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
A rather more select band of attendees than usual, but enough for lively discussion.
- Suzannah Walker from the Beckton and Royal Docks Neighbourhood Team came to discuss possibilities to increase cycling in that area of the borough which benefits from some quiet and off road routes. Ideas centres on adjusting some Newham Rides later in the year, leading bespoke “Tour of Beckton” rides and bringing the market stall to an event.
- We discussed the TfL consultation for the Bow area, for which Olawale will be preparing a collective response by the deadline of 23 April, but individual responses are also encouraged.
- Rides coming up – April 9, Kent Coast is attracting outside interest. The Bike from Boleyn Ride on 22 April is gaining momentum. Any further volunteers for marshalling this will be most welcome – contact me.
- Our approach for a meeting with Councillors Clark and Murphy, who now have responsibility for cycling infrastructure had a speedy positive response from Councillor Murphy. If such a meeting takes place, as is likely, it will give us a chance to raise some high level issues such as the Borough cycle Strategy, our vision, the need for sustainable transport “planning gain”, the Silvertown Tunnel .
- Westfield have put in a planning application to LLDC for expansion – partly using space now occupied by a car park. . The sustainable transport options and opportunities will need to be pressed.
- Other upcoming events: Kerena is proposing to lead a ride to the “Leading our Lives” sponsored ride at Redbridge Cycling Centre on Good Friday. A Cyclotopia event will be taking place at the Velodrome on 11 June- providing access to various activities at various fees. There are a series of events relating to the Lea Valley which look interesting.
- Meeting with Councillors Tripp and Akiwowo re Maryland fixed for 5 April. Anyone interested in attending contact me for details. [Since the meeting we have also had an invite from Council Officials to discuss, at short notice, both the Stratford Gyratory and Maryland.]
- Last month there was some interest in providing a rota to help with the cycling aspects of a young persons project in the Arc in the Park, Hermit Road Park each Saturday. We decided to pursue this by taking a look one Saturday to see what was involved. Again if you think you might be interest get in touch with me and I can include you in the correspondence.
- The arrangements for the Annual Meeting on 24 April are progressing.
We meet at 9am on Sunday 09/04, to catch the 09.30 train to Canterbury and the 17.00 return from Ramsgate (not Minster). The cost of a return to Ramsgate is £40.30, but this will be reduced by 1/3rd (£26.60) with group discount or railcard.
The Crab and Winkle way does have a few stoney sections, therefore road bikes are not recommended, but it is largely traffic free. On a (hopefully sunny) Sunday there may also be a few short lengths by beach huts etc where pushing might be advisable.
- We started with a presentation from Paula Blake from the charity Ambition, Aspire, Achieve which helps young people from the Arc in the Park in Hermit Road Park. They are funded for, and gearing up to run, a cycle club on Saturdays aimed especially at those with disabilities. They are looking for cycle-interested volunteers to help their employed sessional workers. No special cycling qualifications are needed. This sounded an interesting and worthwhile project and on initial soundings it looked like it might be possible to get a rota of interested helpers from Newham Cyclists.
If you would be interested in joining such a rota please let me know and I can provide more details.
This charity also has places on the Ride 100 available. Again, if you are interested please contact me.
- There was a report back from those who went on the Greenway inspection ride with the sustainable Transport Office from newham council on 24 February. This was a worthwhile exercise. It seems some gates will be removed as lighting and CCTV is installed and 24 hour opening is likely to come to the stretch between Upper St and Stratford High St. Work on a ramp providing a link to the Channelsea Path (and Stratford Town Centre) has started. Some remedial work was identified as were instances of bad planning of the works (e.g. gates being painted which were about to be removed) It does not look like the section of the Greenway between the Stratford High St and the View Tube will be open until at least 2020.
Problems to look out for: vents set in the path which are awkward for bikes, misaligned “cycle tiles”, school parking at Brampton Manor (which also blocks ambulance access to Newham Hospital!), chicanes and 24 hour opening along the whole length.
- We discussed the draft plans for Maryland Crossrail “improvements” which were very poor and if anything made the area worse for cyclists. Various suggestions immediately emerged to provide benefits from cyclists. Olawale will gather these and make an alternative plan which can be put to interested Councillors. Please look at the plan and send in your suggested improvements in order to help compile an alternative, more cycle friendly proposal.
- There has been a cabinet reshuffle in Newham which has seen anti-cycling Councillor Corbett no longer responsible for transport infrastructure. We decided to approach the new Cabinet member responsible for cycling.
- We decided to examine the possibility of holding our annual meeting at the (re-opening) View Tube.
- The grant application for the monthly market stall in Forest Gate has been made but may take a few weeks to process. In the meantime we decided to run a pilot a session on 11 March.
- We are compiling a list of marshals for the big Bike from Boleyn Ride on 22 April. If you can help please let me know.
- Westfield Bike user Group are holding an event on 2 June – details are still to be confirmed, but we have been asked if we would like to take part in some way.
- The transition to the new website is progressing.
- Some of our members are taking part in Spin for SmartWorks this week – raising money for SmartWorks by cycling 500 miles.
- Also aiming to cycle 500 miles is the Leading Our Lives youth group. They are looking for some cyclists to come along on Good Friday (14th April) to Redbridge Cycling Centre to help them clock up the miles. Please contact Kerena for details if you’d like to help out and be able to feel righteous about all the Easter Eggs you eat on Sunday!
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/
It was standing room only at our January meeting and a wide variety of interesting issues were considered. Please therefore forgive the long post. If you would like further details on any of these matters please get in touch.
- We decided to hold our annual meeting on 26 April 2017, venue to be confirmed. There will be some catering. All ideas for speakers or events gratefully received.
- We decided to progress the idea of taking a monthly stall at Woodgrange Market on the second Saturday of the month (except winter) from 10 am to 2 pm, to offer minor bike repairs (with a strong teaching element) to promote cycling; to promote LCC and Newham Cyclists; and to have a jumble of unused bike equipment. We agreed to apply for a grant for tools and other essential equipment and to use some of our existing funds for this purpose, initially £100 to establish a stock of spares.
- The transfer to a new website is proceeding . The new site (which is now in use) is being degliched and ought to offer new possibilities to communicate, such as e-mail alerts.
- Two charities have offered us places on the summer Ride 100 – should anyone want to take this up please get in touch.
- We decided to invite the local charity Aspire, Ambition, Achieve to our next meeting to talk more of their proposed Saturday club for children based in Hermit Rd Park.
- Steve outlined the ride programme. He is intending to reschedule the Greenstead Ride that was rained off. The next rides are a country ride around the Hoo Pensinsula on 12 February and a short family West Ham Heritage Ride in conjunction with the Bike from Boleyn Campaign on 4 March.
- There is enormous activity on infrastructure at the moment, illustrated by number of outstanding consultations at the time of the meeting.Thanks to Olawale’s efforts we have been more active than ever in promoting good infrastructure.The outcome of the regular update meeting with Newham Council’s Sustainable Transport Officer before Christmas is available in chart form. Get in touch if you would like to see it or discuss any particular infrastructure development (photos help).
If there are particular infrastructure concerns they can be raised with us.
The meeting appreciated the need to try to influence plans as they were being formed; the need to photograph and report (via ourselves) facilities not in good order, such as gates left open. Generally when these have been raised with the Council there is a positive response.
Issues which aroused particularly strong discussion were the Greenway (for which we will now seek a ride with Council officials) and events in the QE Olympic Park (which is also being looked at by LCC centrally). We also decided to assist those who had been waiting longer than they should for on-street secure cycle parking agreed by the Council.
- Finally we discussed two disturbing local Labour Party developments:
First, West Ham Ward passed a motion seeking primary legislation to make it mandatory for cyclists to use cycle lanes. It was pointed out that this was a retrograde battle fought and lost some years ago in the redraft of the Highway Code. Also it was inappropriate in a borough where the cycle lanes can be very substandard (CS2 Warton Rd, Romford Rd) and the Council has even insisted on the removal of a protective lanes at a patently dangerous slip road (Tramway Ave) in order to accommodate driver misbehaviour. We have sought advice from LCC and agreed to engage with this issue on social media and in the forthcoming borough insert to the LCC magazine.
Second, a motion was put at the Labour Group for the Council to reverse its position of support for the Silvertown Tunnel and to call for the project to be cancelled. although this was in line with recently expressed deep concerns about the project by the Council this motion was wrecked by an amendment proposed by a Cabinet Member. The meeting noted this development with deep disappointment given the significant environmental degradation that this project will cause.
Newham cyclists are fielding (at least) one table for the Bike From Boleyn Group’s Quiznight on Friday 13 January at 7.30pm at West Ham Supporters Club, Castle St. This is essentially a fundraiser but two prizes already secured are two taster sessions at the Velodrome and tea for two at the House of Commons.
If you would like to come along please do. It would assist if you let me know in advance.
Our Next Meeting …
will be at Coffee7, Forest Gate, at 7.30pm (note the new time) on 30 January.
Steve’s Ride to Greenstead is scheduled for 15 January.
We are looking into having some kind of workshop – probably at Forest Gate market. Plans still at an early stage.
- We have lodged objections to the conversion of Bridge H14 in the Olympic Park to vehicular traffic (7/12/16).
- We made representations in respect of a traffic scheme for roads off High St North in Manor Park.
- We have been receiving plans for the Tower Hamlets section of the proposed Quietway 6 (from Victoria Park to Fairlop). They are not good, unfortunately.
- Just before Christmas three of us had one of the regular catch up meetings with Newham Council’s Sustainable Transport Officer. As usual Richard was open and informative.
Headlines:- The ramp at Twelve Trees Crescent is now open making it much easier to get from Three Mills to Cody Dock along the Lea Pathway. However the completion of the path from Canning Town is now so delayed that an (unsatisfactory) cycle diversion is being signposted.
– The Greenway improvements (Quietway 2.1) comprising lighting, longer opening, some resurfacing, more ramps, some targeted training- are beginning to be put in place. This will be complemented by the long awaited examination of these sequencing of the lights at the A13 flyover. These improvements will provide a key artery for cycling through Newham.
– Some improvements to Quietway 6 through north Newham are being put in place, but there remain some critical uncertainties over key junctions crossing at Leyton Rd, Leytonstone Rd and Woodgrange Rd. Astonishingly the Council have recently introduced pavement parking for vehicles in Cemetery Rd.
-The Council are planning to extend cycle improvements from Silvertown Way (delayed further whilst more remodelling is done for TfL) along North Woolwich Rd.
– Stratford Gyratory work is envisaged to start in August 2017.
– Some improvements to CS3 designed to improve access to Barking could bring cycle benefits to Jenkins Lane. The cycle parking under the Westfield bridge is well used, but closed between midnight and 5.00am.
– We have been provided with an early draft of a long awaited Cycle Strategy for Newham. It includes an assessment of the main routes through Newham (which are mostly very sub-standard) and an interesting factual introduction: Cycling has increased as a share of travel in recent years but the biggest increase has been on public transport (buses), whilst motor vehicle use and walking has declined; less than half the households in Newham own a car.
A new chart of ongoing infrastructure issues in the light of this meeting is available on our website.
Please get in touch if you would like any further information.
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.
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
More photos at https://www.flickr.com/photos/rsstephenson/sets/72157675936870792
A well attended social gathering at the Wanstead Tap.
We managed to conduct some business. The main item was next year’s ride programme which is shaping up nicely and should be ready in the early New Year. Early dates for your diary are 10 December for the Christmas Lights Ride and 14 January for a ride to the William Morris museum exhibition, “Posters of Protest”.
- After further discussion we decided to maintain our opposition to the current Quietway plans for the junction at Leytonstone Rd between Henniker Rd and Buxton Rd.
- Bike form Boleyn are holding a Quiz night on 13 January. Newham Cyclists will be fielding a table. If you would like to participate please get in touch with me.
- All who had not were urged to respond to the Stratford gyratory consultation which closed on 30 November.
- Our next infrastructure catch up meeting with the Newham council Sustainable Transport Officer will be on 16 December. if you have any infrastructure issues that you would like to raise please let me know.
- We discussed Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park issues.
- Our next meeting will be on 30 January 2017
Happy Christmas and New Year!
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.Â 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.