This is always the biggest family ride of the year with many people coming from outside London
to take advantage of the freecycle cycling carnival in Central London, with no traffic. It was our
task to ensure that the participants were guided safely through the streets leading to the
Freecycle and bring them back after the event
This year we changed the route to include the Olympic Park, Victoria Park, a short section of the
regents canal and quiet way 13, from Broadway Market to Shoreditch and on to Moorgate and
Bank. Families gathered, their bikes were checked, tyres pumped, emergency contact forms filled
and everyone was made to feel welcome. As usual we saw some interesting vehicles, including a
scooter, a child trailer and a rider with a large sound system on his back. There were a number of
children on their first or longest road ride, who were asked to ride at the front to set the pace, the
youngest was just four years old.
The weather was fine and the ride passed very smoothly, apart from coming across a seemingly continuous running race in Victoria Park. Our excellent team of marshals worked hard to ensure that the riders were safe, had fun and arrived at the Bank to join the thousands of people on bikes enjoying a traffic free London, perhaps this is how London will look in future.
More photos here – thanks as always to Robin Stephenson.
The first ride on Sunday 7th July took us out from Canterbury up the hill to the university, and then some very fashionable gravel riding on the Crab and Winkle Way to Whitstable. From Whitstable we followed the Kentish coast clockwise past Reculver and the Herne Bay Sailing club to the West Bay Cafe for lunch. A brief stop at the Sunken Gardens and we carried on around the coast to Ramsgate and our train home.
A fortnight later on Sunday 21st July we took the high speed train out to Ramsgate and continued the loop—around the coast past the Pfizer pharmaceutical site and its accompanying “Hands & Molecule” celebratory statue to Sandwich. From there we headed inland through the Weald of Kent on some fairly quiet country roads to our lunch stop at the Independant Pedaler [sic]. Some short and sharp hills, and then a long fast descent into Canterbury to take a look at the cathedral. We just missed a fast train back, so took the opportunity to have a drink at the Millers Arms by the Stour.
10 of us set off on a very sunny Saturday to ride around some east and north east London’s Breweries –as well as old favourites we found a no. of new brew sites! Crossing river Lee we passed old favourites inc Crate & Howling hops to cross Victoria park (& a family marathon in park!) to Old street brewery in Bethnal green –new to us last year. Passing Boxcar –soon to reopen, we stopped for first sample at new Mechanic Brewery also in Bethnal green.
Travelling north now the day started to really heat up passing more Hackney breweries we headed for Lee navigation canal where we rode up to Hale brewery near Markfield park –they actually brew in a shipping container –very micro! Back up canal past Beavertown who were holding a ticketed beer festival we had our lunch stop at Pressure drop brewery –however promised food was not there! after some negotiation some procured food from tasty Beavertown stalls.
Then past new brewery Ora and onto new site for One mile end brewery & Redemption –both in Tottenham. –back across canal and Tottenham marshes to new site of Wild card –next to a retro scooter shop in north Walthamstow. Past alcohol free brewery Nirvana, four more in Leyton before a stop at another new brewery Gravity well for more sampling. We spoke to keen staff at Solvay Society tap room in E11 –brewers of Belgian style beers! We passed Pretty Decent brewery in E7 to our final stop at Woodgrange market where Forest Gayte festival was in full flight and to sample Pretty Decent brew!
Prize for best dressed bike must go to Anita -8 made it back to E7 after a very hot day of riding 23 miles and 28 breweries! -see list below
The weather was sunny and warm when 19 of us set out from View Tube en route to Upshire and the mountain of cake. However there were many challenges that we had to meet before we could have our cake and eat it. We rode out of the Olympic Park under the Lea Bridge Road, the towpath was busy with walkers, joggers, cyclists and fishermen/women and on the water there were rowers, paddle boarders, houseboaters as we made our way through the distinctive areas of Springfield park and the start of the string of reservoirs extending north out of London.
Nesting swans were seen as the waterway became quieter and water fowl had more room. We had a few punctures on the rough tracks and although we managed to fix them quickly we did find ourselves returning to the same back wheel.
After we left the towpath just before Enfield lock, we followed the National Cycle Network before joining Sewardstone Road and then climbing Dawes Hill, which combined with too many cars was a tough challenge. As we rode into Chingford passed Gilwell Park scout camp, we were surrounded by the forest and we climbed up to the Queen Elizabeth hunting lodge where we had another brief stop. Turning off Rangers Road we entered the forest and followed the tarmac track towards High Beech, the track had some steep sections before we emerged from the forest at the bikers tea hut. We were soon at High Beech, which was crowded on account of the sunny weather, the forest was beautiful as we rolled on towards the Wake Arms and the busy A121. We negotiated this road without any problems and joined the small road that took us over the M25 and into Upshire and our destination, St Thomas’.
Arrival time 14:28, tea and cake served from 14:30, and with a large slice of home made cake for approximately £1.10 and tea £0.70, unbeatable value.
The ride back was uneventful with zero punctures. We detoured from the canal and cycled around Hackney marshes and through the ever changing Olympic Park as our group reduced in number with people peeling off towards home. We arrived back at Viewtube around 17:30 after an enjoyable outing. Thanks to Anita for back marking, Karen and Robin for marshalling, puncture repairs and photos; also Jonathan, some of whose photos are included here.
10 of us set off in fair weather on Sunday from View tube bikes in the edge of the Olympic park –along Channelsea path (once a canal) leading to the greenway up the excellent new ramp at Abbey lane –here we passed Abbey creek –leading to the Chanelsea river. We rode the greenway (river of sewage?) as far as we could to Becton & the Gallions reach shopping park, skirting the new developments we caught our first sight of the Thames. Following the river path we passed through Gallions point Marina, Royal Victoria Gardens to arrive early for the first Woolwich ferry of the day. The new Ferries have a separate section now for bikes that easily catered for our group and other cyclists using the crossing with us –they even have a seated area sheltered area for cyclists –we did not need as sun had come out and we enjoyed views up and down the Thames.
After disembarking we followed the river path and Quietway
14 using the new bypass section that kept us away from the busy Woolwich rd –leading
us to the Thames barrier off road!
QW14 lead us on past Greenwich Yacht club, many new
developments as well as industrial areas along some excellent cycle paths to
our lunch stop at the cafe under the Emirates cable car –here we lost a couple
of riders –one heading back to Bexley the other taking the cable care (for the
first time ) back to Newham.
On past the O2 only one small path diversion remained before
cutting through the old Naval college in the University of Greenwich, past the
Cutty Sark to take the foot Tunnel back across river to Isle of Dogs. Passing
through island gardens we continued along the Thames path, passing beach at
Amsterdam rd, over blue bridge onto East India dock basin (see second photo) We
decided to divert into the new development London City Island surrounded by the
River Lee meander through the Bow ecology park then over Newham way to Cody
dock for a brief comfort break.
Following Bow Creek we used the steep bridge to rejoin the River Lee past three Mills, back to Olympic park to end of ride back on the Greenway
An easy 20ish mile ride with many riders discovering new places
– even after many years in the area!
Sorry no map as I had a technology malfunction(S)!
Thanks for Arnie for back marking & Nigel at view tube
bikes for start photo (thanks also Nigel for checking over some bikes before
The sunny and calm weather made for near perfect conditions for this ride.
Eight of us met at Leytonstone station as usual to take tube to Epping for the start. We followed the B181 out of the town and through the countryside to Epping Upland, Epping Green and Roydon. Over the river Stort and the level crossing and deeper into the Hertfordshire countryside, through the pretty villages of Hunsdon and Wilford to Much Hadam. We turned east and passed a field full of sheep with their newly born lambs, cross a ford on the river Ash and climbed the hill towards Perry Green. The Henry Moore studios and gardens are not open until 3 April, although some of his iconic statues can be seen from the road.
We rode through Green Tye and saw a pillbox that used to guard a long forgotten WW2 airfield. We passed Thorley woods where the notorious murderer Harry Roberts lived while hiding from the police. We took the back route through Sawbridgeworth and crossed the locks and railway line and we were back in Essex. The Fox at Matching Tye was our lunch stop, there were two other cycling clubs there, including a big group from Redbridge. I wonder if any had attended the Redbridge LCC meeting?
The last leg inevitably included the Toot Hill rollercoaster before climbing back up to the station to catch the train home. Well done to all participants, especially those that had not done such a long distance (38 miles) before.
The weather forecast was predicting rain and some strong winds so the destination of a well insulated, dry and extremely safe bunker seemed perfect.
As usual we met at Leytonstone station cafe and took the tube to Epping, to start the ride. Although wet, the weather was not too bad and nine of us took to the hills, Toot Hill in fact. On our way out we passed riders from the Hainault Roads cycling club completing a hilly 50k time trial. Note that we only passed them as they were coming the other way…
Near Navestock we had our only puncture, but this was soon fixed and we were on our way. Once again we entered the secret bunker via Beacon Hill, ignoring the warning signs, and parked our bikes next to the missiles for extra security. Following the coffee break we continued to Kelvedon Hatch and then to Stondon Massey and the Bricklayers Arms for the lunch stop. Refreshed we headed into the wind, although the rain had stopped, towards Ongar. This well cycled path took us past Greensted Church, back to Toot Hill and the rollercoaster. The advantage of the hills is that we were all warm as we concluded the ride at Epping. The time triallers were all long finished by then but we had enjoyed our route at a slower pace and witnessed the changing times as the secret place of greater safety for five hundred has become a museum .
As always, thanks to Robin for his excellent photos – https://www.flickr.com/photos/rsstephenson/albums/72157690137332453
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