The group (John and Ellen, Christian, Thomas, Jonathan, Jenny, Chris, Esther, Jeff, George and Jean) met by the tennis courts off Highgate Road and set off eastwards at 10.30. We skirted Tufnell Park and stopped to admire the clock tower at the old Caledonian market. Then on via Barnesbury to join the Islington-Hackney east-west route by the Town Hall in Upper Street. We stopped briefly for some history of the New River. On crossing Essex Road we joined route 8 which passes through some good examples of ‘filtered permeability’ (road closures that still allow cyclists to pass). We admired the rose-bush covered blockage in the middle of the road to De Beauvoir Square.
After crossing Kingsland road, we used the rather busier Middleton Road to reach the pleasant route through London Fields. After passing Broadway Market, we entered Victoria Park and were pleased to see that the lake had been filled again and the park was looking much better than last year. A good stop for coffee and cakes at the Pavilion.
We then crossed to the eastern part of Victoria Park past the planned Olympic Cycle Hub to join Sustrans Route 1. We stopped on the bridge over the dual carriageway to look at the Olympic stadium and the Amish Kapoor sculpture behind it, but were soon driven away by the roar of motor vehicles below us. We reached the eastern tow-path of the Lee navigation after passing through the formidable barriers that have been put in place to make the Olympic site secure. After passing Hackney Marshes, we stopped at the Middlesex Filter Beds Nature Reserve to admire the wildlife, interesting sculptures and industrial archaeology. When we reached Springfield Marina we stopped by the cafe: some ate the excellent lasagne inside, but most stayed out with their sandwiches, just going in for warm drinks.
After a while, we rode up the steep Spring Hill and through Upper Clapton with an awkward bump up kerbs on crossing the main road. We headed west through the suburban streets of Stamford Hill and then passed between the two reservoirs, crossing the New River again, at Woodbury Grove. At Manor House, discretion being the better part of valour, we took the walking route round the complex junction with Green Lanes to enter the gates into Finsbury Park. We passed the playground and at the lake pavilion, we said ‘goodbye’ to Christian and Thomas. The rest of us took the Parkland Walk as far as Crouch Hill where we rejoined the roads to drop down to the crossing of Holloway Road into Yerbury Park soon getting back to where we started.
It was a good ride and people seemed to have enjoyed the day in spite of the cold weather. At least it didn’t rain.
George traced the route with his GPS device you can See the route on GPSies.
Photos by Geoff Stilwell. See some more of them on our Flickr site.
Thomas had put two videos of the ride on You Tube. See the videos. The second one at the lunch stop is particularly good.