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The success of the Christmas ride looked under threat before it had even started with all the Loiterers standing below the shops trying to escape the rain which was forecast to last for another two or three hours. But it was looking better than the forecast the day before. With confidence in the forecast for the afternoon, John, Chris, Bernie, Dave, Jim, Cliff, Phil, Alan, and Geoff took off, and for those of us wearing spectacles the effect of the drizzling rain was quickly noticed.
The morning break was to be at the Ace Cafe so the ride began smoothly travelling through Ruislip and then following Chris Kinsey's own work route towards Harrow. Everyone felt at home amongst the elite as we travelled along the private road past Orley Farm School and found ourselves in Sudbury. We followed the cycle route alongside Horsenden Hill towards Perivale and delayed joining the canal until Alperton due to the amount of rainfall there had been during the weekend. It was then only a short ride on the canal to reach the Ace Cafe for the first stop of the day.
For most of the group it was their first visit to the Ace Cafe so we took in its cultural heritage and admired the bikes on display. And the drinks were cheap as well.
The rain now seemed to have completely stopped so next it was across the North Circular and back onto the canal as far as Willesden Junction, cycling along the edge of Wormwood Scrubs Park and right past Wormwood Scrubs prison. Passing through Notting Hill and heading down Kensington Palace Gardens past the embassies and toward the palace, some riders commented they were disappointed we were cycling through such a run down low income area! Cycling past the Albert Hall, Imperial College, and the Natural History Museum helped to raise the standards again and this was maintained as we went behind Harrods, past Sloane Square, through Belgravia and then along the car free Constitution Hill and down The Mall towards Trafalgar Square. As the weather was now pleasant again it seemed a good time to cross the river and take a group picture with the Palace of Westminster behind us. The morning tourism was now almost over so it was along the Thames path and across Westminster Bridge and then locking up near the Sherlock Holmes pub and walking to the Weatherspoons pub on Whitehall (The Lord Moon of The Mall).
Everyone seemed satisfied at the price and the beer went down well but unfortunately the good day so far ended when we went back to our bikes. Two cables had been cut, Alan's bike stolen, and Dave's Brooks saddle had been forced off and taken away. We were there for a while recording what had happened and it seemed difficult for those of us unaffected to say goodbye to Alan and Dave as they headed for the stations. It was a busy area with bus stops nearby and pubs and hotels right next to the bikes. It must have taken a powerful cutter to get through the thick cables and nobody seemed to notice.
It was 3pm when we started again and by now it was starting to get darker and the Christmas lights were beginning to stand out. We were able to see the lights on The Strand, the trees and Lego Father Christmas in Covent Garden, and the tall Christmas tree in Trafalgar Square. It was then past The Ritz, along Piccadilly, up Regent Street, through Soho, and along most of Oxford Street. We went past the soon to move American Embassy and into Hyde Park where the flashing lights of the Winter Wonderland stand out and were certainly different than those we'd just seen on the streets.
It was now time to start heading back so it was right across Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens, past Kensington Palace for a second time and then up along Scrubs Lane towards Harlesden. Jim had already said he would go back along the canal towards Uxbridge and he and Cliff left us on Scrubs Lane. The remaining five of us weren't keen to travel along the canal in the dark with our flashing lights so the road route went through Wembley and onto Northolt. Bernie left us here and headed to Hayes although we did see him again fifteen minutes later as he'd turned the wrong way under the islands and headed towards Ruislip! It was RAF Northolt where people went their different ways and the days ride came to an end.
It was quite a long trip for a winter ride, totalling 76km (47 miles). Everybody seemed to enjoy the route and what we saw but the day was never going to be the same after the theft of Alan's bike and Dave's saddle.
|Started in:||London, England, GB|
|Elevation:||+ 1582 / - 1554 ft|
|Departed:||Dec 13, '15, 10:05AM|
|Starts in:||London, England, GB|
|Selected distance:||47.2 mi|
|Elevation:||+ 1582 / - 1554 ft|
|Selection Moving Time:||04:41:07|
|Max Speed:||19.8 mph|
|Avg. Speed:||10.1 mph|
Best format for turn by turn directions on Edge 500, 510. Will provide true turn by turn navigation on Edge 800, 810, 1000, Touring including custom cue entries. Great for training when we release those features. Not currently optimal for Virtual Partner.
Useful for uploading your activity to another service, keeping records on your own computer etc.
Useful for any GPS unit. Contains no cuesheet entries, only track information (breadcrumb trail). Will provide turn by turn directions (true navigation) on the Edge 705/800/810/1000/Touring, but will not have any custom cues. Works great for Mio Cyclo. Find GPS specific help in our help system.
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