Sunday, 13 March 2016

#Errandonnee 2016 Challenge: Ride 12 (Sunday London Ride)

Errandonnee #12
Date: Sunday, 6 March 2016
Errand:  Sunday London Ride
Category:   Social Call/Ride
Destination:  Hyde Park Corner, London, to Fatboys, Trinity Buoy Wharf, London 
Distance: 37.3km (23.4km on ride itself + 13.9km getting to it and back home again)
What I learned/observations:

The day dawned (or, more accurately, the darkness gradually lifted on an extremely foggy morning) and we were out the door by 7.30am to catch a train to London to join friends for the long-running Sunday London Ride. We were shocked when our calculations suggested that we haven't been on one in three years!

We decided to use the new East-West Cycle "Superhighway" aka Crossrail for Bikes to make our way from Blackfriars towards Parliament Square. I am disappointed to find that this brand new, not yet finished, cycling "superhighway" is woefully inadequate. I don't know when the plans were drawn up but bi-directional provision within the width of one car lane is simply not good enough. After years of dangerous over-capacity, the Tavistock route has been upgraded to one full-width lane in each direction -- and that's not a so-called "superhighway"!

Onto Hyde Park Corner to meet up with valued friends made through years of riding through the night to have breakfast at the seaside together.

It was especially good to see The 5 Mile Cyclist, Tall Mart and Ian Rauk... and Dave aka TopCat1 with his stunning Merlin, finally seeing the light of day as the results of sterling work by Enigma Bicycle Works. This frame sat forlorn for years with no one willing to take on the job of repairing a bent titanium rear mech hanger -- only for Enigma to mend it in a matter of minutes and then go on to provide a fabulous respray that has given this gorgeous bicycle a whole new lease on life.

The SLR sets off on Sunday mornings after the Horseguards Cavalry has passed through Hyde Park Corner. In fact, on this occasion (as no doubt on many others), we followed the procession down Constitution Hill to Buckingham Palace, where the horses and riders turned down The Mall en route to Horseguards Parade, while we hung a right and skirted St James Park via Birdcage Walk.

We rode east on the Embankment as far as Blackfriars then up around Aldwych, down Fleet Street, past St Paul's Cathedral and down Cannon Street, down Eastcheap, then past the Tower of London before picking up the 'creaking' cycle infrastructure along Cable Street that serves as Cycle Superhighway 3, which took us through Wapping, Shadwell and Limehouse and eventually to our destination -- Trinity Buoys Wharf aka 'Container City'.

Tree in Taxi by Andrew Baldwin, 2015

The dockside bell is not old with industrial origins as I had thought but a 2010 art installation!

Of course, Jurek had to ring it!

In fact, our precise destination is the 1940s New Jersey diner called "Fatboys".

Gradually during the hour it took to cycle from Hyde Park Corner to Trinity Buoy Wharf, the fog had lifted or thinned or simply "burned off", presenting us with a gloriously sunny Spring morning!

What could be better than sitting with one's back against a warm wall, face turned to the sun, chatting and laughing with good friends? Oh, and bicycles!

And... a Citroen DS!

And... Harley Davidsons!

And the pièce de résistance, an immaculate Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz!

It was all simply too pleasant for anyone to be in a hurry to leave but eventually that time came. The SE London contingent set off first, then Nigel and Jo bound for Victoria Park, and then Dave, Miranda, Adam and I retraced our steps to central London, taking a detour south of the river to avoid some rather tricky roadworks, and eventually parting near Blackfriars where Adam and I caught the train back north to Bedfordshire.

All in all, a superb social ride. We will see many of these friends on the 24th for the first FNRttC of the year, but it was lovely to have a pootle in the sunshine together now.

I feel a little guilty classifying this pleasure ride as a kind of "errand" but the rules do allow social calls, so this one is it!

1 comment:

  1. Wow, is there a real estate tax for owning a land yacht such as the Cadillac?
    Great photos.


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