Wed 21 Aug 2013
I was first at Bromley South and was soon joined by Spencer and others. We stood chattering in the warmth of the evening sunshine, low towards the western horizon. There is so much that is good about a nice English summer; one of the main disappointments is how quickly it seems to draw to a close. We were not even half-way through last night’s ride before we were putting our lights on to illuminate the growing dusk and nightfall.
Spencer was concerned about a family who had been in his shop during the day and who had all recently bought bikes. They were now debating the problem of where to store five bikes and where to ride them. The thinking was apparently to do some cycle rides around nearby Dulwich Park. Great for getting started but really quite restrictive and unless it can be developed into something a bit more stimulating is likely to wither on the vine. We wondered if there was any sort of structure in place in this area to help our family to get the best out of their venture into our world. Having reached no useful conclusion Spencer decided it was time to get the show on the road.
We were 14 in number. James and Paul decided to take a bit more of a challenge by doing a longer and faster ride of somewhere between 30-40 miles at 15mph… …ish! and then to join us at The Chequers
The less superhuman amongst us followed Spencer up Elmcourt Rd and east underneath the Kentish Way into the suburban Bromley hinterland. This route is marked with Sustrans Signage as being the cycle route to Bromley North. Assuming that, like me, you consider Bromley North to be that area around Sainsbury’s in West Street this signage seems very mixed up. This is exactly the sort of thing we are hoping to tackle when we discuss our wishes at our stakeholder meeting with the council.
Using the quietways Spencer led us unerringly over Bromley Common and to Petts Wood. From here onwards it became quite a hilly ride. We made our way through Chelsfield which afforded some magnificent views over London under the darkening skies. By the time we reached The Chequers it was completely dark, about 9 pm.
We all piled into the pub and were made welcome. We found a convenient table and settled to chat about cycling and anything. Spencer had been in communication with Councillor Smith about the resurfacing of roads around Biggin Hill. A number of our members had sent in complaints to the council about the tar, chippings and sweep method of resurfacing and how this rendered the road almost impassable for cyclists during the bedding in period. Cllr smith has offered that in future when such road repair regimes are due he will arrange for us to be notified so we can publish details here and via social media and warn our cycling friends to use alternative routes. There was also an offer for us to meet with the senior managers from the contractors to discuss the problem, however in the light of the advance warning offer Spencer had declined this invitation at least for the time being.
At 10 pm as I was preparing to depart with the north of the borough crew James and Paul arrived. We said goodnight to everyone and headed out of the door. There is plenty of downhill from Orpington back to Bromley so a nice quick run (though we did have the long climb up Poverest Road) but I must here say a thank you to Stewart for leading us safely back along the lanes, we were further out than I had realised and it was a long time before we reached roads with street lighting.
A round trip of about 20 miles this evening at a steady pace behind Spencer, and slower for the bit I led homewards.