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Saturday's Greenway ride report

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  • masonb
    Beckton Greenway Ride: Saturday 1 December 2001 (ed: terrible untasty name for an east end revelatory fine new discovery ride). 20 slow exploring flat miles,
    Message 1 of 1 , Dec 1, 2001
      Beckton Greenway Ride: Saturday 1 December 2001

      (ed: terrible untasty name for an east end revelatory fine new discovery

      20 slow exploring flat miles, of which only a mile or so was on road.
      Amazing. (Locks,
      docks and one only sometimes steaming 5 mile sewer).

      10am Cutty Sark meet. Six of us. Me, Claire, Doug, Doug, Roger,
      Peter. R trued up my waggling front wheel. Last arrival turned up at 10.25.
      Pushing it.

      Cutty Sark to Thames Barrier along the Thames path. Coffee. Good to see
      Greenwich Cyclists mench in new Peninsula News there. (“A former gas works
      being turned into the most innovative and environmentally sensitive
      community in the UK” says English Partnerships. Struth. Where’s the ASA?
      About the area, not GCy).

      Path to Woolwich Ferry and over. Ferry boys behaved.

      Path through Royal Victoria Park Gardens.

      Pavement over Royal Docks entrance and City Airport flightpath. (Fab
      non-Greek place to watch planes from, but not on Saturday afternoons when it
      ’s closed. Odd).

      Pavement up poet named Eastern Gateway Access Road (and spurious spur
      deadended ready for new Thames crossing. Watch this space).

      Overgrown bike path up to horrendous huge Newham Way/Woolwich Manor Way
      junction with no pedestrian crossing at all right by Beckton Alps dry ski

      And there’s the peter Greenway. It’s a raised path on top of the northern
      sewer that runs from east London to Beckton sewage works. The other side’s
      version of our very own Crossness. Built by the Victorians and the awesome
      Bazalgette. (Repetition: whose great grandson makes some dumb 1984ish show
      about people shut up in a house together. Great man shifted it, sprog makes
      it). (Sewer me).

      The Greenway route east is blocked off. Some day we’ll explore the Beckton
      works. So we headed west……….5 very straight off-road tarmacked miles….few
      too many motorbike gates but they work...hard to know where you are but it’s
      East Ham, Plaistow, West Ham….the huge East
      London Cemetery and then the river Lea/Lee floodplain………first crossing is
      the Channelsea River and lake, then you have to run across the motorway
      called High Street that roars into Stratford…then there’s the gorgeously
      ornate Abbey Mills pumping station, then the Three Mills Wall River, then
      City Mill River, then the main canalised River Lee navigation…and the
      towpaths we use…..all in less than a mile.

      Over the Lee pedestrian bridge and the path narrows behind a factory wall,
      ivy brushes as you narrow along it…..Wick Lane is what you don’t want to
      dream about awake alone at 3am……it’s car-breaker heaven. Opposite is a pair
      of tall wooden gates…..two maniac killer dogs just manage to get their fang’
      d slavering barking mad faces out at you. We turn right past a dozen flayed
      wrecks of cars, entrails everywhere through the rainbow oiled puddles…..and
      back onto the path where a useful board ignores the crap and points us to
      the Bryant and May match factory (now lofts) where in 1888 the women who
      hand made matches from phosphorous got fed up with the lower half of their
      faces rotting away and went on one of the first ever strikes…for safety
      equipment. (cf The Match Girls Strike and Fossy Jaw).

      And then its round the corner by the A102(M) East Cross Route/Blackwall
      Tunnel Approach (the only 2 mile stretch of motorway inflicted on fairly
      central London…but watch this space) and suddenly we’re in Victoria Park
      (where some of us colissaw Gladiator al fresco last summer) created around
      1860 “to save thousands of lives a year from urban pollution and add several
      years to the average local lifespan”).

      It was 1.40pm and the riders were getting restless. Lunch beckoned. We
      couldn’t find the Dunwich Dynamo Pub on the Park but got lucky. The organic
      Crown pub at Crown Gate East, junction of Grove Road and Old Ford Road was a
      fine find. A beautifully scrubbed out old local boozer with a deep green
      ceiling, interesting loos, organic beers and a good all day menu. They could
      do with a cheap staple dish coz the food was a little pricey, but worth it
      for the effort. Very recommended. The barman was slightly amazed that my
      held plastic paid for all….not sure he understood my “they give good
      cashback”. Good to see stack of latest Pedal Power there as we left. (Why is
      there no such reconstituted airy, light, smokefree good food pub in

      Out the pub and into Grove Road for 300 metres, then it’s fab reborn Mile
      End park for a mile and a half and the wonderful green and treed bridge
      over the six-laned A11 Mile End Road. (At the planning stage the AA
      objected……trees over a trunk road will distract drivers….). We switched
      effortlessly from the park onto the towpath of the Grand Union Canal for the
      2 miles back to Limehouse Basin (where we usually Limehouse Cut it) and the
      car-free fiddle down the middle (sorry, aptly listening to Ian Drury as I
      cortina this. Itinerant child) of the Isle of Dogs, Island Garden, and the
      tunnel home.

      1 December 2001
      Southend tomorrow….will this weekend Beatle theme continue?…..I grew up to
      their music (then discovered the Stones and dodgier stuff)…George Harrison
      died Friday. Sim’s sound system on Friday’s Critical Mass played a great
      selection of their more timelesstracks…..so did Kings Cross’s Liquid lounge
      after (only £5 to get in, open till 3, and the bouncers don’t look twice at
      lycra shorts and leg bandages) and when I was a student I spent a long
      weekend guarding the Theatre Royal Stratford when it was being used to film
      part of The Magic Christian…..Beatle drummer Ringo Starr’s truly awful film.
      (Long weekend: continuous shift from 6pm Friday to 8am Monday). And I sold
      my provenanced Beatles autographs and flimsy fan club Christmas EPs when I
      was broke and hungry two years ago. So it goes while my guitar gently weeps.
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