leytonstone to Epping, where the ride began with a nice downhilll run.
We saw a good number of cyclists around Toot Hill which is popular for its undulating terrain. We arrived at the church a little after 11am but there were no other visitors, despite it being Sunday. This allowed us to take a good look around, we saw the painting of St Edmund, after whom, it is thought, the church was founded. This oldest wooden stave church has a crusaders grave, leper hole and links to the Tollpuddle martyrs. With a history of over 1000 years there are lots of stories about the church and its congregation, some of which may even be true.
We continued to Ongar and took the old roman road, unfortunately this is rather popular with speeding motorists, so we were pleased to turn into Berwick Lane and wind our way through the empty country lanes back to Toot Hill. We stopped at the Moletrap pub for lunch. It is a lovely, characterful place although it was small and seating was limited.
Refreshed we mounted up and rode the few miles back to Epping Station.
A band of 12 defied a horrid weather forecast to set off from the View Tube in their search of knowledge of some, at least of Newham’s rich heritage.
We were aided by some interesting sound clips provided by Eastside Community Heritage, some Wikipedia and other material (see earlier post), and – best of all the knowledge found within the group itself – historical, architectural, football etc.
8 stops over 11 miles of relaxed off road riding included Three Mills …
the Gas Works Memorial Garden …
Cody Dock (where we were given an update of future developments by Simon – not the cat) …
the Royal Docks …
and Abbey Mills Pumping Station.
Miraculously neither the umbrella, nor the rescue float, nor even the repair kit was called upon.
Traditionally our October ride to Rainham RSPB is blessed with fine weather and this year was no exception. A record turn out of 16 gathered at the Greenway Common Cafe
and we picked up 3 more as we started along the Greenway. Fortunately we had two of the group’s ace photographers (Robin and Steve) to capture it the day.
Braving the A13…
brought the reward of an open day at the national Trusts’ lovely Rainham Hall and a quick stop to inspect the beautiful gardens.
The Thames was as atmospheric as ever.
A coffee stop at the RSPB centre (which now has bike hire and other outdoor activities) and a visit to the site of a house stayed in by Dracula led us to the Ingrebourne Valley and the train back from Upminister.
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!
There were 18 of us on this ride on a lovely morning at the end of April. We met at the view tube coincidentally with a group of Penny Farthing enthusiasts who were promoting an event to celebrate 200 years of the bicycle
There were 18 of us on this ride on a lovely morning at the end of April. We met at the view tube coincidentally with a group of Penny Farthing enthusiast who were promoting an event to celebrate 200 years of the bicycle
We were also surrounded by runners and supporters on the Hackney Half marathon, creating a festive atmosphere, as we wound our way through Hackney along the Lea towpath. We followed the towpath to Enfield lock where we picked up, firstly the NCN route, and then the roads towards Chingford. Dawes Hill was steep as we climbed up towards Epping Forest, those riding ebikes had a distinct advantage here, we passed Gilwell scout camp and some grand houses as we cycled down towards Chingford through the forest. We regrouped at the Queen Elizabeth Hunting Lodge, noting it was a previous Queen Elizabeth who had more bloodthirsty hobbies.
We followed a disused road through the forest towards High Beech and from there had to negotiate the busy A121 to cross the M25 and arrive at our destination at St Thomas’ Church.
The churchyard provided a great picnic spot with fantastic views over the Lea valley, there was also a nice pub, the Horseshoe, virtually next door which had a good lunch menu. We delayed our departure in order to enjoy the promised cake which was delicious, although I only tried two.
Fuelled by excellent nourishment our return journey through the forest to High Beech and Waltham Abbey, before rejoining the Lea towpath, was significantly faster.
Thanks to all participants, especially and the back marker and stewards who ensured that we were safe and stayed together and Robin for the excellent photos https://www.flickr.com/photos/rsstephenson/34205642542/in/album-72157680012469164/
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
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