Sunday, 4 August 2013

Ride London 2013 - Have to Admit, it Was Good Fun

As three generations of our family joined the traffic-free 8 mile circuit at Tower Hill yesterday I wondered what we'd let ourselves in for. The speed was... a snail's pace, the pace... a bit stoppy and starty but I have to admit it was good fun. It was also great practice for a bit of close contact riding for my young nephew and he was soon looking over each shoulder and nipping around happily amid groups of smurfs, big blokes (on several grands worth of bike imagining they're riding a stage of the TDF) and several dogs-in-bike-trailers.

Our first stop was at a fantastic Samba band... I forgot to get my camera out so no picture here. We pushed on and before we knew it we were passing through Westmister with Big Ben to our left. It was great to be able to ride past such landmarks with a ten year old child and feel completely safe on the road.

For the second time on the circuit we passed a huge sound system being towed by pedal power then swung right up toward Buckingham Palace. Completely missing the turn off for all the fun going on in the park and being on the wrong side of the road we continued, waving to the Queen as we passed Buck House (I'm not sure but I think I saw her holding the new baby in one of the front bedrooms... was that the baby's first wave I saw?... I'll never know). Still forgetting to take any photos we ploughed on.

I managed to elbow my nephew, pinning him against the barrier to take the sprint on the line (this type of tactic is a family tradition, age no concern) as we flew (possibly as fast as 12mph by now) down the Mall. Through Trafalger Square we stopped a couple of times to share the road with pedestrians and let them cross, then onwards back alongside the Thames with yet more dogs, more surfs, unidentifiable costumed people and sound systems being pulled by penny farthings - so a normal day out in London, which I sadly forgot to record with my camera.

St Paul's was our next landmark and opportunity to stop off for some festival fun and once again we were on the wrong side of the road and got carried along past the festivities. All we could do was glance over our shoulders to see what might have been (later, having discovered it was smoothies made by pedal power and bmx tricks... all was not lost). On we went to Tower Hill, our finishing point.

Coffee, sandwiches and some drumming on a live stage completed our Ride London experience. My nephew wanted to go round again but we all thought.. 'can we ride that slowly, again'. No.

Looking forward to watching the Elite women's and men's races... and of course next year.

The backs of some people on the ride