It was a beautiful sunny day, although the sun soon disappeared behind the haze, but still it was dry and not too cold.
A huge (possibly almost 500 as I saw someone with armband 477) throng of cyclists were already assembled outside of the Rugby Ralph Lauren shop in Covent Garden, by the time we arrived.
It had been an early start for us, up at the crack of dawn to catch the 7.32 train to St Pancras. Despite all my trouble trying to book cycle reservations, ending up with multiple reservations, it was fairly straight forward in the end, as the train had a guards van. Unfortunately, the guards van was at the opposite end of the train from our seat reservations…
Note to self if we attempt this again, cycling in heels may be easy, but walking the entire length of an inter-city train in them isn’t!
We were just affixing our official registration plates to the bikes, when Mark from i-bike-london turned up. I helped him fix his armband on, before he disappeared off into the crowd to socialise. After the obligatory faffing around for the group photo, shortly after eleven we set off, much to the bemusement of the passing tourists. It has to be said early Saturday morning in Covent Garden isn’t the best choice of venue fro a bike ride, broken glass from Friday night was everywhere. No wonder spare inner tubes were recommended! Whilst it may be an amazing spectacle having so many riders in a confined space, it doesn’t make for easy riding, being more akin to a wobbly slow bicycle race than a leisurely ride.
While the stewards did an excellent job of politely stopping the traffic, we did have a few aggressive drivers that insisted on trying to bulldoze their way through the group.
The ride through Hyde Park Corner was rather hair raising, as was Sloane Square, but we made it safely to the tea stop in Kensington. Here we met up with Mark again,
Lady Velo and @grobelaar,
@scsmith and @samsgromit.
London tea is never great (all that scum is rather off putting), but the cakes were excellent. We just had enough time to admire some of the vintage bikes (I was rather disappointing there weren’t any penny farthings)
and other people’s outfits. Some had gone to a lot off effort and there were some very distinctive combinations.
As we set off for the second leg, I put my camera away. The light was fading as the cloud had rolled in and it was time to enjoy the spectacle. Waving to the crowds isn’t something you get to do everyday. We wove around the back streets of Chelsea and Victoria and took in parts of Pimlico, but apart from recognising odd places here and there I was completely lost! Finally after doing a couple of circuits past the demonstrators outside the Syrian Embassy, we ended up at the Caledonian Club.
Time to put my feet up!
After more tea - or very posh whisky if that’s your thing, the prizes for best moustache, etc were awarded and a special edition Pashley Gov’nor given away.
What’s the collective noun for a group of Gov’nors?
A stop for refreshments. Coffee and cake at St Pancras, before heading home.