The weather forecast had been discouraging and it had rained hard on Saturday afternoon, but in spite of that, plenty of people joined the ride and the rain held off, apart from a shower at lunch time. Paul Braithwaite led off with almost 50 riders from the start at the Town Hall. We were escorted by four police officers and marshalled by four Camden Cycle trainers and six members of Camden Cyclists. The ride followed the usual clockwise route round the boundary of Camden. This year we were led out by a group of children for two circuits round the Inner Circle. Lunch was in Golders Hill Park. We then rode back to the Town Hall and a few stalwarts completed the ride up to Hampstead Old Town Hall (via the wards not on the boundary). A total of almost 25 miles.
Click on any of the photos to see an enlargement.
Start at the Town Hall
Paul Davis and Michele Jamieson were ready at 9.30 to greet and register riders. They were soon joined by the cycle trainers (Toby Jacobs, Joost, Irina and Emmy) who checked the state of the bikes and made minor adjustments. Our police escort included three officers who have been before (PCs Phil Bloor, Dave Keith and Robert Slater) and one new one (PCSO Talat Mahmood).
Before we set out, John Chamberlain instructed the marshalls: the four cycle trainers and the following people from Camden Cyclists: George Coulouris, Jean Dollimore, Angela Hobsbaum, Alex McKinnell and Geoff Stilwell.
Paul Braithwaite then spoke to the assembled group to explain the plans for the day and John followed up with instructions for riders.
The photo below shows the group setting off down Judd Street at about 10:30 am.
Paul Davis calculated that we started with 36 people who signed up; plus addition 4 police officers, 4 cycle trainers and the marshalls (about 50).
Town Hall to the border of lslington
We set off down Judd Street turning left along Guilford Street and Calthorpe Street, reaching the border of Islington where we turned right down Phoenix Place. We passed the big Royal Mail sorting office on our left, went along Warner Street and the up the steep and cobbly Back Hill into Hatton Garden and then via Cross Street into Leather Lane. Leather Lane leads via a shared-use space to a useful crossing of High Holborn into Fetter Lane now on the border of the City of London. The photos below were taken in the shared use area which leads to the border of City of London.
City of London border to rest stop in Lincoln’s Inn Fields
|The white van||Emmy with her damaged bike|
Along the Westminster border
The signals at Kingsway give little time to cross into Great Queen Street, but after a few phases, we reassembled near the Freemasons Hall, now on the border of Westminster. We turned into Shelton Street and had to get off and walk round some road works. The short ride through the Covent Garden area is quite peaceful, but then you get to the very busy section up Charing Cross Road and Tottenham Court Road. The photo below shows the group waiting to cross over into Charing Cross Road.
Having negotiated the turns via St Giles, we were relieved to leave Tottenham Court road for the peace of Fitzrovia, riding up Charlotte Street and then turning westwards on Howland Street and north again to the junction of Euston Road by Great Portland Street station. After crossing into Albany Street we turned left into Chester Gate and through into Regents Park.
Regents Park meet up with junior cycling group
Regents Park Broadwalk
We always enjoy the peace of the ride up the Broadwalk. This time we were accompanied as far as the drinking fountain by the children on bikes and one family joined us as far as Boundary Road before heading back.
After the Broadwalk, we headed westwards round the Outer Circle, then turned right into Avenue Road then left through many quiet residential roads, reaching Boundary Road where we continued to head ever westwards on the Westminster border until we reached Kilburn High Road.
Along the border of Kilburn
Kilburn High Road runs north on the Camden and Brent border between Westminster in the south and Barnet in the north. It was not so busy as sometimes, but was, as usual the low point of the ride. Lots of signalled crossings to break up the group, too many buses to overtake and too many exhaust fumes to inhale. After about one and a half miles, we were relieved to turn right into Mill Lane.
Hampstead Cemetry and Barnet border
Ride down the hill and up again
On leaving the cemetery, we headed down Fortune Green Road to the safe crossing of Finchley Road between Lyncroft Gardens and Heath Drive. After a few lefts and rights on steep uphill roads we joined Platts Lane and eventually after another climb. crossed over into Sandy Lane which continues up a more gentle slope with the Heath on the right and Golders HIll Park on the left.
The photo shows the more energetic members of the group waiting on Kidderpore avenue for the rest to struggle up the hill.
Lunch stop Golders Hill Park
Round the north east corner of Camden from the Barnet to the Islington border
Back at Town Hall
We said farewell to our police escort and to the three remaining cycle trainers. A few others made their way home from here. A small group then set off for the final four miles.
Ride up the middle
This ride was designed to visit all the wards in Camden, but not all are on the border. The route through Somers Town, up Royal College Street and Grafton Road and Queens Crescent to Haverstock Hill takes in the land-locked wards. There is a final challenge: the steep climb on Pond Street. But that is folowed by a nice run down to Hampstead Old Town Hall.
The end at Hampstead Old Town Hall
Some statistics of the route
You can see a map of the ride based on a trace recorded on George’s GPS device on the gpsies site.
Thanks are due to the following:
- Paul Braithwaite who organised and led this ride for the seventh consecutive year
- Camden’s team of cycle trainers who checked bikes at the start and marshalled us all with great energy throughout the ride
- Our Police escort whose presence appears to have great calming effects on the other road users
- and members of the Camden Cyclists committee
The photographs were taken by Paul Braithwaite, Geoff Stilwell, Angela Hobsbaum, George Coulouris and Jean Dollimore.