25 January 2009

A very good demonstration

Cycling through central London gives you some of the world's best city-sightseeing routes.

One of my favourites is the one from Hyde Park to Westminster Bridge, via Wellington Arch (right), Buckingham Palace and the Houses of Parliament. (Google map is below.)

You'll get plenty of photos here, such as the ones they take after arresting you for taking pictures in Parliament Square that helpfully show how tall you are compared to Kevin Spacey.

We did this very route yesterday, on our way back from an afternoon in Hyde Park. On a sunny weekend it's a lovely place to wander round by bike on the traffic-free paths (below right), watching the inline skaters and skateboarders doing that cool fancy-footwork stuff with the sort of plastic beakers you used to get at primary school. Now I know why they were always so scuffed and scratched.

You'll hear many different sorts of language spoken, especially when one of the skaters thinks you're cycling too close to their beakers. On the other side of the Serpentine lake is the Diana Memorial, where you can easily while away an hour trying to work out what it's supposed to be.

There'd been a demo for Gaza in Parliament Square when we went past the Houses of Parliament en route home. We thoroughly approved of this exercise of the right to protest, especially because it meant Westminster Bridge was closed to traffic. Can we have another one next Sunday, on Waterloo Bridge perhaps?

So we could amble across on the wrong side of Westminster Bridge, with the full blessing of the police, with the tarmac entirely to ourselves. Er, except for the tourist flocks of sheep-people all edging backwards, trying to fit the clock tower into their mobile's camera.

It was sunny, so I took some video snippets of that picturesque trip home. They're strung together below. (There's no sound, so nothing to catch you out if you set it going at work.)

And here's a Google map of the route. More photos at www.bike99.com/11.html

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