CENTRAL LONDON CTC

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Archive for the ‘One star rides’ Category

Flamstead Scarecrow Festival

Posted on Monday 14 August 2017 by Charles Harvey

Flamstead is normally a quiet Hertfordshire village but once a year it turns into a surrealistic environment. The whole village is full of scarecrows. The reason for this is the annual Scarecrow Festival held in support of local Multiple Sclerosis charities. There are barbeques, live music, morris dancing – the whole village is en fete.

Nine riders met up at Harpenden station and got to Flamstead about 11.15. After the obligatory coffee, tea and cakes in the village hall, most of us decided to ride on to the village of Studham for lunch at The Red Lion. We were heading into the fringes of the Chilterns and gradually climbing. After lunch, we headed back to Flamstead rather faster with the gradient in our favour. We arrived at Trowley Bottom at the fringe of the village to find the Aldbury morris dancers performing outside the Rose and Crown. Our ride to the centre of the village was enlivened by the sight of a huge Co-Op lorry stuck in one of the narrow twisty lanes unable to move. The driver had to call the police to sort out the resulting traffic chaos. We were glad we were on bicycles.

Back at the village hall three of our number decided to head straight back to Harpenden. The remaining six enjoyed more tea and cakes, more folk dancing and an entertaining ukulele band. We left at 16.30 and headed back to the station stopping to help a cyclist who had punctured twice and was walking her bike back to Harpenden. It was a good team effort and we soon got her back on the road. We got back to find that a fast train to St Pancras was leaving in few minutes.

Ride to Ayot St Lawrence Gardens on11th June

Posted on Tuesday 13 June 2017 by Charles Harvey

Another ride and another visit to gardens open under the National Gardens Scheme. My rides in the summer may be a bit formulaic but it’s a formula that seems to be popular. I was joined by eight other riders at St Albans City station, including two who’d travelled from Oxfordshire. After clearing St Albans, we headed via Sandridge to Charlie’s at Wheathampstead for brunch. Charlie’s has become an increasingly popular destination for cycling clubs and large numbers of bikes were parked outside the café when we got there, including a contingent from Islington CC who had ridden all the way from London.

Some of our number rode direct to Ayot St Lawrence, others chose a longer and much hillier route. Though the ride had been planned to visit the two gardens open to the public that day there was also an art exhibition in the village’s distinctive Palladian church and a beer festival at the Brocket Arms so all tastes were catered for.

There were two gardens to look at, a large garden at West House and on the other side of the road a smaller one at 2 Ruins Cottages (not a comment on the state of the cottages, they are situated next to a ruined church). The latter was smaller with bowers looking out on to the garden. The weather was fine, the gardens beautiful, the beer good and the cakes delicious. All seemed right with the world.

We took a direct route home along the Sandridge to St Albans Road, arriving at the station just as the 17.04 train to London pulled into the platform.

My thanks to Colin Wing for acting as backstop throughout the day.

St Paul’s Walden Bury – 14th May

Posted on Thursday 18 May 2017 by Charles Harvey

I’m not much of a gardener but when I am looking for ideas on rides to lead in the summer the first place I look is the National Gardens Scheme website. This guarantees an attractive destination and a good variety of cakes.

For once Network Rail failed to disrupt the ride and, to my surprise, all the riders arrived on the expected train. As the garden did not open until 14.00 we could afford to take our time. We set off for elevenses at Charlie’s in Wheathampstead and then went on to lunch at Emily’s at Whitwell, both well-known cyclists’ watering holes. At Emily’s we met up with three members of Barnet Cyclists also heading for the gardens.

En-route to the gardens

St Paul’s Walden Bury, our destination, was the childhood home of the Queen Mother and is still in hands of the Bowes Lyon family. The grounds are bigger and shaggier than some of the gardens I’ve visited. The efforts of the gardeners have gone into producing fine vistas rather than manicured flower beds. more »

Chilly Hilly

Posted on Thursday 4 May 2017 by John Silvertown

Not so chilly as hilly! Brian O’Reilly took us on a roller coaster of a ride, along some high ridges, and up and down and sideways along the valleys from Chalfont and Latimer to Chesham. On the way there were some spectacular views of the countryside, It was a complicated route which he navigated perfectly along a series of beautiful country lanes and through some picture postcard villages.We paid a short visit to St Marys Church near Wendover where although no tea and cakes were forthcoming we saw some exceptional stained glass windows. No one was lost and we all felt reinvigorated by this exceptionally invigorating ride.

 
 

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The day we met a Dame

Posted on Monday 3 April 2017 by John Silvertown

What a wonderful ride with an average speed of 14km/h! Watch out two star here we come!

Tonbridge is where we cut our teeth this week. Some off-road through woods but mostly on-road. Pleasant views. Plenty of slopes and some hills. 40km, with 570m of climbing in total. A short visit to the Chiding Stone followed by a surprise tea at Cafe 1809 where we were served by no less a personage than Dame Kelly Holmes who was a real inspiration. Thank you Lisa and Roy for a great day out.

 

 

Charlie’s and Emily’s

Posted on Tuesday 31 January 2017 by Charles Harvey

The plan for the ride was to “Learn that CTC stands for Café to Café or, alternatively, Coffee, Tea and Cakes. Your chance to visit two well-known cyclists’ refreshment stops, Charlie’s in Wheathampstead and Emily’s in Whitwell.” It seemed that it would be a straight forward ride to lead. But then I had not reckoned with the railways …

I wrote in an earlier blog that “I sometimes suspect that Network Rail has a specialist unit that monitors the CTC rides list and then plans engineering work to disrupt it.” These dark suspicions were strengthened by my experience with today’s ride. On Thursday night, I checked the National Rail Enquiries website for train times to St Albans and discovered that no train times on Sunday were listed. Having checked the Thameslink website well in advance re: planned engineering work, I was rather surprised so I checked it again. The only engineering work listed was at the other end of the line between Three Bridges and Brighton. I could relax.

Then on Friday I got an email from Anna more »

Blue plaque ride

Posted on Tuesday 17 January 2017 by Charles Harvey

This ride was listed as a “Tour of Hampstead, Golders Green and Hampstead Garden Suburb to see where the great and the good lived”. The ride was created by combining a ride that Brian led last year for CLCTC and a ride that I had led for Barnet Cyclists in the past. I went on Brian’s ride last year and realised that the most northern part of his ride met up with the most southerly part of mine and suggested that we combine forces and lead a joint blue plaques ride in 2017.

About 15 riders met up by Finchley Road station at 11.00 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, Hugh Gaitskell, Robert Louis Stevenson, Alistair Sim, Evelyn Waugh, Harold Wilson, Tony Hancock and Ralph Richardson. more »

Epping Forest in Autumn

Posted on Tuesday 15 November 2016 by Charles Harvey

Considering its proximity to London, I was surprised to find that there hadn’t been a CLCTC ride in Epping Forest for over two years. The main roads through it are very busy though this doesn’t seem to put off the many road riders you see on them. But for me the appeal is the off-road routes on the forest paths.

Five riders met up at Chingford Station on a sunny but cold morning. We started with a visit to The View, the City of London’s visitor centre to learn about the history, flora and fauna of the forest. We also looked at Queen Elizabeth’s Hunting Lodge which is next door. We then headed along the forest paths to High Beech. A map reading error lead to an unplanned visit to look at the blue plaque to the poet John Clare who was in an asylum on the edge of the forest.

The planned coffee stop at High Beech was not a success as it involved queueing in the cold for some time while the kiosk tried to cope with another larger cycling group who had got there before us. We were glad to warm up again riding to the lunch stop at The Forest Gate, a pub at Bell Common at the north end of the forest. We arrived there at 12.30 just before it got very crowded. We were well looked after there and I’ll use it again on another ride.

Given the queues in the morning at High Beech, we decided not to stop there in the afternoon and rode on to Butlers Retreat for tea. As it is only 5 minutes’ ride from Chingford Station, two of our number headed straight for the station while the rest of us stopped for hot drinks. By the time we were finished it was beginning to rain so we cycled quickly to the station.

This is the first time I’ve led a ride in Epping Forest. If I was doing it again I use the same route but leave the visit to the visitor centre and the hunting lodge to the end of the ride so we can get to pub for lunch early before it gets busy. I’d probably do it in December or January when the days are shortest as the ride finished in mid-afternoon.

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