Cycling home (on the Surly custom bike) from work recently I decided to try a different route. I'd become tired of the slog from Waterloo up to Clapham Common via Kennington Road & Clapham Road. For a start there are tons of traffic lights to slow you down, and the volume of cars and buses makes breathing fairly hazardous. I'd also ended up racing, the competitive streak taking hold.The faster you go the more likely you are to crash on a commute (within reason).So anyway, at Lambeth North tube, instead of turning left up Kennington Road I took a little right fork up Hercules Road (where Charlie Chaplin went to school).
|53 Hercules Road|
Here you find the Pineapple, a "traditional boozer" that apparently serves the best Guiness in London according to a fan page on Facebook.
From there it's a succession of back streets alongside the railway arches with hardly a car to be seen.
|The Jolly Gardeners|
Across Black Prince Road into Vauxhall Walk you see the Queen's Head, just 50 yards from the railway line.
|The Queen's Head|
|The Black Dog|
Just a coupleof hundreds of yards up the road is the Tea House Theatre serving Tea & Cake, making it an ideal spot to stop after a decent cycle ride. As far as I can tell it isn't actually a theatre, but used to be the Queen Anne pub, reputedly London's first strip bar.
So it used to look like this....
I think this is a great and atmospheric part of London, and one which I didn't know at all until taking the detour, with lots of great buildings; former workhouses, railway arch workshops, old tenements and some fine terraces, not to mention the many hostelries.
There's even some very well tended allotments on Tyers Street, just fifty yards from The Black Dog, surely the most central allotments in London?
From there it's a more prosaic journey back to Clapham, although travelling along the backstreets between Wandsworth Road and South Lambeth Road you come across 'little Portugal' around Wilcox Road, yet more pubs (anyone would think Londoners enjoy a drink!), and a gorgeous circular terrace, Landsdowne Gardens.
Through fashionable Clapham Old Town with its many bars, restaurants and pubs, and it's home via the cycle route over the Clapham Common.
I'm now dying for my next chance to cycle home. Roll on Thursday night!
Here's the route (or at least the part from Blackfriars Bridge).
The reverse ride, from home to work is almost identical although the urge to stop at pubs along the way will be less strong (I start work at lunchtimes sometimes) as you avoid Vauxhall Walk but cycle past the Tyers Street allotments instead. Here's home to work.