Click here for our route (please ignore other ride stats). 40 miles (64 km); approx 900 m climbed
On the week end that London chose their new mayor, and Ann had already been exposed to an energetic spinning class and substantial dollop of wedding dress shopping, Sunday saw an early rise for her at Pete’s flat in Balham and a cycle across London (using the great Cycle Streets app) to Baker Street underground station. While we sipped smoothies in Starbucks the station quickly filled with the bicycles of our 14 fellow cyclists from Central London CTC. Through the barriers and onto the almost empty Metropolitan Line train where the bikes fitted neatly into spaces created by folding seats – and 45 minutes later we were in Amersham.
The Metropolitan Line was the first of the London Underground and was key in the development of the London suburbs along its length – allowing people to live in the countryside and travel quickly into work in the city. My own grandparents had lived in Harrow, Pinner and Amersham with Albert runng a small factory in Marylebone Street at which he made stainless steel medical instruments for nearby Harley Street surgeons.
A quick briefing by Richard about the route and off we went – the ride itself starting just after 10 am. Although categorised as 2* this group were clearly fit and took the hills in their stride. Stunning scenery, rolling hills, red kites over head – we reached our pub stop at the Whip Inn overlooking the Lacey Green Windmill around 12.30. Sitting in the pub garden eating our baguettes, it was great to get to know the group members a little and Richard, our ride leader, noted our names for the club records and for the annual points competition (one point per club ride attended) and we each paid our 50ps which cover the cost of running their website.
Water bottles refilled and sun protection re applied, we set off on our longer and even more hilly afternoon route, incorporating some of the Chiltern Cycle Way, with the promise of afternoon tea at Great Missenden. While I was able to get up these hills, I was, as usual towards the back of the group for them all – while Pete, of course, informed me his heart rate wasn’t even troubled by any of them. We were all nevertheless pleased to turn off the road and head down to the Church of St Peter and St Paul at Great Missenden for afternoon tea. This was an amazing experience with absolutely huge slices of home made cake and unlimited tea for next to nothing which we all sat on the steps in the churchyard to enjoy – while one of the team demonstrated the kind of exercises we should all be doing to stave off old age.
After tea, it was a straightforward five miles or so back to Amersham and on the train this time back to Marylebone where we all said our good byes. I hoped that some of the group might consider visiting us in Cornwall and trying one of our rides – they will be very welcome!
Birds seen/heard: red kite; green woodpecker; blackbird; robin; chaffinch; chiffchaff; blackcap; garden warbler;dunnock;wren;nuthatch;pheasant Finally, to note that even since my last visit to London in February, the cycling had improved significantly – even more cycle lanes; and yellow warning notices on the backs of most lorries. Let’s hope that Sadiq Khan is able to continue the work that Boris has started and that London continues to grow into a Cycling City.