Six riders gathered in West London to traverse the great metropolis and back.
We made our way Eastwards along pleasant waterside paths and quite back streets before turning North, zigzagging through Hammersmith, Shepherds Bush, Notting Hill, Bayswater and into Kensington Gardens. It was too early for the planned stop so carried on and came out through Hyde Park, under the Wellington Arch and down Constitution Hill (a hill in name only I’d say). Passing Buckingham Palace, we headed up the Mall under admiralty Arch and into the melee of Trafalgar Square and the Stand. Along Fleet Street, passed St Paul’s and on towards the “old lady of Threadneedle street”. A stop opposite The Lloyds building for Louis to take a picture of his old stomping ground and we were off South towards the river. A left before Tower Bridge took us East through Wapping along the ornamental canal and round Shadwell basin towards Limehouse Basin. From there we headed North East along the Limehouse Cut and River Lea to the Olympic park. The original lunch stop was binned off in favour of one recommended by Chris. The Stour Space provided good food at a reasonable price (for London). Certainly, better than what’s available at the velodrome. Post lunch we headed South(ish) to Victoria dock and the Emirates Airline cable car where we crossed over the Thames. Landing on the Greenwich peninsular we joined the Thames path and headed for Greenwich proper. The highest point of the ride (if you discount the cable car) was reached after ascending Greenwich Park drive to the Royal Observatory. Pictures were taken and the first spots of rain felt before we descended back down to the river by the Cutty Sark and headed East. It always surprises me how nice and relatively quiet London can be if your away from the main roads and high streets. Skirting Surrey Quays we head across to Surrey Water and back onto the bank of the Thames. Stopping only at the Golden Hinde replica to don jackets, we dodged around back streets, pedestrians and tourist hot spots on our way to Westminster Bridge, where we crossed the Thames and headed round the Palace of Westminster and onto the Embankment. A run along the cycle super highway took us to Chelsea bridge where we crossed again and into Battersea Park. The rain had eased so we stopped for coffee before pushing on West. Across the Thames again at Battersea bridge and passed Chelsea Harbour and Hurlingham Park before crossing again at Putney Bridge and heading for Richmond Park. Crossing the Thames for the final time at Teddington lock, the rain had really set in so it was heads down to get the miles done. Following the bank of the Thames we skirted Hampton Court Park and across into Bushy Park, before exiting on Hampton Hill High Street and the last 1/2km to the cars. As we arrived there was a tremendous clap of thunder and the heavens really opened, so it was quick goodbyes and away home.
Thanks to everyone who turned up, a team navigation exercise where everyone got a chance to take a wrong turning.