Monthly Archives: May 2012

forest and water meadows

Earlier in the day Graham and I walk through the forest to Connaught Waters and the Warren Pond as a Lost Walk.

I’ve never properly explored beyond this bridge.

It’s been threatening to rain all day but I manage to get out on the bike  and escape anything more a few light drops. I cycle to the lake in the Roding water meadows and return towards Debden where I spot the Charlie Moules bridge. I’ve never explored over the bridge before and so this time I do. There is an amazing patchwork of fields and woods here backing up to the M11 motorway.

I also saw a Little Egret – quite clearly and even it’s huge bright yellow feet

There is a connection also to Grange Farm and I get to step on the Grange Farm bridge that crosses the motorway. Here I encounter a pretty girl on her bike who is thrilled that we have matching helmets!

the view north to the Loughton turn off from the Grange Farm bridge!

I make two circles of the water meadows, from Buckhurst Hill to Debden,  and am excited to have found a new place to explore. Oh! And part of the route is the London Loop.

This is my route :

And this is the Google Earth view :


Jung’s biking experience

Another hot day but sultry and storms loom. I want to go on a longer trip today and Sheila has her chums from Normanhurst School around for the afternoon.

I set off to follow the river Roding to Louisa’s house. I’m familiar with the playing fields in the Roding water meadows but I discover I can’t find a path onwards. Eventually I come out at the John Lloyd centre and make my way by road to Tove’s nursery school in the Bancroft’s Rugby playing fields. I still can’t find a path and so I go off, again by road, to go to Louisa’s house and who do I see coming the other way? It’s Lou on her bike with a trailer carrying Harper.

waiting to collect Tove

Jung’s synchronicity happens now as she tells me she was just thinking of me and biking as I appeared!!!

I have tea in her summerhouse and get the info I need to make my way back by a path alongside the Roding. It can be done and the only bit of road I needed to go on was by Buckhurst Hill County Primary School and, even here, from satellite pictures I see that there is an overgrown trail that would take me back to the Roding water meadows.

Saw a little egret twice and, I think, a buzzard again. Biking positively brings amazing encounters with all sorts of wildlife.

the trail gets even thinner!

Getting home I discovered Sheila’s pals in deep confab so decided to visit High Beach again and got caught in a short dark thunderstorm with hail. Quite exciting but I did wonder what the sensible thing to do when lightning threatens and I am in the forest, on a hill under tall trees on a metal bike. Anyway, I cycled home.

Bought Sheila an Apollo Firecracker, like Danae’s today from Michael at Halfords.

My route

Google Earth view

spotting germans in the forest

Met a bunch of forest rats this evening. Cycling through the forest close to  the Kings Head a group of 10 to 15 kids on hard tails came screaming towards me shrieking “Helmut!” I thought that’s daft my name isn’t Helmut but how do they know I’m German?

Then I realised none of them wore any protective headgear.


It was not a compliment.

I also explored the forest around the church and out towards Arabin House. There are lots of hidden trails where clearly serious bikers go.

Halford’s care plan seems good value as they repaired my slow puncture for £4.99 and I can get other things done and only pay for the goods, not labour.

This is where I went cycling:

and this is the Google Earth version:


deep in the forest where the serious bikers go?

Roding river revisited

Thom runs over from Stoke Newington to Loughton; it is just under a half-marathon. He does it in a hour 45 minutes.

We have agreed to help buy him a bike for his birthday and take him to the big Halfords in Tottenham just across the reservoirs from Black Horse Road. The place is big but no bikes and poor service apart from another Tom who advises us and is helpful. I complain to the manager, Sanjay, and he is sorry and immediately tries to make amends. But there is no bike available for Thom.

So we leave and have lunch in a turkish cafe/restauarant in Stoke Newington High Road. Tara is at home having returned from Cannes and the film festival. Her Crohn’s is not good so she doesn’t join us.

Later Thom phones to say he has located a bike – a Carrera crossfire.

The bikers in our family ( excluding the grandchildren) are me (carrera banshee), sheila (apollo firecracker), danae (apollo firecracker), louisa (make?), julian (my old carrera kraken), thom ( carrera crossfire). The new version of my Carrrera Banshee – the X model – sells at £799!

I go out for a ride when I get home. I retrace my old route when I first started – through the Roding river water meadows. I feel I can do it so much more easily now.

the troll’s cave

What is exciting is how Cyclemeter records everything and especially the .kml downloads that shows my routes in Google Earth! Awesome!


a view from the saddle

And then I go on my second mountain bike ride! I’ve already had 50 minutes on the static bike whilst watching more “Hurt Locker” (just a gung-ho american war movie – can’t see the fuss) and now I’m off on the “big” adventure to find my way through High Beach to the Big View by the Wake Arms. I’ve never been in this part of the forest before.

Anyway, I make it into the forest and the chain snaps. I walk the bike back to Halfords and they fix it. For free and in a very helpful manner. I think I did something stupid with the gears. Unintentionally, but I’m beginning to realise that however tough they look mountain bikes are fragile.

So back in the saddle and I get to High Beach, see the same faces as yesterday, have a fizzy water and carry on to the Big View.

And it is amazing – a clear and broad view towards the reservoirs and, I suppose, Waltham Abbey. This part of the forest is beautiful with mature trees and little explored.

As I return I encounter problems. The path turns to mud and deep ruts. Cycling is hazardous and difficult and I do come off. It is also hard work. Very hard work and as I still don’t have the gears right I do much pushing. But I make it and get back to Loughton and pop my head in to Cafe Rouge where Sheila is with Linda Field, Sally Ann and Sue Kemp.

Back home I discover another frailty of mountain bikes. They don’t like to be dirty and I have to clean the Banshee.

at the King’s Head cafe in my new helmet

my Carrera Banshee shyly hiding in the background

the Big View from the Wakes Arms

beautiful mature trees in their fleeting special spring green

Must give a special mention to the Cyclemeter App for the iPhone. At £1.99 it is incredible value and vastly superior to the ‘bike computers’ selling for £20 or more. Just look!

my route on my iPhone

my statistics on the brilliant Cyclemeter app on iPhone

a change of direction

I started this blog intending to keep a journal of managing diabetes and other ailments. But I realise that that is going to be really boring. Even for me.

So I hit upon the idea of turning this blog into my biking journal. Cycling is, after all, one of the ways I am exercising and so falls well into the remit of what I am doing about my diabetes. And it will be more interesting. At least to me.

I got my bike – a Carrera Banshee – yesterday and took it into the forest to High Beach and back. Quite an achievement for me as I’ve never really had a bike and been into cycling. Anyway, here goes.