Any bike | Fully Guided | Traffic-free | Cycle paths & trails | Some hills | 34 miles | 5 to 6 hours
Explore the ever and never changing Lee Valley and Epping Forests. Starting outside Wapping Station, we’ll ride through East London's industrial past out to the large and ancient Epping Forest before encountering the brave new architecture of the Olympic Park and London of the future on our return.
Meet at Urban Baristas Coffee shop aside Wapping Station (on the bike-friendly Clapham to Highbury Overground line) before heading along the cobbled streets lined with renovated warehouses as we head for Limehouse Basin. Along the Limehouse Cut, we go past 3 Mills Island and leave the Lee for the time being at Stratford and the aptly named Forest Gate.
Following the River Ching we’ll cross the wild Wanstead and Leyton Flats, areas of rough heathland, before reaching the forest proper with its magnificent stands of ancient woodland. We shop for refreshments at the Butlers Retreat, a wonderful café with views over the Lee Valley, where we’re headed next.
Dropping out of the forest we join the River Lee to follow the broad towpath downstream and back into London. Did we ever leave? The River winds its way past reservoirs, filter beds and playing fields interspersed with woodland until we reach the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. The sharp modern architecture of the velodrome, stadium and Anish Kapoor’s Orbit sculpture, is set against the brave new world skyline of modern Stratford.
Turning our backs on the 21st century, we cross the Regent's Canal, cut through Victoria Park before following quiet roads back to Wapping.
Urban Baristas, 138 Wapping High Street, London E1
Duration: 5-6 hours
Distance: 34 miles
Estimated average speed: 6-8 mph
Trails: Mostly off-road on hard-packed gravel interspaced with traffic-free cycle paths and quiet roads
Technical Grade: Blue – relaxed ride suitable for novices or near novices.
Group Size: 10 people.
A refreshment stop mid-way (cost of refreshments is not included in the ride)
Is this ride for me?
This is an approachable ride, you need to be able to cycle easily at a gentle pace for a few hours.
Note that parts of Epping Forest can be a bit muddy in Spring and Autumn, so be prepared!
The pace of the ride will be adapted to suit the cyclists on the day and the route may change to meet the capabilities of the group as a whole, the leader will make sure that no one is left out or behind!
Is my bike OK for this ride?
The ride is suitable for off-road bikes and hybrids.
There will be a basic bike check before each ride to ensure riders' safety, so please make sure your bike is in good condition with working brakes and gears, along with pumped-up tyres and an oiled chain.
If in doubt, please get your bike checked over by a competent mechanic or bike shop before the ride. Here is a list of local bike shops we're happy to recommend.
Remember to plan ahead, many bike shops are very busy and service slots are often booked out in advance.
What do I need to bring?
Helmet (wearing helmets is a must on our rides)
Spare inner tube
Rain jacket (if required)
Suitably warm/cool clothing for the weather
Sunscreen (as necessary)
The leader will have supplies of homemade fudge and flapjacks to keep you going during the adventure, however, if you have any food allergies or dietary requirements please bring your own snacks.
What's included in the price?
Guide for the entire ride
Coaching hints and skill tips about 'off road' cycling
Pre-ride bike and helmet safety checks
Fixing mechanical faults/punctures where possible
Charlie's famous homemade fudge and flapjacks to power you along