One thing about Epping Forest is, you need to know what to wear in what weather. Same goes for the Lea Canal towpath. On Sunday I took a ride up the bridlepaths from the Chingford end up towards High Beech. I discovered that seven kilometres of the paths have been resurfaced over the past few months. The new surface might be good on the horses’ hooves, but the soggy month of February has turned those paths into rivers of mud. Not ideal conditions for cycling.
And the path south of Dobb’s Weir was just as bad. You would have thought the canal had burst its banks, but the last time that happened was ten years ago.
Mud has its place and it’s not underneath my feet or my bike’s wheels. My experience today won’t put me off Epping Forest or the River Lea, though. I’ll just have to choose a drier day for it.
It’s been a whole lunar month since my crash and only yesterday did I venture out on my bike. I cycled from Stansted to Epping. An exhausting ride — the weather was just the same as it was on November 13th, cloudy with an unremitting south-west wind blowing against me the whole way.
Today my journey was the very same route I took that unfortunate November day but the weather was sunny, day and quite mild for December. And not surprisingly my mood was just the opposite of what it was four weeks ago, or 28 days or 672 hours ago.
And my collar bone is knitting together, though my left arm is still not 100% functional.
I’m having a pot of tea in “Gossip” cafe in Broadway Market and then it’s my weekly stint in the Charity Shop…
I’ve seen it for myself. It’s every inch the dump people tell me it is. The residential districts surrounding Harlow aren’t so bad and there’s plenty to be said for Harlow old town. But the centre of Harlow is a hotch-potch of the ugliest, most featureless concrete boxes to be built in the 1960s. When I cycle into towns I usually have classical music or happy, upbeat rock running through my head. Here I was haunted by the sounds of Depeche Mode and Gary Numan. So you can understand why I hastily whizzed back to Waltham Abbey.
There are several ways to get to Stansted Airport, by car, by coach, by train or you can cycle there! That’s what I did today. I cycled from Epping, through a maze of quiet minor country roads via Toot Hill, Moreton, Matching, Sawbridgeworth, Hallingbury and Takeley. The journey took four hours. And, yes, I’m a loony! I must have looked rather out of place with my fold-away bike among all the tourists, but I didn’t care! I just had a snack at Costa and cycled back to Walthamstow.