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Jubilee Greenway ride, Sunday 3 June 2012

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  • Francis Sedgemore
    Where: Jubilee Greenway When: Sunday 3 June 2012 @ 10:00 Meet: Cutty Sark Gardens, SE10 9LW (by entrance to foot tunnel) Brought to you by the South East
    Message 1 of 1 , May 15, 2012
      Where: Jubilee Greenway
      When: Sunday 3 June 2012 @ 10:00
      Meet: Cutty Sark Gardens, SE10 9LW (by entrance to foot tunnel)

      Brought to you by the South East London Commissariat for Social Cycle Rides Planning (aka the Dog & Bell Crew), a topical 65-ish kilometre circuit of London following the Thames Path and some of the city’s other delightful waterways. God Save the Queen!

      From Greenwich we head west along the Thames Path into central London, crossing the river at Lambeth Bridge. We then cycle northeast up Millbank through St Stephens, passing the Mother Of All Parliaments (™ UK plc), before cutting through Horse Guards Parade. From there it’s along the Mall to Brenda’s Gaff, and up Constitution Hill to Wellington Arch/Hyde Park Corner.

      After terrorising the pedestrians on Hyde Park's Rotten Row, we stop for lunch at the café by Kensington Palace Gardens. After this refuelling stop we exit the park and make our way towards the Grand Union Canal at Little Venice. From there it’s along the Regents Canal through Camden. We stay on the Regents Canal all the way to Victoria Park in Hackney, and then follow our wits and whatever diversion signs may exist as a result of Olympic Games and Crossrail path closures, with a view to rejoining the Greenway east of the urban motorway known as Stratford High Street.

      It has been all of a month since I last cycled in this area, so goodness knows what the situation is like on the ground today. I shall ride the route again before 3 June, and comments from others familiar with developments in the area would be appreciated.

      From Stratford we will if possible head east, following the line of the Northern Outfall Sewer (the whiff is barely detectable) through Plaistow and Newham. At Beckton we leave the Greenway, cross the A13 via a cycleable foot bridge, and proceed through Beckton Park toward the Royal Albert Dock. After crossing the Albert Dock Basin at the foot of the City Airport runway, we head south and cross the river using the free ferry to Woolwich. The final 10 kilometres runs along the Thames Path back to Cutty Sark Gardens.

      Much of the ride is on canal towpaths shared with quadrupedal lifeforms and their accompanying two-legged bondservants, the behaviour of whom is not entirely predictable. Pavement beasts have right of way on such shared use paths, and should not be harassed into making way for cyclists. Gentle pings of the bell, polite coughs, "I say!"(s), or audibly obvious tapping of cleats on clipless pedals to warn of one’s approach are advised.

      While largely incline-free and slow-paced, the ride is long, so bring plenty of water and snacks to keep you going through the day. Also lights, puncture repair materials, and preferably a spare inner tube or two. Also ensure that your brakes are fully functional. Taking an early bath in the Regents Canal is not a particularly pleasant experience at any time of year. I have seen it happen, and it was quite amusing to behold, though maybe not for the unfortunate Skyride marshal involved.

      07840 191336 (no texts please)

      Dr Francis Sedgemore
      journalist and science writer

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