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
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.
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.
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. Â Having survive the industrial and post-industrial stretch from the Greenway atÂ Beckton to Rainham Village the marsh provided an excellent rideÂ including evocative views of the Thames:
Having refreshed ourselves we took a very short diversion to examine a newÂ Â gunpowder museum, shown in thee background of this photo
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 throughÂ theÂ sun, but nothing to compromise an enjoyable 26 mile runaround.