Thursday, 13 December 2012


How different to my last journey?  I was invited for a weekend in London and  to bring my bike.

London is a completely different experience to cycling anywhere else.  For a start, there are cyclists everywhere.  There are high speed commutors, Boris bikes, easy bikes, couriers and no lots more.  Traffic is vast with buses, taxis, delivery vehicles, bikes and cars all vying for space.

Asked where I would like to go, I ventured cycling along the South Bank to Greenwich.  We peddled off along Bayswater Road past Lancaster Gate and into Hyde Park.  Swimmers had gathered at the Serpentine for their morning dip.  I asked a man with a thermometer what was the temperature.  "One degree" he replied.  My friend who is a member went for a dip.  Ducks, swans and coots looked for friendly humans for food.

Crowds turned out to watch changing of the guard as we passed and then we peddled off down the Strand to cross the River Thames at Blackfriars.  London seemed to be a mighty busy place for builders as there were tower cranes everywhere.   

The route to Greenwich followed the Thames Path and a cycle route.  After passing under the end of Tower Bridge, we were immersed in narrow alleys surrounded by converted warehouse buildings, many of which are now restaurants.  The river banks were a fascinating mixture of architectural styles with Canary Wharf on one side and housing of all types on the other.

I had two favourite places.  The first was a Lebonese restaurant at Greenwich that served a fabulous lunch for £7.50 and the other a visit to Brunel Museum at Rotherhythe where we were lucky enough to arrive on the first day that the South Shaft was open to the public. The museum celebrates the first bored tunnel in the World designed by Marc Brunel and supervised by his son, Isambard.  It is said to be "the most rhymed about, danced about, sung about and painted about construction site in the World". 

Returning after dark, the lights of London glistened ostentatiously.  Tower Bridge was especially resplendent with the Shard behind.  Crowds were gigantic as seemingly everyone had come out to walk the South Bank.  Those not on the South Bank were at a fair by the Serpentine.  This ride was far removed from cycling Exmoor just two weeks previously.

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