coops456
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Southend trumps London!

coops456
Posted by
07 Sep 2014

The London Bikeathon is great, but your local one is even better.

So last week, Sun 31 August, we rode the London Bikeathon. An early start to catch the train and cycle from Liverpool St to the start at Coram's Fields in Bloomsbury. It was a good ride past lots of the London sights like St Pauls, Canary Wharf, Houses of Parliament, and across several Thames bridges. Inevitably there were some busy stretches, particularly along Chelsea Embankment and round Parliament Square. These are not much fun but the quiet back streets of Wapping and the City made up for it. The weather was perfect, comfortable without being hot and without much wind. There was also a very nice food market behind the South Bank Centre where we acquired chocolate brownie and a very refreshing mango juice.

One week on, Sun 7 Sept, and we rode the Southend Bikeathon. A more leisurely morning, leaving home at 8.30 to take a gentle 6-mile ride along the seafront to the start at Shoebury East Beach. I've completed this Bikeathon on numerous occasions but this was Janie's first time. The local Round Table and air cadets do a great job of marshalling and the route was the best yet.

From East Beach we rode through the garrison and onto the seafront, then up Thorpe Hall Ave to Bounds Green roundabout (probably the busiest/trickiest bit). Here you join the bike path that runs alongside Artillery Way and just as you swoop over the top of the hill, it gets really interesting because you turn right under the dual carriageway and cross a golf course. Fore! One of the marshals along this stretch told us we were the first women to come through. Big mistake. Huge. Our competitive instinct really kicked in and that was it, we were determined not to be overtaken :-)

Exiting into Rebels Lane, we then turned left and headed toward the first checkpoint at Mucking Hall Farm. Card signed and biscuits scoffed, we were very quickly heading for the next great feature of this ride - the Cory roads. Cory Environmental are our bin men and they have an apparently massive piece of land in Barling/Wakering. It's crossed by private roads which the organisers had managed to get access to. Lovely lovely traffic-free riding. Before long we were at Wakering Health Centre, the 2nd checkpoint, and then leaving Wakering to return to East Beach. First lap (14 miles) done inside an hour - pretty good going.

Rinse and repeat for lap 2. Equally enjoyable, equally fast and competitive. All done and dusted by 11.30 with our medals hanging around our necks we rode straight to Thorpe Bay farmers' market in search of fine cake. Having acquired 1 quality chocolate brownie and a slab of Victoria sponge we winced a bit returning to the saddle and enjoyed a gentle warmdown ride back home via the seafront, Victoria Ave and Priory Park. Job done. Magic.