The second of the new socially distanced rides saw four of us set off from the Viewtube on a sunny morning. We followed the Lea canal to the point it joins the river at Three Mills. A short visit to the peaceful, green enclave of Coal Gas memorial site and then down to Cody Dock where Nadia’s cafe was open. Along to Canning Town, through the ecology park, the station and down the expressway to the Emirates cable car. This provides spectacular views across this part of London and appears to be operating almost without passengers
At North Greenwich we took the Thames cycle route towards the Thames Barrier and, after an enforced detour, to the Woolwich ferry. Unfortunately on this occasion the ferry was not running so we had to use the foot tunnel and missed the river views. Having crossed back we stayed as close to the river as possible, through Royal Victoria Gardens, and crossing the access to King George V dock and then Royal Albert dock at the locks. We kept on the Thames path as far as possible and then turned away from the river at Gallions Reach towards Gallions Reach Retail Park. From there it was easy to pick up the cycle route that joins the Greenway and follow this back to our starting point. Only stopping to admire the views we were back in time for lunch
A blustery day saw us take our first organised socially distanced ride. Although we planned for six, we were only three leaving the Viewtube and a fourth joined us at Thames Barrier Park. It was noticeable that several cafes were open including the Viewtube, and Fat Boys at Trinity Buoy Wharf, and toilet facilities at the Expressway.
We had to cross the 6 sets of lights at the A13 junction, this is the most tricky section of the ride. Otherwise cycle infrastructure facilities on this route are not bad and just miss minor assists such as a dropped kerb and better light phasing on the Barking road
In all this was a pleasant ride within the current restrictions and I am looking forward to the river ride on 12th July
Storm Dennis seemed to quickly follow storm Ciara and the weather remained rather blustery for our ride on Sunday. Despite this a hardy group of seven showed up at Leytonstone, we were lucky in avoiding the rain and wind was at our back for at least half of the ride. The route was different this time as we started riding from Theydon Bois and rode an anti-clockwise circuit to the disused Secret Nuclear Bunker at Kelvedon Hatch.
We had lunch in the bunker canteen and took the “rollercoaster” back from Toot Hill to Epping.
For the third year in succession our first ride of the year was to Greensted. The weather was fine as before but the route was different as was the lunch stop. We went north from Epping to North Weald and had a brief stop at the well preserved station there. The single track railway began life as an extension of the Great Eastern Railway. We then took the back route through to Tylers Green, Moreton and Bobbingworth, twice crossing the A414. We passed the disused Blake Hall station, over the railway and on to Greensted and St Andrews, the oldest wooden church (circ 845AD). The road then led us through Stanford rivers to Toot Hill and Fiddlers Hamlet, where we had a good lunch at the Theydon Oak. From there it was a short distance to Epping station and the train back although three of our group decided to ride back to Newham and burn some more calories Thanks to Robin for the photos on the link below, if you scroll to the end there are three aerial photos taken by Chas using a drone giving an unusual perspective
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
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/
Join us for a ride up the the Lea valley, through Epping Forest to the the historic St Thomas’s church Upshire. This is a 40 mile round trip, mostly off road, with an option to take a train from Waltham Cross to Liverpool St, for those that would prefer not to ride back. Bring a packed lunch, as we will eat in the churchyard if the weather permits. Meet at the the View Tube – The Common Greenway at 10am on 30/04/17