I was there. It was a great day out. Well done. Let's have more.
About 15 of us gathered in the centre of a very busy Jubilee gardens in the shadow of the London Eye. The sun was blazing it was a lovely summers day. The best day of the year so far and some.
Tom introduced himself as our ride leader and we all introduced ourselves. Some of the group were regulars and well known to each other. Some, like myself, were newbies. I can't remember the names.
Tom briefed us on the route we were going to follow. Basically the south bank of the the river Thames to Greenwich, a route I have pedalled many times, though usually from east to west. There was a quick maintenance check of our bikes. Most were fine however some tyres needed a bit of air courtesy of the man with the stirrup pump; then, shortly after 11:00, we were on our way. Most of the riders had fairly ordinary (though nice) bikes however one of our group had an amazing contraption with a trailer on the back to tow a child and a seat mounted above the front wheel for a second child. This was going to make negotiating some of the steps and bends on the route somewhat challenging but we were in good heart and Tom was pretty confident that we would find a way past such minor inconveniences.
We had only been going about 10 minutes when there was an almighty bang from somewhere near the rear of the peleton. No-one slumped to the ground so we quickly realised that it was not a gunshot. It was however a rather dramatic rear wheel blowout for one of our number.
It seemed likely that the day for one participant was ruined; not so; the ever resourceful Tom was quickly on hand with a spare inner tube. There followed a flurry of roadside maintenance whilst the rest of us sought a bit of shade from the blistering sun. Within a few minutes the repair was made and we were off again.
Tom was a veritable mine of information on our route and regularly stopped to brief us on the the local architecture, history, geography and other interesting snippets of knowledge.
Next to the (replica) Golden Hind is the wall of the old bishops palace which I must have walked or cycled past dozens of times and never noticed.
We passed the Angel Pub in Rotherhithe and then on to the Mayflower Pub from where the the pilgrims set off to colonise the USA and where Tom came perilously close to taking us all in and buying the round.
There was a brief pause by the Surrey Docks Farm whilst those in our number who knew him remembered the recently departed Barry Mason (long time and ardent campaigner on matters green, ecological and ethical).
Then on we rolled and eventually made it to Greenwich by early afternoon. Here we found a huge buzz of activity and enthusiasm, and here I peeled away and joined the Tour de Penge to take me home.
Suggestion for future rides: could we go a bit further?
This post was edited by
6:57am 10 July 2011.