1. London Bridge to Alexandra Palace
  2. Canada Water to Blackheath Pre-Marathon ride

London Bridge to Alexandra Palace

19 riders at The Needle, London Bridge for the 10am start. Weather mild, some sunshine, little wind – excellent for cycling. Uneventful run through the City with bonus of rendition of Pop goes the Weasel as we crossed City Road and passed the Eagle pub. Over the Regents Canal via Packington Bridge, then our first sighting of the New River whose route we would roughly follow. The New River was opened n 1613 to bring clean water into London from Hertfordshire. It is still an integral part of London’s water supply system – thats over 400 years!

Stop at the Mansion in Clissold Park. Some yearning looks at the coffee drinkers in the sunshine but we were on a mission and only half way.  Soon reached Woodbury Wetlands. Two small reservoirs alongside, you guessed it, the New River. One is now a nature reserve, the other has a water sports centre. Paused for photos at the Water Sphere Sculpture beside the  Woodbury Downs apartments. Looped round the north side of Finsbury Park. Another glimpse of the New River and our first hill, short and sharp up to the Oakfield Rd exit. The long climb up Oakfield Rd was tough but was followed by a steep downhill along Uplands Rd. Wound our way through Hornsey, then some handy paths to a bridge over the New River followed by an underpass at the railway. Past Alexandra Palace station and the final climb up South Terrace to the Palace itself. Longish coffee stop at the Café by the Boating Lake. Several riders ordered lunch, or was it brunch? Whichever, this was not wise as we could not linger too long.

Return started by using the paths towards Muswell Hill and continuing along the first section of the off-road Parkland Walk. This follows an old railway but runs out close to Highgate Station. A short stretch of (very) main road took us to the longer part of Parkland Walk that runs for 1.7 miles gently downhill to Finsbury Park.  Riders thought this “walk” was great. The surface was not as smooth as one might have liked, but it was god enough. Stopped at the murals and the “monster” statue high up in a brick arch.  Left the Parkland Walk straight into Finsbury Park and rode down the west side to the cycle crossing to Finsbury Park Road. Now on quiet streets for a while. Passed the old Arsenal stadium (now rather smart flats) and up to Highbury Fields. Could hear the crowd noise from the new Arsenal stadium (The Emirates) as there was a home game against Tottenham in progress. At Highbury Corner used the segregated cycle lanes to Compton Ave and then across to the LCN 7 route through Barnsbury to Roseberry Ave. Finally joined CW6 down Farringdon Rd to the Embankment where we picked up CW3 to The Monument and London Bridge. 

Lots of riders peeled off along the return leg with just 7 of us present back at The Needle.  My original estimate was that this ride would take 3.5hours. After my recce I adjusted this to 4 hours. In fact those of us who did the entire route were not back until 2.25pm, i.e. 4 hour 25 min from the start. My reputation for keeping rides to time is now in tatters!  When timing a ride need to generously allow for group size and lengthy uphills. Will try and do better in future!

Thanks to Amanda and Jean for back-marking.

Route map at https://www.google.com/maps/d/u/0/edit?mid=1dnv6oM24W_KdAC159KSjM671i69IjW7d&usp=sharing.

Lots of photos on WhatsApp (The Vulnerables).

Canada Water to Blackheath Pre-Marathon ride

Oct 2nd was the date for this year’s London Marathon. Ride Leader Simon K., a veteran of many London Marathons, took a group to see the preparations on Blackheath for the start of this amazing event.  Here is a short report from Simon.

Just 4 of us left Canada Water at 10am in very pleasant cycling conditions. At one point an officious guard blocked our way on Blackheath, I had to show him my (out of date) course pass for us to be let through. We returned by a riverside loop with a coffee stop at the City Farm. A 2½ hour ride that all seemed to enjoy.

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