Friday 1 October 2010

The nicer side to cycling

I set up this blog to generally moan about the absurd cycling provision doled out by our elected masters whilst they spout deluded eco-twaddle and try not to inconvenience the dominant car culture. Thus making cycling a sometimes deeply unpleasant and even dangerous mode of transport.

But there is a nicer side with many reasons to love cycling.

Lee Navigation Tow Path
And here is one of them. The Lee Navigation tow path used by many cyclists and pedestrians. The picture was taken on the stretch between Forest Road and Springfield Marina. It is somewhat difficult to believe that on the right is Tottenham Hale and on the left, past the reservoir, is Walthamstow. You can continue this lovely journey into Hackney, through Victoria Park and then into central London. And you pass Springfield Marina with all the narrow-boats, the wonderful Springfield park and Hackney Marshes on the way.

To do the same trip in the car would involve congestion, stress and general misery. I sometimes see a heron peering hopefully into the canal - not something I have ever seen in my car whilst fighting my way around the Tottenham Hale Gyratory, for instance.

Also, at the bottom of Hackney Marshes - next to Homerton Road and the canal, used to stand one of the factories of Lesney industries.

Matchmaker wharf - site of Lesney Industries

Now, the site is being re-developed into luxury flats, but here, along with the site on Eastway (now part of the Olympic site)  millions of Matchbox toy cars were made. It gives me pause for thought that the toy cars I used to collect as a child originated from this site - apparently in its heyday 5000 people worked in the factories. More details can be found here.

 Telford Homes are developing the site and it is now called (a bit confusingly) "Matchmakers wharf". The old factory was looking pretty forlorn - I am sure the new complex will "add a cultural and creative buzz" to the area  as the on-line marketing blurb gushes. But one cannot help but be a little sad - there is now no trace of such a successful local industry producing products enjoyed by nearly every child growing up in the 60's, 70's and 80's.

So, cycling can be an absolute joy. It just should be more like this, more often.

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