The Other London

Sunday, Discover Day. The last few Sundays we were out and about outside London, as we went to Oxford and Northampton. Today we decided, however, to have a local challenge. Our friend Ruth-Anna (@bikesandbabies) invited us to the countryside live event at Lee Valley. I have wanted to visit Lee Valley for awhile now, but was reluctant to do this on my own, without a guide. Cycling a cargobike, with a child in it, holding on to a map, while trying to find the way on busy roads isn’t exactly my idea of a good time. So when Ruth-Anna invited to let us tag along, we jumped on the offer.

Now, where is this Lee Valley? Well, it is actually a vast area in the North-North East of London. Basically from Hackney in the east, all the way up to nearly the M25. Lovely marshes, meadows, grassland and canal(paths). In effect, a real green lung in London. Quite unknown by visitors.  

A green lung not even 15 minutes cycling from my home, as a matter of fact. We cycled down from Bruce Grove down to Hackney on the A10. Where we saw this interesting sign:

YES! There you have it, people, the beginning of the CS1. The supercycle highway going from White Hart Lane all the way down to Liverpool Street. We passed the roadworks and turned left onto Crowland Road. At the end of this street we bumped into Markfield Park, where we met up with Ruth-Anna.

Markfield Park has a lovely playground and a very cheap café, which boasts some lovely food. And they have toys out in the garden, for the children. Ofcourse Ruth-Anna’s kiddos and my Monkey were born to ride anything remotely resembling a bicycle (I’m afraid it is a genetic default), so they took to the toys straight away…

After some food and a drink, we decided to set off to the Countryside life fair. We both had the cargobikes with us. My Babboe BIG and her Babboe City Curve. Two bikes, two families and two mummies who are on the warpath to change families’ mentality, when it comes to alternative modes of transport. And what better way to do this, than to show people how we cycle, and what we use for cycling.

On the way down, I was slightly in shock. Was this really London? I have lived here many years and I have never seen a greener place. When I wanted nature and quiet previously, I would head down to Surrey, or Oxfordshire. Surely not London.

About 10 minutes later we were already at the fair!  I am not sure who had more fun in the end: the children or the parents. There was ferret racing, a sheep show (the sheep even danced), and a falconry show with an actual vulture! 

 Lunch was had, and after that it was time to say our goodbyes, as we were going to see Elizabeth in Hampton Court. But that was another adventure altogether.

So, there you have it. In a city of nearly 9 million people, you’d think everything is boxed in and everybody lives between concrete. But, we don’t. There are still parts of London, which are open and vast and very much enjoyable. We should treasure these parts and make them bigger. We should treasure them and we should make sure these pockets of untainted nature stay untainted. There is only one way forward. We need to stay on the path of sustainability. We need to make people aware of how beautiful that other side of London really is. We need to make people aware that they don’t necessarily need a car to get about and destroy what is so precious. We need to make them see, that if we want to take London into the future, cycling is the best option.

That other London. Will you come visit too? 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s