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Lea Valley as a first...

AmbermileAmbermile Posts: 117
edited August 2008 in Tour & expedition
Ok, been a *long* time since I have done any serious cycling so thought as a beginning I would do the Lea Valley route. Idea is to camp in Hertford (where I was born and bred) and on Day One do Hertford to Leagrave and back, then Day Two would be Hertford to Canning Town and back. The wife thinks this is overly optimistic at about 50 miles a day but I'm thinking it's about right - especially as it's mostly alongside the Lea navigation and so about as flat as it gets.

What do you all think - am I being overly optimistic or not? I'm 48, just gave up almost a lifetime's smoking 18 months ago and am now beginning to want to get out and do stuff!


Arthur 8)
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  • julkjulk Posts: 55
    50 miles a day fully loaded with camping gear is quite doable.

    If you are leaving the camping gear behind, then it will be easier and a very nice ride.

    Take and consume plenty of energy food and drink to keep you going on the ride.

    If either day's ride proves too tiring, just cut it short and return to base.

    Enjoy the trip, take your time and take in the scenery.
  • AmbermileAmbermile Posts: 117
    Yes, the plan this time is to drive down from Norfolk on Friday and set up the tent at Mangrove Road for the weekend and then chill for the rest of the afternoon/evening... maybe have a casual ride around all the old haunts but nothing strenuous. Then Saturday get off earlyish and head for Leagrave safe in the knowledge that I have a good 9 or 10 hours to do it in. Same thing Sunday but heading South, then pretty much pack up and go home late Sunday evening. As you say, if it gets too much I can turn around and go back - who's going to know :twisted:

    I'm rather looking forward to it to tell the truth - been way too long!



    Arthur
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  • AmbermileAmbermile Posts: 117
    I'm packing tents and stuff now... and so it is raining, which is hardly surprising. Would be nice if just once a short break like this would start with sunshine :cry:

    No matter - still going to enjoy it!



    Arthur
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  • andymillerandymiller Posts: 2,856
    Bear in mind that although the towpath is flat, there are plenty of walkers and it's quite narrow. So not as fast as you might think.

    Also are you sure about going to Canning Town? Nothing against the place, but personally go to Limehouse. Splendid Hawksmoor Church, Limehouse Basi is nice and you could have a drink in the Grapes in Narrow Street.
  • AmbermileAmbermile Posts: 117
    I thought the path went to Canning Town? My LR maps have yet to arrive so I can't really check exactly the route but maybe I'll make it up as I go along - all I really need to do is get from Hertford to the Thames and back in a day 8)

    Fast isn't necessary, I have all day for 50 or so miles and intend to use all that time!



    Arthur
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  • andymillerandymiller Posts: 2,856
    Well - technically yes. But if you turn down the Hertford Union Canal at Victoria Park then go down the Regents Canal, you end up at Limehouse basin.

    http://www.multimap.com/maps/?hloc=GB|l ... |Limehouse, station
  • AmbermileAmbermile Posts: 117
    Looks good... as a purist I should do the *proper* route... pragmatically though, there's a lot to be said for a pint in the Grapes 8)

    Arthur - unpure - but only for the next three days whistle.gif
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  • AmbermileAmbermile Posts: 117
    Long story, but after 3 (yup, that's three) bl**dy punctures by Dobbs Weir (and a duff pump meaning a couple of *very* long walks to petrol stations/taxi offices) I turned around and headed back to base. Not beaten though and I learnt all sorts of things for next time - which will hopefully be in a few weeks.


    Arthur - down but not out!
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  • andymillerandymiller Posts: 2,856
    Arthur

    That's a shame. Better luck next time.

    You don't appreciate the humble bike pump until you're stuck with a duff one. I've also become obsessive about checking the tyre after a puncture.
  • BrainsBrains Posts: 1,732
    I have done the route several times

    Unloaded it's two hours from the Isle of Dogs to the M25, and then 2 hrs from M25 to Hartford.

    Tow path all the way

    Get the (free) TFL cycle maps as that will give you the route within the M25

    A number of pubs en route, and a rail line most of the way if you want to get the train back part of the way
  • AmbermileAmbermile Posts: 117
    OK - off to try this *again* this weekend, same plan as before but without the Leagrave-Hertford bit. Will just be staying at the Hertford campsite Friday and Saturday and cycling down to the Thames From Hertford Lock and back up on Saturday. I have a better idea of what to expect, as well as a new pump and some patches that are *not* those bl**dy things with white plastic permanently glued to one side that you get in the Weldtite kits! Hopefully I'll not need either of the above... yeah.gif

    Arthur
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  • GadgeGadge Posts: 135
    Enjoy the ride.

    Maybe you should get some armadillo's or similar puncture prrofing tyres. They are a great improvement.

    How did you enjoy that campsite by the way?
    ____________________________
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  • AmbermileAmbermile Posts: 117
    I'll give the Kendos another chance I think - part of the problem was inferior rim tape I suspect, so have changed this to some more substantial. I now have a "number two" bike in the Raleigh Pioneer Jaguar I just bought used yesterday which has 700c wheels - the reason I bought it - so probably at least one of the two bikes will eventually get puncture-proof tyres.

    The campsite at Hertford was fine, nice and quiet really if you don't count the party next door with flame-eaters/jugglers on the Saturday night :shock: (I kid you not, but it *was* fun and I rather enjoyed it!) I *am* going back though!

    Arthur
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  • AmbermileAmbermile Posts: 117
    I'm back, knackered but happy. Why did nobody tell me about the dust :shock: My nice shiny bike is a uniform beige all over now... no matter, it doesn't detract from the smug feeling in having "done" the Lea Navigation 8)

    Odo clocked the day at a little over 60 miles round trip, a bit more than I was expecting but apart from a slightly sore rear things went well. There is of course that moment of elation when you get to the destination (Limehouse Marina in this case) which was soon dissipated by the realisation that I was only half way - I had to get back again... When I got back to the site I realised the front disk had been binding all day - I thought it was the dust but as it turned out one of the pads was pressing against the disk, did not help things at all!

    Thanks to the three "joggers" waiting at the Marina bridge while it opened to let a boat through - two joggers and a trainer I think - for making just about everyone in the queue laugh (or at least try not to). You know who you are...

    I may nip down to Bishops Stortford soon to do the Stort Navigation down to Ware and back up again :D


    Arthur
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  • andymillerandymiller Posts: 2,856
    Congratulations. 60 miles on towpaths is a fair old hike.
  • GadgeGadge Posts: 135
    Glad you enjoyed it Arthur. A satisfactory conclusion this time out and you picked a great weekends weather for it.
    .
    Hope you got some sleep at the camp site this week !

    I think you should do the Stort and round it off too. Have a rest first though.

    Gadge
    ____________________________
    I'm a man of simple needs. Expensive but still simple.
  • AmbermileAmbermile Posts: 117
    :shock: It *was* a bit further than I thought it would be to be honest... but hey, I did it! And the campsite? Woken up at 6 am by two little girls playing hide and seek with each other. They both had screeches like old fishwives that could probably pierce armour at 60 paces... twitch.gif Next time... bat.gif

    Here's the start/finish point at the Folly Island in Hertford. This is the turning point for barges since beyond this the river is not navigable...

    lea-folly.jpg


    ... and here's the Limehouse Marina lock, which is as far as the navigation goes because the bit I am standing on to take the picture is pretty much over the Thames, so is tidal/salt water :P


    lea-limehouse.jpg


    Arthur
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  • AmbermileAmbermile Posts: 117
    edited August 2008
    Off to do the Stort section this weekend :D Will be camping at the Dobbs Weir/Broxbourne campsite and riding up from (and back to) there on Saturday. Hopefully I'll be a little faster this time and so should have time to stop and "smell the roses" on the way round... :roll: This is a Good Thing since the Stort sections are supposedly the prettiest 8)

    Quite looking forward to it now the bike fitting is sorted and I can actually pedal efficiently!


    Arthur
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  • AmbermileAmbermile Posts: 117
    Well, why didn't anybody tell me the Stort navigation has no towpaths!! I am well knackered after over 30 miles cycling mostly through fields where half the time you cannot even see the river... no, let's be honest, half the time you can't even see the path! Still, I did it and live to tell the tale despite the requisite punctures (only two this time, one front one rear) which necessitated a panic-ride around Bishops Stortford looking for a bike shop as I had no patches left since I only took two with me! I had (rather sensibly I thought) nipped up to the supermarket petrol station before I left and put 60 psi in each tyre on the way out, thinking there was no way I was going to ride through treacle for 30 miles :? Fat lot of good that did me when I had both of them flat inside the first 5 miles so rode the rest on 30 psi :roll:

    Here's a few piccies then:

    The start of the Stort navigation at Fielders Lock, where the Lea and Stort fork off from each other - in this pic the Lea is disappearing off to the right, the pic is taken from the Stort side.

    stort-start.jpg


    If you are going to get a puncture, there cannot be many better/prettier places to do it than these two...

    puncture-1.jpg

    puncture-2.jpg


    Here's what a *good* bit of the path was like... (to be honest, there was *some* better bits, but not many and not enough for my old bones!)

    stort-during.jpg


    The end, at least of the navigation, at Bishops Stortford. They seem to be doing a bit of building work around here!

    stort-end.jpg


    It was about 30 or so miles (damned Mavic computer died as I got back to thecampsite!) of the hardest cycling I have done for a long time - thank God for suspension and sprung-loaded seatposts I say :roll: Whilst it may have been a hard ride it was also the prettiest one I've done to date - which more than made up for the lack of *any* flat bits to ride on...

    stort-middle.jpg




    Arthur
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  • AmbermileAmbermile Posts: 117
    Two punctures? Did I say two? Got the bike out of the car earlier and guess what... :roll:

    So that's three to the Lea and three to the Stort as well :evil:



    Arthur
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  • Hi, I'm looking to do this same route soon up to Wellyn, in a couple of weeks with some family and friends.

    The TFL map for the bit up to the M25 is a good tip. Can anyone recommend a map for the bit from M25 around to Wellyn?

    Also, I'm guessing it will be about 5 hours all up..?

    Thanks,
    reubster
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