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Participants enthusiastically leaped at the suggestion to ride the entire length of the Greenway, which due to closures of various sections was the first time it had been possible since the 2012 Olympics.

And we were delighted to welcome back …

Nick, a long standing ride regular & marshal who we hadn’t seen for many months. He was sporting a brand new and very cool e-bike which he had collected from the bike shop just 2 days previously.

Off we set through Walthamstow Village into Grove Road, onto the newly completed Lea Bridge Road superhighway cycle track, and turned right to the shared use path alongside Hollow Ponds. Swooping under the Green Man roundabout, we sequed next to the A12, into Selsdon Road, and alongside the southern edge of …

George Green. A few minutes later we were bowling down the gently sloping Warren Road, and onto a …

verdant leafy corridor taking us into the heart of …

Wanstead Park. We rode past the Heronry Pond (which did indeed have a fishing Heron), and cut through Sunderland Way into Empress Avenue past the riding stables, before turning right …

and heading south down the Roding Valley.

Unfortunately none of us had thought to bring a machete, and whilst not seriously overgrown, the path presented a number of opportunities to engage with some slightly less welcome aspects of nature. So what was otherwise a blissfully quiet offroad freewheel through woodland, was punctuated with occasional exclamations of surprise as someone was ambushed by a particularly vigorous bramble or cunningly lurking nettle. Once the path widened …

we regrouped to ensure there were no serious injuries, and passing under the Crossrail line, we used the toucan 25 metres to the west to cross the busy Romford Road. Sheringham Avenue & Dersingham Avenue offered quieter road conditions, which we took to its southernmost end. Turning left and passing under another rail bridge, Leigh Road & Burgess Road led to Barking Road, where we crossed via a toucan crossing point just east. Doing a ‘u-ey’ we headed west to Park Avenue, and into …

Nelson St where we stopped to rehydrate. A series of back street wiggles via Wellington Road, Tyrone Road, St Albans Avenue, Charlemont Road and Norman Road brought us to the A13 interchange. We crossed south east over to the Greenway, passing the Becton Alps and stopped for …

 

a photo shoot at the eastern entry to the Greenway.

What followed was a beautifully flat 35 minute ride as we travelled  west along the elevated Greenway, admiring views to north and south, and …

stopping to take in the …

wonderfully gothic Abbey Mills Pumping Station.

A few minutes later saw us settling down at the recently reopened Viewtube Cafe, enjoying well earned refreshments in the garden.

Setting off home past West Ham’s stadium, and eschewing our usual route past the Velodrome, we traveled along the western bank of the River Lea following its route as it …

exited the Olympic Park and continued alongside Hackney Marshes,

and up …

Sustrans route 1 to Coppermill Lane.

Arriving back in Walthamstow Village we discovered that at 21.5 miles we had set a new record for the longest Family Bike Club ride, and accordingly repaired to the …

Wildcard Bewery to mark the occasion.

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The option of our longest ride to date entailing a clockwise tour of 9 east London open spaces (and even more lakes) was enthusiastically welcomed by the group which met …

outside the historic St Mary’s Church & Ancient House.

Heading east over Wood St into Upper Walthamstow Road and crossing into Forest Rd via Hylands Road, we slipped under the Waterworks Roundabout, past a sliver of …

Epping Forest, and into Bressey Grove. From George Lane we dismounted to walk through the subway at South Woodford tube station, and gyrated gently through the back streets to what used to be the notoriously scarey …

Charlie Brown’s roundabout which we used to make a big detour to avoid.

However a swathe of recently installed toucan crossings (thanks TfL) at each arm meant that we negotiated the M11/North Circular with ease, and were soon pedaling up the  …

lovely Roding Valley, before hanging a right along a newly upgraded track to the …

Redbridge Lakes. We took a short rest break, and wondered at the massive carp gliding around the small pool next to the cafe.

From Redbridge Lane North we turned into …

Claybury Park, and after negotiating the anti motorcycle gates (which are also pretty challenging for bikes) we enjoyed a gorgeous ride through woodland, leaving the park into Acle Close. Gently gliding down Tomswood Hill and into Addison Rd, we avoided the hostile Fulwell Cross roundabout via a cut through  …

the Redbridge Sports Centre playing fields.

Some robust marshaling got us along a busy 200 metre stretch of Forest Rd, and then we relaxed into a long offroad stretch around …

Fairlop Waters (previously an RAF airfield and spitfire base), pausing for the more adventurous of our posse to explore …

what is apparently the UK’s largest boulder park.

After a further short break to check out …

the wildlife at the lake to the south, we left via Station Road, and stumbled across the newly completed Quietway 6 (click this link to download the Q6 route) close to Barkingside station.

This meandered through fairly quiet residential backstreets to the …

crossing of the racetrack-like Eastern Avenue, and a few hundred metres later in to …

Valentines Park for our long-awaited and well deserved cafe stop.

Suitably refreshed, we took off past …

the 300 year old Valentines Mansion, and …

embarked on a circuit of the park and its lakes, exiting westwards into Northbrook Road, then picking up Belgrave Road (the Q6 route out of the park is recommended for less confident cyclists).

Rejoining Q6 we crossed over the North Circular and the Roding Valley, and picked up Empress Road which led us to …

Wanstead Park, which we skirted alongside until the Northumberland Road/Park Road.

Hhere we picked up a little known track running behind the houses …

through woodland to a crossing of Blake Hall Road.

Belgrave Road led us to a path crossing Wanstead Flats to Bushwood, and after traveling under the …

Green Man roundabout, we sequed along the southern side of Hollow Ponds, over to the brand new Lea Bridge Road superhighway into Foresters Drive, and back into Walthamstow Village via Buck Walk & Barrett Road.

Bridget’s carefully crafted Art Trail route attracted …

our biggest turnout of the year, so we were fortunate to have a strong team of marshals to support the ride.

At our first stop in Falmer Road we first marvelled at …

Bridget’s Halloween themed top, overcame the challenge …

of parking 23 bikes in a narrow Walthamstow residential street, …

and filled the house of a surprised local family to view a treasure trove of found objects from the River Thames, spanning 2,000 years of history.

We set off again via an almost precipitously steep decent down to Forest Road, sneaking behind the Town Hall for a short offroad cut across …

Chestnuts Field to …

… Spruce Hills Road to see Tim Smith’s stonework (he is one of the last London-trained stonemasons).

We u-turned back across the field via …

Chandos Avenue & Dudley Road to “Art & Revolution” at Winns Gallery in Lloyd Park, which featured a thought provoking exploration of the ‘explosive’ year 1919 and some fascinating political artistry focusing on on current events.

Afterwards we set off along the Forest Road cycle track, and veered off through the low traffic backstreets of Blackhorse Village to two adjacent installations …

‘The Clearing’ & ‘Wonder Wild’ in Low Hall Woods behind St James’ Park.

We then split into two groups, and small but dedicated team of art aficionados, and a larger group who were keen to forgo further exploration of our creative community instead covering much more mileage.

So the latter headed off down Coppermill Lane, and through the Walthamstow Wetlands, heading across Ferry Lane to the northern half where we stopped…

to scale the slope to enormous Lockwood Reservoir ….

which was completed in 1897 using a labour force of 1,250 men.

Heading northwards we left the wetlands, and after taking a path running along the eastern side of the Lea Valley, we swung west …

 

under Banbury Reservoir, …

over the canal, and down through…

Tottenham Marshes, back over Ferry Road into Jarrow Road, hanging a right onto a …

delightful footpath running through the Ferry Lane Estate into the lower end of Yarmouth Crescent.

Less than 5 minutes later we were ordering food & drinks at the popular Pistaccio’s cafe in Markfield Park.

Suitably caloried up, we set off …

leaving the park via Grovelands Road, and snaking our way through the back streets, crossed the canal via …

the challengingly steep ramp up Horseshoe Bridge (constructed to allow barge horses to cross the from one side of the river to the other). And home via Coppermill Lane to Walthamstow Village.


What next?

Tempted to join us? Our rides are free, friendly & fun, and open to everyone.

Click below for details about our

With most of this year’s rides having featured grey windswept skies, low temperatures and smaller than usual turnouts, we were finally greeted with warmth and sunshine which attracted over 20 riders and one …

dog.

We headed west out of Walthamstow Village via First Avenue,  through the …

spectacularly improved public space outside Walthamstow Queen’s Road station, along the…

cycle track past the linear park & wildflower meadow in Markhouse Road, over the toucan crossing into Theydon Street, and right onto the Lea Bridge Road superhighway.

Freewheeling gently downhill, we soon reached Sustrans route 1 (which runs from Dover via the Lea Valley all the way to the Shetland Islands!) and turned southwards, traveling through shady woodland next to the River Lea, passing alongside …

Hackney Marshes [1], before heading into the Olympic Park [2], where some of our younger riders (as well as one considerably older one) enjoyed the challenges of scaling the

climbing wall, and some of the less adventurous ones appreciated the glorious display of …

poppies and other wildflowers.

Gliding past the underbelly of West Ham United’s stadium, we climbed up to …

the Greenway (built on top of the enticingly named “Northern Outfall Sewer” which runs from Hackney Wick to Beckton), and after a short stretch of Wick Road, emerged into Victoria Park [3].

There we split into two groups, one which hung out in and around

the Hub Cafe, whilst the other embarked on a 20 minute circular tour of the park.

Rejoining & rejoicing, we all set off northwards, successfully wiggling our way through some quiet Homerton streets. A similar attempt by Paul last year via Well Street Common had got us hopelessly lost, and we’d relied on our excellent marshals to get us through some spectacularly gridlocked traffic.

This time we took a much simpler route – Brookfeld Road, Kenworthy Road & Mabley Street, which fed into a short cycle path which led us onto …

Mabley Green [4], then over Homerton High St into Adley Street, and across the west side of …

Daubney Fields [5], along Mandeville Road, through Millfields Park [6], and onto the canal towpath under Lea Bridge Road.

After a few loops of the offroad roundabout (its just north of the toucan crossing) which proved a great way to keep moving whilst waiting for the tail end of the ride to catch up, we continued up the towpath all the way up to …

Springfield Park [7], and a few minutes later …

Markfield Park [8], where we took a well deserved break at the popular …

Pistaccio’s Cafe.

With quite a few feeling that they wanted a final challenge, we again split into 2 groups, one taking the low road alongside the canal, and the other relishing a proper alpine style (well almost) hill climb up to the …

pond in Springfield Park with its magnificent views over east London, followed by rollercoaster style rapid descent down to Horse Shoe Bridge, where we rejoined the others at the bottom of …

Coppermill Lane next to Walthamstow Marsh [9], for our last two and a half miles back to Walthamstow Village.

 


What next?

Tempted to join us? Our rides are free, friendly & fun, and open to everyone.

Click below for details about our

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.

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.

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.