This is the second year of the Camden Peripherique (or beating the bounds on bikes) – suggested and led by Paul Braithwaite (Camden Cycling Champion Councillor). This year the ride was organised with Camden Council as well as CCC – they produced some
nice leaflets and made some effort to publicise the ride.
This is a bike ride around Camden taking in all the wards. The route follows faithfully Camden’s boundary line with neighbouring boroughs 95% of the time that we rode, everywhere on our right-hand side was inside Camden. The circumference is approximately 17 miles and when our circumnavigation was complete the route turned north, towards Hampstead to take in the last three “land-locked” wards, ending up at the heart of the borough – at Hampstead Old Town Hall.
Despite a gloomy weather forecast, the day started warm and fine although a little windy. The good weather must have helped to attract plenty of riders – last year we started out with about 35 in a drizzle. This year we estimated there were about 70 including the police escort. We assembled in Judd Street outside the Town Hall at 10.30, allowing time for the Camden cycle trainers to fix some of the bikes. Soon after 10.30, Cllr Julian Fulbrook left with about 20 people for a historical tour of points of interest in the Holborn and Lincolns Inn area.
Paul Braithwaite set off in the lead with the rest of us by about 10.50, leaving CCC’s John Chamberlain behind to collect any late comers.
As the ride was to follow a clockwise route around Camden, we set off from the Town Hall via Guilford Street reaching the eastern border near Hatton Garden and were pleased to have our police escort as we crossed Holborn Circus into Fetter Lane. We snaked around via Fleet Street and up to Lincolns Inn Fields. Paul’s (main) group had a long wait in the sun, having passed the history group on the way, but eventually they arrived with Julian Fulbrook and the stragglers and late comers were shephered in by our “sweeper”, John.
The Camden/Westminster border follows Great Queen Street, but we needed to walk there as the road had been entirely dug up by Murphys Water Mains workers. We were surprised to see some of our escort riding on the footway – which we hope CCC members never do!
Then up Charing Cross Road and Tottenham Court Road with a left into Windmill Street and north on Charlotte Street to join the segregated lane on Howland Street which was too narrow to take our enthusiastic crowd. Eventually we crossed Euston Road by Great Portland Street and were very pleased to have the police to stop all the traffic on that artery.
We enjoyed our ride through Regents Park (Outer Circle) and then past the zoo and eventually via Boundary Road to Kilburn High Road. Kilburn High Road is the low point of the ride – pity the boundary with Brent isn’t somewhere else!. But eventually at the top of Shoot Up Hill we turned off and soon reached the Barnet Borough Boundary somewhere near to
the Hampstead Cemetary – a quiet place with Victorian tombs.
Crossing the Finchley Road to Platts Lane is usually difficult because it’s so wide, but once more the hoards of helpful police aided us. We struggled up the Platts Lane hill and were pleased to cross over West Heath Road onto Sandy Lane for a stretch of off-road riding for half a mile and then into the top of Golders Hill Park for the lunch stop at 1 pm.
We reluctantly left a little before 2 pm, riding round the Heath extension and up to Highgate Village (the highest point of the ride). It was then downhill all the way following the Islington border to Mount Pleasant and then back to the Town Hall, where a few people left us. But the hardy remainder went on via Royal College Street, Grafton Road and Pond Street to the Old Town Hall on Haverstock Hill.
Several novice riders were delighted to have enjoyed their first substantial ride and professed to have grown in confidence. EVERYONE had enjoyed what hopefully is now established as an annual Camden celebration in Bike Week. 22 miles in all.
Photos Paul Braithwaite, George Coulouris, Jean Dollimore
To see some more photos. have a look at