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Archive for the ‘One star rides’ Category

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.

Coastal meander 24th July 2016

Posted on Wednesday 31 August 2016 by Anna Bagi

The two bike ladies I shared the lift with a few months ago at Stratford International have no idea that they gave me the idea for this route. I was looking for something a bit different from the usual country lanes, something easy, picturesque and by the sea. With some patchy information and ideas I searched for cycle routes on the shore and came across the Viking Trail. I was a bit dubious first, but after the recce I had no doubt that this would be a success. And it was. Of course the route is not enough, you need people to make it work and have fun. Despite the large number, the group managed to stay together nicely and make it a really enjoyable day and an easy lead.

I was a bit anxious at Stratford International, whether I would be able to board the train, especially when a group of cyclists arrived. I told them that I had to get on the train as I was leading a ride, they were very supportive, but the 12 carriage train swallowed all the bikes easily.

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Flamstead Scarecrow Festival – another view

Posted on Wednesday 31 August 2016 by Sue Dorey

Charles Harvey’s one star ride to Flamstead Scarecrow festival on 21st August  was not your usual outing. The ratio of scarecrows viewed to miles ridden was a record high (something like 30 to 21) . You could vote for your favourite scarecrow, but I found I was not allowed to nominate our ride leader, on the grounds that Charles is a human being. But I ask you, look at the photos below, can YOU tell the difference ? (Clue: the scarecrow is better dressed. And better looking).

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Flamstead Scarecrow Festival – the leader’s view

Posted on Wednesday 31 August 2016 by Charles Harvey

On the third weekend in August, Flamstead, normally a quiet Hertfordshire village, turns into a surreal 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.

Five riders left Harpenden station and got to Flamstead about 11.30 and, after coffee, tea and cakes in the village hall, we gave ourselves plenty of time to look around. We then decided to move on to the village of Studham for a late lunch at The Bell. We were heading into the fringes of the Chilterns and gradually climbing. After lunch, we headed back to Flamstead rather faster with the wind and the gradient in our favour. The festival was beginning to wind down. Tea and coffee were still available but the cakes had run out. We enjoyed the music of the Hemel Hempstead Band and headed back to Harpenden station in time for the 17.53 train home.

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Mackerye End Gardens

Posted on Wednesday 22 June 2016 by Charles Harvey

I have to confess that I’m not that interested in gardening but my last three rides have been to a flower show and to two gardens open to the public as part of the National Gardens Scheme (NGS). They make for a pleasant destination for a ride and usually have the added attraction of excellent cake stalls.

This ride was to Mackerye End, a grade 1 listed manor house. I’d cycled past it many times but this was the first opportunity I’d had to visit it so I jumped at the chance. Eight met up at St Albans. There was a bit of a hiccup as one of our number realised that she had left a pannier on the train so while she spoke to the station staff about it I rang ahead to confirm lunch.

We left St Albans through Bernards Heath, had a quick look at the pre-Roman fortifications to the north of the town, then rode on through Sandridgebury, Sandridge, Nomansland Common to Wheathampstead. There had been error over the train times in the rides list so we had an extra half hour before lunch. Some went for a short extra ride, others looked round the village.

After lunch at The Swan, we passed though Ayot St Lawrence. The chance to visit Shaw’s Corner, the former home of Bernard Shaw, playwright and CTC member, now owned by The National Trust, proved a greater attraction for some than a garden so some went there while the rest of us rode on to Mackerye End. The garden there was an interesting contrast to the one at the manor house at Ayot St Lawrence which I’d led a ride to two weeks previously. It was bigger, less manicured and had some wild areas at the edge. I leave it to others who know more about gardening than I do to add to this account.

Mackerye End

Mackerye End

After tea, it was a short ride to Harpenden. We had to go up an evil hill at Crabtree Lane to get to the station about 1.630.


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