Leader: Geoff Stilwell – Distance: 10.56 miles 17km
The weather wasn’t as warm as forecast and it was a bit windy but at least it was dry.
Eight riders (including myself) met at Sidings. Morten and his son Oliver and Oliver’s grandmother Lise, Ruth, from Brent, who had brought three friends, Gina, Nadia and Jan, all from Kensington & Chelsea. Morten informed us that he was planning to make a video of the ride with his mobile in a carrier fixed to the back of his bike. At least he’d get the front view of cyclists instead of the back.
Once we’d established no-one else was coming we set off towards Gladstone Park. Setting off from Sidings in any direction but South means going uphill but the hills are relatively gentle. Following the so-called ‘Quietway’ up Chatsworth Road we soon arrived at Gladstone Park.
The route includes circumnavigating the park which means going up a rather steep hill. I think all the ladies had to walk their bikes up the last section. One complained (tongue in cheek) that I’d breached the trades descriptions act as I’d advertised the ride as ‘gentle’. I did explain that this was the highest part of the ride and nowhere else was as steep.
At the top there is a reconstruction of the plan of the house where William Ewart Gladstone often stayed with Lord Aberdeen when resting from his duties as Prime Minister. We looked around a little, at the house and the pond, as the ladies had never been to the park before. The Café there tempted us but we decided to push on to the next park.
We continued, downhill this time, past the tennis courts, through the little car park and along the path beside the railway line that slices the park in two, past the children’s playground, back to the bridge and to the same exit.
Proceeding along quiet roads, under another railway and across the busy Willesden High Road and, thanks to considerate drivers, we negotiated double mini-roundabouts and finally arrived at Roundwood Park.
Here we again circumnavigated the park and stopped at the café for some rest and refreshment. After checking out the caged budgies and finches we set off to the next park.
King Edward VII park is situated on Boyle Avenue and has the Willesden Sports Centre on the northern side. We would normally go in a gate at one end, cycle the path just inside the fence and come out of the gate at the other end just to keep us off the roads. However, gates that favour walking and hinder bikes had been installed. Although we could still get through, it would mean only one bike at a time and would have taken more time than it was worth so we continued along the road towards Queens Park.
The Corporation of London administer Queens Park and do not allow cycling inside the park. As we did not need to visit the café we decided to cycle around it and continue to Paddington Recreation Ground. This is off Carlton Vale only about ten minutes away.
Paddington Rec is also run by The Corporation of London so we walked our bikes in and down to the Pavilion where we saw the blue plaques commemorating the achievements of the great sportsmen Sir Roger Bannister and Sir Bradley Wiggins. The ladies were very grateful we had visited Paddington Rec as, although they lived quite close, they’d never been before. That’s part of the joy of joining social cycle rides like these as you can always discover new places.
The four ladies who were near home left us here and four of us continued back across Maida Vale up Carlton Hill and through the usual back streets of West Hampstead to Sidings.
On Sunday Morten sent me the link to the video he’d made and an excellent job he made of it too. Have a look at the video below. Thanks Morten and all who came on the ride.
What you thought of the ride
“I really enjoyed the ride and it was great to discover some new places so close to home.”