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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.

 

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.

Its amazing what good weather can do to our ride numbers, which on recent grey days earlier this year had been struggling to rise into double figures. The promise of a sunny afternoon delivered …

29 eager souls opposite Walthamstow Village’s Ancient House, keen discover where this month’s mystery ride was headed.

After a loop through Walthamstow Village via …

Orford Road, we headed off via the beautifully planted Barrett Road modal filter, up Fyfield Road, and via a little known backstreet route via Fernhill Court …

to the Forest Road crossing.

Heading east along Forest Road via the pavement (pedestrians are almost unknown here, and a 40mph speed limit with painted cycle lanes is not ideal family biking territory) we enjoyed a rollercoaster up and down ride round the shared path circling Waterworks Corner, emerging into Grove Road.

Churchfield offered a lovely freewheeling stretch to the bridge over the Central Line, and yet more downhill …

in Gordon Road to an unbroken stream of motor traffic along A113 Chigwell Road.

Fortunately the sight of so many cyclists waiting to cross over to the Reuse depot access road, meant that we’d barely come to a halt before kind-hearted drivers stopped to let us across. And 2 minutes later we were taking a short breather …

in the Roding Valley. And another 5 minutes later we rolled into the

cafe at Redbridge Lakes for a micro refreshment break & loo stop. Our next stop was enforced, as in order to prevent motorcycle use …

Claybury Park is ringed with gates which, whilst designed to let bikes through, meant that many of our bikes such as those with child seats struggled to fit. So we set up an almost military style operation to manoeuvre our various steeds through, and Sergiu had to pretty much empty his cargo bike of kids and equipment so it was light enough for 4 of us to lift it up and over the fence.

Which after we crossed the park we had to do all over again to get out !

After an exhilarating ride down Tomswood Hill, we hung a left into Addison Road, and across into …

the grounds of Redbridge Sports Centre, and to the junction of the busy Forest Rd, where Bridget’s emergency stop led to a shunt from behind from one of our crew. She dusted herself down, got a bandage on a bit of broken skin as a badge of honour, and we were soon on our way round the gorgeous …

lake at Fairlop Waters.

Now this is the embarassing bit dear reader, as your’s truly managed a self-inflicted crash (hitting the vertical edge alongside the path at speed) and ended up sliding along the floor. My first bike related injury in 24 years! Apart from a badly grazed knee I thought I was largely OK, and pedaled to our next halt a couple of minutes away, but once we’d stopped I passed out twice. And was very grateful for the first aid and concern from everyone.

For one of our ride leaders to come a cropper was unusual, for both to do so was a first in my 12 years of leading family bike club rides. Fortunately we managed the rest of the ride without incident!

Exiting the park, we traveled through Barkingside via Baron Gardens, followed by a car-free cut through the Recreation Grounds, and a series of residential back streets to …

Clayhall Park, where we hung out on the grass outside the cafe for mid afternoon snacks & ice creams.

Homeward bound, we crossed under Woodford Avenue via a well-placed subway, and after a downhill sweep along Riding Lane South, re-crossed the Roding Valley, and wiggling through …

South Woodford backstreets, erupted in a frenzy of bell tinging and whoops of joy as we travelled through the echoey subway under the Central Line.

Our last leg was our popular route along Snaresbrook Road’s shared path,  down Buck Walk and over the …

Wood Street “Tiger” crossing into Roland Road, and into Walthamstow Village.

Click here to see our route on a map.


A very sore wrist and thumb. The x-ray showed no broken bones, but I had a precautionary plaster which came off after review by a doctor at Whipps Cross.

 

 

The imminent threat of rain and holidays (and 12th August being the start of the grouse shooting season?) kept many punters away this month, so a compact group of 11 riders set off east through Walthamstow under threateningly grey skies. After crossing Wood St and following Buck Path, we sequed along Oakhurst Gardens, slipped though a short section of Epping Forest, and emerged into Hermitage Walk.

A brief flirtation with the busy Woodford Road ended quickly as we soared into Eagle Lane, swooped down through the Central Line underpass to the sound of echoing “whoops” and ringing bells, and up into Falcon Way. Just five minutes later we were pedaling into …

the Roding Valley, alongside …

the River Roding, which led to a short section of shared pavement alongside the busy A12, and then some brand spanking new cycle track under the Redbridge Roundabout.  We emerged into Wanstead Park Road and the relatively peaceful Redbridge back streets, where we picked up Quietway 6 (Q6) and exactly 1 hour after we set off we reached …

Valentines Park, and after a loop around it, we decamped to the cafe (the cheaper one at the southern end of the park).

After inputting quite a few calories, we decided to burn them off with a game of frisbee – amazingly between us we had brought a total of 14 different discs to spin through the air, and we spent a happy hour perfecting our skills.

Our return trip we headed out past the park’s boating lake, along Belgrave Road, and onto Q6 across the Roding Valley, past the riding stables. Turning off into Sunderland Way, we headed north through …

Wanstead Park, past the kiosk and Heronry Pond, along Warren Road & Redbridge Lane and across George Green. Another couple of backstreets later saw us bowling along the cycle track …

alongside the A12, under the Green Man Roundabout, and then trying out Paul’s (so-called)…

offroad shortcut meandering along tracks which took us around Hollow Ponds, and and via Bush Walk back into

our starting point at Walthamstow Village’s Ancient House.

Click here to see our route on a map.

 

Numbers were lower than usual due to a swelteringly hot & sunny afternoon …

which we didn’t appreciate at the time was a foretaste of several weeks of high temperatures throughout the rest of July and into August.

Heading eastwards out of Walthamstow Village, we crossed over Wood Street, up up Buck Walk, into Oakhurst Gardens and left into College Place… and straight on into the lower reaches of ….

Epping Forest.

Heading north we were now on a series of cool and leafy woodland trails which for the next few miles would shield us from the sun’s baking rays. Just before the Waterworks Roundabout we executed a hairpin turn and were treated to a over a mile of gentle off road downhill, freewheeling all the way to our crossing of Snaresbrook Road.

Skirting round the north side of Hollow Ponds, and just south of the crown court, we took another sheltered route, which was followed by a rollercoaster whoop under the Green Man roundabout.

A third woodland stretch took us from Bush Road along paths meandering across  …

Wanstead Flats.

From Acacia Road we wiggled through quiet residential streets, crossing Leytonstone High Road and nipping through the southern end of Langthorne Park, then twizzling through more backstreets into Downsell Road, and into Drapers Field.

Honor Lea Avenue featured a few hundred metres of two way cycle track before disgorging us into the …

Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. We were now on a roll – the small number of riders meant we had made very good time and were almost half way round after just an hour of riding, so we pressed on, turning northwards past the Velodrome, and over the A12 to a delightful trail running alongside the River Lea and …

Hackney Marshes.

We continued north along Sustrans NCN route 1 (which runs from Dover to John o’ Groats), passing Leyton Marshes  and …

Walthamstow Marshes, then turning left into Coppermill Lane with a spot of limbo cycling as we passed through the cattle creep, over the …

Horseshoe Footbridge (built in 1894), and along the towpath past Springfield Park to Markfield Park.

Owner Abdul welcomed us as we sat down outside Pistaccios Cafe, to enjoy well deserved cold drinks and snacks. We found a new and little known route out of the park, which took through quiet residential streets and paths, and onto the Ferry Lane cycle track. We then hung a left into the northern half of the …

Walthamstow Wetlands, and we took a break to …

climb up to the top of one of the reservoirs and admire the watery views, and …

watch Neville feeding the last of his lunch to the geese.

We pedalled on past Lockwood, Maynard Low & Maynard High reservoirs, and headed south on the  Blackhorse Lane cycle tracks, veering off into the backstreets to cross Forest Road and zip past our final green space, Stoneydown Park, before returning to our starting point in Walthamstow Village.

 

You can see the full route we took here:

http://www.bikely.com/maps/bike-path/walthamstow-village-green-spaces-ride-2

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.