Leader: James Brander
Sunday 25th March 2018
Distance: 29.32 miles, 47.2km
There was no-one to meet me at Sidings so I quickly cycled to the German Gymnasium between Kings Cross and St Pancras Stations to meet with James and 6 other riders: John, Tim, Chris, Nicola, Niel and David, making eight altogether.
James had first planned the ride to cross the river at Tower Bridge but had discovered subsequently that there were half marathons being run in London on that day disrupting the route.
So we set off south through Holborn and Hatton Garden to Cycle Superhighway 6 on Farringdon. This took us over Blackfriars Bridge just south of which we turned left and travelled west through Southwark. Crossing several main roads leading back to the Southwark, London and Tower bridges and going through Leathermarket Gardens we headed back to the river at Bermondsey Beach.
Just south of here we entered Southwark Park and here we had a comfort break and a warming cup of tea.
Continuing south we followed cycleways beside the railway then turned west by Millwall’s football stadium, the Den, past South Millwall Station. It was when we were cycling through the back streets here I heard my name called and it wasn’t one of the cyclists. It was a friend of mine who lived in the area out for a walk. What a coincidence!
Continuing west and south, we skirted Burgess Park, Camberwell, and picked up the Surrey Canal. Filled in in 1974 it has since been redeveloped as a cycle and pedestrian way 1.1 miles down to Peckham.
Emerging at the busiest part of Peckham we continued across the Peckham Road onto the cycle lane going down Rye Lane. Turning east again to avoid the busy junctions we found ourselves on Peckham Rye Common (or Park).
There is much building work being done around the café on Peckham Rye Common so we zigzagged on to Dulwich Park. We had intended to use the café here but it was very busy so we decided to push on to Brockwell Park. It was here we said farewell to John who had to get home.
About once a month I used to play football in Brockwell Park in the 70s (when I was young and fit) and I didn’t know there was a café there. We had an hour to order and eat a hot meal (there was an excellent choice), visit the facilities and regroup for our journey home.
We set off north this time and headed through the back streets and cyleways of Brixton. James always amazes me how he finds the twisting, obscure routes we take on his rides. It’s always fascinating looking at the route my Garmin GPS device has recorded and say “Oh, that’s where we were!”
The route brought us to the south-west side of Clapham Common. I felt like this was familiar territory despite the fact that I’ve never cycled on Clapham Common. We crossed the common and continued north to Battersea Park where we cycled around the boating lake and up to a kiosk café where some of us took refreshment and rest.
We crossed Chelsea Bridge and then turned right on to Ebury Bridge Road, cycling through Belgravia into Knightsbridge and into Hyde Park. Following the road then the cycle path we cycled north parallel to Park Lane.
At Upper Brook Street the group divided. Tim and I both live in West Hampstead so we continued north following our usual routes home. The route map linked below is obviously this route. The others decided to return with James to the German Gym and home from there.
Although I had cycled through some of these parks before using a Cycling UK (formally CTC) route I’d found online. This was a significantly different route and a more substantial ride. As usual James took us to places we’d never been before. It was a great day out with great company. Thanks James and all the other riders.