If I’m truthful, and it’s usually much easier to be honest after the event, I was a bit nervous about taking the Wanderers to the Rye this evening. At the Old Jail House last week I think there was a collective gasp of horror when I suggested going to Peckham for our weekly outing. Not East Peckham in rural Kent but the real south London badlands of SE15. So even I was doubting myself. And lets face it as a non drinker am I really the best person to pick a pub.
There was a good turnout at Bromley South; it was a dry evening with light cloud keeping the temperature down. Last week I mentioned that it felt that we were coming towards the end of the summer. If that was true then it was even more so this evening. Some of us were pulling on extra layers even before we started out.
We set off heading north and by keeping to the east of the A21 were soon in territory that was pretty unfamiliar to most and completely new to some. This kept us away from theWaterlink Way route which most of us know quite well and which I was saving for the return journey. It also kept us out of Beckenham Place Park– scene of a gang fight and shooting just yesterday. In Farmfield Road we found ourselves heading straight west into a glorious setting sun before we turned north again to cross Downham Way into Catford. The pace was really slow, partly because the distance to the pub was only 9½ miles and we didn’t want to get there too early and partly because the whole route was littered with speed humps. (Note to self: must try and find a better way to avoid these sleeping policemen which were completely disproportionate, some of them were real wheel crackers.)
We crossed the A21 just south of Rushey Green and then headed up through Ladywell Park behind Lewisham University Hospital emerging by Ladywell Station on the Hayes line. Here there was a choice, we could either go straight on and go through Crofton Park or ride up the one reasonable hill on this ride and take a look at the view from Hilly Fields. We (I) chose the Hill, it’s fairly short anyway. This then gave us a nice long downhill run to and through Brockley and past Nunhead. It was then just a short journey through the back streets to the pub which we reached at about quarter to nine as it was just getting dark.
As promised there were plenty of bike racks so we secured the bikes and ordered drinks. Seating had been reserved for us indoors but luckily the seats outside were also vacant so we took these so we could keep an eye on the bikes. Luckily for me there were also a reasonable range of real ales on tap, thus I was spared a lynching. Nick the manager came out and welcomed us.
The main topic of conversation tonight was the forthcoming charity ride over the bank holiday week-end; whether one pair of pants would be sufficient; where was the hair dryer going to be packed; who was sharing a room with who; were padded shorts to be worn; who was going to write the ride report; who was taking the photographs.
Steve H who had been delayed packing ready for the ride joined us as did Paul, a friend of Spencer’s’. We were also joined by another unfortunate for whom care in the community wasn’t really working. He loitered a while, was no trouble and soon staggered off into the night.
At 10.30 it was becoming cold and we decided it was time to head for home. Everyone knew the homeward run so it was a bit of a free-for-all with the ride leader having little influence. At Catford we separated; the Bromley and Orpington crew staying to the East whilst the Beckenham and West Wickham team headed down the Waterlink route.
All in all the consensus was a very nice evening, and an interesting and unusual route. We will almost certainly do urban again in the future!!
Next week Steve B will be taking us on a very special route to the Five Bells at Chelsfield.
Thanks to everyone for coming.
Stats: Distance 17.46 miles 9.3 out and 7.1 back; average speed 8.7 mph; max speed 22.7 mph.
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