Cycling Trip with Camping

Being thoroughly enthused by the Tour de France I’ve been jumping on my bike at every opportunity and heading out on fairly decent bike rides – mostly exploring London, taking in the sights – something I usually miss whilst commuting and having found myself with a few days to spare I decided to load up the bike and head off. My plan being to follow the river east riding the Thames Path, out towards the Dartford Crossing with my aim being to find somewhere to wild camp at the far end.


Travelling light – I was carrying 2 litres of water, a jungle bivvy, roll mat and sleeping bag I set off mid-afternoon from Lewisham in SE London and was very quickly at my start point – the Trafalgar Public House, right on the River Thames in Greenwich where I grabbed a photo of my bike next Nelson who was looking north across the river at Canary Wharf.


I do love this ride out of London and its interesting seeing the contrast between north and south – on the north side is Canary Wharf and south is mainly derelict buildings, ship breaking yards and large aggregate industries.


Before long, the O2 Centre came into view…


The whole area is being redeveloped, certainly all round the O2 Centre, its one big building site. After a short while the Thames Barrier came into view. The Thames Barrier became operational in 1982 – I do like to see this structure as my father who sadly died earlier this year fitted the lightning protection to it and I remember the stories he use to tell me all those years ago.


I couldn’t resist this next photo, a well placed bike against a nice piece of graff – almost looks like the guy is about to jump on the bike…


I carried on riding, heading further east before stopping in Erith for refreshments. Having loaded up at the local supermarket my thoughts started turning to where I might sleep tonight. Looking at the map on my phone I spotted a couple of likely stops over near Bexley Village. Leaving Erith I rode along several trails, chatted to some fisherman all of whom were having quite a good day. I also stopped to eat some blackberries! Before too long, I was peddling through the village of Bexley heading towards the spot I’d found – on arrival I was very impressed, it was a great little spot so set up camp and settled in for the night.


I had a great ride and night out under the stars though next time I’ll remember to bring my mosquito repellent!!


South of the River and East

Last week, over the bank holiday weekend my good friend and I cycled from Southampton Way in London to Greenwich and along the Thames Path, all the way east to the Thames Barrier. It was a thoroughly good ride and having not been there in a while was surprised to see how much development has taken place and how much is going on – the place will be unrecognisable in the next ten to fifteen years. It is though, still one of my favourite places to go – does feel quite wild being so close to London but still so far.













Thames Path, east of Greenwich

East of Greenwich is a great walk.

The Thames Path follows the River Thames east through desolated waste ground, barren industrial areas, full of redundant cranes and machinery. Even though Canary Wharf, the financial hub of London is just across the river, you really do feel exposed, more so on rainy grey, winter days. It’s so remote that whenever I walk there, I always have the feeling of some other Worldliness and fully expect to some classic gangster movie being shot amongst the empty buildings if I was going to top someone (in a gangster way) it would be here!

Starting off in Greenwich, maybe a quick pint at the Cutty Sark(!) and almost straight away, you’re on your own with the wind and rain blowing straight through you. Following the river as it meanders its way east you’ll be lucky to see another person. Derelict cranes appear by the Thames, iron structures standing eerily silent. It’s easy to imagine how busy this place once was and now it just stands witness to changing times in this part of London. Before too long you arrive at the Thames Barrier, an incredible structure which was started during the 1970’s (completed in ’82) and is London major flood protection. interestingly its the second largest flood protection system in the World, the first being in Holland.

Here are some photos following a recent walk.

Guarding the Dome

Boats in front of Canary Wharf

Iron Post

Cranes, with Canary Wharf in the background

War of the Worlds

The Thames Barrier