The crowds no longer lined the streets, the raucous commentary and the box had left as had fellow Brompton World Champions who were back in their homes across the globe, at the other end of their keyboards.
Like Beatrix Potter’s Mrs Tiggy Winkle scurrying down the hillside as nothing more than a hedgehog the V V Rouleaux headdress of the week before had been deconstructed and was now nothing more than a helmet. Butt he medal and the memories live on.
The current picnic season at Daylesford seemed like the perfect place to start to an afternoon pootle for food. The Brompton’s small wheels under big blue skies created a summer bike ride along the river.
No matter how many times the pedals turn riverside, the vistas always feel as though they are being seen for the very first time. The skyline, the water line and everything in the eye line always seem different, a new view whilst riding a bicycle.
Pedalling along the river path, interspersed with family afternoon walkers and scooter-ers the warm air and bright blue sky created a really summer Sunday feel even on a Saturday. Seeing Wandsworth Bridge and its Chelsea blue paint is apparently because of the football team – perhaps not something that will be changed to red anytime soon.
The Ship pub was as raucous as ever, laughter rolling over beer tops as the smell of their barbeque was enticing but the pedals kept moving. Around the corner, Brady’s Fish restaurant was open – one of the best fish and chip restaurants in London but still the pedals turned.
Into Wandsworth Park where views of The Hurlingham Club could be seen, in its majestic location overlooking The Thames although the beautifully kempt gardens were hidden by trees that line its watery borders.
Apparently the no cycling paths in Wandsworth Park were historically installed in Victorian times so that people could visit the park without leaving their horse and carriage. A time when exercise was seen as sweaty and uncouth – luckily being sweaty and healthy is de riggeur these days and there are easily accessible alternative cycle routes!
Through Putney where the Thames Path continued to appear and disappear, at some points heading straight into the water and pedestrians. A perfect example of cycling infrastructure that is designed and installed by people who don’t ride bicycles or don’t cycle to the Department of Transport National Standard. If only governmental departments spoke to each other. The Yes Minister writers had it right and clearly plus ca change!
On and along the river path, passed the rowing clubs, it was soon possible to see Fulham Football Club who were preparing for the Charity Shield in 24 hours time. Toons time or not? Tomorrow is another day.
The Wetland Trust was closed and tea was top topic not least because we were a few roads away from Gail’s Bakery. A Brompton-welcome café that used to feed sugar-cravings before the I Quit Sugar diet and now more than feeds savoury ones with their cheese straws, sausage rolls and assortment of sourdough bakes.
Over a few cups of tea, a theme of café to café rides became a possible bicycle ride idea. Possibilities began to form:
Elevenses at Daylesfords, lunch at La Fromagerie and tea at Gail’s Bakery. All three eateries are well-run and have high standards as they have individuals at their helms who are passionate about what they do.
Who knew that Daylesfords is run by Carole Bamford the wife of JCB – the tractor and digger people! Joseph Cyril Bamford’s motto “jamais content” and how he started and grew his company has many similarities with Andrew Ritchie and Brompton. A British owned and run company with bases all over the world.
The owner of La Fromagerie developed a passion for cheese whilst working in the French Alps in the 80s. Following her nose, she started the company in her garden shed, moved to a stall in Camden and now has two shops in London and a wholesale cheese business. The cheese rooms are a real delight and the knowledge of the people that work there is astounding.
The people behind Gail’s were bread hunters. Quality bread hunters – not the ready-packed white sliced variety that filled supermarket shelves across the country but home-made artisan breads.
A trio of food emporiums on a bicycle with a mid-ride stop at Jo Malone for a complimentary hand massage treatment could set the day. It could be a perfect Breeze or Brompton ride even if the calories consumed were higher than the ones burned. What a plan!
The small-wheeled bicycle continues to turn days into adventures, with or without trains or commutes.
Making tracks back along the river, a scene from a Bond film appeared. Possibly the helicopter used in the M&S Christmas promotion but when you’re riding a Brompton, it could be anybody. Is there room in a helicopter for a Brompton?