1. Camden Lock
  2. Woolwich via Elizabeth Line

Camden Lock

Camden Lock – shops, markets, cafes, busy. Our destination for this ride.  16 riders started from the Southwark Needle, London Bridge with Amanda leading for an estimated 3.5 hour ride. Lots of complementary posts and photos on WhatsApp (“The Invincibles”).

Here is Amanda’s report:

Start:  London Bridge Needle, Weather was cold, dry – no wind.

Set off down Dukes St Hill, then Tooley St and right (Bermondsey St) under the Bridge.  From there headed West on a route past the Clink and a couple of diverts due to roadworks, all good.  Can no longer ride along parts of the Embankment that we did last month, due to new signage prohibiting bikes. Over Westminster Bridge and had a brilliant traffic free ride along Horse Guards/The Mall and Constitution Hill.

Through Hyde Park – astounding to see the Winter Wonderland has a temporary working replica of the London Eye.  Through Marble Arch (that’s the Law!) and a short stretch along Oxford Street with a couple of easy turns into Baker Street.  This was relatively empty, up front there was nothing ahead.  Straight on to the Outer Circle of Regents Park.  We rode clockwise and exited onto the quiet canal path alongside the unappealing wild dog & monkey enclosures of the Zoo.  Quiet roads to Camden.  We went up the High Street and some of the group loved it or reminisced of being there many years ago and recalling various events around it.  Kayla was particularly pleased to see some of the Heritage lead roofing that her Grandad had installed.

A half hour coffee/shop stop. Then canal path to Kings Cross.  We managed this well as it is a winter month with fewer walkers.  Under the tunnel at St Pancras Station and mostly C6 towards Blackfriars. Left C6 up Ludgate Hill to St Pauls Cathedral – that is huge and sprawling when you ride alongside it. From Cannon Street accessed the Thames Path and headed to Tower Bridge, then Tooley St back to London Bridge Needle for 1pm. (exactly!)

Thank you to Jamie for looking after the bikes at Camden– (pre-arranged the week before.)  Also, for doing an excellent job of Back-Marking and keeping the group tight.  We managed to get through most lights and all right turns together.  This helped tremendously with the timing of the ride. Thank you also to Mike for the picture, and to many of the group, especially Gill, for protecting my 11 year old grand-daughter Kayla on this her first SHR ride.

A very pleasant ride, I heard lots of chatting and laughter behind me.  This makes all the effort worth it.  This was a trial-run, that I think will work in the winter, so maybe a repeat next year.

Woolwich via Elizabeth Line

Just 4 riders for the start at London Bridge, but 6 during the ride back and 5 at the finish. John and Jo missed the start and caught us up using the route information from the ride notices. Stephen left during the return leg to take a short route home. So a normal sort of ride – apart from the rather low number. In fact theThe low number was fine as we were trying something new – a leg on the Elizabeth Line. This new Underground Line allows cyclists at non-peak time and is entirely step free. So this ride was to test how cycle friendly it is.

Headed off from the Needle across London Bridge and along Cycleway 3 then Cannon St Rd to the back entrance of Whitechapel Station in Durward St. In and through the ticket barrier to 2 lifts. First is short and adjacent steps are easy for a bike carry. Second lift drops farther. We managed to get 4 bikes into it, just. On the platform boarded a train that was waiting. In back carriage so room for bikes at the very rear. Also handy as close to the lifts. Lovely smooth ride to Woolwich Arsenal (just 12 min) and one lift up to the surface, with the ticket barrier and exit close to the lift. Arrangement at Woolwich is very easy for bikes.

Exit took us immediatly into the new Woolwich Arsenal development with a 300m traffic free ride down to the river past the new Woolwich Works venue. Admired the “Assembly” of steel, life-size men by Peter Burke (see photo) then set off along the Thames path in a homeward direction. Thames path STILL closed for 300 m west of the ferry, so a diversion up to the main road. Back on the Thames path to the Flood Barrier. There were a group of photographers with their gear where we stopped for a look at the Barrier. We were surprised to be greeted by one of them who is an occasional Healthy Rider! Next surprise was the arrival of Jo and John who as mentioned above had missed the start. Continued on the riverside route until Anchor and Hope Lane where we headed inland to find the realtively new segregated cycle track along the busy A206 Woolwich Rd.

There will eventually be a fully segregated track all the way from Woolwich to London Bridge. The aim was to cycle as much of this as possible. The track runs past the new shopping area at Charlton where we stopped a Costa for break. Continued into Greenwich where the track along the main road ends and the cycle route is Old Charlton Rd, Royal College, Cutty Sark and back to the cycleway at the Norman Rd junction (near Waitrose). The next section is newly completed and rather nice. Runs for 2km through Deptford and nearly to the Surrey Quays one way system. Diverted into the new develoment on the river side of the road and used a quiet route past Greenland Dock and the Shopping Centre, emerging again on the A200 at Hothfield Place. Short stretch without a segregated lane before we joined the Cycleway 4 cycle lanes. At this point, approaching the tunnel roundabout, we passed the first road works for the stretch of C4 through the gyratory. This will to link the new lanes from Greenwich and the sightly older bit we were about to ride and will hopefully be finished in Spring 2024 (more info here).

Last stretch along Jamaica Rd went smoothly and we were back at London Bridge just after 12.30 as planned. An interesting ride. The cycle way from Woolwich to London Bridge will be very useful when finished. Even now, despite the gaps, it provides a pretty good route. As for the Elizabeth Line. It is loverly!

Report by Bruce who led, route at https://www.google.com/maps/d/u/0/edit?mid=1nujZlPNfM3mgdvopajntQ8sR419qtKE&usp=sharing

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