Central London CTC blog

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Archive for September 2009

Friday Afternoon: London’s Rooftop

Posted on Sunday 27 September 2009 by Martin Hayman

Sitting at screen on Friday afternoon. The sun is pouring in. “Hang deskwork!” say I, and cast down my mouse. Not even pausing to change, I grab the old Jack Taylor and head for the door..anything to be out in the glorious late-September sunshine.

Whither? Up the hill to Whitestone Pond. Bit of a push this, on the single speed. Hampstead Heath beckons, basking in golden light. Offroad it is then. I follow the old trail that I first beat on the Carlton track fixed, long ago. Caution on the dry dust and little pebbles that shed grip like a carpet of marbles. Up to Parliament Hill Fields, with its magnificent view clear across Central London to the North Downs beyond. I stretch out on the grass and it is so warm I doze off.

I slide off the hill and bomb down Kentish Town Road, through Camden Town and on to Regent’s Park Outer Circle, a familiar circuit. A hairy-legged ogre on a Giant comes past. I jump on his wheel and spook him for a lap. As I overtake, I am overtaken in turn by the gold-and-blue jersey of an Eagle RC. I hunker down on the bar extensions and chase. But I know this guy, and he is far too good for me, even if had my new bike and lycra instead of the 1953 Taylor and denim fatigues. I turn into the Inner Circle for a warm-down, then cross the Park on the Broad Walk, mixing with the pedestrians – it is legal now, though some scofflaws have always done it.

At exactly the appointed hour, I rendezvous with my wife at her school in Primrose Hill. Together we amble home through the back lanes of St John’s Wood.

It was the wrong bike for the hillclimb, the offroad, and the pursuit. But it was the perfect ride.

Fenland Fancy

Posted on Thursday 24 September 2009 by Stephen Taylor

It is always potluck booking a table at a pub for a bunch of hungry cyclists. Usually I make a booking for ten but will I have that many? On one occasion there was just the three of us – we were still made welcome at the pub, though. This time I had the opposite problem when the pub suddenly had to cater for twice the number! Luckily the pub, the Anchor Inn at Sutton Gault, was able to rise to the challenge. We were served excellent food and given wonderful service. more »

Heathrow and the Third Runway

Posted on Friday 18 September 2009 by John Aizlewood

Coln Valley Way

Coln Valley Way

Fuzz always leads unusual rides, particularly in West London which he knows so well, and I always learn something new. The theme of this was the villages surrounding the airport, and it’s effect on communities, particularly with further planned expansion.

I met the train at Staines, and there were several new riders including an Airnimal and Brompton in the group. We set off along an interesting combination of tracks and bridleways through the reservoirs and under the M25 junction 14 to Horton church. It was quiet today with planes taking off to the east and landing on the Northern runway. Fuzz pointed out the separate Gipsy cemetery which had impressive monuments and was beautifully maintained. more »

Alban Amble – the leader’s view

Posted on Tuesday 8 September 2009 by Rona Wightman

Six riders today, only one of whom disembarked from the scheduled train. The others were local or had come on the stopping service.  The leader’s whim was to head southwest, so we set off along the Alban Way and through the houses to emerge on Watling Street. There is a convenient underpass to get you under the A414 roundabout, and a convenient service station with M&S and coffee machine just after that. There is another convenience in Park Street next to the playing fields, so for good measure we stopped there too. Now the ride began to get rural, as we followed School Lane into the woods.

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Planes and Trains

Posted on Monday 7 September 2009 by Charles Harvey

Five people turned up for Rona’s Albans Amble, two who had come up from London and three plus Rona who lived locally. After a complex route out of St Albans we emerged at the Park Street roundabout. After a stop for a coffee for those who needed it at a garage, we rode down Watling Street before turning off toward Bricket Wood. An attractive lane though the wood led to bridlepaths that took us to Aldenham. more »

The Phoenix Trail

Posted on Wednesday 2 September 2009 by Charles Harvey

The ride had the same route as my Phoenix Trail ride last year but all the riders (apart from myself, of course) were new to it. The train came in to Princes Risborough on time and I led the group along the Phoenix Trail to Thame. The trail is a Sustrans route along a former railway line, decorated with quirky seats and art works. Passing the site of the Towersey Festival we reached Thame at about 11.30. After a quick look round the town we had an early pub lunch at The Star & Garter. The feeling of the group was that they wanted to carry on riding rather than visit the town’s museum so by 13.00 we were back on the road. We followed the minor, partly unmetalled, road via Moreton to Tetsworth and then rode via Adwell, Postcombe and Sydenham to the tea stop at The Inn at Emmington. Then it was back down the Phoenix Trail to catch the train home for the rest of the group, while I returned to the Towersey Festival.

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