Christmas Day Ride
Those of you who remember Queen Victoria turning up unrecognised at Blackadder's house on Christmas Day, will know that Christmas Day and Southwark are inextricably linked. We want to celebrate this fact by cycling through Southwark on Christmas Day.
This is the 14th Christmas Day Ride, following a tradition started in 2001 by the late Barry Mason (the oldest Christmas Day ride report that we can find is here: http://www.greenwich-cyclists.org.uk/old/reports/xmas.html ). In more recent years the ride was led by Francis Sedgemoor, but this year we have someone new leading it.
Meet at 10am at the Cutty Sark Gardens (by the entrance to the Greenwich foot tunnel), London SE10 9HT or at 11 am at the Southwark Needle SE1 2SY.
We plan to cycle about 16 miles to get to Edgware Road, which will take about 2 hours. However, it should be quicker coming back as we will take a more direct route. Many people who come on this ride drop out along the way, but we expect that a 'hard core' will want to make it to Edgware Road.
We may decide to stop at a pub en route, as there will be some places that are open on Christmas Day.
We start off by following LCN Route 4 which takes us from Greenwich to Southwark. Unfortunately the new Deptford Creek Footbridge will not be finished until mid to late January, but we can still take a look at this new bridge.
When we get to Southwark will take a look at some small parks and streets that are associated with Charles Dickens.
In previous years, this ride went on to Putney, but this year we will cross the river at Southwark Bridge and travel north of the River. We will cycle past St Paul's Cathedral on our way to Clerkenwell, where we can find St Peter's Church, which used to be the main Catholic Church in England until Westminster Cathedral was consecrated in 1910. We will then cycle past the Dickens Museum, Doughty Street and then make use of the Tavistock Place segregated cycle track to get to the British Museum.
We then reach Westminster, where we can see Covent Garden, Neal Street, the Seven Dials and Leicester Square. This takes us on to the widest, longest and fastest cycle path in the whole of England - the Mall. We then cycle through Green Park, The Wellington Arch and Hyde Park, finishing for a meal at one of the Lebanese restaurants in Edgeware Road (like the Sannin) which open as normal on Christmas Day.
After the meal we can visit Regent's Park before cycling back to Greenwich.
Previous years have seen upwards of 100 cyclists of all ages, genders, ethnicities and body-mass indices take part, and we usually get a few skiving Santas thrown in.
Those wishing to come on the ride are asked to bring warm clothing, water, snacks, lights, basic tools and a spare inner tube in case you have a puncture (particularly important for this ride as there will no public transport on Christmas Day). Active parents are most welcome on the ride, provided that they are accompanied by at least one responsible child, and behave themselves. All should have at least basic road cycling experience.
Paste this link into your browser to see the GPS trace of the route: http://goo.gl/BzSPNo
To give you some idea of what to expect, this link shows a time lapse video for a 2011 Christmas Day cycle ride: http://youtu.be/1TC_Tu9ttUc
I’m expecting that most people will bring their own bikes, but if people haven’t got one, Boris Bikes can be hired even on Christmas Day on presentation of a credit card:
There is a Boris Bike docking station at Duke Street Hill, which is only a few yards from the Southwark Needle (SE1 2SY, http://www.london-se1.co.uk/places/southwark-needle) where we will hopefully be meeting lots of cyclists at 11am on Christmas Day.
If people want to eat at one of the many Lebanese restaurants at Edgware Road that are open as normal on Christmas Day, it will be best for them to drop off the bike before they eat and hire another one when they have finished the meal.