We met early at the Town Hall. People wanting bike checks came at 9.30 and were helped by John Chamberlain and Richard Riddle’s team of Camden cycle trainers. Camden Council staff Paul Davis and Beverley Bewaji came with Camden’s electric van to register people and provide them with information (rider guidance and route map).
From 10 am more and more riders appeared and introduced themselves, some saying they had been on one of the previous rides. Stefano Casalotti briefed the marshals, handed out the orange/yellow vests and the walkie talkies. Just before we set off, Paul Braithwaite welcomed the riders and told them it was to be a slow-paced social FUN ride. Stefano emphasised that we were determined to ride as one group, with marshals stopping the traffic to let us through junctions in a single group. John rode at the back and reported via the walkie talkies as to progress.
We set off at 10.40, down Judd Street, past Coram Fields and then at the border with Islington turned south down quiet back streets via Hatton Garden and Leather Lane to meet the border of Westminster. We soon reached Lincolns Inn Fields where we had our first ‘rest stop’, where we counted the riders at about 55. We followed the Camden/Westminster boundary in a westerly direction as far as Charing Cross Road. We then turned north up a short busy section, but left Tottenham Court Road at Windmill Street. We zig-zagged via Charlotte Street to the junction of Euston Road at Great Portland Street. Soon we arrived in Regents Park for our second ‘rest stop’. By then, someone had a puncture which John stopped to repair – eventually they caught us up before we set off again up the Broadwalk.
The following photos taken on Regents Park Broadwalk give some idea of the number and variety of participants:
We continued through St John’s Wood, past the original Saatchi Gallery, until we joined Kilburn High Road, along which we rode for a couple of miles. This was no fun – we had to filter through the idling traffic (and fumes) as we worked our way up to Shoot Up Hill. With relief we turned east along the Barnet border and the leafy part through UCS’s playing fields and through tranquil Hampstead Cemetery. We were pleased that we were still all together and the stewarding through the most difficult first half had worked very well, despite no police escorts. We crossed Finchley Road from Lyncroft Gardens to Heath Drive, instead of the more hazardous crossing from Fortune Green Road which we had used in the past. Of course this added an extra climb up to West Heath Road and riders who got off to walk lagged a little behind. We enjoyed the ride along the rural Sandy Lane and were pleased to reach our lunch stop in Golders Hill Park at about 1.30pm. We lounged on the grass, chatting and eating our packed lunches. Most of us had an ice cream before we left for the ride back, leaving at about 2.15pm.
People gradually left the group as we returned through Highgate Village, Tufnell Park and Kings Cross towards the Town Hall along the border of Islington. They wanted to be home in time to see the England vs Germany World Cup football match. As we progressed we heard shouts of excitement from inside pubs – we didn’t interpret them as indicating disaster. The streets were amazingly free from traffic!
The borough’s boundary itself is 17 miles and when our circumnavigation was complete a small group turned north, taking in Kentish Town Baths (to be re-opened 26 July), Queens Crescent market and South End Green, ending up at the heart of the borough – Hampstead Old Town Hall on Haverstock Hill. The Pearson family of Simon, Diane and their son Luke deserve credit for having all three completed all four year’s “ALL around Camden” rides right to the end! They had clocked up a total of 50 kilometres door to door from their Kentish Town home. What all participants will remember from the 2010 ride was the 90 degree heat – the hottest day of the year. And very welcomed ice creams in Golders Hill Park!
Photos Paul Braithwaite and Jean Dollimore
To see some more photos look at our Flickr site
Bryony Evens who is aiming to ride round all of the London boroughs and came with us on this one has also written an account. See Bryony’s account.
Look at a Map of the route