A cycling map with helpful 6-mile orbital rings! It’s obvious why this was a treasured Christmas gift for me. It’s the date – 1887 – that makes the map really fascinating, for the 1880’s are the years when the modern bicycle was developed, with a bicycle boom following in the 1890’s. Not only that Continue reading
Martin submitted the winning design for London’s first dedicated cycle route in 1977.
Now, 40 years on, the ground survey and GPS mapping of a system of recreational rides around the capital’s urban periphery is complete. The route comprises 12 arcs, 12 spokes, and 12 spin-offs. In total, it covers more than 750 miles of off-road and quiet cycling through varied landscapes – often beautiful, always interesting.
In a reference to the London orbital motorway, the M25, this cycle route system will be the C25. While the project is in development I have developed a blog library of 40 snapshots, taken from a recent adventure, or from the 2015-17 archive of photos taken on reconnoitre. These are laid out chronologically below.
Currently there’s usually one dry day a week, and I squeeze an autumnal ride in then if free. Today was a corker; everywhere drenched in vibrant russets and golds from West Drayton to Beaconsfield via Langley and Black Parks and Burnham Beeches. Previously, greener rides through the amazing giant conifers of Havering-Atte-Bower and the Kentish Weald Continue reading
Martin’s winning design in the Greater London Council’s competition to initiate 1000 miles of dedicated cycle routes. Evening Standard, February 1978
I may be the only customer at The Wine Society warehouse in Stevenage who rocks up after a thirty mile bike ride, usually muddy (more of this anon), to fill my panniers with a dozen bottles and pedal off. Continue reading
Project C25 has taken a back seat in 2019, though I have been checking on the condition of the routes, finding to my relief minor improvements in many places, and little evidence of degradation and thankfully no disrupted or closed paths. For instance, yesterday I learned that downstream of the Thames Barrier “the missing link” had been installed. Continue reading
The Tokyo megalapolitan area is home to thirty eight million people – substantially in excess of half the UK population and the world’s largest urban agglomeration. Having experienced it firsthand, here are some observations from a wide-eyed Londoner Continue reading
It is a beautiful May day, and no C25 rides for some while. Time to get the glamour bike out and give it a spin. This is what the C25 can conjure up in a short afternoon: a 15-miler from Elstree to Rickmansworth, home and back in two and half hours. How’s that possible? Continue reading
The C25’s purpose is to entice the rider out beyond the metropolis into pastures new, and while designing the system I was acutely aware of the importance of noting potential hazards along the way. Last week, out of the blue, I was thrown by a potholed rut between the surface of the approach lane and the main A40 carriageway in Beaconsfield, and left unconscious by the roadside for 20 minutes. Continue reading
It starts so well. Straight off the train at Rainham (20 minutes from Fenchurch St) you can take a coffee at Rainham Hall (NT) before setting off on five miles of prime offroad cycling – and superb birdwatching – along the Thames to the RSPB centre at Purfleet. Thereafter, in order to reach the destination of Tilbury Fort, significant obstacles as well as fascinating discoveries lie ahead. Continue reading
To conclude final checks of the C25, I have ridden the twelve Spinoffs. The climb to Pink Hill (235m) is up the beautifully graded and picturesque Bryant’s Bottom, followed by an exhilarating descent to Princes Risborough and concluding here just beyond the charming hamlet of Horsenden, where the Phoenix Trail takes over. Continue reading
To conclude final checks of the C25, I have ridden the twelve Spinoffs. This is the Thames valley NCN4 route to Reading, largely flat of course, but here at leafy Bowsey Hill the spinoff concludes in a short but quite rigorous offroad climb. There is a choice after the descent to Crazies Hill; Continue reading