Thursday, July 14, 2011

Cyclists Slow Down: The Netwalking Club

Cyclists Slow Down by LoopZilla
Cyclists Slow Down, a photo by LoopZilla on Flickr.

It all changed on 6th July 2005. I was in a cafe in The Roman Road (known locally as “The Roman”) in the East End of London and after the news broke on the radio, the Red Arrows flew overhead towards Central London.

I was not happy. Many people around me seemed to be happy. Including a black cab driver, who now be aware that he would not be able to drive down the priority lanes. One year away and the local population know that driving and transport in general will be difficult during the Olympic Games (in London in 2012). Walking might be the best way to get around.

I had been walking a route called “Walk the Olympic Bid” lead by “The Newham Striders”, which later in 2005 became “Walk the Olympic Park” and then in 2007 it all stopped. The construction site for the games was closed to the public officially on 1st July 2007, but in fact it took a few more weeks to shut down the site completely. Many businesses used to the extra time to save as much as they could. Foreman’s (who made smoked salmon) moved from Marshgate Lane to a new building on “Fish Island”. DROF (Ford Spares) moved to Canning Town.

So, after walking the park (and the Bow Back Rivers, which thread through the Olympic Park), I was left without a Sunday walk. But there was an option. Instead of walking up the towpath, turning right and coming back down the City Mill River, it was possible to turn left and walk back through Bow. Hence the “Three Mills Loop” was born. We started and end at Three Mill Lane (near Three Mills Green). The first walk was on April 6th 2008, and it snowed. Hence the statement… “we walk in all weathers”.

The walks have continued ever since then. We walk most Sundays, and the group is called “The Netwalking Club”. There are some standard walks, and also special walks. We walk most on the towpaths, since this is a level surface. One special walk is “Tesco to Cheshunt” were we walk from Tesco’s branch in Bromley By Bow (which is in Three Mill Lane) to Tesco’s headquarters in Cheshunt. This is an all day walk and takes from 10 am to about 5pm. We stop for lunch at Stonebridge Lock.

More on The Netwalking Club

Last ever Tesco to Cheshunt will be on 30th September 2012. Tesco now opens at 12 noon on Sundays, and we start at 10 am, so we will start somewhere else. And probably end somewhere else too! But we will still be walking in the Lea Valley....

No comments: