The words (the) Three Degrees instantly found me singing “When Will I See You Again?” as memories that varied from duets (somewhat out of tune) during long car journeys, leaving supper parties at 3am, to dancing through the night in clubs across London rushed to the forefront of my mind. Happy, happy memories in three words! Discovering, however, that in this case it was less Sheila Ferguson and more the weather forecast made me wonder whether going outside with a bicycle was A Good Thing.
Seeing the sunshine and knowing that a group of cyclists were heading to Hyde Park Corner from all over the south east for a pootle in the Capital was enough to make me leave home – admittedly wearing layers of merino and cashmere and that was just on my feet.
The Household Cavalry had been and gone by the time I reached a familiar sight of friendly faces, chatting in the cold but bright sunshine. As always with these rides it’s about you – how are you and how far until the food stop that is top topic. It is never about dissing a bike, a speed, a groupset or a person and is the absolute ethos of The Fridays, The London Brompton Club and the London Moulton Club all of whom were clearly represented even on this very chilly morning.
Down Constitution Hill, Birdcage Walk and onto the Embankment where for a nano second or six we rode on the new section of cycle route. As with nearly all segregated cycle routes it’s clearly going to be a very unpleasant experience. The placing of the No Cyclists sign was situated passed the actual turning up to Blackfriars Bridge which caused a little concertina of 23mm wheels as we all tried to retreat backwards without being on the traffic-filled dual carriageway.
Out through the City, Tower Bridge and eastwards to Trinity Buoy Wharf that used to be the home of the Corporation of Trinity House who set up the lighthouse and marker buoys system around our coastline. The 1950s diner is where The Fonz would eat if he wasn’t in Milwaukee although the food is definitely more British than American.
A bit more chatting followed by a hunt for the Banksy was shortlived as it seems to have been removed but the views across the Thames were as ever breathtaking.
The stop had created the perfect opportunity for a fellow Brompton owner to show off his skills at unfolding his bicycle.
Back out to the A13 and up along the Greenway which is traffic free although the waffs of sewerage aren’t exactly enticing. A Brompton owner guided us around an unsigned diversion and we were soon doing laps of the Velodrome.
Peering through the window, people could be seen aiming for Victoria Pendleton and Sir Chris Hoy status in years to come.
Back out onto the A12 and into the city, Fleet Street and The Strand where the most diabolical piece of bus driving could be seen.
Two buses decided that they were not going to let cyclists pass them so positioned themselves blocking the cycle lane and not allowing space between them.
Eventually we were cycling back up Constitution Hill – me powering my way up the long drag that seems to go on forever and we were soon sitting outside a café I have never noticed before but cycle passed practically every day.
The joy of cycling with kind and ego-free peeps in sunny, semi-traffic free London is a complete joy. 26 miles or so on the Garmin – I very much look forward to the next which brings me neatly back to that epic song from the Three Degrees! “When will I see you Again……!”
Clearly, having only had his uber-cool Brompton for a couple of weeks a bit more practice will help. Not quite BWC champion speed yet but I’m sure it wont be long. (Permission, actually insistence, to put this up to share was given although he might not appreciate the speed of the person at who used to work at Brompton Junction….!)