Olympic Park – Lost Lanes Report

Today de boyz dem was five, but gurlz dem was nine init, so the gurlz is winnin dem. So mesay where de boyz dem?

Come on fellas the Bromley Massive were out in style today and where were you?

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Ride Leader Tracey had planned a real beauty of a ride. For most of the day I had almost no idea where I was, and for the remainder of the time I didn’t have the foggiest. It was a classical magical mystery tour taking in parts of Chislehurst, New Eltham Avery Hill, Welling, Plumstead, Woolwich (coffee stop at the Cornerstone Café in the old Arsenal). We them became Bromley Mariners as we sailed the high seas – took the Woolwich Ferry actually – to pick up the Greenway to the Olympic Park where we stopped for a very pleasant and relaxed lunch at The Unity Kitchen Timber Lodge Café. We sat outside in the warm sunshine nattering about all things cycling and all other things too.

If we thought the mornings ride had been a mystery tour well we were now in for the real feast of the day. Tracey led with unerring skill to the rear of the Park and here we picked up the network of paths alongside the River Lea and its web of tributaries and navigation channels. We nearly lost a rider here and in my efforts to bring our stray back into the fold I found myself on the Olympic cyclo-cross trail. I somehow don’t think my jumps will be giving any future Olympians any cause for concern. We passed the Big Breakfast House which seemed a point of interest. Personally I have a big breakfast in any house or café and would not wish to come all the way to the River Lea for my breakfast – no matter how big!

Following the canal paths for about an hour we passed locks (in use), weirs, waterfalls; houseboats, narrowboats, canoes; walkers, joggers, lovers, tourists. At Victoria Park from whence came the booming beats of a major music event the streets were thronged with inappropriately clad wobbly girls clutching inappropriate male companions of whom many (of either gender) were smoking strange smelling handmade cigarettes or drinking beer from tinnies bought from the local supermarkets. Personally I found the juxtaposition of urban, industrial and rural was more than enough to give me a high it was so contradictory.

Eventually we escaped this ‘Alice in Wonderland World’ and rejoined reality as we headed south to the Greenwich foot-tunnel where, you guessed it, the southern lift was out of commission so we all had to lug our bicycles up the stairs. Personally I take the view that in the event of a lift break down a local councillor should be required to man the stairs and refund a nice crisp £5 note to every cyclist who has to carry his bike, a £10 note to every parent who has to carry their pushchair and infant and £50 note to every wheelchair user who has to turn back because they cannot complete their journey. This would concentrate a few minds on getting the problem fixed sharpish. All our riders made it to the surface which is a great tribute their improving fitness.

At Greenwich our ride split with Tracey taking half the ride over Blackheath and through Kidbrooke whilst I took the Bromley boys and girls down the Waterlink Way.

Here it rained and we got wet; but we cared little as nothing was going to spoil the joy of a truly wonderful ride

A big thanks to Tracey for planning the ride and then leading it. But also a sincere thanks to all our riders who were great company.

Total Time: 7:10:00
Riding Time: 4:27:23
Distance: 45 mls ish
Average: 8.7 mph
Max: 21.3 mph

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