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18/12/2011 // INFO Leave a comment

Fifth Going Going Bike Casual Ride – London Hills


Swains Lane

There are many potential activities to undertake on the final Sunday before Christmas. A family lunch, last minute gift shopping, recovering from the office party or simply staying at home and reading the (increasingly depressing!!) newspapers.

Nine cyclists had other plans and met by the Christmas tree in Trafalgar Square for the fifth edition of the Going Going Bike Casual Ride.

Chilly conditions

A few familiar faces had braved the chilly conditions (the temperature rarely crested 2 degrees celsius) with Maria, Raj, Rita, James and Andrew now able to consider themselves veterans of these rides. Matthew, Andrew (2), Matt and Thom were doing their first Casual Ride.

The route headed north through the centre of town and took advantage of the prompt start to avoid excessive traffic. Within a few moments the spectre of Swains Lane approached (you can read a full review of Swains Lane here)…a few worried looks went through the group. Perhaps some were questioning the wisdom of finishing the bottle of red the night before…others danced nervously on their pedals, unsure whether their warm-up was sufficient.

Swains Lane

Few in the group had ridden Swains Lane but all knew of its reputation…ferociously steep in sections the route took us up to the second highest point on the course at 132 metres. As we arrived at the summit, all suffering from the gradient and blowing large clouds of breath in the cold conditions we were greeted by a shower of festive snow.

Highgate and La Mongie are aesthetically worlds apart but the last time I was this cold and cycling in the snow was on the way up the Tourmalet.

Ally Pally

Conditions cleared and a shorter climb up to Ally Pally followed. This late 19th Century “people’s palace” has commanding views over London and is a popular route with local cyclists…many seemed to be looping around it and taking advantage of the gradients that it offered to work off any “festive excess” and put in some winter miles.

Muswell Hill was the final climb on the route. From then it was largely downhill into the center of London, via St John’s Wood and Lords Cricket Ground, Hyde Park, Albert Bridge before arriving for a welcome drink and lunch in Clapham South.

Happy Chistmas

A big thank you to all who joined us and helped make this such an enjoyable ride. We wish you a great Christmas and look forward to seeing you on our next ride on Sunday 22 January. If you would like to join us on that ride or find out more information about our Casual Rides please email us at [email protected]

The Route

Details of the route can be viewed on the Garmin site here.

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See Also

A Christmas gift with a difference

Great Road Climbs of London: Highgate West Hill

from Going Going Bike – Auctions, Bike News, Cycle Stuff

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