London by Bike – Adventures in North London

Saturday morning and we set off on our bikes to explore areas of London beyond the immediate vicinity. We had to go outside Zone 2. Prepare for culture shock.

And so off we went to see a flat near Alexandra Palace (Ally Pally to the locals), one of the highest points overlooking greater London.

We went up past Gospel Oak, past the flat never-to-be-mentioned (I resisted the temptation to throw a bag of poo through the window), over Dartmouth Park Hil, past Highgate tube and over to Muswell Hill. It was very steep and the Purple Duchess, now with an extra-heavy lock, has proved to be a great beast of a bike. Good for the legs but really hard work.

We arrived in an area at the back of Ally Pally and went through the familiar viewing process. A two bedroom which seemed to have a cupboard instead of a bedroom. It was nice enough but where on earth were we?

To get our bearings we rode to the top of Ally Pally. That was a climb, the hardest we’ve done and by the top my poor legs were really feeling it. 

Ominous skies and London in the distance

With some seriously grey skies ahead, we decided we should push on to Crouch End, an area Letad had been interested in showing me. We arrived just as a storm whipped up, the rain pelting down and sheltered in a cafe for a late lunch while we hoped no one was stealing the bikes.

Resting outside Ally Pally. Rain ahead…
The aerial at Ally Pally

The skies cleared and before long we were riding back towards Highgate in glorious sunshine. How fickle.

Back to Kentish Town where we discovered a hidden nook called Torriano Cottages. Oh the bliss of being able to live there and we realized that, as always, we seem to end up back in NW5, Kentish Town, Parliament Hill and Hampstead Heath.

Despite having been riding for five hours, we decided to head into Covent Garden to buy a map of North London. This is now war and with a large map and a red pen, we will mark up the areas we intend to invade. Watch out North London, we’re angry buyers.

Of course this all takes energy and we were tired and hungry. We locked up our trusty steeds at Euston station (the bike racks are under CCTV surveillance so they can watch your bike being nicked) and we went to have subterranean Malayasian food at a little hole in the wall, The Roti King theguardianreview.

The food was amazing and cheap. I had the roti (bread) and dhal and only wished there was more. For £5.50 each, we were tired, full and happy. A place to definitely go back to.

The only thing left to do was reclaim our bikes (still there, hurray!) and ride home through the ambiance of Camden.

A little saddle sore…

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