Leader: James Brander — 30.5km – 18.95 miles
Seven riders met at the bottom of the Broadwalk in Regents Park. James, the leader, Alex and myself all knew each other from the Camden Cyclists Committee, and four others who were new to us. They had found out about the ride from the SkyRides and our own website: Christianne, Ivan, Nete and Sarbjit.
At the north edge of Regents Park we went down onto the Regents Canal towpath, coming off at Lisson Grove and worked our way through back streets to Paddington Basin and across the canal again. Although I had been on this ride before with James, he always manages to make it different. We decided that Kensington Gardens would be too busy and we’d try a new route. Negotiating a few busy streets in Paddington we came to the relative calm of Bayswater and Notting Hill and then up the only hill on the whole ride to ride beside Holland Park.
We stopped at the cafe in Holland Park for lunch equiring a little more about the people we didn’t know. Working on a cycling route from Hampstead into the city for one of the women. Unfortunately, Sarbjit was suffering from a cold and decided he’d stay and enjoy the sun in the park for a while and then go home to bed.
The remaining six of us proceeded southwards through back streets of Kensington and Earls Court to Brompton Cemetery. Riding along the central avenue with buildings either side and a domed building ahead is a quite impressive sight.
Along the Thames Embankment I had a fall when my front wheel caught on a high pavement edge where trees were planted. I had grazes and I was a bit winded but it was just a tumble, nothing serious.
Crossing Albert Bridge we continued into and almost circumnavigated Battersea Park. We stopped for a refreshing brew at the place where they hire bikes. There were tandems and recumbents, lots of people were having a go.
We crossed back over the river on Chelsea Bridge and worked our way through Pimlico up to St James’ Park where we walked up to the refreshments kiosk. We contemplated having another drink and a break but decided to push on. Following the cycle path up The Mall and Constitution Hill brought us to Hyde Park. It was good to see so many of the Boris Bikes being used all around London, but particularly here, a brilliant way to see the sights of London, at a leisurely pace, on a Sunday afternoon.
North of Hyde Park we started to go our different ways and we said goodbye to James at Seymour Place, he went East and we went North.
As always a brilliant ride. Of course the weather helped, just warm enough. And great company. Thanks to James for leading a varied and different ride.
What you said about the ride:
James’ rides are like mystery tours. You think you know your way around and where you’re going and then James finds another little road or pathway you’ve never encountered before. It’s always a delightful surprise. It’s just as well I have a GPS device that records the route! Thanks James for teaching me so many new ways. And thanks all for the delightful company on a lovely summer’s day.