Monday, 5 September 2011

London Skyride 2011

Rachel taking the Boris Bike challenge 
"If you think I'm EVER going for another bike ride...... and by the way, did you know I HATE riding bikes?" exclaimed Rachel, although it had to be said, she did voluntarily come along.  I have to hand it to Rachel, she is to be applauded for her efforts yesterday.

Credit is undoubtedly deserved; a life long loather of all things cycling, did say she'd come along "for the atmosphere" and to see what all the fuss was about.  This is how the day went....

We parked in Westminster, quite close to one of the many entry points, it was really easy finding a car parking place.  The solution to the question over 4 people and 3 bikes was solved, as it often is, by Hannah jumping onto the pannier rack of my bike and Rachel wobbling behind on Hannah's bike.  We made it to Parliament Square and then rode along Birdcage Walk (past the annoying, irritating running commentary coming out of a PA system) to Buckingham Palace and around onto The Mall and the rest area.  We left Rachel there to enjoy the various stands while the 3 of us went to do a complete loop.

The supplied map said it was 15km (i.e. about 10 miles) but it felt much less.  We did the loop and was a bit disappoiinted in some ways.  There were more irratating commentators along the way and, unlike previous years, no drummers by the tunnel - a big shame.

We met with Rachel as arranged and, incredible as it sounds, she was quite keen to get her hands on a Boris Bike.  It wasn't too difficult finding one but a real fiddle in try yo get one out of the docking station, even after entering the right code.  Does anyone actually read the 35 pages of terms and conditions?  We were off, just as soon as the rain was turned on!  Fair play to Rachel, she could easily  have given in but she didn't, she just plodded along in a pretty positive way.  I seem to remember she mentioned something about not liking cycling!

We made it around and time to hand back the Boris Bike.  This proved tricky as every single docking point was occupied in 3 locations!  Rachel was starting to get anxious but it was mild compared to another woman claiming conspiracy theories around the authority's cunning plan to extract more money from casual users.  Eventually we succeeded but it meant a longer walk back to the car, in the rain.

I just wanted to add to my gripes concerning the commentators.  As dreadfully irritating, obnoxious, cringing and just plain naff as they were, I couldn't help to feel real joy when an engagement had just taken place and it was announced over the PA system.

So there y'go, the London Skyride 2011.  Another brilliant day of Central London being given over to bikes.  It is such a heart-warming sight to see little kids (some with stabilizers on their bikes) riding along with others on expensive sophisticated road machines.  Come the revolution......

Rest area in St James Park, before the rain

It's not every day we get a chance to ride over Westminster Bridge.

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