It was a beautiful, bright and cold winter morning as we gathered outside the Parisienne cafe at Leytonstone station for our first ride of 2019. We took the tube to Epping and set off towards Toot Hill and Greensted. This section is known as the “rollercoaster”, as the road rises and falls in a similar fashion, a great way to get warmed up. St Andrews church provided an interesting stop and they also have a range of preserves for sale using an honesty box, which provided a shopping opportunity for some.
Unfortunately at the Mill lane turnoff some of the group were separated. Thanks to GPS and mobile phones we were easily able to identify a rendezvous point, the Top Oak pub, in Stapleford Abbots and this also became the lunch stop. Refreshed and sated we continued to Lambourne End then down the hill to Abridge, the intended lunch stop, over the river Roding at Passingford bridge and on to Theydon Bois. From here we had to carry our bikes over the footbridge to take the train back to Leytonstone. It was a great ride with a good turnout, sixteen riders of different ages and abilities riding the scenic, mostly traffic free, Essex lanes under the bright winter sun.
Fantastic photos (as ever) by Robin can be seen here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/rsstephenson/sets/72157704559216201
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!*)
A goodly band, including a contingent from south of the River, set out without any expectation of avoiding at least one thunderstorm.
In the event we were blessed (as usual) with good weather and those that lasted to the end finished hot, but dry; all without mechanical mishap.
The ride was just over 16 miles around Newham with one small diversion to Trinity Buoy Wharf on the Tower Hamlets side of the mouth of the River Lea.
The intention was to pick up on some of the places of interest missed out in previous local rides. What was remarkable was the scale of development along the Thames, from City Island to Gallions Reach. Indeed the new developments at Thames Barrier Park made it a difficult task to thread our way to the park.
Lets hope Newham ends up with a proper Thameside path!
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!
Our crack team of marshals was out in force to guide 70 riders (including a large contingent of children and their parents from Central Park School) from the Boleyn Statue to the London Stadium and back. Some used dockless bikes provided by Mobikes.
Stephen Timms MP was amongst the riders as well as local councillors.
Most children also enjoyed a session of football training from the West Ham Foundation at the Community Track.
The Newham Recorder has a full page spread (not yet available on line)
Unsolicited feedback was extremely positive. A very successful event in partnership with the Bike from Boleyn organisation which demonstrated the value of the Greenway for getting around Newham.
Thanks also to Newham Council for providing a Dr Bike, facilitating the dockless bikes, and opening the big gates on the Greenway.