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A warm and sunny afternoon greeted those …

intrepid souls who joined us outside the Ancient House for our June foray into the innermost depths of Redbridge.

We headed east across Wood Street via Buck Walk, and executing a brilliantly marshalled crossing from Forest Rise onto the shared path running alongside Woodford New Road, we cruised alongside Hollow Ponds, and under ….

the Green Man roundabout. Leaving the cycle track we headed off along Selsdon Road skirting the southern edge of George Green, freewheeled down Redbridge Lane West, before hanging a left at Wigram Road. This took us to a  …

footbridge over the North Circular, and onto the curiously named

Nutter Lane. Nic’s amazing local knowledge led us onto a path sidling alongside Roding Farm allotments, and a couple of twists and turns later we reached Elmcroft Avenue which led us under the North Circular.

We were then treated to a mile long meander alongside the River Roding (with a little wiggle using the Letchmere Avenue junction to get across the multi-lane Southend Avenue) followed by a  …

leafy stretch in the shadow of an elevated section of the M11 (sounds worse than it is in practice).

We then turned right onto what used to be a bumpy overgrown bramble and nettle strewn path (which on previous rides often led to some cuts, stings and even a few tears), but which has been cleared and properly surfaced. Just 3 minutes later we reached …

the popular Redbridge Lakes Cafe, …

where we took a 45 minute break for refreshments, and wandered round admiring the lakes, and wildlife friendly planting.

Within 5 mins of setting off we were negotiating the anti-motorbike gates to …

Claybury Park, and after a short ride through woodland reached our next stopping point, the outdoor gym and playground in the middle of the park.

But some of us didn’t stop, as Nic offered to lead a tempting …

offroad hilly ride through the wood. The picture above records the top of a short hilltop climb which was so steep most of us had to walk the last section…  but the subsequent down hill was well worth it!

We regrouped and left the park via Ravensbourne Gardens, and wiggled our way through to Clayhall Avenue, where a shared path took us to …

an underpass of the busy multi-lane Woodford Avenue, which led us into …

Roding Lane South, where a short uphill sequed into a freewheeling descent and a right turn across the River Roding and under…

the North Circular.

Our final anti-motorcycle gate of the day led into Elmscroft Avenue, and after Cranbourne Avenue and Falcon Way, we swooped through the Central Line underpass with lots of bell ringing and exultant shrieks to make the most of the echoey accoustics into Eagle Lane.

We made short work of …

Snaresbrook Road, arriving back in Walthamstow just after 5pm.

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Despite quite a number of younger and less experienced riders, to their credit …

all 23 at the start were up for our most ambitious excursion ever planned, which we reckoned was going to easily exceed our typical 15 mile round trip length.

We took our usual eastbound route through Walthamstow Village, via Grove Road, Raglan Road, using the tiger crossing from Roland Roland into Buck Walk. We had an …

exhilarating crossing of Woodford New Road – it was a challenge to get so many of us through the lights in one go and onto the shared path running round Hollow Ponds. But some firm marshaling by our wonderful team kept the motor traffic at bay until we were safely across. Five leafy minutes later and we were switchbacking …

our way under the Green Man roundabout, into Bushwood, before sneaking alongside Wanstead Flats and into Montague Road.

A couple of doglegs took us over Harrow Road and into Napier Road and a series of fiendishly clever back street routes researched by Nic to get us over the rail lines and through more quiet streets and into …

a refreshingly verdant West Ham Park. Some more low traffic wiggles through residential streets, up a zig-zag set of ramps and we found ourselves…

regrouping outside Plaistow station before our wonderful team of marshals enabled us to safely take this busy road, allowing our peleton to execute an elegant sweeping right turn into Upper Road. Half a mile later we hit a short cut through the Hermit Road Recreation Ground, exiting into the curiously named Chargeable Street (we’ve yet to find out how it got its name).

After a few more twists and turns we sidled along the northern edge of Star Lane Park, and most of us used the lifts at Star Lane station to get over the DLR (a few brave souls went with Nic on a short but messy road detour). Another 3 minutes of pedaling and we reached …

Cody Dock, where we had a …

very well deserved rest, enjoyed the sunshine, checked out the chickens,

and partook of a mid afternoon snack or two. Despite promises made beforehand the cafe was short staffed and it had taken quite a while to be served, …

so we set off a little later than planned.. about 4.30pm. And Paul’s insistence on stopping every 100 metres to take photos didn’t help either, as we

… followed the path alongside Bow Creek. We then hopped onto the bridge at Twelvetrees Crescent, and took the path alongside the River Lea to …

Three Mills, hanging a right and following Three Mills Wall River up to Stratford High Street. A short leg alongside Bow Back River, 200 metres via Marshgate Lane, a short climb up to the Greenway, and as we entered the Olympic Park we were met with waves of football supporters leaving a West Ham match which hugely slowed our progress.

Fortunately by hugging the stadium’s lower towpath bypass we were able to avoid the worst of the crowds, and were soon …

heading north through the park, past the Velodrome, and through one of our favourite paths through the ribbon of woodland snuggling between Hackney Marsh and the River Lea.

Our last leg was up Sustans NCN route 1, and back home via Coppermill Lane, arriving back very pleased with ourselves a little after 6pm, having traveled 18.3 miles… which is a record for the bike club!

 

You can see the route we took here: http://www.bikely.com/maps/bike-path/walthamstow-to-cody-dock-3

 

 

Considering the cold & wet start to the day, and the unpromising weather forecast for the afternoon,  it was surprising that as many as …

10 showed up for our monthly Open Spaces ride. As it turned out, apart from a couple of minutes of drizzle late in the ride, we had a rain-free afternoon.

We headed east out through Walthamstow Village, via the Roland Road zebra crossing over Wood Street and up to the lights at Woodford New Road, before hanging a right onto the shared path running along the lower reaches of Epping Forest and edging the south side of Hollow Ponds.

After swooping under the Green Man roundabout, we emerged at the top of Leytonstone High Rd, but managed to bypass it completely by turning into Hanbury Drive, past the Green Man Medical Centre, through Tesco’s car park, and onto the wonderfully smooth Gainsborough Rd cycle tracks.

A glorious uninterrupted downhill run brought us to a …

further section of track on Grove Green Road … we stopped here to check out the track (as the Green Party local election candidate had been complaining about pedestrian cycle conflict), but it seemed fine to us.

A left turn at Dyers Hall playground gave us another long stretch of cycle track running alongside the A12 until we reached  Cathall Road, where we followed Nic’s ingenious car-free route from Lincoln St, past the Epiccentre, under the bridge and into Pear Road.

A couple of wiggles later and we were freewheeling gently through …

Langthorne Park, and out into Union Close.  After a shimmy through to Downsell Road, we nipped across Leyton High Road into Drapers Field, and leaving Waltham Forest, headed west along Temple Mills Lane.

What is really impressive (and speaks volumes for Waltham Forest Council’s ambitous programme to make it safer & more attractive to walk and cycle), is up to this point apart from a couple of 30 metre stretches, we had been either on protected ‘kerb separated’ cycle tracks, or quiet residential areas where through traffic had been removed via road closures (the technical term is ‘filtered permeability’).

We were now in the Olympic Park, and after another half mile of stepped track, we stopped to admire …

a host of (admittedly, slightly soggy) golden daffodils.

Nic knows the park like the back of his handlebars, and had recced a wonderful  waterside tour which looped up and down and back up again (like a “serpent”). Which we now embarked on, following the banks of the River Lea up to the Eastway, and back down the west bank to Waterden Road, following the City Mill River past the stadium emerging …

south of the Orbit.

A further couple of minutes of pedaling and we were locking our bikes up at the …

friendly Viewtube cafe, before tucking into hot drinks and snacks.

Suitably replenished, and after a chat with Nigel in his bike shop, …

we set off west along the Greenway and dropped down to the River Lea, hugging the west side of the stadium, and completing the final loop of our serpent.

Heading north through the park, we stopped to admire the …

sweeping curves of the velodrome, then sailing over the A12 & Ruckholt Road, and descending into Hackney Marshes.

Now 0n the home strait, we segued through woodland alongside the River Lea, across the Middlesex Filter Beds Nature Reserve, hit a short section of towpath, …

crossing the canal, and looping up past the ice rink on the Lea Brdige Rd superhighway before picking up Sustrans NCN route 1 to Coppermill Lane, and back home up Walthamstow High Street to our starting point.

Just 9 of us …

showed up opposite the Ancient House on a grey and chilly Sunday afternoon in March for a destination in deepest Enfield. We headed off across Church Hill, over Forest Road and north through Chapel End’s quiet back streets (see our route here). 

We then skirted the south side of the North Circular, under Billet Roundabout, and onto …

the new cycle tracks on Billet Road, before turning into Sinnott Road and hitting our first green space between the Banbury and Lockwood reservoirs. After a short stretch along …

the River Lee Navigation towpath, we crossed over the top end of Tottenham Marshes, and onto a 2 way cycle track heading north up the Angle Edmonton Road. Whilst this is perhaps the grimiest, noisiest and least attractive section of any of our regular routes, running alongside and under a truly awful network of mini-motorways and industrial sized shopping centres, it did at least offer safe protected space away from a tsunami of  speeding motor vehicles. As we crested …

the dreamily named Conduit Lane, we peered over the bridge parapet and wondered at …

what might be London’s biggest flytip, stretching for the best part of a quarter mile into the distance.

Escaping the traffic roar we found ourselves on a …

car free route running alongside Tottenham Park Cemetery, before cutting through Edmonton Green Shopping Centre, and continuing west along quietish residential areas until we reached  …

Firs Farm Wetlands. After …

an exploratory circuit,

we set off for our destination, ….

the celebration of the new A105 cycle tracks attended by London’s Walking & Cycling Commissioner Will Norman, Enfield Mini Holland champion Cllr Daniel Anderson (both in the centre of the above photo), …

inspirational campaigner Clare Rogers (above right), and literally hundreds of local people on bikes.

After a free hot drink courtesy of Enfield Council, we just had try out the new facilities and took off northwards riding along the …

‘orca’ lined tracks up to the Church Street junction before doing a ‘uey’ and heading back.

The tracks represent an impressive achievement for a borough which seems far more wedded to car use than Waltham Forest (particularly the half south of the North Circular), and the plethora of young people on bikes well under the age of 10 was a testimony to the effective protection afforded.

However time was pressing on and we’d only had one short cafe stop so far, so waving goodbye to the hordes we set off along a further section of the cycle track …

through Palmers Green, then hung a right down Palmerston Crescent, over a traffic logged North Circular (using a well-placed Toucan crossing). After a half mile we headed east and picked up a fiendishly clever car-free route discovered by Nic which skirted 2 sides of …

Woodside Park, and cut through White Hart Lane Recreation Ground. After some ducking and diving we traveled through the civilised and low traffic Tower Gardens Estate (when constructed in the early 1900s it was one of the first garden suburbs in the world), and into …

the Lordship Recreation Ground. We pressed on southwards, through Downhills Park, then quiet West Green residential streets, took a rather neat dogleg via Brunswick Road Open Space, and a second one across Seven Sisters Road, briefly tangoed along Cycle Superhighway 1, before reaching …

our 2nd and somewhat lengthier cafe stop at Pistaccio’s in Markfield Park. After which we headed home through the park and up Coppermill Lane to Walthamstow Village.

Click here to see our full route.

Nearly half of the 17 who turned up on a damp looking February afternoon were from …

Sergiu’s family of 8, who had pedaled all the way from Barking to join our ride. Even more impressively …

Sergiu’s cargo bike contained two youngsters and he was pulling a trailer!

We set off on eastbound following our usual almost car-free route through Walthamstow Village, over the Roland Road crossing of Wood St, using …

the Forest Rise lights to get across the busy A104 New Woodford Road. Picking up the quiet shared space path running long the southern reaches of Epping Forest, we skirted Hollow Ponds (park 1) and  …

plunged under the Green Man roundabout, and freewheeled down Bushwood, hanging a right at the end to sidle alongside Wanstead Flats (2) and into …

Ferndale Road. A largely backstreet route took us through over Harrow Road and Leytonstone High Road,  into Langthorne Park (3), and alongside St Patricks Cemetery, …

and over a car free bridge spanning the A12.

A short section of Grove Green Road was followed by Ruckholt Road with its a protected cycle track (we were separated from motor traffic by rubber ‘orcas’), and a few mins later we were taking a quick breather outside the ….

Hockey & Tennis Centre in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park (4).  Then back over the A12, and in quick succession, past the Velodrome, the Copper Box, the Stadium, and Orbit, and …

we rode up onto the Greenway as a particularly dark rain cloud loomed in the background. We had a vote on whether to stop at the Viewtube Cafe or continue on…

we chose the latter and swept west along the Greenway to Wick Lane, and across Victoria Park (5), …

and into Well Street Common (6).

At this point our ride leader (umm, it was me actually) who had checked the route on Googlemaps & Streetview, but had never ridden this section before,  managed to exit the Common via the wrong street and got us a bit lost. We shoogled our way through a few slightly random roads, including a congested Morning Lane, and cut through Lower Clapton  before picking up our intended trail again …

in Millfields Recreation Ground (7).  We crossed over to Millfields Park (8) and headed northwards, slipping past the lower edge of Springfield Park (9), and …

hugging the canal on a considerably waterlogged towpath, cruised into …

Pustaccios Cafe in Markfield Park (10) for some very well deserved sustenance.

At 4.30pm, as the light was fading, we headed home …

via Coppermill Lane, and back up the High Street and into Walthamstow Village.

To our amazement Sergiu, who by now had a 3rd son in his cargo bike and the unwanted bike in the trailer behind, plus the rest of his family, cycled back all the way home to Barking!

Click here to see our route on a map (but this shows the section we should have done after Well Common).

Whilst it was grey, chilly, and threatening rain, as 5 of us assembled for our first outing of the year,  it was positively tropical compared to last month’s snowy ride.

All participants were experienced ride leaders and marshals and despite some festive feasting were pretty darn fit… so we were able to set a cracking pace out through Walthamstow Village using our usual eastwards route via the Wood St tiger crossing at Roland Rd into Buck Walk.

We struck offroad through the lower reaches of Epping Forest, skirting the north side of Hollow Ponds, and roller-coasted our way along the exhilarating switchback cycle track under the Green Man roundabout.

After a downhill glide along Bushwood Road, we hung a left across …

Wanstead Flats, emerging into Belgrave Road, followed by a dogleg over Blake Hall Road which took us onto…

a little know track running along the south side of Wanstead Park.

We skirted the park via Northumberland Avenue, Arran Drive and Empress Avenue, past the riding stables, across the Roding Valley, and over a nose to tail North Circular; we discovered that this part of the route, that we’ve been using for years …

is now flagged as Quietway 6. which runs from Stepney Green to Barkingside.

We then took off down Wanstead Park Road, which although fast is a fairly heavy rat run (we suggest less confident cyclists continue on the Quietway route), and after a left onto Northbrook Road, we reached our destination …

Valentines Park, which was record timing at a mere 45 minutes after setting off.

After a welcome cafe stop, we cut northwards …

through the park, along Blenheim Avenue, followed by a twiddle to get into Castleview Gardens running just south of the busy A12. Then right into The Drive, using a toucan crossing to cross the A12 into Ellesmere Gardens.

We hung a left into Redbridge Lane and right into Roding Lane South both of which featured quite fast traffic (to avoid most of it try the detour via Margaret Way, then Rosemary Drive). Just before the Vista Drive junction we exited left onto a quiet track heading north …

up the Roding Valley, and after quarter of a mile took another left under the North Circular and into Elmcroft Avenue.

In quick succession (even though it was uphill), Colvin Gardens, Ashbourne Avenue, and Cranborne Avenue, then into Falcon Avenue which swoops under the Central Line, and soars into Eagle Lane. The sun was setting over …

Eagle Pond as we powered our way alongside Epping Forest via Snaresbrook Road, before retracing our route over Wood Street and back into Walthamstow Village. Round trip time including a good half hour cafe stop, a whisker under 2 and a half hours.

At 1pm on a snowy December day, the grand total of ride participants for our Open Spaces ride reached a new low of 1.

Whilst waiting for the hordes who were clearly enroute but slowed down by the snow and ice, Paul took a picture of …

his offroad tandem, which was the only pair of wheels he had that could cope with the exciting road conditions.

A few minutes later our numbers doubled …

with the arrival of the indefatigable Nic, who had bravely fishtailed his way up from Leyton.

It was a minor miracle neither of us fell off as we slithered through the village down Church Hill, …

and into the top of the High Street. After 200 metres we stopped off at a cafe for a warming drink and a snack to make up for the 1 calorie that we had already burned off.

All too soon and it was time to head for home, pausing to snap …

a very cool snowperson in Vestry Playground.

The round trip distance of this months ride was a shade over 2km.

So remember, whatever the weather we never cancel either of our rides, but we might decide to shorten them slightly.

If you want to a monthly email reminder of our rides, plus our latest ride report, click here.

Wishing you all a wonderful festive break, and hoping to see many of you next year.