Thursday night – Fixed Beers Night! This time ride XIII! The weather forecast was worrying all week but on the day we were lucky and while everyone arrived at our meeting point – Cycle PS Camberwell – the sky cleared and the rain stopped. Spring had arrived and along with it the first warm evenings of the year.
Equipment checked and ready to ride we set off down our commonly used route past Burgess Park, then hit Old Kent Road before turning right into Dunton Road to follow Willow Walk and Page´s Walk. Bermondsey Street took us all the way down to Tolley Street where we crossed over Tower Bridge. Surrounded by the lustrous city lights we pedalled through the warm spring air.
On the other side of the Thames we followed Tower Hill, leaving the Tower of London and all the tourists on our left to meet Great Tower Street. Unfortunately two of the group had to stop on the south side to fix a puncture. Not wanting everyone to wait they decided to use the Glympse tag (!fxb) to catch up with us later. Meanwhile we were about to cross London Bridge and arrive in Borough Market. Though lively during the day in the late evening it is possible to cycle in between the closed stalls and see a different side, perhaps visiting the buzzing pubs near by. Next Park Street, where we followed the Thames Path, going through the foot tunnel under Southwark Bridge and up and over Millennium Bridge, the bike wheels buzzing as they rolled over the bridges metal grated surface.
This time we didn’t make our way up to St. Paul´s. Instead we followed a small traffic free back alley down to Queen Victoria Street which dropped us neatly at Blackfriars Bridge. While some used the chance to do a little sprint across the bridge other riders chose a more relaxed pace, popping amazing whip skids, and cruising unclipped.
At the traffic light by Southwark Street we regrouped and turned left to ride along the bumpy Hopton Street and up to the Tate Modern and back onto the Thames Path. Instead of staying on the path we cut straight across Blackfriars Station, tearing through to the other side. At the Oxo buliding we squeezed into a little passage which brought us back onto Stamford Street and towards the roundabout around the BFI MAX. Taking the third exit we crossed over Waterloo Bridge, filtering through the traffic on the Strand towards Trafalgar Square. We exited onto Whitehall and the group hammered it down to Parliament Square.
Because of a building site on Westminster Bridge our plans to cross over failed. Forcing us to decide quickly to follow Abingdon Street and Millbank down to Lambeth Street. While the original plan was to take a break before heading further west the group was on fire and wanted to continue riding. So we went down the Albert Embankment and crossed over before Vauxhall Bridge to use a little tunnel which took us along on the smooth Riverside Walk. From there we had to go once back on the main road Nine Elms Lane to reach the Queen´s Circus which directed us into Battersea Park. A short stop at the Pagoda and we jumped back on our bikes to make our way to the shop and a first well-deserved break. We left the park behind, crossed over Albert Bridge Road and found ourselves on the other side following a path along the Thames and ending in the middle of a public private space. With a shop around the corner it was the perfect stop.
The riders enjoyed some drinks and food while talking about the amazing ride and looking forward to their plans for the summer. Others swapped bikes and showed their skills.
After a bit everyone got ready for the last bit of the route. We joined the traffic leading us over Battersea Bridge and hanging a right to land on King´s Road. This one took us to our last stop: Duke of York square. James appreciated this stop as it included the infamous symbol of the Rolling Stones.
Getting late and also a bit chilly and happy after a very enjoyable fast-paced ride, everyone split up into smaller groups heading back home, South, East, North and West.