27 December 2009
Oh come and cycle, all ye faithful: London’s Christmas Day bike ride
Guest blogger Alex Crawford of Southwark Cyclists reports on this year’s annual 25/12 bike ride – the ideal antidote to Chr***mas, and a highlight of London’s cycling year
Roughly 100 riders, from every end of London and beyond, converged at Southwark Needle - friends, family and strangers - all keen to do what they love most on the friendliest day of the year.
Having bunged my turkey in the oven, I donned my flashing earrings and made my way down through the deserted city, where I was greeted with big smiles and a warm shot of sherry at Southwark Needle.
Some other kind soul was offering homemade mince pies and shortbread while festive-looking Barry Mason briefed the masses on today's route. It took us first to nearby Druid's Cycles. The owner Thor had turned the workshop in to a cycling Santa's grotto, complete with flashing lights, reindeer on the roof, and cups of steaming, brandied wine and Glühwein.
We then braced ourselves for the cold again and set off for Putney for a scenic drink at the Duke's Head on the river. Then, numbers dwindling to 46, we set off for a cheap but good Lebanese lunch on Edgware Road via Chelsea, Knightsbridge and Hyde Park. Only us, tourists, dog walkers and the odd car (no doubt late for lunch) were out and about.
After lunch, most peeled off, either for home or Critical Mass. Others went east through the city. I was long gone, back at home boiling brussels sprouts and steaming puddings. I wouldn't have missed the ride though - next time I'll try harder to get the family along too...
Thanks for images too, Alex. There's an 0101 ride to bring in the New Year too - see the Southwark Cyclists e-group for details.