To allow our rides to go further afield, we now have two new ride starting points: Collici, Richmond Park at 9am and West Drayton Station at 10.15am.
Although my cycling group is not allowed to do "Let's Ride" rides any more, we can still do "Let's Ride" rides as our own rides. As "Let's Ride" group rides are now supposed to be "Community Group" ones, this ride was an experiment in democracy to see if the ride could be organised by a group of cyclists rather than by a ride leader. It was therefore decided that there should not be a weblink for this ride. That way we can stop our cycling group from being infiltrated by members of rival cycling groups. Five people did still turn up at the starting point at the Roehampton Gate Collicci Cafe, Richmond Park. On much of the early part of the ride, we met hundreds of runners who were carrying heavy rucksacks. It turned out they was running in a 100 mile ultramarathon along the Thames from Richmond to Oxford. We were told it's a toughie - if you do't complete the court within the time limit, the inflatable gateway at the end point for the race collapses and you have to go home, despite having to put a great deal of effort into doing the run. We only went a far as the River Wey, which is a tributary of Thames which runs alongside the Wey Navigation canal, which goes out to Guildford. We visited the very narrow Victorian Wey Bridge and then stopped off for a refreshment break at the Wilde Brunch Cafe at Walton Bridge. There is a ferry we could have used to get to the north bank of the Thames, but decided not to use it, using the Walton Bridge instead.
Two can play the game of letting people come on rides as many times as they want to without having to be paid-up members of a local cycling club. On this ride, we had only sold one Billetto ticket and the ride was nearly cancelled, but, against all the odds, we were able to comply with the "Rule of 6"!
Not to be outdone by 7 finest views of south London, we were able to take in two fine views of north London on our ride to the far north. It was reminiscent of a Southwark Healthy Ride +, as it started at 9.30am and we were back by 1pm. We were pleased that we did have more viewers than views - numbers were back to normal, with 8 people joining us for this ride. However, the jury is out as to whether we visited Swains Lane or Swain's Lane as both are shown on the various street signs and in Google. There was sting in the tail - we had to climb up to the Ridge to get back to Finsbury and Clissold Parks, before following the A10 back to the Needle.
The Secret Nuclear Bunker Ride is an iconic ride, but there are fierce battles going on regarding how the revenue that accrues from doing such rides is distributed amongst the various cycling organisations. Cyclists in Southwark enters the fray by putting in its two pennies' worth. The ride used to be a Newhmam Cyclists/LCC one, but now a variant of the ride is being done by the "committeeless" London Clarion Cycle Club. British Cycling is not going to be outdone here - there is also going to be an Ongar Burner Let's Ride ride, which has much in common with these rides.
We were founded in Greenwich and still hold sessions there, but we've found that rides starting from the Southwark Needle are much more popular. Nine of us met up there at 11am. The route and ride pictures are posted on Strava. Six continued all the way to Edgware Road, where we had a very reasonably priced Chris tmas Day lunch at the Beirut Cafe. This year Bermondsey Bill led a different ride - an LFGSS one that started at 9am at Oxford Circus. None of us were expecting LFGSS to be a British Cycling affiliated club!
The East End and Southwark have a long history of welcoming outsiders. But what happens when two people who are outsiders to both places organise a ride there? Watch this space…