Passing the front of Buckingham Palace, my mind and feet were racing. To think that in a few months time the flags will be waving all along the Mall, the crowds roaring, the commentators exuberating enthusiasm through their microphones for the 2016 Brompton World Championships winners who will be flying passed their noses.
A truly British event on this iconic London road that has seen so many historic events from Royal weddings, to end of war celebrations, state funerals and my most memorable, Nelson Mandela’s visit to London. A moment caught on canvas in a painting entitled Waiting for Mandela.
Reaching Admiralty Arch the two speeds on my Brompton didn’t really include making up for lost time created by leaving late. It seemed inevitable that Trafalgar Square would be bereft of fellow London Brompton Club members and I was beginning to replan my day.
Swooping around the square, the magic of the unique Brompton rainbow – red, blue, green, pink and black lit up the front of The National Gallery as it did my face. Luck was in, I had not missed the ride.
Like the Fridays (except in daylight) it doesn’t matter if there are people you have never met before or haven’t seen some for a while, the greeting is always warm and welcoming. It’s a very special thing.
Out onto The Strand, through The City, St Katherine’s Dock, passed Tower Bridge and onto the river path eastward bound we went.
Not just eastward bound but speedward bound. The ride leader had arranged special bike parking so that we could go into (although not onto) the Velodrome.
Weaving our way along the canal path, conversations in true Brompton style covered a zillion topics, not just necessarily Brompton.
Special offers by train companies, Southwest Railways, were complimented – extending the boundaries of London to bring more fabulous Brompton peeps together. Perhaps Virgin Trains will be doing this for trips to Shropshire soon?
The power of the London Brompton Club (LBC) through the passion of this small wheeled bicycle has brought people in to it who you would not normally meet. One of our number is relocating back to America in July and it is hoped that The Houston Brompton Club is soon to start doing in Texas what LBC has done in London. I am pretty sure it will also involve beer.
I have my fingers crossed that there will be a Pre Brompton World Championship 2016 Ride the night before the 2016 BWC. Last year it was fantastic to meet so many Brompton owners from around the world. A great route, well led and the entire thing allowed us to extend real life smiles and handshakes in place of the keyboard, virtual ones.
I will never, ever forget cycling along Fleet Street where a New York Brompton owner stood looking like a London commuter waiting for us.
As we cycled along another not so super highway we were soon at the new home of West Ham Football Club from where we rode across the Olympic Park to the Velodrome.
There is something very special about being in such a place. Records are broken here, atmospheres, flags and excitement are broadcast around the world and somehow leaves its essence in the air even without the crowds and television cameras.
Non Brompton faces appeared in front of me – British Cycling had arranged a track session for their brilliant Sky Ride Leaders and Breeze Champions as a thank you for all the rides they have led, bringing more people into the world of cycling. The size of the smiles on their faces reflected how much the track experience had meant to them – what a perfect reward for the fabulous work they do.
We paid the £5 charge and headed out into the cold. It was cold. Around the track we flew, some of us pootling (I was definitely pootling) and others were aiming at Sir Chris Hoy and Victoria Pendleton speeds.
The distraction of a small mountain bike course and a BMX course made me smile – what a great cycling extravaganza this is, bringing all the disciplines of cycling to one place.
An hour or so later, we retraced our steps along the canal to London Bridge where it seemed only fitting to investigate a particular beer cellar – literally. Bromptons are welcome and the food was delicious.
Incredible to think I have cycled passed this place more time than I have eaten hot dinners and never, ever knew about it. My fingers are crossed that this particular LBC member will share a list of his favourite London spots discovered during his stay – many more I am sure I will never have heard about Perhaps I should ask for a list and go and check them out…
A great day, thank you peeps.
An attempt to capture some of this in video is here
and the rest of my pics are here.