London Stone Ride Report - 21st July 2018

Hopefully all the Southwark Healthy Riders who are boycotting my rides will realise what they are missing by not doing this ride every year!

There were about 15 Southwark Healthy Riders at the Cutty Sark start point. There was also a new person who had just found about about Southwark Cyclists but hadn't been told that, if you look at the website, you can see Southwark Cyclists rides alongside our longer Cyclists in Southwark ones. There was also a separate group of about 5 cyclists who said they meet up regularly at Cutty Sark Gardens to do 20 mile rides.

We had had far fewer bookings than we normally get over the past few weeks and we had had quite a few cancellations, so it was disappointing that there was no one at the Cutty Sark Gardens starting point at 09.30 to do this longer ride. However, Beth was just a few minutes late and we then met up with Julie at Woolwich. Pat and Alan met us at the Gravesend Promenade Cafe.

As there is now fierce competition between Lewisham Cyclists and Cyclists in Southwark to attract riders to our long rides, it was interesting to learn that we had a competitive advantage by not using trains to start off our rides. Delays in getting tickets can lead to people missing trains and this makes it difficult to assemble the groups needed for rides.

Alan showed us the police traininng centre, with its mock-ups of villages and tube stations and slide showed us the Cliffe Fort which I had not found before because it is completely inaccessible by car.

The Ciffe pub we went to had just stopped serving food at 3pm, but, after we had visited Cooling Castle and St James Church, we found a Cooling pub which was still serving lunch.

When we got to Allhallows we locked our bikes to the gate and walked out over the mashes to find the London Stone.

Pat, Julie and Beth cycled back to Greenwich, but Alan shows me the way, via Chattenden and Donkey Hill, to Rochester, where I took the train home.

Gravesend - Ride Report 7th July 2018

Six of us met up at the Dulwich Clock Cafe for our ride to Gravesend. Dulwich is a good starting point for us, as we had people from Streatham, Chislehurst, Camden and Lewisham attending our ride.

When we got to Brookmill Park we passed the Lewisham group going the other way. It appeared that this was a Lewisham Healthy Ride in all but name!

We then continued to the newly opened "missing link" section of the Thames Path. It turned out to be better than I had expected - in addition to a section through a warehouse area, there is also a new elevated segment protruding over the Thames.

We met up with Julie at Woolwich Ferry, which made our numbers up to 7. When we got to Woolwich we saw a couple of tall ships, which were offering cruises that day.

We stopped off at Lesnes Abbey for coffee, as it was very hot and we were thirsty.

We then continued on our usual route to Dartford. The park was very pretty and it's a shame that it's so easily missed when cycling through the town. We stopped there for a second break and one rider had to return home at that point.

We had a request to go through the tunnel with classical music in it. Our ride leader explained this was there to stop young people, who hate classical music, from congregating there and causing trouble.

We nearly missed the turning off to Gravesend and went a few yards along the Darent route, which would have ended up at Orpington. However, we soon spotted the error in our ways and went back to and up a newly discovered path through a wood up to Watling Street. We saw a sign for a cycle "toll tunnel" and wondered exactly what this meant.

It didn't take long for us to reach Gravesend, where we stopped off for a late lunch at the Three Daws. It was good to be able to have a post-ride meeting at a pub, given the difficulties we have had in getting people to meet up at the Dog & Bell. The stunning panoramic views from the roof terrace over the Thames, which are absent when visiting the eponymous hostelry, perhaps helped us here. A couple of us visited the Sikh Temple and, whilst eating our lunch, we heard the cheers from one of the goals scored in the World Cup match. We then took trains back to London.

Hampton Court - Ride Report 30th June 2018

With 100 social cyclists railed against us by organising a rock solid year long boycott of our rides and with Southwark Cyclists organising a competing 5th Saturday Healthy Ride + from Canada Water, perhaps many may have thought it was time for Cyclists in Southwark to throw in the towel.

But, inspired by reading words of Florence Nightingale, noticed on a poster whilst doing a mid-week cycle ride along Union Street in Southwark:

Open Garden Squares Weekend Ride Report - 10 Jun 2018

There were 19 riders who met up at the Albert Memorial on Sunday to do this year's Open Garden Squares ride. Two from Camden, three from NW London, one from Redbridge and a group from as far afield as Dulwich. We were joined by a further two who met us at Edwardes Square, which has perhaps the best kept square of all those in the area. At the Ismaili Centre we were welcomed by volunteers and given a tour of the roof garden there. Belgrave Square gave us an opportunity to stop for refreshment before embarking on the journey to the City.

There was a suffragette demonstration going on in Parliament Square so we had to walk through the Westminster Abbey grounds to get onto the eEmbankment Cycle Superhighway. We had lunch at the Barbican and then visited the Nomura tower block roof garden. Unfortunately I lost some of my photos when I put my camera through the security machine there and they temporarily confiscated my tyre lever, which looked too much like a weapon because I bought a very substation one when I found my plastic ones had a tendency to snap.

The garden next door to the Nomura garden was open for the first time this year, but we couldn't get in because it closed at 4pm. We then went to Lincoln's Inn to look at the gardens there and finished the ride at Fitzroy Square, where teas were on offer until 6.30pm.


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