The weather forecast was awful and unfortunately seemed to impact on numbers joining this ride which was a shame because we rode to and from London in dry weather and in sunshine some of the time. Arriving early I popped into Raggio’s Cafe and was served a very nice Americano Coffee. I chatted with the staff for a while and established that it is a cafe used by cyclists. I think in future if I start a ride from Beckenham it will be from Beckenham Green so we can use Raggio’s Cafe.
On the green I was joined for this ride by Karen and Abu. Abu has been in touch a number of times in an effort to find a route to town so it was great to welcome him. Karen on the other hand had already cycled to Carshalton and back when she joined us. She had ridden over to join Pollards Hill Cyclists who had cancelled their ride due to the weather forecast so Karen had hurried back to catch me and only just made it. Well done Karen; good cycling!!
We made our way from Beckenham Green to Cator Park where I was hoping I might be joined by more riders; alas no, and so the three of us headed up the Waterlink Way taking stops as required to discuss the route and any alternatives. There is a bush which has been pulled down into the path at the rear of the Saver Centre which I reported via the Fix my Street website last Thursday and which, when I did submit my report, confirmed that it had already been reported. This is the second time that reports of vegetation across the Waterlink Way to Lewisham Council have sat unanswered for an unacceptably long time. I am aware that this has been passed over to private contract, I suggest Lewisham Council have a look at the Service Level Agreement – either the deadlines are being missed or the contract needs reviewing!!
Burgess Park was looking very green and lush and was a pleasure to cycle through. I have long harboured security concerns about this park. When first started using it as my commuter route there were reports of cyclists being mugged in Burgess Park and since then I have always avoided it after dark. I wonder if I am being too cautious nowadays.
We arrived in Covent Garden at mid-day. I must admit that the sky was looking very heavy by this time, but the rain held off. Having enjoyed a comfort stop we purchased some coffee and repaired to Neal’s Yard where we sat on the benches chatting. Abu took photographs.
After the break we made our way back over Waterloo Bridge where we found the Southbound cycle lane blocked from end to end with parked cars. There is really no excuse for this, Westminster Council this is your Bailiwick; action required.
In Portland Road at the East Street market junction we endured a torrent of vile abuse from a woman as she dismounted from her car, which pulled up in front of us without signal or warning. We took no notice and pedalled on.
We decided to try out the Waterlink Way diversion; it aint good. I am fairly sure that the signposted route will be ignored by cyclists who will select the very dangerous alternative of cycling from the entrance to Halfords straight across the South Circular and up Ravensbourne Park missing the tunnel under Catford Bridge altogether.
We got back to Beckenham at 2.30 pm and headed to our various homes.
Ride stats: 26 mls at a very leisurely 9.1 mph – it wasn’t a race was it??