CENTRAL LONDON CTC

Central London CTC blog

Ride reports, maps, pictures, announcements and other news …

Archive for January 2018

Blue plaque ride, January 2018

Posted on Monday 15 January 2018 by Charles Harvey

For some years, Brian has led a ride visiting blue plaques in Camden and I have led one that visits blue plaques in Barnet. Last year we combined the two rides. It went well so we did it again this year.

13 riders met up by Finchley Road station at 10.00 and headed up a very steep slope that one had to push up. Our first stop was the plaque to Sidney and Beatrice Webb, who helped found both the Fabian Society and the London School of Economics. It would take pages to list every plaque, memorial or grave we looked at but those commemorated included Sigmund Freud, Edward Elgar, John Constable, Cecil Sharp, Robert Louis Stevenson, Evelyn Waugh, Harold Wilson, Tony Hancock and Ralph Richardson.

The route climbed up through Hampstead Village to the Whitestone Pond then down through North End to lunch at the café at Golders Hill Park. We then rode round the original part of Hampstead Garden Suburb and the Hampstead Heath Extension before pushing our bikes up a steep path on Hampstead Heath to near the Spaniards Inn. We returned to the Whitestone Pond and then descended past the plaque commemorating Paul Robeson’s time in London. A few doors away, I spotted another plaque to an Alfred Reynolds, a Hungarian philosopher and poet that even the Hungarian on our ride had never heard of. Can anyone enlighten me on how he came to get a blue plaque? We finished at the café at the Camden Arts Centre, close to our original start point.

The ride seems to have gone down well and Brian and I hope to lead another blue plaque ride next year. No doubt, we will tweak the route slightly. One thing we will change is to add to the entry on the rides list the advice to bring extra warm clothing. The ride is inevitably a stop start one as we stop to look at blue plaques and hear about the people they commemorate. So one does not build up heat as one would on a continuous ride. Two riders left the ride, one in the morning and one after lunch, as they were getting too cold.

Spyride

Posted on Monday 8 January 2018 by Charles Harvey

This ride with an espionage theme was led under  Spokes’ auspices but was also put on the CLCTC rides list as a one star ride. It’s a ride I’ve led many times before and, since many people have already ridden it and it was very cold, I wasn’t expecting large numbers. Rather to my surprise, 16 people turned up at our rendezvous point at the Cha Café in Cassiobury Park.

Almost at once, we hit our first problem. Jiten had a puncture within a minute of starting. As we were just outside Watford Metropolitan Line Station and he could get home easily, he decided to turn back rather than let the rest of us get very cold while it was fixed. This self-sacrifice is much appreciated and I look forward to seeing him again on future rides.

From Watford, the ride went up through Whippendell Wood to Chandlers Cross and then to Belsize and Flaunden. All the time we were climbing gradually to the top of this part of the Chilterns. It was sunny and the wooded landscape looked attractive. We arrived at The Green Dragon at Flaunden at 12.00 just as it opened. The Green Dragon used to serve mainly Thai food but nowadays serves traditional pub grub and, this being Sunday, Sunday roast.

In the early 1950s, Guy Burgess often stayed in Flaunden and was a regular drinker at this pub. One day the landlord noticed Burgess in deep conversation with another man he did not recognise. Days later, the papers were full of details of the defection of Guy Burgess and Donald Maclean to Moscow complete with photos and the landlord recognised who the other man was. More details here.

After lunch, we returned to Watford via Sarratt, which is the home of the Circus’s training school for agents in John Le Carre’s spy novels. We were going mainly downhill now and made it back to Watford about 15.00. The ride didn’t so much finish as disintegrate as riders peeled off to go to their homes. We planned to visit the Cha Café again, but with a queue stretching back to the entrance, we decided it wasn’t worth waiting and headed to Watford Junction station.

 

Epping Forest Transport Action Group

Posted on Saturday 6 January 2018 by Richard Philpott

As our rides frequently take us through the Epping Forest area, some of you may be interested in a group that has recently been formed to campaign for improved transport there. The Epping Forest Transport Action Group say that one of their highest priorities is developing and improving the cycling infrastructure.

They’d appreciate additional support from local cyclists, and have sent out the following invitation:

“If you’d like to meet us, we will be in the Last Post, in Loughton IG10 1BB on Saturday 24 February from 13.00 to 15.00. Allow us to buy you a drink and introduce ourselves. Even if you could only stop in for a few minutes, it would be great to see you.”

You can find out more, and sign up for their newsletter, on the EFTAG website.

 

Beer and Bunyan ride 23 Dec 2017

Posted on Monday 1 January 2018 by Charles Harvey

I’ve never led a ride so close to Christmas before so I was unsure how many riders I’d get. In the event, we had seven on the ride. As it was almost the shortest day of the year, the ride was inevitably a short one, especially as it included a trip to a brewery.

I first came across Farr Brew when I tried their beer at a blues gig by The Untouchables at Wheathampstead and I came across their beer again at the Kimpton Folk Festival. I’m always on the lookout for interesting places to take bike rides to so I’ve wanted to lead a ride to their brewery for some time. I finally found an open day at the brewery when I was free to lead a ride on the 23rd December. We rode out to the brewery, which is in farm outbuildings at Colemans Green, via Sandridgebury and Sandridge, taking about an hour. We stopped to have a look at the remains of a cottage where John Bunyan is believed to have stayed while preaching in the area. There’s no way or proving it but I’m inclined to believe that the tradition is true. Though Bunyan was based in Bedford, he did preach extensively in Hertfordshire and the county was a centre of religious dissent.

At the brewery, we had a half hour talk on how beer is brewed and the opportunity to have a beer there or take a bottle with us. Then it was back past the John Bunyan cottage to the John Bunyan pub for lunch.

After lunch, we had a short ride though Symondshyde Great Wood and Peacock Hill back to Sandridge for tea at the newly opened Heartwood Tea Rooms. Then it was back to St Albans while it was still light to catch the 15.48 train back to London.

My thanks to Pat Wheeler for acting as backstop throughout the ride.

Use of cookies and logging on this site