Cycling in Haringey

As soon as I had bought myself a bike last week, after three years of unexplainable abstinence, three bike related notable things happened.

First my friend does a 206 miles in a day race, which totally humbles my Camden to Tottenham night ride the other day (well done Sarah!). Then a Sunday cyclist races not quite as classily into the River Lee literally behind me, makes a big splash and, soaking wet, has to be helped out by my heroic self. And finally, today London opened the Barclay Cycle Superhighways and all over TV everyone is shouting about blogs and cycling…blogs and cycling….blogs….and…cycling.

Alright alright – I get the message.

But, frankly apart from zooming up and down Seven Sisters road (and not feeling too intimidated by it) and going on the odd Sunday cycle along the river Lee myself, I cannot claim to have a colossal history of cycling in Haringey at all. I plan to have one soon though, which left me researching cycling routes, tools, shops and stops etc online. So here is my humble Haringey summary for the London wide hype. Please comment to let us know about stuff I’ve overlooked like a ruthless lorry driver.

Unfortunately there are no Superhighways or Hire a Bike Schemes in Haringey yet. However, there are two CS planned  – by 2012 from Hornsey to the City along the A1 and from Tottenham to the City along the A10, which I shall be very thankful for…in 2015. You can look at the plans and a map of all routes on the TFL website. In general the TFL website is not a bad place to start planning your route to anywhere in London really. However, it tends to choose the most efficient route rather than take cyclists’ experience or preference into account.

Another good site for planning your bike commute or pleasant peddle is the London Cycling Campaign’s maps. You can select the Haringey view and then plan a route that is either fastest, quietest or balanced. They also mark several London Cycle Network routes.

The more tour de force interested of you can track their day’s trek at G-maps Pedometer, which also allows you to count the burnt calories and save your routes. The good thing about this one is the terrain feature though – useful for gear-challenged people with stylish single speed bikes.  I have seen said 206-miles-Sarah additionally checking and memorising crucial or potentially dangerous bends on Google Earth – genius.

Bike shops are scarce in Haringey (I really hope this is not a repeating characteristic of this blog) and I still need to see whether the few are actually any good. There is Two Wheels Good in Crouch Hill, which I only know as the slightly overpriced Stoke Newington version but will check out the Crouch Hill version soon. Halfords has branches in Muswell Hill and Tottenham. And there is Auto Cycles in Tottenham…well.

Haringey Council offers free cycling training and bike fixes on various weekends in Downshill, Finsbury and Priory Park. Check here for upcoming dates.

If you prefer riding in a group be it for racing or family trips, you might want to check for local rides at Sky Ride with the easy Finsbury Park Family Ride coming up on 1st August 2010 and the North London Escape for strong cyclists on 8th August 2010 .

The London Cyclist Campaign subsection for Haringey also has a website, yahoo group and meets every 2nd Saturday of the month at 7.30pm at the Salisbury – not quite a Look Mum No Hands but a Haringey classic! Another nice stop for bike tourists is the café in Markfield Park just off the River Lee route, which is very popular among cyclists.

I will definitely try to continue my quest for beautiful and practical routes through Haringey and updates will be shared on iheartharingey’s twitter account.

Until then, please mind those blind spots and rivers.

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You can now follow iheartharingey on twitter for more frequent and shorter messages about lovely things in Haringey. If you have any suggestions or ideas you don’t want to share publicly please email me at!

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Buy, Grow, Forage and Ask for Organic Food in Haringey

I have to admit I have just come from an organic food store in Islington.

It’s a shame that Haringey does not have many sustainable food stores at all. In fact the Natural Centre in Highgate and Just Natural south of Alexandra Park recently had to close down.

If you live in Crouch End/ Hornsey, consider yourself lucky  (well you probably do already) – there is the cosy Haelan Centre on the Broadway and a Waitrose, which is generally aimed at the more food conscious and stocks up on organics. The almost 40-year-old family business of the Haelan Centre has also just branched out to Crouch Hill, taking over the premises of Just Natural. They are my Haringey favourites, embracing certified organic standards as well as their own (no product has been flown into the country, nothing grown within the M25 area) and offering even locally produced food, such as Highgate Honey and Piece of Plenty muesli from N8 area.

There is also a Planet Organic in Muswell Hill, with a juice bar and buffet and a huge cosmetics and toiletries section.

Other than that the options are pretty slim.

However, there are alternatives.

1. Grow your own

Why don’t you start growing your own, it’s a trend after all. We have just started utilising our gorgeous tiny little garden and convinced the acidic soil to grow some strawberries, raspberries, various herbs, and today we have spotted the first broad bean! Of course they all taste incomparably sweet and juicy. I’ll blog more about how we achieved this all with seeds and plants sourced in Haringey and on gardening courses soon, until then check out this list of gardening opportunities in Haringey.

every morning a handful for my yoghurt!

2. Pick Haringey’s fruit

Haringey being as leafy as it is there are a lot of fruit trees and berry bushes and other edible plants that are left mostly left to rot untouched. Urban Harvest organises picking days for these. The plum picking is coming up in late July. To join them, check out the

dates & details here.

3. Get a weekly box sent to your door

Londoner’s favourite for seasonal fruit and veg boxes Abel and Cole also deliver to Haringey! Dave delivers in my area (N15) every Tuesday. When I was in N22 it was Colin.  Prices start at £7.99 for a veg box for 1-2 people and delivery is cheap at £0.99. For that, you get a brilliant boxing system for e.g. chilled products in wool for isolation and you simply leave the box out for Dave to collect next time he delivers. They also give you a

recipe book with your first order and have plenty of nice food ideas online.

Farmaround deliver to my area on Wednesdays. Prices are comparable at £8.00 for a fruit box and £12.95 for a small veg box. However, there is a minimum order of £12.95 on fresh produce and their website frankly isn’t as fancy and organised. I’m sure that doesn’t influence their produce.

You can also order groceries whether in boxes or not from Planet Organic online on a pretty organised website with easy to detect dietary information with special labels. Prices for a simple salad box start at £9.95. Delivery cost is quite high at about £4.95, considering that you cannot exactly choose the time of delivery – just the date. Plus – my salad box wasn’t included in the box I got earlier – which was just a normal…box.

The Haelan Centre now offers online delivery for everything but fresh produce (I hear it is planned for the future). You can or

der from their website and they deliver throughout almost all of Haringey.  Delivery is £5 or free if you order for £30. Bags and boxes are biodegradable or made from recycled material.

4. Just ask!

You don’t want to bother trying to find sustainable food yourself? Try the Tottenham Food Co-op at the Broadwater Farm Community Centre, every last Saturday of the month. A group of volunteers will try to source local organic food upon your request.

At the moment they are taking a summer break and might be coming out with a new scheme of food distribution (pick up your own box throughout Tottenham?).

Any other ideas for wholesome nutrition? – let me know in the comments or email me!

Haelan Centre – Crouch End/ Hornsey

41 The Broadway

London, N8 8DT

020 8340 4258

Haelan Centre – Crouch Hill/ Alexandra Park

304 Park Road

London, N8 8LA

0208 340 1720

Mon – Thurs            9.00-18.00

Friday                       9.00-18.30

Saturday                  9.00-18.00

Sunday                   12.00-16.00

Planet Organic Muswell Hill

111/117 Muswell Hill Road

London, N10 3HS

0208 442 2910

Mon – Fri                 8:00 – 21:00

Saturday                  8:30 – 21:00

Sunday                     9:00 – 8:00

Broadwater Farm Community Centre

Adams Road

London, N17 6HE

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Original Gallery

During spring this year, for four months, I was unemployed, aka the most discouraging situation that almost everyone is familiar with but tends to forget just how depressing it is. Apart from going through phases of rolling around in bed every morning reasoning whether I should get up or not, I had two weeks full of adventure and inspiration.

I didn’t want to go into the city much as the expensive lunching luxuries from Pret and Crussh were too tempting. Instead I stayed in Haringey, went for walks in the Tottenham Marshes, signed up for a HALS course (cheap when you are on Jobseekers!) and spent generally a lot of time on the council website. It’s not the best of websites if you want to find telephone numbers and opening times but they do try to get a good picture of things to do in Haringey.

It was through this that I discovered The Original Gallery in Crouch End. It is situated on the second floor of Hornsey library, which kind of made me think it would be a little school cafeteria walls with pictures like and not too interesting. Wrong. It encompasses an amazing exhibition space. Light, organised and very accessible. The walls are white but not pristine-space like, more 60s-building-given-a-bit-of-white-paint charisma. There is a little cafe just in front of the entrance, which gives a wonderful leisurely feel to just pop into the gallery.

I saw an exhibition of Cuillin Bantock’s work, an artist concentrating on linocut cityscapes and pastel coloured shape abstracts with an organic feel. The work on show reminded me of expressionist perspectives and themes (think Die Bruecke) and French linocut and abstract paintings of the 50s (think Matisse).

The gallery is run by Haringey council as a commercial enterprise – which basically means you can buy what you see. Thus, I bought my first ever art object from the gallery. Given that I was unemployed at the time, this was quite a bold move and also shows how affordable the works are. I’m utterly delighted with my linoleum print, called “Harlech Sky”. Minimal white zigzag lines illustrate a landscape of clouds with an almost musical sensitivity against the black print colour. It is so completely modern that it will vibrate on my partners house record collection desk.

The Original Gallery is open Monday to Friday, 1pm to 7pm and Saturday to Sunday, 12 noon – 4pm. Entry is free. Check for exhibitions on their website.

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This is Haringey and I love it.

This blog is about the good things in Haringey.

Everyone has heard of the negatives. Everyone who lives here can easily think of reasons why not to live here; unemployment, crime, seemingly prevailing alcoholism, dog poo, … In recent years there have been plenty of press reports about destitute families and desolate areas – very depressing. I share the frustration about these things and do not see this area through rose tinted glasses.

However, I do believe that there are plenty of good reasons to live, work and play in Haringey. So here I am going to share the things that I heart about Haringey.

Once of the first things I say when people ask me why I live here is “I love its diversity”. Haringey is the salad bowl indeed. On my street alone you can hear Polish, Turkish, Hindi (I think), Creole, Vietnamese, Indian, German, Jewish, Spanish and…English. I am sure there are actually more, but I need to go out and ask my neighbours. It is also a family, student and pensioner area. And my neighbourhood strives to serve all and sundry and their the various interests for leisure, education, sport and play.

To reflect this diversity you will find plenty of tags in this blog: sports, arts, food, design, education, health services and history. Over time I hope that my neighbours will join into the hunt for positive stories and inspiring places.

So if you know of that great little café, the fantastic furniture store or the hidden Bansky – shout out!

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