Routes around Olympic Park in London (Olympic Delivery Authority)

The Olympic Games authorities have announced the
temporary closure of another key section of off-road cycle route that would
have allowed the cycling public easier access to the Olympic Park.

The news that a section of towpath along the River Lee –
expressly improved in advance of the Olympics – is to close comes on top of the
fact that the Elevated Greenway, another route overhauled especially for the
games, is to be closed during them.

Apparently acting under police instructions, the games
authorities will close the River Lee towpath between Homerton Road in Hackney and Bow
roundabout in Tower Hamlets. Unspecified ‘security reasons’ are cited as the
reason for the closures and it seems likely the closure will last from May to
September, though this has to be confirmed.

The towpath is used by commuters as an alternative to nearby
busy roads, so it seems likely the closure will push cyclists onto the cycling
superhighway leading to Bow roundabout, where two
cyclists were killed
in 2011. However, Transport for London have promised a
of this junction before the Olympics.

The original
was for 385,000 spectators to attend the games on foot or by cycle
and the Olympic Delivery Authority confirmed it would spend at least
£11.5million on improving the capital’s cycle and walking network to cater for

However, the £7.5million Elevated Greenway, on an embankment
from Beckton in Newham to Victoria Park in Tower Hamlets, initially touted as
carrying a fifth of visitors to the games, is also to close on the section that
crosses the Olympic Park and immediately either side of it.

The Olympic Park’s own website travel section still claims
to provide ‘a purpose-built and easily accessible centre stage for the Games.  However, cyclists arriving at the Olympic
Park should note that bicycles are on the list of banned items that cannot be
taken into the Park area itself for the duration of the Games.

Details of the closed routes can be found here.

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