I have seen this event on the Club's calendar but because of my unpredictable schedule I did not sign up until the last hour.
My iPhone indicated that it was going to be a fine sunny Saturday but when I looked out, the cloud was not gray, it was black and it was raining a bit.
|Come on. show me yours I'll show you mine.
After frantically trying on several Lycra in space of 3 minutes, ( as I have only 3 and a half minutes, else I will miss the train) after which my bedroom instantly looked like a changing room after a boxing day sales, I settled for my usual summer shorts and and long sleeve shirt.
Nothing appropriate for cycling and for the day's whether except for the shoes which I just purchased a day prior. These shoes are called "Amphibiox". It cost me an arm and a leg , although it will only cover my feet. The label says it is waterproof. I am yet to find out.
We caught the train to London Waterloo Station for 10 am arrival which gave us an ample time to cycle to the London Eye for 10.30 meeting time. This also gave us enough time to say hi and hello to others joining the ride. I find that this is one of the best time because everyone is still feeling fresh and energetic. The bikes are also at their best, looking all well polished and showing all the new accessories and gadgets. Of course, Zoom zoom is all smile showing off his new name badge.
|Ready for the start
Soon David, our ride host is giving a briefing. David Parkinson needs no introduction. He is well known in London Bromptom Club ( LBC ) circle and beyond. His skill in hosting a ride has been sharpen to perfection. He has made it into a fine art. I won't elaborate. Just join him in one his rides and you will know what I mean.
Off we went. There were 12 of us until Geoff Snell joined us at some early point. I made sure I positioned myself in the middle of the peloton ( if you can call it peloton) aware that the traffic lights in London change at a blink of an eye. Being in the middle I felt secured that I wont be left behind.
Our first stop was at A Pound of Flesh for 50p. A house made of wax. more ... I don't know anything about it and probably I would be too lazy to know any more. But I am glad I saw it.
Our second stop was at the Tower of London to see the Poppies. more ... The poppies are impressive enough but it is the atmosphere that is so magical. Billions of people were there on Saturday, thanks partly for the mid term break. It was fantastic to see so many people wanting to take part of the remembrance.
|..a house made of wax
|Poppies at the Tower of London
The farthest point of the ride is Erith. This is the first time I have heard of this place and the first time I have been. I don't know this part of London. I have been up to Greenwich from previous ride, but not beyond to Erith. I am hopeless with direction and most of the time I have no clue of my bearing. So bad I don't know if I was on the North or South side of the river Thames.
The route was very interesting. We passed by several busy retail areas, houses , new and expensive looking high rise apartments, industrial areas and factories. The scene varies almost at every meter. And I may also add that the odor changes at every turn, from the most foul smelling sewage plant to the most alluring aroma of a coffee.
I wish I am a good cyclist. I am envious when I see a riders who can cycle with one hand on the handle bar and the other hand holding a mobile phone or a camera. For me not to fall off, I need to keep my 2 hands firmly gripping the handle bar and if I can use my teeth to hang unto it, I would. It was a dilemma. My choice was to keep pedalling or stop and take a photo. As I did not want to hold the peloton, I kept pedalling and missed on some of the photo shots that would best describe the ride.
We stopped at the View Cafe more... for a brief lunch/snack break. It is a perfect choice for a rest stop. Thanks again, Mr David. As it turned out to be a beautiful day, we all sat outdoor, to enjoy the moment and to enjoy the view of the river and The Thames Barrier. more ...
|The Thames Barrier at the background
I saw Andrew Barnett on his own fiddling with his mobile phone and I thought this is gonna be my moment. I seized the opportunity to join him in the table. Times like this are very rare as he is normally surrounded by fans, admirers, close friends and confidants. Like David Parkinson, Andrew Barnett needs no introduction. He is the famous "legend", the ever famous Bubble Bee.
|Zoom zoom rubbing shoulder with the celebrities
He is a nice guy. We chat about his just recently concluded first 100 mile ride. I learned about the LBC's early days and I also learned that he is one of the founding members together with a guy named Mick. Now... that is one of my wish list -- to met this Mick, personally, hopefully sometime soon in the future.
Off , we were on bikes again. This time we went to a place with more inclines. I am not sure if I can call it a hill but certainly it was not flat. It was interesting and enjoyable. It made me shift gear.
On the way back I heard a big "bang" coming from the rear of the peloton. I thought it was a firecracker. It was a puncture. And the luckly one is Geoff Snell. There were 13 of us, a total of 26 wheels. We all passed by the same area on that road, but it was the last wheel that got caught out. How lucky can one be.
|look.. this is how to fix it.
As the saying goes, all things work together for good. And so we had a good demonstration on how to change a tube courtesy of Geoff Snell. This was also good for me because it gave me a bit of a rest. This was my longest ride so far.
We soon reached London Waterloo station where we said our goodbye and hasta la vista.
|Zoom zoom loves the view of the Tower Bridge
It was a fantastic day. I really enjoyed it. Beautiful day, wonderful company, interesting route ... ah what else could I ask for.
Truly... it was priceless. Thank you everyone.