Sunday, 17 October 2021

Beddington Park cyclists raise a cup of tea in memory of Brian Moore, 16 October

 


The Coach House cafe, Coombe Wood, Croydon


Brian Moore's widow, Regina, asked us to raise a cup of tea in memory of Brian next time we met. 

Thursday, 14 October 2021

Last of the season. All day ride and picnic at Bedfont Lakes, 9 October

Report by Tony Hooker




11 riders left Nonsuch Park on a foggy morning, our first coffee stop was at the Pheasantry Cafe in Bushy Park where we met up with a long lost cyclist Edie Cornes

Continuing our ride to the Bedfont lakes, by now the fog had lifted
We had our picnic next to the Wardens Lodge where they served refreshments
After exploring the lakes we moved off heading for the river Thames at Laleham we then followed the river as far as Walton Bridge where we stopped for tea at the Community Cafe




After 30 miles we arrived back at Nonsuch Park
Thanks to Helen for back marking
See you all next year

Saturday, 9 October 2021

Beginners Saturday ride to Wimbledon 9 October

Report by Ian Prince


Just three of us took the long ride today, the rest going on the short ride to Long Ditton. 

Anyway despite a pinch puncture near the Hamptons (my second issue of the day….I missed the all day Saturday ride due to a blown out valve earlier in the morning, on my way to Nonsuch), you come prepared and with second tube of the day inserted we made it to Wimbledon Mill cafe for a drink. 


Wimbledon Common




Strange what you come across in Richmond Park, London. 



Random cyclist in a dutch velomobile who turms out to be in one of my other racing clubs. So I asked if I could try it! Tight clearances all round. But it does have a charge point for two mobile phones as it also has a decent on board 5v output battery for front and rear lights too.  Aerodynamic and with huge luggage space at rear, quite pratical too. 

Anyway, I didnt try a drive off! 

So we returned to our own bikes for a smooth run back to Sutton as the dusk set in. 

Monday, 27 September 2021

Brian Moore

Brian Moore has died, peacefully in hospital, following pneumonia.



Brian (right) with Ken and Roger with Beginners in Morden Hall Park in 2017


Those of you who were regulars at Beddington Park Beginners a few years back may well remember Brian Moore, Mancunian returned from many years' working in the USA, where he was an accomplished mountain biker.

During his time riding with us he sadly and slowly developed dementia and Maggie and sometimes Paul, and Roger and Anna, would go and pick him up from his home in Croydon and take him home when the ride was finished, with Maggie "minding" him during the ride.

Lovely man, good fun, good company.

He stopped riding with us when his family moved home to Morden from where it was impracticable, given his deteriorating condition, to collect and deliver him.

There will be no funeral ceremony.  His wife asks us to "raise a cup of tea" to his memory.


Wednesday, 22 September 2021

If you go down to the Park today........Beddington Beginners, 18 September

It was Wandle Fortnight and Beddington Park Saturday was ridiculous; traffic jams as dozens of cars vied for limited car parking spaces.  When eventually we fought through the traffic and got to the Pavilion Cafe, we found Colin fit again but nobody with any firm plans about where to go.  There were eight of us, including Jackie, a newcomer, who is recovering from injury and preferred a shorter ride than some of the group wanted, so we decided to offer two rides.  The Wandle Trail was to be avoided, given the likely crowds of walkers, so Colin took Jackie and Paul B to Telegraph Track in an effort to rendezvous with the short ride from Nonsuch.  Paul J took Maggie, Ken, Anna and Roger on the (nearly) flat route to Crystal Palace.

To get to Crystal Palace we went at a leisurely pace along the start of this year's Greenwich ride as far as South Norwood Country Park.  Then, cutting north for Crystal Palace Park, we avoided the mistake we made last time and on this occasion religiously obeyed the traffic flow laws.




We had good coffee and tea and excellent cake at Brown and Greens near the "Dinosaur Playground".  The dinosaurs are stock still in the day but if you come down to the park at night, you're sure of a big surprise.  Eventually we had to remount and go home, past Selhurst Park football ground and through West Croydon.

No near-misses with vehicles, no rain, cycling legally up one way streets, the ride was a triumph and everyone enjoyed it, or at least told the leader they did, so that he would lead again.

Written by Paul J

Monday, 20 September 2021

All Day Ride on 9th October

Roll up, roll up!

Last All Day Ride of the year

A Picnic at Bedfont Lakes

30ish miles, flat as a (slightly lumpy) pancake

Saturday October 9th

Leaving Nonsuch at 10am, coffee at Bushy Park, picnic lunch at Bedfont Lakes (where there are toilet facilities but no cafe), afternoon tea at Walton-on-Thames

Tony Hooker

tonyhooker1@aol.com



artwork by Tony

Monday, 13 September 2021

All day ride to Newdigate, 11th September

Twenty cyclists in two groups left Nonsuch Mansion House, the first led by Karen, making our way up, and I mean up, over Epsom Downs to Walton on the Hill for a well deserved coffee. it was good to have a chat to Pete Beyer.  Ann & Tony left us for pre-arranged commitments and we made our way down the Pebble Coombe hill. Kasumi said she will not forget her first descent of that steep hill.

We cycled into Brockham turning left into the quiet Wheelers Lane to Leigh and eventually Parkgate for an enjoyable lunch sitting outside at the Surrey Oaks. Unfortunately a few had to wait some time for their meals to be served. We continued down Henfold and right into Red Lane, left into Roothill and the Coach Road to Leatherhead for Tea.

Just as we were leaving Colin and six cyclists arrived after the annual churches ride.  We peeled off to make our separate ways home. Approaching Epsom Helen's chain came off and got caught between the frame and sprocket, Steph and Helen tried and tried to fix it, with minutes to spare before closing Helen walked to Fudges Cycles where it was fixed quickly free of charge.

A special thanks to my sub leader Karen, and Steph and Maggie our backmarkers.  Thank you all for your good company and an enjoyable day out. 

I clocked 40 miles.

Maureen













Monday, 6 September 2021

Languishing in Lincolnshire and an Eyre in Notts

Report from the East Midlands by Ian Prince 

Having joined the East Midlands DA committee, it seemed only right that I also participated in their August Bank Holiday ride to Nottinghamshire from Lincoln at the invite of their Chair, Tim who came West from Louth in Lincolnshire.

A late start by me meant a car assist was required like some other members not local to Lincoln itself (its a big county!) to arrive in plenty of time at Doddington Hall café, where as expected, the Tricycle Association were also meeting at 10:00am. Being spotted in my Audax UK jersey by a seemingly non cyclist (well he was but was not riding due to injury) brought a quick discussion about the obvious prevenance of the jersey (Margaret Hopper wife of a well known Audax club member and ride organiser used to produce them all for the club). That quickly had me asking for the whereabouts of my long time collaborator, Pete who is a keen trikie, (He and another member still hold an Audax award for doing Paris-Best-Paris 1200k on a recumbent tandem trike some years ago!). 

Anyway it was all too soon time to depart, heading out on quieter back roads and making our way through to the village of Saxilby where we briefly stopped to view a lattice bridge over the Roman Fossdyke canal. The canal connected Lindum (Lincoln) with the River Trent. 

A Building there from a mere 1908 took my eye though….Branch No. 8 of the Lincoln Equitable Cooperative Industrial Society Ltd. Of course a co-op no more. 


So we headed on to Torksey, a village where the Fossdyke meets the Trent and a brief stop by the canal at Torksey Lock, before heading to the North side of the village and then leaving the road to negotiate a few inappropriately placed Sustrans metal ‘kissing’ gates which required us all to lift the bikes over (and the reason I was not on the recumbent trike),  before we crossed the Trent into Nottinghamshire over a disused railway bridge. I recalled seeing this years ago with no decking in place. One side still is the same but at least the other side is now rideable. 


Approaching Torksey former rail bridge, now a viable means of crossing the Trent, with the redundant coal fired 1968 built Cottam Power Station cooling towers in the background.


Cottam Power Station, soon to be no more. 

Dropping down from the former rail embankment meant another gate and steps to negotiate, before heading along the flood bank and a view of the derelict but private Torksey Castle a scheduled grade I listed building and ancient monument on the East  bank of the River, to Torksey Ferry Road….no more than a rough track nowadays that skirts the South side of the Power Station. 

Obviously once upon a time there was a need to cross the River on the level. So we ambled along to eventually regain some proper roads and made our way to the booked lunch stop at the Eyre Arms in Rampton village.



Sunday lunch we knew was the only option and had pre-booked it, being bank holiday, but the ordering revealed they provided it as a carvery, so you could pick between chicken, pork, beef and turkey if you were a carnivore and choose either a large or small portion. The Yorkshire puddings were nevertheless enormous. That plus a pint (either the excellent local ‘Pheasantry Brewery’ bitter or Brains SA all the way from South Wales or a soft drink) all could be had for £10. That’s when you realise you are not in Surrey! 

So suitably refreshed and powered up, we followed the minor roads to Laneham, Dunham, Ragnall and eventually to Fledborough, where we were able to make our way down to yet another abandoned railway (this time one that used to run from Mansfield to Lincoln). This is a regular favourite of mine, with ten plus miles of uninterrupted cycle route to Lincoln. So past a now demolished coal fired power station site (High Marnham), to once again cross over the River Trent (no kissing gates this time, just a relic of a railway signal indicating it’s former use). On we went through flat lands of North Clifton and Harby with trees and brambles to either side but more than wide enough for us to ride on two abreast and plenty of bridges where roads still passed above. 

Even a sign…..low flying aircraft……(well it was a grass landing strip) on the South side of the route, but we didn’t see the RAF or any 747s passing by. You need to go north to Sheffield / Doncaster Airport for that. A former Vulcan nuclear bomber base, with a runway so long it was an emergency landing strip should it be needed, for the Space Shuttle. It still plays host occasionally to the worlds largest aircraft, the Ukrainian Antonov AN 225 that is now used to fly industrial machinery around the world, but there are very few airports that can accommodate the giant aircraft that makes a 747 look small.

So heading back along the LDECR railway that changed from gravel to tarmac as we crossed the county border, until we neared Lincoln.  We saw many signs aimed at dog walkers to take their mess with them, but no mention of the same for the horse riders though! Just watch your wheels, easier on two than three, I have to say! Eventually we peeled off the track and the short route back on road to Doddington Hall, saw me leave the group who indulged in an afternoon tea, so I believe. My thanks to Tim for the invite and great day out. 

 

All Day Ride to Newdigate, Saturday 11 September

You are invited to join Maureen on an all day 40 mile ride on Saturday 11th September starting at Nonsuch Mansion House at 9.50 & 10.00 to Newdigate.

61/2 miles to Walton on the Hill for coffee,
11 miles to Surrey Oaks for lunch and 12 miles to Leatherhead for tea.
If you would like to join me please email me  maureenkt4@gmail.com  or text me
07773 269 064  by Thursday 9th September.  I will look forward to your company.

Maureen.

Tuesday, 24 August 2021

A summer's day near paradise; Beddington to Elmers End 21 August

After minor surgery I was not allowed a strenuous ride on Wednesday.  I was all for coasting up to Caterham to at least meet the B riders, and take it from there.  Maggie, declared otherwise, and with the news that Colin would be in isolation on Saturday and I would have to lead the Beddington Ride, this gave us an opportunity to try out a new route, proposed by Colin, to a new Cafe, at Elmers End.

You had to pick your weather report come Saturday, for although they all forecast heavy rain, they differed on its timing.  I selected the BBC National forecast because it was the only one that said it would not be raining during ride time.  Gone lunchtime, when the usual crew might be leaving their homes, the precipitation was fairly steady, the clouds a threatening blue-grey but, hey, I had science on my side.  Maggie and I set out to man the Beddington Beginners station fully expecting to find no takers, and indeed there were those of faint heart who had chosen to trust the wrong weather forecast, but as we rounded Beddington Cricket Club we were delighted to spy a cyclist at the Pavilion and amazed to discover Ken "I never go out in the rain".  Even better, Sharon turned up to show off her new bike.  And the rain stopped.

The stay-at-homers have no idea what they were missing; Croydon after the rain is a poetic experience.  It is a little known fact that it was hearing the Pigeons and Seagulls cooing and crying on Purley Way after the rainfall that inspired Beethoven to write his Pastoral Symphony.  And Joy, for whom, three symphonies later the Ode to Joy was written; she lived in Queens Road.  So where better to celebrate weak sunshine than around the damp multicultural stalls of Broad Green on a Saturday where modern musical masterpieces are being written?

Maggie was the one who was unwittingly to be most immersed in the Croydon experience.  A friendly motorist left a gap for us in the queue so that we could turn right on the London Road, but a driver coming the other way, from our right, indicated left and then changed his mind, accelerating towards Norbury as if we were not there, and colliding with Maggie's bike.

Leading, I was unaware of the drama behind me until Maggie, a little shaken, turned up at the rendezvous spot to say her bike had been hit by a car, which had driven off.  Everybody was in no doubt there had been a collision but Maggie's front wheel spun well and true (once she had taken her hand off the brake) and it took a forensic examination of the most thorough kind to spot that the paint had been taken off her front wheel hub nut.  She was desolate; a scratch on her blue bicycle!  She was also pretty lucky.  

On with the ride, shaken but not stirred, through the handful of fans going to Selhurst Park, along the path by the Selhurt Railway Club and through Heavers Meadow, a green space I'd never even noticed.  If you pretended there were no railway sidings and chose to ignore the men attending to the call of nature in the bushes, you could have felt you were deep in the idyllic English Countryside.  We zig-zagged our way through North Croydon to the Croydon Arena (where Croydon Football Club were just starting their match) and over the wet cobbles to cross South Norwood Country Park, a candidate for United Nations Heritage status if ever there was one.



We were dry, and the cafe for which we were aiming, Branching Out, proved a splendid Coffee Shop with good coffee, excellent cakes and an awning to protect us from the rain.  And when it stopped, we followed Colin's quiet route home, through the leafy suburbs of Shirley Oaks and Addiscombe to enter Croydon through Park Hill Park.  

We were all quite cheered up after our leisurely Saturday ride as we passed the rebuilt Elizabethan brick wall along Church Path in Beddington.  And somewhere in the sought-after back streets of Fort Neaf some cool dude has a scratch on his precious motor.

Tuesday, 17 August 2021

Disgraceful and upsetting scandal at the Palace; All Day ride along the Wandle and the Thames, 14 August


The Nonsuch crew

Helen's report

Our all day ride combined both the best and worst of luck on Saturday; the best, because we had the first sunny and completely rain-free day out for weeks, perfect for the leisurely and easy going day we were planning to enjoy.

The worst, because while we were at lunch, two petty thieves, too lazy to earn an honest living, happened by our group's locked up bikes and helped themselves to one each.

Two groups set out from Nonsuch Park, lead by Christina and Helen. At Motspur Park, Christine's group was joined by Bernard and Sabina. Within half a mile, Sabina's tyre exploded so they peeled off to have it repaired, hoping to re-join us later in the day...

Our route to coffee at Merton Abbey Mills took a little longer than planned. From Motspur Park we went over Grand Drive. crossing playing fields to Whateley Avenue and then Watery Lane into Merton Park. Looping back slightly via Poplar and Kenton Road (Christina's group went a little astray here) to the entrance of Morden Hall Park nearest to Morden; then following the new tarmacked path through the watermeadows to the tramway, past Deen City Farm, arriving about 20 past 11 for coffee. Here Christina's group followed us in; and we met Will (my son) and Gemma, new to the group and feeling a little impatient as they'd been waiting for a while. Apologies and introductions all round, we stopped for coffee and they departed with the Beddington crew.

Where Horatio and Emma once took coffee?  Merton Abbey Mills


The route from Merton Abbey Mills took us up the Wandle trail, following the river all the way to the Thames at Wandsworth. This part of the ride is mainly pretty and easy. We crossed Merton High Street and meandered through quieter roads to the nature reserve at the end of North Road. Now we were back by the Wandle river, a leafy undulating and meandering path, crossing busy Plough Lane and then onward. Earlsfield demanded attention for about 200 yards under the railway bridge on busy Garrett Lane, but then we were directed through quieter streets again to King George's fields and hence to the faded glories of Wandsworth High Street. Well marked cycle lanes and actually very little traffic at the top end of Garrett Lane by Sainsbury's help our safe passage, past the old brewery and through to Armoury Way. Here we dismounted and walked across, then went left to the Crane, where we took a sharp right and followed Causeway through to the Thames.


The River Wandle, deep and wide, washes its walls on the southern side.

After modern fortresses on Enterprise Way, we cut through to the Thames bank and into leafy Wandsworth Park, with its beautiful outlook across the Thames. Our destination, Putney bridge, was in sight and we headed along the Thames towpath towards it.

Fulham Palace and Bishops Park are just on the north side; after the noisy traffic across the Thames, it was a relief to enter their quiet embrace.

Briefly, we stopped by the International Brigade memorial, commemorating Fulham men who went to fight fascism in Spain in the 1930s. Then we wandered through the park, to the entrance to Fulham Palace and its gardens. Time for lunch! Some of us enjoyed our picnics on the lawns, others dined on food from the café. Will, Gemma and I took a brief wander through the walled garden and the bishop's walk through the little graveyard to the church. There was a wedding of course on this lovely summer Saturday - that explained the church bells pealing while we were having lunch!

And then we walked back, to meet Maggie with news of the theft of John's bike. Will's, it turned out, had also been stolen, and his helmet. Both bikes were locked. It was sickening to have our day spoiled by criminal theft. The palace staff were most helpful; there was a witness to their escape, the bicycle lockup area has CCTV coverage and both were able to contact the police for crime reference numbers. But they had to miss the rest of the ride, to find their own way home, and to claim insurance afterwards. If only people would keep their sticky hands to themselves.

The rest of us continued our afternoon ride through quiet roads past Fulham football ground (playing away this first game of the season) to cross Hammersmith Bridge, back to the south side of the river. The bridge has only recently reopened, and only to cyclists and pedestrians, so this was a very peaceful and enjoyable crossing.


Well, it did say "Cyclists Dismount".  Old Father Thames by 'Ammersmiff Bridge

We stopped briefly on the other side for photos and to admire the engineering of the historic iron bridge - and the very pretty view across to the Blue Anchor and lovely buildings and promenade along the north bank towards the Dove. Then we got back on our bikes to enjoy the towpath along the river, through Barnes and Mortlake, passing Chiswick bridge and skirting Kew Gardens, past Richmond Lock and under its bridge, carefully through the crowds, to arrive for tea in Terrace Gardens on the slopes of Richmond Hill. Nowhere to lock up our bikes here, (Paul's group had most of the accessible railings!) so we laid them on the grass; some of us took our tea there, others sat above on the cafe's terrace; all enjoyed chatting and relaxing in the golden afternoon sun, some of us with cake, gathering our forces for the last leg of the ride.


What nicer place to take tea?  Notice the back marker's task, minding the bikes!

There was still a couple of miles to Kingston, passing by Ham House and the ferry, waving to Teddington lock as we sped by, enjoying our last views over the sun sparkling waters of the Thames. Then we were at Kingston bridge, and away through the market back onto route 75 and heading for home.

My grateful thanks to Paul and Maggie, to Christina, and to Diane and Sue for leading and backmarking. Without your support, we could not have brought 20 people together for a lovely day out. Thank you all for your pleasant company, for looking after one another, and for sharing enjoyment of our beautiful river routes along the way. Looking forward to seeing many of you again for Maureen's ride to Newdigate on 11 September!

The Beddington crew

Paul's report

It was not a hot day but the weather was fine in Beddington on Saturday morning and the Beddington Park group were all there, raring to go, before Maggie and I arrived; Roger & Anna, Matthew & Thomas, Thomas, not yet being two, in his dad’s trailer.

The barriers on the southern end of the Wandle Path were a good test for Matthew’s trailer but it passed with flying colours and before long we were at M.E.D, the agreed meeting place at Merton Abbey Mills.

According to the song, Matthew and Son should be taking a mere five minute break with a cup of cold coffee and a piece of cake, but the riders from Nonsuch Park were slower than we thought and we had a pleasant half hour, the coffee was lovely, and Dad’s only problem was in failing to persuade little Thomas that a yoghurt-based rice cake was as delicious as a slice of millionaire shortbread.  I wouldn’t have fallen for it, either!



For some, happiness is getting a ride


For others, it's being a back marker!

What with leader absence and software failure, the groups needed re-jigging and off we set, before the others, with John and Anne, and Will and Gemma on the pleasant, gentle-paced ride up the Wandle trail through Colliers Wood and Earlsfield to Wandsworth town centre.  Negotiation around the one-way system there at the Ram Brewery was always going to be tricky but we made it without incident and were soon coasting through the park by the river to Putney Bridge.

After we had looped under the bridge to Bishop’s     Meadow and paid a respectful visit to the memorial for the local people who had died in the heroic but futile effort to stem the rise of Fascism in Spain in the 1930s, we repaired to Fulham Palace for lunch.


Little did we know that the thieves were at work.


It seemed a pleasant day until John and then Will returned to the bike racks to discover that their bikes had been stolen.  Both padlocked with combination locks, both padlocked to their partners’ bikes (which were not stolen).  The security people were helpful, there is CCTV footage, we have a description (ginger beard, generally sounding suspiciously like Prince Harry to me) and all the right steps were taken to inform the police, obtain a crime number, etc., etc but our group was sadly depleted for the rest of the ride.

In almost any other circumstances the afternoon ride would have been a delight, for Helen’s was a beautiful route along the towpath all the way from Hammersmith Bridge to Kingston Bridge, and unlike the recce, which was conducted in conditions of storm and flood, we were riding through dappled sunlight in a cooling breeze as the weather improved.  Tea was at the Terrace Gardens, just upriver from Richmond, and this time we all secured the bikes where we could see them.  What is that you are thinking about bolting the stable doors?

                                    

Tea at the Terrace, in the sun but under a cloud    

Back to Beddington via Kingston and Berrylands and little Thomas had been as good as gold, even telling his dad when we took the wrong route out of Sutton!

Thank you, Helen, for a wonderful route, and thank you all for the splendid company.  If only it hadn’t been for those two thieves.

Thursday, 5 August 2021

Notice of forthcoming Saturday all day ride

Hi folks, just wanted to remind you of the all day ride to Fulham Palace Gardens coming up on 14 August. There will be two starting points; Beddington Park and Nonsuch Mansion House. Coffee at Merton Abbey Mills; then we will follow the Wandle trail up to the Thames, crossing Putney bridge to have our lunch in Fulham Palace Gardens.

After lunch we will follow the Thames Towpath through from recently re-opened Hammersmith Bridge to Kingston, stopping at Terrace Gardens in Richmond for tea. I reccied this route last Saturday and even in the rain, it was delightful to follow the river all the way! (There were many bridges to shelter beneath!)

I look forward to sharing the pleasures of the route with you. If you would like to join me, please email toveyhelen@btinternet.com

I would be most grateful for sub group leaders to support the ride, and can offer recces on Saturday 7th and/or Monday 9th if needed.

~ Helen

Tuesday, 13 July 2021

Executing pirates or a painting, or just letting off wind? All Day ride to Greenwich, 10 July

Is this a permanent fixture in the Saturday calendar?  And how much can we vary it while retaining the essence, keeping its length down, and minimising the traffic risk inherent in riding the streets of South London?

Last year we managed to slot in the ride in September, during the window between lockdowns.  We took Harry's old route and changed it, melding it with some of Ged's London Ride but discovering for ourselves (with considerable help from Simon, I recall) the joys of Brixton Windmill.  This year we kept the highly popular ride up the Ravensbourne and Route 21 to get to Greenwich Park, but then followed Route 4 and 14 (while it suited us) along the river to Westminster before taking the CS8 along the north bank to Chelsea Bridge and Battersea Park and (some of us) the CS7 back to Merton.

The weather has been so dreadful this year, and one or two regular All-Dayers were away, so we had a slightly reduced starting line-up of 26.  Simon, Dave V, Helen, Tim C, Tim G and Steph had all answered the call for sub-leaders (and Tim G and Dave not only came, like the others, on one of our recces but actually took another day out to re-ride in time for the big day).  Thanks to them all, and to Steph, Helen and Tim G for volunteering to shepherd riders from North Cheam to our official start at Beddington Park.

Thanks to Maggie's management we got the rides out on time, especially as last year we had groups overtaking each other; an unannounced latecomer was accommodated.  I took out the last group with Madeleine, Maggie, Tim and Steph, the final two part of my leadership back-up, with the intention of us being there to sweep up any problems.  Good job too, for after a pleasant and uneventful ride along the riverbanks (a bit too much mud near South Norwood Lake, but there were no hippos) and a bit of minor chain and front brake management we had freewheeled past the dreaming spires of Croydon and the regal architecture of Lewisham (would you believe it has fewer canals than Venice, let alone Birmingham?) only to arrive at the Meridian to find Helen's group stricken with the injury to Alice, who was in pain and looking decidedly poorly.  Luckily we had a back-up nurse (Maggie got Alice a cup of hot tea and made a sling for her arm) and a good samaritan (Madeleine offered to take Alice and put her on the train at Waterloo so that Alice could be met off the train by her dad).  We reorganised the groups so that those not needed could carry on their ride and the three of us walked Alice and bike down to the Cutty Sark, where the Uberboat staff could not have been more helpful in embarking women and bikes on the trip upriver.

The rearguard

At the time of writing it seems that Alice is getting a little less sore and has no broken bones, and we wish her a complete recovery in confidence as well as in body.

Sadly, she missed one of the best lentil curries I've had, and the docklands history tour.  She missed finding Tsar Peter the Great's mulberry tree (Dave's group), laughing at the flatulence of the rich emerging from Brunel's Rotherhithe Tunnel (which is now the overground rail tunnel), hearing about the tax-dodging embarkation of the Pilgrim fathers from the Three Eagles tavern (now, inevitably, the Mayflower Inn), standing on the spot near the Angel Inn from where Turner painted the Temeraire as she was towed upriver to the breakers' yard, sitting next to Doctor Salter's statue and near his wife Ada's, social reformers of the pre-war years who lived among the poor at Deptford Beach (I bet you didn't know Deptford had a beach; why go to Spain?), marvelling at the ruin of the falconry castle of the Hammer of the French, King Edward lll, or grimacing to think of Judge Jeffreys drinking at the Angel to watch the pirates hanged with maximum cruelty at Execution Dock across the river.

The rendezvous with Madeleine at the Festival Hall worked a treat and with Brian leaving us there to train home, the rest of us enjoyed the river and a tea at Battersea Park before breaking up.

Thanks to everyone who helped and best wishes to Alice.

Paul


Simon's group


The first departures

My group was scheduled to leave at 9.45, but at 9.40, nobody else had arrived.   Had the forecast of 90% rain put them all off?   Not at all:  Matthew, Brenda, Anna and Roger, and finally Daniel rolled in and we set off more or less on time.   We picked our way on quiet streets through Croydon, negotiated round a mud bath in South Norwood Country Park, and were quickly to our elevenses stop at Kent House.    After elevenses, our breakaway group got away early and set off up the lovely Waterlink way towards the only mountain on Paul's route, Mont Blackheath.   Anna's e-bike made short work of it; the rest of us made slightly longer work but all made it to the top, enjoying the panoramic view of the city.    After that, a downhill sprint into Greenwich and along the banks of the Thames to the Dog and Bell where we were well looked after for lunch.


Simon's group at Greenwich


The afternoon's route passed many interesting historic sights in Rotherhithe, and took us to Tower Bridge but we didn't cross, instead staying south of the river to cross instead at Westminster Bridge.  There we joined the (mostly) segregated cycleway along the Embankment before crossing again at Chelsea bridge to tea beside the Thames at Battersea Park.   Thank you to Paul for preparing a most enjoyable route, to Roger for back marking, and to the riders in my group for their company, and for helping me with navigation at one or two moments!

Tim G's group

The weather started on a dull note but fortunately failed to deter a good number of cyclists for today’s ride to Greenwich.

I led six cyclists from North Cheam to Beddington Park to meet the main body of riders outside the cafe.


Tim's group at the start


Together with Angela, Debbie, Maggie G and Mayuri we set out for our morning ride after the obligatory photo

Good progress was made through a relatively quiet Croydon and onward to our coffee stop at Kent House station via Addiscombe and Woodside. A welcome stop in pleasant surroundings.

Our ride continued on a well planned route to Greenwich via Beckenham, Catford, Lewisham and Blackheath. We all appreciated the number of parks and green areas experienced during the morning ride.

Having taken in the view across the river we cycled down through Greenwich, had a brief stop by the Cutty Sark and then on to our lunch stop at the Dog and Bell. Service was prompt and we all enjoyed the food, drink and ambiance of a local hostelry.

Our afternoon ride, close to the river, provided another contrast and was surprisingly quiet, especially through Bermondsey and surrounding areas. The route through Borough Market and Southwark proved a little busier but we were able to navigate our way through without any difficulty.

Crossing Westminster bridge we continued at a swifter pace by Parliament Square then along the Embankment to cross the river again at Chelsea bridge. Our tea stop in Battersea Park was quiet and relaxed.

The return trip to Morden Hall via Clapham, Balham, Tooting and Colliers Wood was easier due to designated cycle lanes and a reduced volume of traffic.

We all headed home via North Cheam having had an enjoyable day’s cycling.

Thanks to all the group members for their company and contribution in making the ride a successful occasion.

A good day had by all.

Dave's group


Dave's group at Beddington

Firstly many thanks Paul & Maggie for all the work you must have put into this, not least into confounding the weather forecast.


Secondly thanks to all my group, Ed, Lilian, Kasumi, Sue and Clive who were delightful company throughout, and ever forgiving of my "occasional" lapse in route finding. Clive backmarked most ably, thoughtfully clad in blue, headlight on, easily visible whenever I looked.



Dave's group at the Cutty Sark 


Ed was riding strongly. He and Lilian parted company at Waterloo to get the train home. Kasumi, Sue and Clive then formed a well balanced group. We skipped refreshments in Battersea Park in favour of an easy cruise down CS7, arriving at Colliers Wood at 5pm, where Sue assumed the leadership down the A24 to Cheam, with Clive heading onwards for Leatherhead, while I turned for home.



Peter the Great's mulberry tree




I hope everyone got home safely from what was for me a most enjoyable day.


However I was sorry to hear that Alice had fallen. I hope she is ok, and please pass on my best wishes when you speak to her.


Helen's group


A cool and cloudy start from North Cheam, where Steph and I had agreed to meet anyone who needed help to get to Beddington Park. My group set off through the little park next to Sainsbury's and worked our way through Sutton and Carshalton, mostly on route 75. We arrived just before 10 am, with most able to enjoy a break before starting the ride proper through Croydon on the first leg of our route to coffee. My group was Brian, Anne and Alice, and with Paul's final advice, "just follow the signs" echoing in my head we made a good start through Waddon Ponds. I'd learned on Monday's recce that Croydon town was the highest point of our morning route, and told Brian, then realised that we were heading _up_ Lebanon Road towards the tram. We headed back downhill to - yes - follow the signs. That, friends, was our last wrong turn all day.



Helen's group at the Pavilion cafe


Kent House does a wonderful carrot cake with its coffee. We enjoyed a quiet break by the old railway station, completely traffic free apart from us cyclists. Pretty parks, former railway lines, leafy waterways and rivers; working our way northwards through south London is an absolute pleasure. It is surprising how few busy roads we encounter, how little traffic on the residential streets. As we get nearer to our destination, Catford and Lewisham town centres are rude but brief interruptions to the general peace and enjoyment of our Saturday morning ride. Finally, just one quite steep hill and we emerge into the broad open space of Blackheath. Beautiful.

But alas, as we were crossing the heath along Mount Ponds Road, Alice went into the back of Brian and took a fall. Luckily they weren't going fast, and there were no passing vehicles, (and no damage to their bikes), but she fell heavily onto her shoulder and it was soon clear would be unable to continue the ride. We walked slowly up to the Observatory, where Paul and Maggie's group soon joined us; Madeleine kindly took Alice on the boat from Greenwich to Waterloo where she was able to catch a train home.


The rest of us continued to our lunch destination, the wonderful Dog and Bell in Deptford. Tim was a little worried that I'd led the group astray (I'd overlooked no cycling signs to continue by the river, instead of following the prescribed route...) but a passing skateboarder, a young girl who overheard our chat as we were crossing the lock gates, broke in to reassure us with very clear directions. I wondered if she was a daughter of the house!

Anne and I enjoyed a pint each of the excellent stout, a rare treat and most welcome; and we all had a delicious lunch. Paul and Maggie arrived, after seeing Madeleine and Alice to the quay at Greenwich; we waited for them to have lunch so we could travel onward together. Afterwards we had to persuade Maggie away from the women's tennis final to continue our journey along the Thames Path, with Paul back in the lead again. 



The last group to Rotherhithe, from where the Pilgrim Fathers left




Brief stops at the Mayflower and just along from it, the historic church and school established by Rotherhithe in Victorian times. Another pause to view Tower bridge from the Angel, right by the ruins of Edward lII's 14th century castle. And briefly, along the wonderful cycle superhighway to London Bridge. Past Waterloo and behind the old GLC building to Westminster bridge, which we crossed; left at Parliament Square, we cycled Millbank and Grosvenor Road, crossing back over Chelsea bridge to visit Battersea Park for tea. By now it was past 6 o'clock, so we didn't linger long. Paul had given us a direct route home, round the glorious Queens Circus roundabout, with its special lane and lights for cyclists (why aren't they all like this?!) down Queenstown Road and Cedars Road to Clapham Common. Lovely. Here Steph, Tim, Anne and I peeled off to follow Nightingale Lane and Burntwood Lane downhill all the way to Summerstown and the Wandle trail through to Morden Hall Park. Here we were delighted with the new tarmacked surface from the tram line through to the exit by Kenley Road, a great improvement, installed just this week! Anne and I continued through Merton Park over Hillcross Avenue and via Green Lane to Worcester Park. I was home about 20 past 7.



The last group at Battersea Park, enjoying a bedtime drink


A wonderful day out, many many thanks to Paul and Maggie for bringing it all together for us. Lovely company all day, beautiful route, choice stops for our breaks and refreshments and many highlights and points of interest along the way. We really couldn't ask for more.