Bright sunshine greeted us as we met at Leytonstone station to gather for a group photo before setting off into the wilds of Essex.
We were sixteen strong setting off from Epping station finding the quiet ways through the splendid countryside on a glorious autumnal day. After crossing the busy A414 we followed well maintained and quiet roads.
We saw the house that Steve Marriott, lead singer of the Small Faces, lived and died in and with now has a blue plaque.
The curious story of the two churches of Willingale was another interesting stop en route. Why does this tiny village have two churches to serve the congregation?
We passed the pretty village of Blackmore, a very popular stopping point for cyclists. The lunch stop was the Bricklayers Arms, Stonton Massey, a nice pub although they were overwhelmed to the point that they ran out of baguettes feeding hungry cyclists
On the way back we stopped at Greensted Church which provided another opportunity to share historical stories about this oldest of places, lepers, crusaders, Tollpuddle martyrs and others all feature
The route included the Toot Hill rollercoaster on the way back and the steep, if short, climb up to Epping station
Below is the route and statistics for this ride.
The next ride is the Newham Ride on 11th November, put it in your diary
13 of us set of from view tube on another sunny day for a tour this time of South London Breweries. First port of call was however the Husk Brewery in Silvertown–a rare Newham brewery! (Where another rider joined us) We then moved south of the river using the cable car that accepts bikes on board – I still get excited of the great views of London from the high points!
Passing Meantime brewery we followed the river westbound until we reached our first refreshment stop at Four Pure Brewery where some enjoyed food as well as the liquid refreshments on offer
–we then visited more breweries on the ‘Bermonsey beer mile’ as well as stopping at new Bianca brewery that had cycle themes, bike friendly owners & even a brewery tour of the new Spartan brewery where riders quizzed brewer on brewing process.
We then crossed river again via the iconic (but busy) Tower bridge to visit the recently opened Old st brewery in Bethnal green for our final tasting stop of day. We then crossed Victoria park passing Peoples tavern (Laines brewery) finally Crate Howling hopps & trumans & those remaining back to view tube on greenway!
In all we covered over 20 miles & visited 20 breweries/ tap rooms & 1 Cider house!
A group from Newham Cyclists and the Forest Gate WI set off from Forest Gate to Tower Hamlets library to visit an exhibition on the East London Suffragettes.
Our route took us through the Olympic Park, Victoria Park and Mile End Park. We discovered that the East London suffragettes not only campaigned for votes for women (and men who did not have the vote) but also provided support for those in need via their campaigns against food poverty and also via their ‘pay-what-you-can’ restaurants’, one of which was recreated at the exhibition:
We returned home after lunch and a leisurely 12 mile ride.
A mixture of Newham Cyclists and friends from E20 Cycle Club set off from Canterbury West, heading through Canterbury University and up a hill to join the Crab & Winkle Way (some ‘Paris Roubaix’ surfaces here!)
At St Cosmos & St Damian Church, Blean, we met Jane from Southwark Cyclists, who joined us for the ride. Then it was on to the coastal path – aka the Viking Trail.
Stopping for lunch (and a few ice creams) at the West Bay Cafe, we were joined by Newham Cyclist Anna, who was off for a swim at Broadstairs.
On around the coast to Margate and then finally to Ramsgate station for the train home, after 33.4 miles and 350m of climb (not pancake flat as previous advised by Robin!*)
11 of us set of from view tube on a gloriously sunny day forgoing the royal wedding for a tour of east end breweries – with only the ride leader dressing for the occasion (thanks Anita for loan of bridal headgear!) We past Mason & co (tap room for Five points brewery) and looked down on Westfield (home of tap east brewery) before meeting up with two other riders at Pretty Decent brewery in Forest gate (& a quick refreshment stop!) we then skirted Wanstead flats to travel north to Wild card & Pillars breweries for a lunch stop (taking in the amazing ‘gods own junkyard’ and ‘the big al’ beer & cider shop on same estate) we then headed east taking in a few breweries before stopping for a thirst quencher at London Fields brewery tap room.
With only one slight off road tumble (not beer related!) and one puncture -unfortunately as in rear wheel of a brompton the rider left us at that point -mechanically the ride otherwise went well!
Passing new breweries sites of Margade Boxcar & Pit cue we headed back east to end at Howling hops/ crate breweries where group split before returning to Olympic park (some even made it back for the cup final! )
After the inclement weather of the previous day, it was great to see 15 ladies gather at the View Tube (8 of us having ridden together from Forest Gate at the WI ‘collection point’). Our glamorous ride leader Anita briefed us on the route before we set out along the Greenway & down the Lee Navigation, leaving at Bow to cross the A12 via the underpass and head into the streets of Poplar.
Of course, it also featured a tea stop by the Museum of Docklands and a lunch stop on Pepper Street!
Like all good tour guides, Anita saved the gem of the tour until last. The real ‘Nonnatus House’ – actually St Frideswide Mission House on Lodore Street (sadly now flats), where we could peer down a gated alley to see where the midwives bicycles would have been stored!
Despite having to pull the ride day forward as we were clashing with the marathon we had another good turn out at the View tube on Saturday -with riders from Newham, south London, Elm park and as far afield as Brentwood! 20 of us set off on a very sunny day down the river Lee calling at Three mills & Cody dock.
For a change, after Bow ecology park, we crossed the bridge to London city island and navigated through the new open areas. After a quick visit to East India Dock we followed river through isle of dogs to Greenwich via the foot tunnel -here we picked up another south London cyclist then navigated the extensive diversions to the Thames path stopping for lunch at the cafe under cable cars -here we lost half the group to a local pub, football or gardening! However the rest of us continued along Thames path to Woolwich ferry -some exploring an interesting local Tor viewpoint & the site of the wreck of the Princess Alice boat on the Thames -with the loss of many lives in 1878.
Across the River back in Newham we followed river round to Gallions reach past the new Decathlon shop -offering cyclists free servicing discounts
We then picked up greenway & followed it back entering Olympic park via new ramp leading to Channelsea passage – ending with a welcome beverage at the view tube cafe!
The decision continue to the Tor & shipwreck added a few miles to ride but worth it! (thanks to riders for showing us these!)
We welcomed no mechanical problems this time and that no-one fell in the river!
Many thanks to all who assisted -esp. Arnie & Steve for back marking & Robin as ever for great photos
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.