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A cold grey day greeted the 9 brave souls who were prepared to forgo home comforts for some of our wonderful open spaces. So we didn’t hang around long, and pedaled northwards past St Mary’s historic church, and …

across the attractive public space which has been created at the top of Church Hill (as part of the council’s ambitious Mini Holland programme), across Forest Road into Spruce HIlls Road, followed by some back street shenanigans and a brief tango with Fulbourne Road to reach Queenswood Avenue.

From there we picked up the quiet route to Chingford (click here for a PDF showing the route) via Beech Hall Road, and using the welcome new ‘parallel zebra’ crossings of Hatch Lane, Friday Hill & Whitehall Road.

We branched off the official route onto Victoria Road followed by Warren Pond Road, which led us into a track entering Epping Forest and …

running past Warren Pond which features an ancient oak tree with a hollow trunk you can sit in.

Over Rangers Road to Butlers Retreat, and we were then treated to half an hour of gorgeous …

trails through the forest.

We’d been riding pretty much continuously for an hour an a half, and the final stretch involved a bit of a hill climb, so surrounded by beech trees we enjoyed a well deserved refreshment break at …

the popular Bikers’ Tea Hut near High Beech.

Our discussion over lunch revealed an unexpected piece of information…

Grandad David, who had joined us with his 2 grandchildren, had set off from Cambridge at 7am and cycled all the way to Walthamstow to pick up his grandkids! We were relieved to hear he did not have any plans to cycle back to Cambridge the same day.

Turning south, we headed homewards via more …

off-road trails, past …

Connaught Water, and back to Butlers Retreat.

From there we headed west along Forest View along the south side of the golf course, and turning left into Eglington Road, wiggled through to the Ridgeway, where we picked up the little known but simply perfect …

Organ Lane, which is a 1km leafy trail running gently downhill between back gardens.

Finally we picked up the signposted quiet route from Chingford to Walthamstow, crossing over New Road, running alongside Larkswood Park & Playing Fields, and twisting & turning through a maze of backstreets to reach …

a car free path running alongside the River Ching.

This led us to the cycle track under the Crooked Billet roundabout, and followed by the cycle track along Billet Road, then a further set of wiggles via Douglas Avenue, Bretenham Avenue, and Lloyd Park, we reached Walthamstow Village.

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Amazingly the 25mph winds and chilly temperature didn’t put everyone off from our March ride. And we were delighted that our long term marshal and backstop Nic was on the road to recovery from his recent long hospital stay and was able to turn up to say hello at the start.

Our cunning plan was to head out into the teeth of the force 6 westerly wind, so that at the end of the day when energy levels were lower we’d get blown back eastwards. After sequeing across Hoe Street, down Jewel Road and over Forest Road, we travelled via Carr Road to reach …

the Billet Road cycle tracks, and using the parallel ‘tiger’ to cross into Sinnot Road, freewheeled down Sandpiper Close threading our way between the reservoirs and over the River Lea to the …

bridge over the Lea Navigation Canal, and into …

Tottenham Marshes …

which had a breathtakingly beautiful expanse of trees just starting to blossom.

A mile south we left the marshes heading west under the road and rail line into Parkview Road, and our skilled marshals ensured our brief motor traffic tango in one of Haringey’s many residential street rat runs was uneventful.

We had a further half mile of largely car-free riding along the exquisitely named Carbuncle Passage (the River Moselle flows underneath), and after crossing the A1010, followed Pembury Road, Woodside Gardens, Sperling Road, Broadwater Road and Adams Road to reach the Lordship Recreation Ground and the restored …

Model Traffic Area, (a road safety scheme opened in 1938 by the Transport Minister) …

around which we had a few blissful car free circuits.

We crossed into Downhills Park, down Clinton Road, round the inside of Chestnuts Park, and with the help of some heavy duty marshaling managed a short but ‘hostile’ stretch of St Ann’s Road, followed Hermitage Road and Vale Road to reach Green Lanes (which made St Ann’s Road look like a picnic in comparison).

Fortunately we were only on this for 100m before being able to escape just after the New River into Rowley Gardens, and Woodberry Grove and then we’d arrived at the…

Woodberry Wetlands, which had plenty of cycle parking for our group right next to the main entrance. We spent 45 minutes exploring the …

wonderfully managed nature reserve around the reservoir, which attracts a wide variety of wildlife including  …

many species of bird.

But our hard fought battle with the wind earlier had had a price, and energy levels needed to be topped up.

So off we rode along Newton Close, Bethune Road, and headed north along Cycle Superhighway 1 (it has a number of sections which are anything but ‘super’), leaving via Crowland Road and reaching …

Markhouse Park with its museum featuring an amazing beam engine, and one of our very favourite …

cafes, Pistaccios.

There we refuelled and chatted, and as the sun started to sink towards the horizon, set off on the leg home via Grovelands Road and into …

Springfield Park for a serious hill climb, followed by a …

dizzying decent to the canal bridge, and, as planned, getting blown back home along Coppermill Lane.

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Following a morning of heavy rain, and threatening lunchtime skies, it was striking that …

a dozen showed up to brave the elements.

We took our usual easterly route out of Walthamstow  Village via the Roland Road tiger crossing, but instead of picking up the shared path round Hollow Ponds, we struck off via St Peters Avenue and Oakhurst Gardens, and braved a …

short trail through the lower reaches of Epping Forest, exiting into Bradwell Close.

Whilst there was a 20m muddy stretch requiring some of us to walk, it did allow us to avoid Snaresbrook Road which eastbound could not by any stretch of the imagination be described as bike-friendly.

After Hermitage Walk and Eagle Lane, dinging our bells and whooping as we swooped along the subway under the Central Line, we emerged into Falcon Way and into Cranbourne Avenue.

A couple more twists and turns into Elmcroft Avenue and we reached …

the guardians of the Roding Valley (otherwise known as anti-motorcycle barriers), which required us to dismount and slowly file through.

We struck off south with the M11 on one side of us and the …

gently flowing River Roding on the other, reaching a shared path running alongside the North Circular which …

kind of forgot its purpose with a barrage of signs and barriers when it reached the entrance to the underpass under the Redbridge Roundabout, and then blossomed …

into a lovely & newly resurfaced cycle track, only to degenerate again as we weaved through multiple sets of barriers and out the other side.

Wanstead Lane provided a fairly direct route although we had to invent a cycle contraflow Into one way Clarence Avenue (hint to Redbridge Council, the road is very wide), and crossing from Blenheim Avenue over Cranbrook Road …

into Valentines Park required some fairly heavy duty marshaling (another hint for Redbridge).

It had been dry so far, but as we cycled through Valentines Park the storm clouds were gathering, so we quickly locked up our bikes and headed into the …

cafe at the south end of the park.

Forty five minutes later the downpour was over …

and blue skies welcomed us out, so we went for a spin around the …

boating lake, back up through the park and exited into Bethell Avenue along Quietway 6, which we followed over the North Circular, past the riding stables, along Arran Drive and into …

Wanstead Park.

Passing the kiosk, and Heronry Pond, we headed north up a  …

a quiet woodland track into Warren Road, hung a right into Wanstead Lane West and then straight across the southern edge of …

George Green, into Felstead Road.

We then hooked up with the cycle track running alongside the A12, under the Green Man Roundabout, alongside Hollow Ponds up to Snaresbrook Rd, rejoining our outbound route back into Walthamstow Village.

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A bright but chilly afternoon for our first outing in 2019 attracted …

a hardy handful of 2 wheeled wights (see here) who were intent on some fun, and perhaps some exercise to offset the seasonal calorie-fest. Eastward bound we wiggled through Walthamstow Village via Grove & Raglan Roads, whirled across Wood St and wobbled slowly up Buck Walk.

Heading south on the shared path between Woodford New Road and the lower reaches of Epping Forest, we saw for the last time the massive Whipps Cross roundabout which only had a few more days as a nightmare for pedestrians and cyclists, before its transformation into a junction with traffic lights, with vastly improved crossings due to be rolled out soon after.

Regrouping at the start of the …

exhilarating rollercoaster switchback under the Green Man Roundabout, we freewheeled down Bushwood, along the edge of Wanstead Flats. Deviating from our usual southwards route, we tried something new and from Ferndale Road snuck over Leytonstone High Road …

past the rail station. We headed down Granleigh Road and Mayville Road, past the Epicentre, and after the subway under Cathall Road found a fruitful route along Orange Grove, past Pear Road & into Apple Road, before emerging into …

Langthorne Park (on land originally owned by Stratford Langthorne Abbey), where we hung out for a few minutes to allow our younger ones to clamber around the amphitheatre.

Working our way south west, we crossed from Downsell Road into …

Drapers Field, a former brick field bought by the Drapers Company in 1894 for use by the People’s Palace, where some of us felt compelled to ride along the undulating humps to test our biking skills.

Heading along Temple Mills Lane we reached the Olympic Park, and rode south down the middle, stopping at the

climbing wall, then up on to the Greenway for 200 metres, followed by a fast loop …

round the Stadium.

Now heading homewards we pedalled north past the Velodrome, over …

the A12 and Ruckholt Road, following …

the River Lee between Hackney Marshes and New Spitalfields Market, over the river bridge, under Lea Bridge Road, then left to reach the …

canal towpath running up to Markfield Park, where we hove to at …

Pistaccio’s cafe for some well deserved snacks and hot drinks.

With the light quickly fading, we left the park via Grovelands Road, slipping through the backstreets to Springfield Park, where in order to demonstrate we still had plenty of energy, we ascended to the top in order to enjoy the steep downhill run to …

Horseshoe Bridge, which took us over the canal, up Coppermill Lane and back home.

Special congratulations to Esme, who despite her tender age of 6 not only managed the 16 miles, but did so at the pretty fast pace we maintained due to our small group size.

Our next Open Spaces ride is Sunday 10th February – click here for more info.

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A bikers dozen (that’s 12 by the way, not 13) …

were champing at the bit for our last big ride of the year.

We threaded north across Walthamstow, past Lloyd Park (park #1), over Higham Hill, and sidling past the northern gateway to Walthamstow Wetlands and south of Banbury Reservoir, we crossed over the River Lee, followed by the Lee Navigation Canal.

For the next 300 metres, as we rode through the top end of Tottenham Marshes (#2) and over Pymmes Brook, we had our left pedals in Haringey and our right pedals in Enfield as we were following the borough borders.

The cycle track alongside Angel Edmonton Road provided welcome relief from the river of cars heading to IKEA and other nearby stores, and took us under the North Circular and …

over the rail line on Conduit Way.

We stopped at the top of the bridge to admire the greatly improved view …

to the north, which when we passed in March we though might win the title of …

London’s biggest fly tip. Big congratulations to Enfield Council for clearing up this awful eyesore.

We hung a right into Montagu Road and after half a mile turned onto the nicely upgraded path running along …

Salmons Brook (part of a Thames Water SUDS improvement scheme), which flows adjacent to Tottenham Park Cemetery (#3).

After this we crossed through the crowds milling around the …

Edmonton Green Shipping Centre (as known as a retail park, hence #4 … is this cheating?), through to Bedevere Road, and down Northern Avenue into …

the welcome peacefulness of Pymmes Park (#5).

After the park we followed a short section of Pymmes Brook before taking the subway back under the North Circular and down Bull Lane, the latter featuring a less than ideal mix of parked vehicles and impatient rat runners. However as ever, our marshals did a great job keeping everyone safe, and after a brief foray onto White Hart Lane we escaped unscathed into …

Tottenham Cemetery (#6), and its 12th century All Hallows Church with the largest peal of bells in the borough.

Just 50 metres on we crossed into …

Bruce Castle Park (#7) and stopped briefly to admire the 16th century manor house which now houses a museum.

But, with the shortest day of the year only a week or so away, daylight was in short supply, so we pushed on into one of the world’s first garden suburbs, Tower Gardens Estate, crossing through a  small park (#8) nestling inbetween the terraced housing.

A coipel of minutes later and we were freewheeling down through …

Lordship Recreation Ground (#9), with its beautifully restored lake …

and we just had to do a …

few circuits of the Model Traffic Area

opened by Minister of Transport Dr Leslie Burgin in 1938 (watch the Pathe news clip), and refurbished and brought back into use in 2012.

Coasting through Downhllls Park (#10), we slipped through the backstreets via Station Crescent and Rosslyn Road, nipped through Brunswick Road Open Space (#11), and did all of 20 metres along the busy Seven Sisters Road before escaping into Stonebridge Rd.

The Cycle Superhighway 1 crossing got us safely across the A10, and 3 minutes later we were locking our bikes up outside …

Abdul’s Pistaccio Cafe in Markfield Park (#12).

A convivial 45 minutes later we were back on the road for our final leg, foresaking the puddley and muddy towpath, instead exiting the park via Grovelands Road, and after a brief climb through Springfield Park (#13), enjoying an exhilarating swoop down to the …

River Lea, past Walthamstow Marshes (#14), and back home via Coppermill Lane.


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We assembled …

in Walthamstow Village on a beautifully sunny November day exactly 100 years after Amistice Day 1918, so it was only fitting that this month’s ride acknowledged those who so bravely gave their lives.

Heading west out of Walthamstow Village, we freewheeled through Blackhorse Village’s quiet filtered streets, alongside St James’ Park, took the Black Path to the protected ‘stepped’ cycle tracks on Argall Avenue, and looping under Lea Bridge Road, cycled along the new tracks towards the Hackney border.

Just before the ice rink we hung a left onto …

the offroad Sustrans NCN route 1, and travelling south through woodland alongside Hackney Marsh, soared high over Ruckholt Road and the A12 …

into the Olympic Park past the Velodrome.

We had made very good time, and flirted with the idea of stopping off at the Viewtube cafe. But the weather was gorgeous and we were on a roll, so decided to head on, out of the park via White Post Lane, through Hackney Wick and back over the A12 into Victoria Park.

More freewheeling, south down Parnell Road and into Morewell Street, over the rail line, and using the signalled toucan crossing of Cycle Superhighway 2 (CS2) near Alfred Street, we reached …

the beautiful Tower Hamlets Cemetery.

We spent …

some reflective minutes contemplating

the special Armistice Day memorial to those who died, including …

a soldier from the Huntingdonshire Cyclist Batallion.

After a loop around the cemetery paths as rays of sunshine filtered through the trees and picking out random monuments of gothic splendour, we set off east along Bow Common Lane, Devons Road and Devas Street. Quaintly named Twelvetrees Cresent was anything but … more of a concrete canyon as it snaked under the Blackwall Tunnel approach, but it quickly redeemed itself  …

by offering some splendid views, …

we crossed the River Lea & Bow Creek.

We detoured and paused for a few minutes …

at the Bromley by Bow Gasworks Memorial Gardens, with a gas lamp burning continually. commemorating workers at the gasworks who had died in both world wars.

Back on the road, we descended from the bridge onto the towpath, soon reaching …

Three Mills which was bathed in sunlight and …

creating stunning reflections in the still waters.

Continuing up the towpath, we reached Stratford High Street, and shimmied back over CS2, using Pudding Mill Lane to reach the Greenway and a well deserved Viewtube cafe stop.

Suitable refreshed, our final memorial stop was barely 100m away, the huge and sobering

Shrouds of the Somme installation.

With the light going, it was starting to turn chilly, so off we set past the …

ArcelorMittal Orbit, echoing with the screams of the (almost) fearless souls who had launched themselves onto the slide at the top.

As dusk fell, we threaded our way across the Olympic Park, and turned east along Honour Lea Avenue, alongside Drapers Field, and wiggled through a maze of back streets via Downsell Road, Langthorne Park, Napier Road, Acacia Road and Montague Road.

After that we used Bushwood to reach the Green Man Roundabout, and swooping up and down on the switchback cycle track bypass, emerged onto the Hollow Ponds shared path and slipped via Forest Rise and Buck Walk back into Walthamstow Village.

 

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It were just a tad misty and damp, but despite this …

10 hardcore riders braved the grey and gloomy looking conditions and set off via our regular eastward exit via Roland Road onto the shared path alongside Hollow Ponds & Whipps Cross Rd.

The low numbers meant we achieved a cracking pace, and were soon freewheeling down Bushwood, across the western edge of Wanstead Flats with splashes of yellow lighting up the tree top greenery, and into …

Ferndale Road. Wiggling (and sometimes giggling) we wended and writhed our way through quiet backstreets in south Leytonstone & Cann Hall,  out of Napier Road and into …

the amphitheatre in Langthorne Park. A few more waggles followed by a shimmy from Downsell Rd over Leyton High Road and into Drapers Field, and a stretch of cycle track in Honour Lane Avenue, and we reached  …

the Olympic Park. Dropping down for a few minutes onto the scenic path alongside the River Lee and trees displaying rich leafy browns and red, we looped round emerging next to the Velodrome, and turning north traveled through the lovely woodland strip running between Hackney Marsh and the river.

Now on …

Sustrans NCN route 1, (which runs from Dover to the Shetland Islands) we continued up past the Waterworks Nature Reserve, Leyton Marsh and Walthamstow Marshes, and through the southern half of the beautiful Walthamstow Wetlands.

A left turn into Ferry Lane along a high quality cycle track (which unfairly ends abruptly at the Haringey border) , and another left at the lights took us to delightful traffic-free path running down to Yarmouth Crescent, and after 90 minutes of pedalling, a well deserved stop at …

 

one of our very favourite cafes, Pistaccio’s in Markfield Park.

After a convivial 45 minutes we exited the park via the south west corner into Grovelands Road & Leadale Rd … the towpath is not a great route at the best of times due to pedestrian numbers, let alone gigantic puddles after rain. Then past Springfield Marina, over Horseshoe Bridge, up Coppermill Lane, under the

low rail bridge known as the “Cattle Creep”, stopping briefly to admire…

the autumnal canopy alongside the reservoirs splashed with oranges & yellows, and arriving back home in Walthamstow Village exactly 3 hours after we set off.

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