Ride to the Folly for a Flyover (http://www.follyforaflyover.co.uk/)
Ride to the Folly for a Flyover (http://www.follyforaflyover.co.uk/)
On a beautiful Sunday morning, I rode up to the new entrance of Clapham Junction train station to join Vanessa for the ride up to the Folly in Hackney Wick. First of a series WCC she will lead this year (check our LCC page and Cog newsletter for more info)
Whilst waiting to see if any other people would be joining us, Vanessa lent me her ears whilst I started chatting. I think Mr Chatterbox hat may have been made with me in mind! We waited till just after 10, and then headed off, down St Johns Hill, turned left to pick up the new CS8 for a bit. Needless to say the conversation turned to its benefits and shortfalls. Leaving the CS8 route we continued on Battersea Park road on to Vauxhall.
Making full use of the current cycle path we passed the spaghetti junction at Vauxhall, and carried on along the river, conversation in full flow. More conversation now than monologue. Past St Thomas, and onto the South Bank and the food stalls being step up for the weekend food fare our appetites (not sated by breakfasts before the ride) we realised a food stop was necessary if we were to cycle to the wilds of East London. So a little bit further on just past the Tate we stopped for some food & a drink.
Hunger satisfied we carried on to join Southwark Cyclists (http://southwarkcyclists.org.uk/) at London Bridge, arriving a little late, perhaps because of the food break and engaging conversation. After introductions and discussions on preferred routes we quickly carried on. Down Tooley Street, past the London Dungeon, towards Tower Bridge. Left turn onto the bridge, and over the river which was quite busy at the time with boats going both directions. Leaving the Tower of London on our left, we crossed over to drop down into St Katherine Docks and into Wapping along the garden canals to Shadwell and then on to the Limehouse basin.
The weather glorious, the water enchanting, our meandering cycle alongside the old quayside, and the canal on quiet paths (shared use - pedestrian and cyclists) was fantastic. Before long we were heading up the Regents canal towards Victoria Park. For the benefit of or companions who were new to the area we came off the canal to head over the Green Bridge (blue CS2 clearly visible below). Unfortunately the Green Bridge is currently being worked on, so wasn't as green as it has been or surely will be again in the future. We soon came up to Vicky Park (as the locals call it) which is in Tower Hamlets, not in Hackney as we were duly informed by Alan born and breed Eastender. Whilst tempted at another coffee stop at the Pavilion Cafe (http://www.the-pavilion-cafe.com/), as we were running a little late we pressed onto the Folly.
Leaving the park we picked up the canal again, once past the Olympic stadium in the East we had to cross the canal. The pedestrian bridge over the canal is currently being worked on, and we had to lift our bikes "through" a wall which was part of the works. Clearly not too much thought has been given to the "canal path users" for the duration of the works. It only provided a passing obstacle, once on the other side we quickly arrived at the Folly.
Parked up the bikes, sat down and with a café at the centre of the Folly we were tempted by the food (bagels & ice cream) and drinks (coffees & teas no alcohol before 6 pm) and more chatter. Our favourite topic – you guessed it – cycling.
One by one we explored the Folly, which was the object of our ride, but the water was too seductive. We were soon hiring rowing boats and teams formed for an impromptu race. The boats however cute and small were a challenge to keep upright and on course. Vanessa could be heard back in Battersea laughing from both fear and joy, much like a child, on being back on the water and the possibility of being it.
It was a win for the girls (how Colin ended up in the girl’s boat rather than boy’s I don’t know) and safely back on terra ferma the general consensus was it was time for a drink (alcoholic that is but as it was only 3pm we had no choice but to leave the Folly).
Back on our bikes we headed north along the canal before crossing over and dropping down to London Fields. Enroute, as it is with all good rides and well-timed it must be said, the puncture of the day occurred but within walking distance of the park. Colin, a being a well prepared rider had spare inner tubes and set about sorting his steed.
With a suitable spot in the sun chosen, Pub in the Park (http://www.pubonthepark.com/ - the starting point of the infamous Dunwich Dynamo) providing the drinks, punctures repaired, more chatter followed. Suddenly a few rounds in and it was late afternoon and stomachs started to grumble, cyclists must be well fed and watered on these gruelling rides. Luckily Heather knew a good Turkish food place locally and an away team was sent off to get some food. However Vanessa & I had already set out hearts on Indian back in our home turf of Wandsworth.
We said our good byes to the Southwark cyclists, and started to roll back across town, basking in the late afternoon sun. We left London Fields down Broadway Market (where there is a pub which has an excellent selection of beers from around the world). Past Hackney City Farm to Hackney Road then on to Old Street. We made a pit stop in Look Mum No Hands (http://www.lookmumnohands.com/ - a great place to socialise with other cyclists and watch the seasons’ road races). Carried on and turned left to go around the market (near Farringdon) dropped into Bug Bugs pedicab base where Vanessa gave me a tour of their cavernous space under the Holborn viaduct. We then continued our journey along Fleet Street to Aldwych, down the Strand then along the Mall which was closed to motor traffic, just people and people on bikes to be seen. No Royal Wedding, no event, just closed to motor traffic, a joy to ride and weave amongst the crowds taking full advantage of wide avenue. The road is the inspiration for “red carpet” as it is royal private road (open to most road traffic at the Queen’s discretion) and designated by its red service. We pressed on past Victoria to Chelsea Bridge, over the river the a right turn into Battersea park. So green and quiet, with the sunlight passing through the trees, reminding us what a treasure we have on our doorstep. Out of the park, turned left then picked up CS8 again. With our new objective of Tooting and a promise of a curry, we forged ahead via Northcote Road and the back streets Wandsworth to our final destination the Lahore restaurant.
The much needed curry ended a fabulous day, with wonderful people & fantastic sights. Looking forward to the next one, hope that some of you will join us.
Link to photos
This post was edited by jon_events at 6:18pm 20 November 2012.