Saturday 19th May 2018
Leader: Geoff Stilwell
Riders: Tracey, Guy, Max, Rex, Shy, Ellen, Daniel, Will
11am – 4pm
Distance: 15.46 miles 24.88km
The Shackle Family crossed the road to meet me and the five of us started off from Sidings Community Centre. Guy has not cycled for a long time so I suggested that he could borrow a spare bike I have stored in the garden. We had to adjust the saddle but after a quick ride around the estate to refresh his cycling skills he was ready to go.Another Family had agreed to meet in Boundary Road the other side of Finchley Road.
We met Shy, Ellen and Daniel as planned and headed through St John’s Wood to Regent’s Park.
I had put in the ad for the ride that others could meet us at the Garden Café at 12pm so we took the time to have a coffee and a break. Sure enough another rider, Will, joined us.
Continuing around the Inner Circle and up the Broadwalk, we joined the Regent’s Canal at the top. It’s always lovely riding along the towpath here viewing all the mansions with their greek-like architecture and their lawns sloping down to the canal.
The canal goes through a tunnel before Little Venice so we have to exit and take a backstreet route which allows us to cross the Edgware Road safely now cycling past all the moored narrow boats.
Taking another quiet street we take the toucan crossings over the busy Harrow Road and under the Westway flyover and into Paddington Basin. This is another little haven of peace where you can carefully cycle around the basin and onto the road behind St Mary’s Hospital. This brought us out onto Praed Street, busy at the point near Paddington Station but getting quieter as you travel west.
In the back streets of Bayswater there is an area around Moscow Road which has a Russian flavour. It was here we were reminded that the wedding of Harry and Meghan was happening in Windsor as the strains of ‘God Save The Queen’ sounded out from the doorways of the pubs undoubtedly customers watching on the pub’s TVs.
We were soon out onto the Bayswater road where we took a short cycle path to the Pelican Crossing over to Kensington Gardens. Here we cycled down another Broadwalk past Kensington Palace where we heard ‘God Save The Queen’ this time play by a military band. It was five past one so we assumed that the wedding was over and Harry and Meghan were married. It was poignant that the wedding coincided with us cycling past Harry’s mother Diana’s home at Kensington Palace and we were headed towards her Memorial in Hyde Park. It was coincidental, I hadn’t planned it.
A short ride along Kensington Road, because we couldn’t cycle along the park’s paths, we were soon able to ride back into the park at Queens Gate and progressed along South Carriage Drive, past the Albert Memorial and then along the new cycleway along West Carriage Drive.
The Diana Memorial Fountain is just south of the Serpentine so we stopped here and ate our picnic lunches. The Lido Cafe is just a short distance away so some of the party went to buy coffees, etc. It is a lovely spot. Despite the fact that there were many children, and adults, playing and paddling in the trickling water it was still a place of peace.
After a peaceful lunch we continued north on West Carriage Drive to North Carriage Drive which runs along the northern side of Hyde Park. We came out of the park at Stanhope Place and took the usual route home through St Johns Wood and West Hampstead.
Thanks to all the riders who joined me on such a beautiful day. It’s such a joy to peacefully ride through some lovely parts of London with like-minded people. Thank you.