Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Do you ever have the feeling as Sunday lunchtime approaches that the weekend is quickly disappearing down the plughole?  Its been really busy with few opportunities to chill, so you’re feeling just a tad unfulfilled as Monday starts to loom?  I did before we set off, but what a tonic was in store.

We looped down Walthamstow Village’s Vestry Road & back up Orford Road, before the 16 of us headed off across Wood Street, up Fyfield Road & Forest Road before gyrating our way around the switchback bypass of the Waterworks roundabout & North Circular.

Grove Road offered a peaceful backstreet link before we careered onto a glorious 1 km downhill from …

Churchfields to Maybank Road, interrupted only by the…

ramped bridge crossing of the Circle Line.

A kindly motorist stopped on the busy Chigwell Road to let us over into the Roding Valley Park, and after 10 minutes of gentle off road woodland riding …

 

we hit our first refreshment stop, the friendly Anglers Cafe at Redbridge Lakes.

The sun was out as we sipped our drinks and chatted, or wandered around the fishing lakes admiring the anglers with their impressively long rods.

Back on the road, we headed across to Claybury Park, which offered a peaceful & leafy route eastwards to Tomswood Hill, and after Addison Road we took a cheeky traffic dodging dog-leg via …

Redbridge Sports Centre, before ‘taking the lane’ for a short stretch of Forest Road past Fairlop station, and into Fairlop Waters’ huge open space.

We cruised anticlockwise round the sizeable lake, stopping for …

some light mountaineering practice,  …

enjoyment of the peaceful green lung, and …

oohing at the tiny ducklings bobbing their way after mum at the Little Haven Lookout (on the small nature reserve lake on the south side of the park).

Bridget’s fiendishly clever and largely quiet residential street routing took us out of Fairlop Waters (via Station Road, Baron Gardens, High Street, Mossford Green, through Barkingside Park, then Greenleafe Drive, Sunnymede Drive, Rosedean Gardens, Longwood Gardens) and …

into Clayhall Park, where we had a second considerably longer cafe stop, and watched a cricket match.

Fed and watered, we exited into Lord Avenue, and used the toucan cycle crossing to get over the busy Woodford Avenue dual carriageway into Lodge Hill, followed by Woodford Bridge Road and Roding Lane south, leaving it as curved left to sneak back into the lush Roding Valley and …

under the North Circular for a few blissful traffic-free minutes, before emerging into Elmcroft Avenue.

From there, a further 25 minutes of pedaling (Cranbourne Avenue, Falcon Way, Eagle Lane, Snaresbrook Road, Forest Rise, Morgan Avenue and Buck Path) got us back to our start point in Walthamstow Village.  And some of us were unable to resist the lure of a pint at the Wildcard Brewery.

What a fun, sociable and relaxing antidote to a busy weekend!

Just 7 riders made it at our advertised 1pm start time of 1pm, but numbers rapidly swelled until 15 minutes later we had a total of …

44 participants for our Art Trail special ride.

For the benefit of people who aren’t local, the E17 Art Trail is a biennial event running over 2 weeks with dozens of art exhibitions showcasing the work of professional and amateur local Walthamstow artists; we’re told that 7,000 people were involved in this year’s event.

We’d only been pedalling for 2 minutes when we cruised through the middle of our first venue, where …

at least half of the houses in Wingfield & Randolf Roads were hosting artistic interpretations of the  fibonacci series.

Then having covered less than half a mile we just had to stop for a photo in one of our very favourite streets …

the car-free Orford Road, in the heart of Walthamstow Village. Then in quick succession we visited ….

an exuberant display by the Howard Road knitters,  …

art in the the new Brown’s Green community garden

at the bottom of Brown’s Road, and …

a number of artists exhibiting at Winns Gallery in Lloyd Park.

One hour in and we’d got less than 2 miles under our belt,

so the pace quickened as we streamed out of Lloyd Park,

segued round the fountain in front of the Town Hall,

and shimmied eastwards via Spruce Hills Rd, Victoria Rd, Woodstock Rd & Fyfield Rd to a clutch of artists halfway up …

Upper Walthamstow Road: Sharon Drew, Josh Berry & Mark Sowden.

A short alpine hill climb later and we were at our penultimate venue, St Peter-in-the-Forest, which as well as featuring quite a lot art, distracted us with its refreshments which included a tempting range of scrumptious cakes.

At this point the ride split into two, a small number of hardcore art lovers who headed off to St Barnabus, and the rest of us who needed to work off the calories just consumed.

From St Peter’s Avenue, we headed along Oakhurst Gardens, and then offroad into the forest, across Snaresbrook Road, and …

behind Hollow Ponds to the fun roller coaster style track under the Green Man roundabout. After a mile of quiet streets (via Felstead Rd & Warren Rd) we freewheeled down a beautifully cool wooded track and reached …

the kiosk in Wanstead Park, which dispenses a range of goodies including what is considered by some to be the best lemon drizzle cake in east London (and possibly the entire universe).

A sun-drenched interlude followed, after which we headed west along a mile of wooded trails before emerging at the Green Man, took a return leg …

through the southernmost reaches of Epping Forest, and into Walthamstow Village.

Thanks to Bridget for picking out such a varied range of talented artists for us to visit.

Twenty two of us assembled outside Walthamstow’s Ancient House as the morning’s grey skies dissolved into bright sunshine. Our 4 marshalls turned their backs to the camera  …

 

 

 

 

 

 

to show off our new Walthamstow Family Bike Club tabards and flags, funded by the council’s Hoe Street Community Ward Forum. We headed off using our favourite eastbound route out of Walthamstow Village, via Raglan Road, Roland Road, and along Buck Walk.

After St Peters Avenue & Oakland Gardens we took to woodland trails, meandering through the lower reaches of Epping Forest, over Snaresbook Road, alongside Hollow Ponds, before diving under the Green Man roundabout. Next was the quiet route on Felstead Rd, skimming the south of George Green, and the conclusion of Warren Road led to another tree canopied route which brought us to …

the kiosk & lakes in Wanstead Park.

Freewheeling past the horse stables in Empress Avenue (and deeply inhaling its gorgeous bouquet), we crossed the Roding Valley, and following a new route via Wanstead & Northbrook Roads, we entered Valentines Park, and pedalled alongside its boating lake. After a brief hydration break (& swift ice cream injection for a couple of our younger riders), we said goodbye to …

Sergiu and his impressive cycling family of 8, and cycled northwards up Beehive Lane.

We bagged another green space (Clayhall Park), shoogled through the backstreets and over Clayhall Avenue, then from Heathcote Avenue took an off-road trail through Hurstleigh Gardens. Minutes later after puffing our way up Basildon Ave, we found ourselves at Claybury Park – its motor-cycle deterring gates meant we had to lift all our bikes over the fence.

But we were rewarded with a relaxing woodland ride, and considerably more cycle-friendly exit into Roding Lane North. Two minutes later we were rolling through the gates of …

the family  friendly Redbridge Lakes. Although we’d just arrived too late for hot food (just after 3.30), we settled down in the afternoon sunshine to replenish lost calories at the Anglers’ Cafe.

Back into our saddles, we wound our way along …

a leafy trail in the Roding Valley, and a brief detour along Lechmere Avenue led us to a shared pedestrian/cycle path alongside the busy Woodford Avenue.

200 metres later and we hung a left and rocketted down a steep incline to a track running to the east  of …

River Roding. After a bumpy 1 km (note the track is better on the west side), we headed homeward onto Elmcroft Avenue, and after Cranbourne Avenue we swooped along Falcon Way, children whooping & bells jingling as we plunged into the Central Line underpass, and out into Eagle Lane.

Now nearly home, we hit the Snaresbrook Road shared use path, and after the Buck Walk tiger crossing of Wood Street, stopped to admire …

the Mini Holland funded pocket park in Greville Road.

After a hot 15 miles, some of us were rather thirsty, and curiously our return route took us right past the Wildcard Brewery.

An unseasonably hot & sunny day greeted …

the 27 riders who showed up for April’s open spaces ride. The many preceeding bone-dry weeks was an open invitation to make as much use as we could of off-road tracks which would be free of mud.

So following a loop through Walthamstow Village …

via East Avenue, we headed off over Shernhall Street and after making excellent use of the …

Wood Street tiger crossing and Bush Walk, we passed Forest School and hit our first forest trail… this signalled the start of almost 10 miles of virtually continuous off road pedaling. We paused for a breather in Epping Forest …

prior to a rollercoaster style ride which took us under the roundabout at Waterworks Corner, over the North Circular and back under the roundabout. Back in Epping Forest we took a trail running just west of the Woodford New Road, and emerged briefly to cross over Chingford Lane, scoot along Savill Row to the top of Sunset Avenue, which led us to a glorious trail running downhill alongside the golf course,.

Heading due north in the forest we crossed Whitehall Road, and then Ranger’s Road, where we climbed uphill …

on a sun dappled trail bypassing Connaught Water, …

pausing only briefly to hydrate ourselves, finally reaching …

the Bikers’ Hut for a well deserved rest and refreshment break.

We assembled for our return leg, much of which was via …

gentle down hill …

winding paths …

offering idyllic shady woodland opportunities for water stops.

Upon reaching Chingford Plain we turned westwards along the south side of the golf course, climbing part of the way up Pole Hill before heading south down a handlebar grabbingly narrow alleyway off Woodberry Way, emerging next to the Kings Head pub.

After a tightly marshalled 50 metres along the busy Kings Head Hill, and a short stretch of the Ridgeway, we dived off down the little-known car-free Organ Lane, which as it descends, threads its way behind rows of houses as far as Colvin Gardens.

Following the council’s ‘quiet route’ via Larkswood Playing Fields, and bike pass under the Crooked Billet roundabout, we surfaced into Kitchener Rd, steamed down Sturge Avenue, past the aftermath of a scary looking car crash at the Forest Rd/Shernhall St junction, and up The Drive back to Walthamstow Village… a round trip of almost exactly 15 miles.

It was grey as we gathered, and half a mile down the road the first few spots of rain encouraged us to stop ..

at the Mini Holland modal filter (aka “Road Closure”) in Hatherley Road to don our waterproof jackets. It worked like magic – within a couple of minutes the sun appeared and that was the last we saw of the rain.

We sequed through the quiet residential streets in Blackhorse Village, and bowled along the new cycle tracks running up Blackhorse Lane & round into Billet Road, before peeling off at Sinott Rd.

Now offroad, we headed into the Lea Valley, underneath Banbury Reservoir, over the River Lee Navigation, and into …

Tottenham Marshes for a leisurely southward meander for a mile or so.

As we approached the allotments we swung a right underneath the busy Watermead Way, along Parkview Road & Hanbury Road, into what is arguably our favourite route section outside of our home borough, the car free and exquisitely named …

“Carbuncle Passage”. Unfortunately its quietness means its become a bit of a magnet for flytipping, but a local resident has fought back robustly with a sign advising “No rubbish hire”.

Further excitement just 50 metres further along … our peace was shattered as Neville was ambushed …


by a tiger, but he put up a brave fight and to our relief overcame the ferocious beast.

Despite our shattered nerves we pushed on, crossing Tottenham High Road and A10, and via Woodside Gardens, Broadwater Road & Adams Road, arrived at Tottenham Recreation ground. The newly refurbished BMX track distracted some, whilst others explored …

the model traffic area which dates back to 1936, and after falling into disrepair, was restored a few years ago.

Turning south, we cycled through Downhills Park, round 2 sides of Chestnuts Park, …

down Hermitage Road, along a mercifully short section of very busy Green Lanes Finsbury Park, before turning off just after the New River into the relative calm of a backstreet route through Rowley Gardens. Minutes later we arrived at …

Woodberry Wetlands, where we were able to enjoy the tranquility of the reservoir nature reserve.

After half an hour we set off homeward bound through Stamford Hill via Bethune Road, East Bank, Rostrevor Avenue & Elm Park Avenue, with our journey enlivened by the wonderful spectacle of hundreds of celebrants of the Jewish holiday Purim.

Upon reaching Markfield Park we stopped at …

Pistaccio’s Cafe for long awaited refreshments, before embarking on our last leg up Coppermill Lane and into Walthamstow Village.

Ten bicycles …

img_1296

were joined by ten hardy souls …

img_1298

who braved a bleak Walthamstow winter day for a clockwise pedal through and around our borough which encompassed a grand total of 16 parks & open spaces.

We knocked off the first 3 in little over 20 minutes: Hollow Ponds, Wanstead Flats, …

img_1299

and the music themed Acacia Road Playground, where we stopped for a spot of tuneful impro and see-sawing.

From there a quiet back street route allowed us to bypass Harrow Road and quickly traversing over Leytonstone High Road,  we sneaked along the lower edge of Langthorne Park.

As we bowled along Langthorne Road we had the unalloyed pleasure of meeting a delightful middle aged gentleman driving a BWM, who took the trouble of stopping and getting out of his car to converse with us. Unfortunately for him, his knowledge of the highway code and consummate driving skills seem likely to lead him on a one way trip into the nearby St Patrick’s RC Cemetery sooner rather than later. [It must be stressed this is a highly unusual occurrence for us – the vast majority of motorists we encounter are very considerate around our riders, and conflict is very rare.]

After the cemetery we hooked a right over the pedestrian & cycle bridge across the A12, marvelled at the latest Mini Holland modal filter being constructed between Grove Green Road & Warren Road, and after a couple of hundred metres of busy and tightly marshalled road, we were onto the protected cycle track running into Ruckholt Road.

Five minutes later we climbed into the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, stopping to look at …

img_1303

a hockey game being played on an electric blue pitch, and …

img_1307

a team of youngsters getting ready for the 1 mile road circuit outside the Velodrome.

Pedalling south, we passed the West Ham stadium and the …

img_1308

Orbit Tower echoing with the sound of screams from thrill-seekers on the recenty installed slide.

We sequed up onto …

img_1310

the arrow straight Greenway, followed by a run of multiple open spaces as we worked our way north up the Lea Valley: Victoria Park, Mabley Green, Wick Woodland, Daubeney Fields, Hackney Marshes.

Then a short leg along Sustrans’ National Cycle Network Route 1 to the Middlesex Filterbeds Nature Reserve, before running along the canal past Millfields Park, Springfield Park and into one of our favourite cafes, Pictachio’s in Markfield Park.

We’d notched up close to 15 miles by this point, so felt well justified in a happy hour offsetting all the calories we’d burned off. Then back down the canal towapth, …

img_1312

over the marina bridge, and along Coppermill Lane alongside our last open space, Walthamstow Marshes, and back to our starting point in Walthamstow Village.

Which is tantalisingly close to the Wildcard Brewery, which some of the weaker willed of us were unable to resist.

A grey damp and chilly day yielded one of our most compact rides for years, allowing us to cover ground more quickly than usual,  thus delivering a high ratio of cafe lounging to riding time.

We took our usual eastern route out through Walthamstow Village’s network of quiet streets via Grove Road, but our reduced numbers meant we could nip out through the Raglan Rd ‘modal filter’ to reach the shared path running alongside Hollow Ponds.

We sped under the Green Man roundabout with its glorious switchback climbs and swoops, and sidled briefly on a cycle track alongside the A12 before heading off through Wanstead’s back streets via the southern perimeter of George Green, then down Warren Rd and through Wanstead Park.

We found a new short cut via Sunderland Way into Empress Avenue

Aldersbrook stables, Jan 2017

and stopped briefly at Aldersbrook Riding School, and admiring  and inhaling …

Aldersbrook, Jan 2017

the fragrant and steaming pile of straw and horse dung at the allotments opposite.

Then over the River Roding and into Cranbrook, arriving a few minutes later in Valentines Park, and for us an unusually early stop at 2.15 …

Valentines Park cafe, Jan 2017

at the cafe overlooking the Cran Brook.

We had a leisurely 40 minute rest, before …

Valentines Park, Jan 2017

taking off …

Valentines Park, Jan 2017

to explore the park’s perimeter.

We exited the park’s north side, into Blenheim Avenue & along Wanstead Lane, and under the  …

Redbridge Roundabout, Jan 2017

the Redbridge Roundabout, which featured the breathtakingly inspired combination of a marked cycle track followed by a sign prohibiting cycling!

We pedalled up the Roding Valley alongside the river, skirting the South Woodford, into Cranbourne Avenue, under the Central line, and into Eagle Lane, then Snaresbrook Road and through Upper Walthamstow back to our starting point.