21 September 2009
Bike Monopoly 10: In Jail / Just Visiting
Belmarsh, Brixton, Feltham, Holloway, Pentonville, Wandsworth... London's generously supplied with jails. I'm sure they're wonderful places best visited by bike, but I've never been to any of them, either as guest or visitor, at least until I finally act out my revenge fantasy against the taxi that cuts me up later today.
Some people are concerned that car drivers who kill or maim cyclists never seem to get custodial sentences (here's a rare recent example, logged by the diligent Freewheeler) - but cheer up! Even without them, Britain still tops the league of EU countries in terms of percentage of population prison! We can show leadership in Europe!
Anyway, for cycling-leisure gaol visit, we've chosen The Clink prison museum (right). It celebrates the grisly goings-on in the notorious medieval prison, which stood here from the 1100s to 1780. It's on a Dickensian cobbled street on the south bank in an area enjoyable to nose around by bike: just along the riverfront from Tate Modern, round the corner from Borough Market and several characterful pubs.
There's no bike parking in Clink St; the nearest stands are round the corner. In 2001 I retrieved my folding bike from a lamppost in Clink St to find a builder's lorry had passed by too closely. The problem was, it hadn't been a folding bike before.
Actually I've never been in the Clink museum. I'm a local, dammit, we don't do the visitor-attractions thing. Why go to Madame Tussaud's to be ripped off when you can get an Easyjet flight for twenty quid to be ripped off in Prague instead? But I have been to the Clink Bar (right), in the Anchor pub on Bankside just next door. Looking at some of the reviews of the pub, which I think it's fair to say are 'mixed', a spell in the medieval prison might be preferable.