The Last Train

This is the diseased tube station at Crouch End where once upon a time gents in tall stovepipe hats and frock coats would have got out of a big puffing steam train and gone home for an rubber or two of whist with Mr Marjoribanks the district surveyor and Parsons the cheesemonger. I do not know of course, that is just my imagination. Anyway it is diseased now and nothing remains except the platforms, and some cheerful people with bikes and dogs.

Or in my case just bike.

It is amazing as the graffiti that covers all the bridges and walls en route is far more exciting and colourful than anything the council could dream up to attract people for a family day out along London’s heritage-rich Parkland Walk. It is like being in some post-apocalyptic urban dystopia (good writing).

The winding path through Queen’s Wood in Highgate, as it would have looked in a faded old sepia toned Victorian type autoluminograph (not really of course it is just me playing about). I was having a lot of super fun as it is a beautiful area of ancient woodland and full of history ekcetera, and great for bikling through on a cheery summer day. It would be a bit different though if it was soaked in sinister inky twilight and full of rogues lurking behind every tree, or if a deadly strangler was roaming the wood.

There is not though so here I am relaxing at the start of the official Parkland Walk, abandon hope all ye who enter here and no motorbikes.

Journeys into the past by bicycle

I have been having a wizzo time lately just heading out on my bike and going hither, thither and whither I will. It is the perfect part of London for bikesploring, as there are lots of green spaces and old footpaths and such as rivers and woods ekcetera.

Obviously the perfect bike trail should match the following criteria:

  1. NO CARS
  2. Not too hilly
  3. Opportunity for wizzo views
  4. Trees and flowers
  5. Birds
  6. Rivers and ponds
  7. Starts near my house
  8. Ends near a pub

I have found quite a few places like this, as a lot of the paths and bridleways that I walk around are also good for bikling. Yesterday I discovered a sekrit passage that goes up the back of the Vue cinema at the Finchley Leisureplex & Temple of Consumerism, over a recreation ground thing with some intresting birds, past the Glebe nature reserve, through a couple of sleepy back streets, and into the Coppetts Wood nature reserve where there are wizzo woods and a girl and I once took some pictures of old sewerage pipes and sat in a glade.

Today I was looking at Underground History an amazing trove of arcana about the London Underground which is great, except I read “Disused Stations on London’s Underground” as “Diseased Stations on London’s Underground”. I was jolly disappointed as I thought there might be rage-infected Tube stations like on 28 Days Later. There is a good bit though about the Northern Heights ie where I live, and the old steam train line from Alexandra Palace via Highgate to Finsbury Park. It was never electrified and eventually the track was taken up and the line abandoned. It’s now a super leafy footpath with deer and hedgehogs!

So I will be having an experdition there and also there was a line from Mill Hill East to Edgware which is now a path, and I bikled along that today. It was great! It is like a sekrit passage like in Narnia or one of those movies, except not a cupboard. It goes through some green and sun-dappled woods, along the back of some football pitches, past the sports centre and up to the main road where it stops abruptly. There was once a pedestrian subway but it is bricked up, and someone has sprayed ‘JESUS LOVES YOU’ in big letters on it. Cross the road, looking both left and right for oncoming traffic, and enter Rowlands Close, where the path sidles casually out through an undistinguished-looking brick alley and into a housing estate.

Then I took the other path back across Hendon Golf Course, through a copse full of flowers and butterflies, over an abandoned concrete lot that looks like a decommissioned nuclear bunker, up the back of the allotments and suddenly arrived at the A1! And so back up along the brook, past the children’s playground and through the little park where people sit and chat on the benches and look at birds.

Matt pointed out that I must be nearing the top Google results for ‘curry’, as we sat eating curry. I should get some kind of lifetime supply of curry, or something. Curry!

Keithlard goes bikling

As part of essential investment in plant and equipment for Project Hott, I bought myself a bike :D

It is this bike:

The man at the shop was super helpful and friendly, and with his advice and Steve’s I got all the right accessories including lights, a big badass lock, Pitlock skewers that stop you taking the wheels off without the key, a garishly coloured helmet, and a special saddle that is electronically coded to my personal arse! OK not that last one. But hopefully it will not be nicked, even though I am too nervous to leave it anywhere out of my sight, so it is probably coming to bed with me later!

I have woken up with a few strange bed companions in my time, though most of them were at least recognisably human.

So I bikled back home from work, and it only took 0 hours and 25 minutes! That is super quick really as it takes longer by tube. And it was uphill. I am hugely unfit obviously but I did not find it too bad, so that is encouraging.

They were great at the shop and tuned up the bike and fitted all the accessories for free, and I get a free service after a month. So everyone should get all their bikes and bikling accessories from Jason at Cycle Surgery in Camden. That concludes this commercial messidge.

Now I am relaxing with a cold beer and Indian snacks! So it was a good day all around really.