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:
On Saturday 17 February 6 Newham Cyclists set up their stall to check and fix bikes at the children’s bike club of Ambition, Aspire, Achieve at the Terence Brown Arc Canning Town. We were blessed with unseasonably sunny and warm weather as bikes were checked for future use by the club, including a ride we are proposing to lead on 24 February based on the Greenway.
The next day was the Secret Nuclear Bunker Ride. Here is Steve’s Report:
Maybe it was the fine weather, maybe some cyclists felt impelled to know the whereabouts of a place of greater safety, the reason is unclear, but the outcome was that we had a record 21 riders for this second ride of 2018. The central line staff and passengers were bemused by the large number of cyclists boarding the train at Leytonstone for the journey Epping and the start of our adventure.
From Epping station the route took us on a long downhill out of the town, under the M11 and into the countryside. There had been some debate about whether the route is undulating or hilly, so this time we had among us one rider on a single speed fixy who would put it to the ultimate test. The ride up to Toot Hill is a good way to warm up, then we followed the small lanes to the London Road. We crossed over and followed Shonks Mill Lane down to the ford, often flooded in winter, but although the water in the stream was high the road was dry. We turned off up Lady Hill and this eventually brought us to the back of the SNB. Ignoring the “Keep Out”, signs we crossed no mans land and found ourselves outside the SNB and next to the familiar bombs/rockets. Some riders even locked their bikes to these for extra security during the visit.
On leaving the SNB we did have a problem as one rider had not left with the group and had to be found. Fortunately the lunch stop at “The Bricklayers Arms”, was only a couple of miles away in Stondon Massey, so we were soon reunited, and able to enjoy an al fresco break in the winter sun. The return leg took us via Ongar and Greensted, back to Toot Hill, where we retraced those undulations back to Epping. Indeed it was surprising but true that this ride is possible without gears, but perhaps not for everyone
Thanks to all participants, especially Arnold, backmarker and Robin for the photos; full album from-
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/