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.

DSC02097

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.

059B313D-08DA-4E09-95CD-6A0992F8B312

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.
IMG_1748

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!
IMG_1754

Victorian support for the modern grandstand

IMG_1756

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.

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!

DSC00402 Karl Marx

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

DSC00424 Chuymleigh Almshouses

We’ve found almshouses in Burgess Park!

DSC00520

We found a Soviet tank …

DSC01000

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

Report: Annual Guy Barber Memorial Ride, Sunday 23 July, in aid of Headway Northampton

Our Secretary Brian did much of the organising of this year’s Guy Barber Ride and he reports:

Now in its 12th year this challenging ride attracted eighteen riders from the CTC groups in Northampton, Milton Keynes and Kettering.  This was the first year of a route to Oxford with two start options of Northampton and Buckingham giving three rides of 94, 66 or 55 miles, all meeting up at Oxford for lunch.

Despite the early morning drizzle ten riders left East Hunsbury at 8.30 a.m. for the first leg to Buckingham of the 94-mile ride.  This took us on mainly quiet roads through Blisworth, Pury End and Leckhampstead.  The drizzle stopped, and the sun emerged from the cloudy skies, as the group made Buckingham at 9.45am. Perfect timing to meet the eight MK riders who had cycled out from Stony Stratford and beyond.

The Northampton group set off for the first café stop seven miles away in Twyford whilst the remaining group signed in and left a little later.  An early puncture close to the start split the second group and this was further split when the Community Café at Twyford had unexpectedly closed that morning.  The shop was open but, after a brief stop for snacks, the first group motored on to Oxford leaving a second group to pick up the punctured riders.

As we meandered through the small villages of Marsh Gibbon, Piddington, Boarstal and Stanton St John, there was little traffic on the roads.  The sun came out and we had ideal cycling weather.

Oxford “arrived” when we met the ring road, a dual-carriageway roundabout with a couple of underpasses.  Then we were through Headingley on a separate cycle path at and then onto marked tracks alongside the main road.   After a steep hill down into the centre of Oxford. it was only a short distance to Café Couscous for lunch.  Just to add to the “best laid plans” the last stretch of road before the café was closed for road works.  So much for the recent reconnoitre!

The first group arrived at noon and had just finished lunch as the second group arrived at 1.00 p.m.  This was good timing for the café.  The forecasted midday rain did not materialise and we enjoyed sun and blue skies at the café.

One rider's lunch at Café Couscous - vegetarian tagine!

One rider’s lunch at Café Couscous: vegetarian tagine!

The first group took the route back to Northampton via Islip, Kirtlington, the Heyfords and on to Aynho where Ian peeled off to Buckingham and a stop at Stowe Park for tea (the only rider to complete the 66m route) whilst the rest rode on to Farthinghoe for the last café stop.  Only twenty-two miles now, on familiar quiet roads, back to Northampton via Helmdon, Wappenham and Greens Norton. This group arrived in Northampton at around 5.00 p.m.

The second group finished a very good lunch by 2.00 p.m. and split for the return journey.  The MK riders returned via Beckley, Brill (hill !), Ludgershall and onto Buckingham, stopping at the Green Dragon Eco Centre near East Claydon for tea and possibly even cakes!

This left 4 riders to return via Islip and a detour via Brackley for tea and cookies, sitting in the late afternoon sun outside a café before returning to the original route to Northampton arriving at 6.15 p.m.

A donation of £85 has been sent to http://www.headwaynorthampton.org.uk/

Who was Guy Barber ? Please see our web site http://www.ctc-northampton.org.uk/history.html

Thanks to all who supported this event.

Two rides on Saturday morning, 29th July

Phil L has organised these rides and offers the following outline:
Start: 9.30 a.m.
Meeting point: Moulton Co-op (Stocks Hill, NN3 7TB)
Distance: 43 miles (brisk), 37 miles (moderate)
Refreshments: Mini-Meadows, Welford
Outline: Moulton to South Kilworth, then Welford and return to Moulton.
GPX tracks:
Further details: Phil is on 07867388592.

Sunday 23 July – Annual Guy Barber Memorial Rides

Brian, our Rides Secretary, writes about one of the high points of  our calendar:

Start times: 8.15 a.m. (97 miles); 9.45 a.m. (66 miles or 56 miles)
Start points: Overslade Close, East Hunsbury NN4 0RZ (97 miles); Market Square, Buckingham, MK18 1NJ (66 miles or 56 miles)
Parking in Buckingham:  Cornwalls Meadow Car Park MK18 1RP is free on Sundays.  It is well signposted and is off the High Street behind Waitrose.
Refreshments: Twyford Village Shop (coffee), Café Couscous Oxford (lunch) on all three rides.  Afternoon stops: Farthingstone on 97-mile ride; Stowe Park on 66-mile ride; Hogshaw on 56-mile ride.

Every year we host the Guy Barber Memorial Ride in aid of the local branch of Headway.  Guy was a member of CTC Northampton and a supporter of the charity.  He had two favourite rides: one to Cambridge and one to Oxford.  On one occasion he rode both routes on the same day!  For 10 years we have ridden the Cambridge / St Neots route in his memory.  This year we are riding to Oxford for the first time.

To enable everyone to lunch together in Oxford we have two start points.  The long ride (97m) starts in East Hunsbury at 8.15am and the other two options (66m and 56m) start in Buckingham at 9.45am and join the group from Northampton as we ride to the community-run shop and café in Twyford village.

Lunch is in Oxford at Café Couscous.  This serves a wide range of sandwiches, baguettes, and Mediterranean dishes including vegan options; good coffee and tea as well.  Bikes can be left outside in view of the seating or one can sit outside with them.  Within fifty metres, there is both a pub serving lunches and a Subway franchise.

Most of the route is on fairly quiet country roads and is undulating rather than hilly.  Then from the outskirts of Oxford there are good cycle paths into the city centre, some separated from the main road.

A donation of £5 to Headway Northampton is requested.   For planning purposes we would be grateful for an email if you intend to ride, stating from which start point.

The options

Route 1 Start 8.15 a.m. from East Hunsbury.

Route is Stoke Bruerne, Leckhampstead, Buckingham (20m).  Meet others. Twyford  (Coffee 27m), Boarstal, Oxford (46m).  Return: Islip, Kirtlington (59m) from where there is a National Route (unsurfaced road/track) for two miles to Tackley Station (OK in the dry) and then Steeple Aston to Somerton. (If wet there is a direct route on the road from Kirtlington to Somerton.)  Farthingstone (Café 77m), Wappenham, Greens Norton, Tiffield and back to East Hunsbury (97m).

Link https://ridewithgps.com/routes/23029855

Route 2 Start 9.45 a.m. from Buckingham Market Square.

Route is Twyford (Coffee 7m), Boarstal, Oxford (25m).  Return: Islip, Kirtlington (38m) from where there is a National Route (unsurfaced road/track) for two miles to Tackley Station (OK in the dry) and then Steeple Aston to Somerton. (If wet there is a direct route on the road from Kirtlington to Somerton.)  Leave Route 1 at Ayhno (52m), Finmere, Stowe Park (64m – café possibly), Buckingham (66m).

Link https://ridewithgps.com/routes/23028989

Route 3  Start 9.45 a.m. from Buckingham Market Square.

Route Twyford Village Shop (Coffee 7m), Boarstal, Oxford (25m).  Return: Beckley, Horton-cum-Studley, Brill (40m) Hogshaw Green Dragon Eco Centre (Café 47m), East Claydon, Gawcott, Buckingham (56m). This is a very flat route, easy going.

Link https://ridewithgps.com/routes/23029058

More details?  Contact Brian Tunbridge (tel: 01604 622073; text: 07722 055149).

Many thanks!  We look forward to seeing you!