Cycle ride – Lovely Lea & Epping Forest Explorer

A change of plan for me means that this weekend I shall be in London. And with no Dog & Bell Crew ride scheduled for Sunday, I hereby offer one of my favourites.

What: Lovely Lea & Late Springtime Epping Forest Explorer
When: Sunday 15 June 2014
Meet: 10:00 @ Cutty Sark Gardens, SE10 9LW (by foot tunnel entrance)

There are a number of longer group rides that I like to do, and Epping Forest is one of them. The ride is brought to you by the South East London Commissariat for Social Cycle Rides Planning (aka the Dog & Bell Crew).

The route takes us along the River Lea Navigation as far as Waltham Abbey, from where we head east into Epping Forest. Before that we shall stop for elevenses at Springfield Marina in Hackney. Lunch will be at the Kings Oak pub at High Beach, in the heart of Epping Forest.

High Beach, Epping Forest (photo: David Iliff)

Our path through the forest will be on roads shared with motor traffic, with a little roughish dirt track perfectly navigable by road bikes with bald, skinny tyres. There are a couple of short and steepish climbs on the route into the forest, but overall little in the way of hills. There is only 250 metres of ascent over the entire ride.

The bulk of the ride is along the River Lea towpath, and this is particularly lovely north of Tottenham Lock. On my solo rides up the Lea Valley, I’ve had herons keep me company for a couple of minutes at a time, flying low over the water and wibbling away merrily. Other local fauna of note include families of ultra-orthodox Jews taking the air. Just say “Zayt moykhl” as you prepare to pass by, and then “A dank!” as you do so.

Please ensure that your bikes are in working order, with tyres pumped up hard, and free of embedded debris that could cause punctures. Bring a couple of spare inner tubes, puncture repair materials, water and snacks, and lights in case of poor visibility. The total distance is around 75 kilometres, or 350 furlongs for the English imperialists among you.

RSVP, but it’s OK to turn up unannounced on the day.

NB: next Saturday is the summer solstice, and that means the Midsummer Madness nighttime cycle ride from Greenwich to Primrose Hill.