We set off across Morden Hall Park and threaded our way through the backstreets of Mitcham and Tooting to Tooting Common. Here the dividing line on the shared footpath has been removed with the odd sign asking people to be considerate. Apparently there used to be a lot of conflict between walkers and cyclists as each group claimed ownership of their particular lane. With this solution people are trusted to behave responsibly.
After the common we went up Streatham Hill and down to Dulwich Park which, as usual on a Saturday, was crowded with all sorts taking exercise and thence on the long downhill stretch to Peckham Rye cafe and much needed warmth with sustenance.
Wrenching ourselves back into the cold we rode past Nunhead Cemetery and up to Telegraph Park with great views of the city and points west, Big Ben barely visible throug the tower blocks springing up in South London. Back down quiet backstreets to Peckham Rye Lane and its cosmopolitan crowds we then crossed by the Library to the cycle path along the old canal which ran to Surrey Quays, an oasis of green between housing estates
We turned into Burgess Park, built along the line of another canal where Mike recalled living and going to school and at the end turned of into Addington Square, another fragment of early Victorain London with its grand terraces. Next to this is an establishment called after Steptoe and Son, which is true to the TV series of the 60's and defies description.
After negotiating a very urban stretch across four main roads we arrived at Route 3 and the pleasant stretch through Lansdowne Gardens and Larkhall Rise.
Here the group split and the remainder went down to Battersea Park and a ride along the Thames to Wandsworth. This is a building site with both the Ram Brewery and Southside being redeveloped but behind it runs the Wandle Trail which we followed back to Morden Hall Park Cafe where the ride finished with welcome hot drinks and cake. By now the temperature was plummeting.
I recorded 29 miles with no mechanicals or flats. Many thanks to Tony for back marking.
Photos are by David.