Saturday, 21 February 2009


Today I've ridden 58 miles around Slough, through Uxbridge and a big chunk of the part of North-West London known as Metroland (Ruislip, Pinner, Harrow and Northwood). 

A sensible question might be "why?".

The reason was to reach St Mary's church in Harrow on the Hill, which is the next in the list of fine English churches that I am trying to reach by bike as part of my Jenkins Quest

I often find in this exercise that the church itself is interesting enough, but not particularly memorable. This was no exception. It contains a few treasures, including this fine Jacobean pulpit, and there is a plaque in the grounds to mark a spot that the young Byron was particularly fond of. However, it is the high location and the distant views that are particularly striking.

As for the rest of the trip, I passed through an awful lot of London suburbia, with a few highlights such as the footbridge over Western Avenue north of Uxbridge, the Celandine Route along the river Pinn, and the Loudon memorial at Pinner (more of this later). 

There is a surprising amount of variety in metroland, and at worst it is not as bad as you might expect. As a stranger, I found it difficult to follow a route through the back streets, and this tended to force me onto the busier roads. I suspect that with more local knowledge it is a pretty good area for cycling. A fellow cyclist on a similar route agreed that it is surprising how much you can discover: once you stop worrying about getting lost.

In summary, it's been an interesting day, with a pleasant destination. The weather has been near perfect. I am happy to have crossed off the 16th church in my quest, and covered a mile more than this year's magic number, and I think I've logged a few roads that haven't been plotted on Open Street Map yet.

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