Ride Report – Sunday 20th August

Milton went on this ride led by Tim and writes:

Not only did the sun shine, but nothing more than a light breeze caressed us all day as 8 cyclists took the quiet and beautiful roads to Hogwash on Tim’s 63 mile steady. Tim had a plan that it would be a one stop ride but made the mistake of suggesting that we could stop for coffee and cake at Boycott Farm after 20 miIes if we were unable to control our greed. 7 out of 8 of us proved unable to control our greed. Ah Tim … the best laid plans of mice and men gang aft aglay!

Mark, who had stuff to do at home,  left us to go go back after Boycott Farm and so we were seven as we rolled into Green Dragon Eco Centre Farm where we came upon Geoff  on his fixie and James who had been late to the start. James had, of course, put his foot down and beaten us to the lunch stop by a sizeable margin overtaking us as we guzzled at Boycott Farm.

Geoff soon left for a solo run home and we were 8 once more, and, just after we set off on the return trip, James found the urge to test out his new wheels too great, and disappeared up the road never to be seen again …… so we were 7 once more.

The weather stayed warm and dry and, much to Tim’s amazement, the group eschewed another stop at Salcey as we passed, having stayed in a close knit peleton throughout the return journey, keeping up an average speed of over 14mph.

A fine day in the saddle much helped by a beautifully devised route and 2 excellent stops.

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STEADY ride to Hogshaw – Sunday 20th August

Tim is leading this ride and writes:

Start: 9.30am, Sunday 20th August
Meeting point: East Hunsbury Library, Overslade Close, NN4 0RZ
Distance: 63 miles
Anticipated Speed: 13-14mph
Refreshments: Green Dragon Eco Centre Cafe

This Sunday’s ride heads south via Gayton Marina and the villages of Tiffield and Caldecote before a short section of A5 lets us gain the village of Duncote from where generally quiet country roads take us on our journey to the west of Buckingham and on to our lunch stop at the most southerly point of the ride at The Green Dragon Farm at Hogshaw.

Our return journey heads north east to Winslow and then on to Stony Stratford (complete with a nice downhill section for a couple of miles just after crossing the A421 south of Nash). Familiar roads then lead us to Hanslope and Salcey Forest before the final homeward leg along the Quinton Road and suburbs of East Hunsbury.

The ride is planned with a single stop at approx 33 miles, so it may be a good idea to bring an energy bar or two for any impromptu roadside stops. However if the urge for morning coffee or afternoon tea (or indeed both!) proves too strong there are options in the guise of Boycott Farm (at 20 miles) and Salcey Forest (at 57 miles).

We should be back at East Hunsbury library mid to late afternoon, depending on the number of stops we choose to make on the day.

The proposed route can be viewed (and downloaded as a gpx file) from the CTC Northampton group on RideWithGPS:

https://ridewithgps.com/routes/23647762

Any questions please contact Tim – 07749 477231.

Saturday 12th August – London Ride 2017 – *Two* Olympic Velodromes

Ian M will be leading this ride and writes (with photos from the recce last Saturday):

Everyone is very welcome on this ride which will take us from Euston Station to the 2012 Velodrome in the Olympic Park at Stratford, then on to the Herne Hill Velodrome, the last site still standing from the 1948 Olympics, and back to Euston.  In between, we will see much of “hidden London”.  I am very grateful to Brian who came with me on the recce for this ride last Saturday.  We checked the route thoroughly, paying particular attention to junctions, to the suitability of river-side and canal-side paths for a group, and to the cycle super-highway network.  More importantly, we checked the proposed lunch stop.  Even more importantly, we sampled several pubs before deciding on the afternoon refreshment stop – it was a hard job but someone had to do it!
The route is 29 miles long of which
  • River-side & canal-side paths = 10 miles
  • Parks & cemeteries = 6 miles
  • Cycle super-highway = 2 miles (1 mile blue paint, 1 mile fully segregated)
  • Quiet streets (defined by Transport for London – TfL) = 7 miles
  • Roads with traffic = 4 miles.
We will leave Euston Station (meeting outside on the picnic benches in front of the cafés) at 10.00 a.m.  (Trains departing from Northampton at 0825 and 0850 are very suitable and you can carry any type of bicycle.)   Rather than give distances in miles, the following description of the ride gives distance length in time, and allows for photograph stops.

We’ll take about 1 h 10 m to get to the 2012 Olympic Velodrome (now named the Lea Valley Velopark), via the Regent Canal and Victoria Park, and with a good view of the Olympic Stadium, now the London Stadium.

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View of the Olympic (London) Stadium. The building work appears to be running late.

Entry to the velodrome is free, there is bike parking inside next to the reception desk and there are toilets and a café on the viewing level.  We can spend upto twenty minutes having a look inside.

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Brian outside the Velodrome

We’ll circumnavigate the outside of the Velodrome and return to the London Stadium.  There we will join the path alongside the River Lea and then the towpath alongside Limehouse Cut, the oldest canal in London (1766), taking us to the western side of the Isle of Dogs  where we’ll follow the Thames Path.
We’ll then find a single-track path lined with countryside bushes which emerges above Mudchute Farm, a large urban farm with educational aims where we’ll have lunch.  Olympic Velodrome to Mudchute Farm will take about 1 h 20 m.  The Farm has a kitchen with a range of food from coffee & cake to daily specials.  The prices are good value and the profits are going to a good cause.  Bikes can be taken to the tables.
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Mudchute Kitchen

It’s a stone’s throw to the Greenwich Foot Tunnel (which we’ll walk – there are lifts at each end), emerging at the Cutty Sark.  We’ll cycle through Deptford and behind New Cross, with the only climb of the day, to Nunhead Cemetery.  Allowing for photos in Greenwich, that’s about 1 hour.
We’ll enter the Cemetery through the North Gate, follow the looping East Path, and exit via the South Gate.  The path surface is a little like the Brampton Valley Way.  There aren’t any famous Victorians buried here really – but it’s such a different environment in which to cycle.
Stuart Road with its allotments, which links Nunhead Cemetery to Peckham Rye Park, is where we’ll find The Ivy House, London’s first community-owned pub.  Orignally a Truman’s house, it was owned and neglected for decades by the Enterprise chain.  They tried to sell it four years ago for the development of apartments.  The local community had it declared a listed building and raised enough money to buy it.  They have thoroughly cleaned it with the bonus, as far as we could tell, that having had no money spent on it by the previous owners, the original fixtures and fittings are in place.  And the pub has bike stands on the street outside.  We enjoyed a glass of very local beer: Peckham Pale!
We’ll then pedal on through Dulwich Park and into a suburban street behind which lies Herne Hill Velodrome.  Brian and I watched some local amateur club racing; I can’t guarentee that we’ll see racing this Saturday but it will be busy!  There’s a good café and modern toilets.  From leaving Nunhead Cemetery to leaving the Velodrome took us two hours (but we had to investigate more than one pub as well as watch the racing!).  The modern grandstand is supported by the pillars of the Victorian grandstand!
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Victorian support for the modern grandstand

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Track racing at Herne Hill last Saturday

We’ll go half-way down Denmark Hill (busy but we’ll use the bus lane) before turning into quiet residential streets to reach the Oval cricket ground.  Then it’s onto a very impressive stretch of infrastructure, a new cycle super-highway giving cyclists separation from and priority over motor traffic, under Vauxhall Station and over Vauxhall Bridge.  Then we turn east along the next super-highway (blue paint at this point) past Tate Britain and up to the Houses of Parliament.  After navigating Parliament  Square, we’re on the separated cycle lane along the Embankment, pulling off to cycle under the Savoy Hotel to the spot where Bob Dylan recorded probably the first pop video – for “Subterranean Homesick Blues”.
From the Savoy Steps we’ll walk over the Strand and cycle up Bow Street, past the Royal Opera House, and Drury Lane (both busy with pedestrians).  We’ll go around the British Museum and through parts of London University (the School of Oriental & African Studies and the Institute of Education) to find ourselves at Euston Station – and possibly a well-deserved pint at the Bree Louise.  From Herne Hill Velodrome to Euston will take us a little under an hour, with time allowed for photographs.
We’ll be back at Euston before 6.00 p.m.
If you would like to come on the ride, then just turn up!  If you would like to let me know you’re coming, then send me an e-mail to ianmac63@icloud.com or text 07960302095.  That will mean I won’t leave without you.  But it’s not necesary – the velodrome cafés are large, and the staff at Mudchute Farm and The Ivy House, when we enquired, will be very happy to see us without any definite booking of numbers.
The IAAF World Athletics Championships at the London Stadium won’t affect any of our route in the Olympic Park.  I subsribe to TfL’s weekly e-mail about weekend road closures and will use this to check all the other areas.
I’m really looking forward to seeing you – and am hoping to post a .gpx file of the route in the next couple of days onto our RideWithGPS page.
Any questions?  Phone me on 07960302095.  That’s also my contact number on the day.

Ride Report – Sunday 6th August

Ian M went on this ride led by Phil J and writes:

Four of us – Phil, Justin, Peter and Ian – gathered in Hunsbury for today’s ride to Draycote Water. Phil, our leader, got us to leave very punctually at 9.30 a.m. and set us a good pace along some of his favourite roads and lanes. He had arranged ideal cycling weather – warm but not hot and the sky never got too cloudy. At times, however, a headwind seemed to be facing us in every direction! He had also arranged for it to be a one-stop ride!

We were soon going through Upton, discussing its housing styles, around the edge of the Althorp estate and on to Wilton, crossing over the M1 for the first time. Then we were up to Welton and heading towards Barby with Phil, rightly as it turned out, ignoring pleas for an elevenses stop there. We crossed over the M45 into Dunchurch. Over the motorway again and soon we were climbing the humped road towards Draycote Water. Here was our reward for foregoing elevenses: the famed Draycote scones. Huge they were, with jam and cream. We sat on the delightful balcony overlooking the reservoir. Half the party added large portions of carrot cake to their plates, arguing that the calories had already been spent!

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Scones and cakes overlooking Draycote Water

Phil cracked his whip again and soon we were whizzing on the lovely surface of Warwickshire lanes into Grandborough. A short stretch of the A45 and we were off into the village of Braunston and soon found ourselves back in Welton. This time, we left Welton through Norton. A short stretch of the A5 and we were onto lanes again into Brockhall, crossing over the M1 for a second time. Phil knew from his recce that the “road closed” signs on the lane from Brockhall to Flore were just that – closed even to bikes – and so we went diverted along the gated road. We scrupulously followed the signs requesting that we closed the gates behind us before descending from the Roman road – and over the M1 a third time – into Flore. And just one of several glorious descents that Phil had built into the route.

The next lanes took us past the mill and then, quickly, through Nether Heyford and Bugbrooke. We went in and out of Kislingbury via a fourth and fifth crossing over the M1. Then, after Rothersthorpe, courtesy of Banbury Lane, we made our sixth and final crossing over the M1. Justin left for home before Ladybridge Drive, and then Peter too felt the siren call of home comfort, leaving Phil and Ian one last climb up to Hunsbury for 3.00 p.m. Sixty miles from start to finish (and seventy miles door-to-door for your correspondent – brilliant!)

It had been a lovely day and a lovely ride. Our thanks to Phil for making it all so enjoyable!

Annual London Ride – Saturday 12th August

Ian will be leading this ride and writes:

Another reminder that we have our annual ride around London on Saturday 12th August.
We meet at Euston Station (at the picnic tables outside Café Rouge / Café Nero) at 10.00 a.m.
This year’s route will include:
  • Two Olympic velodromes
  • Canal-side and river-side towpaths
  • A walk through a tunnel under the Thames
  • A visit to another of the “Magnificent Seven” Cemeteries (In previous years we’ve cycled through Brompton Cemetery and popped into Highgate Cemetery)
  • A Japanese garden
  • A Bob Dylan landmark
  • And at least four parks!
With plenty of other sights en route – and lunch on a farm!
The ride is open to everyone on any sort of bike.  (There is no charge for taking full-size bikes on London Midland trains.  You do *not* require a reservation.  All services on Saturdays are off-peak and so there are no restrictions on bikes on any trains.)
From Northampton the 0825 and 0850 trains will get you to Euston before 1000.  If you are thinking of buying the cheapest Advance Non-flexible tickets over the web for particular trains, experience suggests that you do not select your return leg train before 1800.  Otherwise, an Off-Peak Return – which can be bought on the day and used on any train – is £27.80 (£18.35 with railcard).
DSC00432 Stamford Bridge from Brompton Cemetery

We’ve been in Brompton Cemetery!

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… and popped in to see Highgate Cemetery’s most famous resident!

DSC00424 Chuymleigh Almshouses

We’ve found almshouses in Burgess Park!

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We found a Soviet tank …

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… and may (will!) taste the products of breweries!