1. Lord Mayors Show ride
  2. London Bridge to Clissold and Finsbury Parks

Lord Mayors Show Ride

This is a ride that Werner has led for many years. This is the first ride post pandemic. Here is his report, edited a bit by Bruce.

We were around 19 at Canada Water for the start. Jamaica Road went smoothly, all lights as one group, and we first needed several phases for Borough High St. Southwark Bridge is strange, lots of signs in the lane suggesting it’s closed but no sign of any real obstacles. Mandatory stop for Dick Whittington’s house and then Bucklersbury. I was slightly shocked when I saw horses and carriages ahead but they turned to pick up passengers at Mansion House. Our riders were very happy and took lots of photos. Fewer foot soldiers than in previous years, maybe because we arrived at a slightly different time. But they started to close Queen Victoria St off with barriers so we left and claimed ownership of the stretch to Blackfriars, those who hadn’t been on a Lord Mayor’s ride were impressed. The contraflow onto CS3 isn’t as scary as it used to be, there’s now a bit of bike lane in our direction. Not into Middle Temple but sneaking through Pleydell Ct into Fleet Street. A very nice policeman chatted with us and told us other policemen would shout at us in four minutes. Some spectators in Fleet Street but gaps between them. At least some in camping chairs and we got them to cheer us. Another friendly policeman told us we had to walk past the law courts, if I recall correctly that was a first, and I could ride it when I checked the route at 8:30. So more walking than in previous years and I switched to plan B: a spoiler/trailer for the BBC Centenary ride planned for next year. Stop at Bush House and then Marconi House to show the plaque and pointing out that the Strand has changed a lot and more to expect when it’s finished. Along the Strand (and getting honked at by drivers who wanted to get onto Waterloo Bridge) and down Savoy Hill to point out where the BBC started. Time in hand and a warning from a steward that Blackfriars was blocked, so CS3 in the other direction and over Westminster Bridge. Approaching it I thought the climate protesters were out in numbers but the flags looked wrong: the downstream pavement and bike lane was full of Albanians complaining about Braverman. At Blackfriars Bridge riders started to drop out, some to cross it and try to see the Lord Mayor’s coach. We didn’t have any problems with pedestrians when going past Borough Market and returned at 12:03.

Everybody had enjoyed the ride, watching the carriages arrive was the highlight.

Ride to Clissold and Finsbury Parks

Clissold Park

13 riders at London Bridge ready to ride across the river and explore 2 notable parks. The New River, the man-made river that has been supplying clean water to London for over 400 years, runs through both parks and was a theme for much of this ride.

Started out over London Bridge and then the City on the east side to avoid the closed roads due to the Lord Mayors Show. Steady progress past Liverpool St station, Bunhill fields (where Wiliam Blake is buried), the Eagle pub on City Rad (Pop goes the weasel), over the canal at Packington Bridge and on the Canonbury. First sight of the New River at the end of Canonbury St. Next some quiet streets passing Canonbury Station to Clissold Park. Looked at the goats and the deer, a bit of the new river.  the mansion, and one of the lakes. Exited the park to Queen Elizabeth’s Walk which took is to the Woodbury Wetlands. Stopped here at the reflecting globe water sculpture on the New River Path next to the New River itself. Some smart apartments here with views across one of he 2 reservoirs. Continued north across Seven Sisters Rd and Green Lanes to Finsbury Park. Up the hill past the running track to the boating lake. Attractive Café which led to a near mutiny as several riders considered we were well past time for a coffee. Reassured them coffee was imminent and we cycled down the hill, crossing Seven Sisters Rd again and cycling via Alexandra Grove and Gloucester Drive, then across Green Lanes again and down a short path to the New River Path. Short stretch of path heading south took us over a narrow bridge to the Castle, our coffee stop.

This amazing building does look like a castle. I was a Victorian pumping station but is now a large indoor climbing centre. Most of us had a peep at the many climbers doing their stuff before adjourning for some excellent coffee and snacks, enjoyed in sunshine. The Power Ball I consumed was just perfect for fuelling me on the rest of the ride. Our route proceeded west and south past the Emirates Stadium and eventually reaching and crossing Pentonville Rd. Stopped briefly at Claremont Square. This is a grass-covered reservoir. It was a 19th century addition to the New River system that allowed more water to be distributed to a growing city. Next went down Rosebery Avenue, round Lincolns Inn Fields, down Bow St past Covent Garden Opera house (thronging with pedestrians) and across Waterloo Bridge. On the south side of the bridge over half the group decided to take a more direct route home and in the end just 3 of us completed the entire circuit back the London Bridge at about 1.20pm.

So much to see on this ride that we need to allow a bit more time if we do it again. I think we will repeat it given all the interesting places that are on the route.

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