This weekend saw me ride my Brompton for the first time in what seemed like ages! I managed to make it into London this weekend for one of the Brompton club rides, one that had been done before but was usually a good route - the Greenway loop, taking in three river crossings before heading back into Central London.
The weather looked reasonable enough and I had the time, so I managed to get up and get an earlier train and headed into London.
The weather on the ride was actually great! I'd gone equipped with my Proviz rain jacket, as I thought the weather was likely to be pants, but it turns out it wasn't to bad at all. As I arrived into Kings Cross, it was actually raining but by the time I cycled to the Kings Cross Evans Cycles to pick up a Garmin out front mount for my GPS (an extortionately priced piece of plastic!) and fitted it, the rain had stopped and I was able to cycle to Trafalgar Square to meet the club - not without incident though, as when I approached Tavistock Square, I found it cordoned off by the police (I later found out that it was closed for Martyrs Day).
There were a mix of familiar and new faces waiting at Trafalger Square for me. Once we'd assembled, Mark gave a quick ride briefing and we headed off.
I'd ridden around London the week before and had been fine, but there were a number of drivers that were driving around today that were just plain dangerous. There were a number of drivers caught on camera by one of the riders on their phones. Whilst I now drive to work as well, I'm all to aware at how easy it is to look at a phone and change music or similar but to be talking on a phone without a hands free kit - I'm sorely tempted to get myself a video camera and start sending it to the police as its just downright dangerous, even if you are stuck in traffic.
I'd been trying out the camera on my Android phone I'd bought at the start of the month - a Wileyfox Swift. It doesn't promise to be the best, but it does feature more megapixels than the iPhone 5S I was comparing it against.
It seems that the images are quite washed out in comparison to the iPhone camera. I guess it's good enough for the "I was there" shots, but it's nothing special.
It's a shame, as it's an otherwise nice phone (I'll cover it in another post). Anyhow, I managed to use a mix of my (work) iPhone and the Android one as I went along.
We got to Limehouse basin and joined the Limehouse Cut out to the River Lea and Stratford. The weather at this point was quite good so I thought about leaving the group and heading up the River Lea to Ware, Hertford and then up to Welwyn Garden City. However, I decided to remain with the group.
At Stratford, we tried to access the Greenway to cycle back down to the Thames. Alas, it seems that my bad luck of the morning was following me and we had to detour as it was closed for works.
We followed the diversion where I caught up with Orange Brompton before we headed down towards London City airport.
We get to the Woolwich ferry just as it was unloading and successfully managed to cycle on and straight to the front, with them closing the gates just as the last member of our ride cycled on over.
Crossing the ferry, we headed back towards the O2 and the Thames Barrier.
I left the group to get some pictures, before catching them up at the O2. I left them again to head back into central London to meet my girlfriend and get back to Welwyn. However, again my luck wasn't paying off and the route I'd cycled around the O2 the week before was closed to traffic and so I had to find an alternative! That happened to be up and over the Emirates Airline again! I shared a capsule with a young family and had a good chat with them about my days ride and in general before I cycled back through Canary Wharf and headed back towards London.
Rather than follow the route I'd taken out to Stratford form Central London, I decided to head up the Regents Canal when I saw that it headed to Limehouse Basin, so I followed this all the way up to Islington.
This section of the canal was far busier than the route we'd earlier taken towards Stratford - whether or not it was because it was later or because it's in a more built area, I cant say. However, I could just be thankful that I wasn't wearing cleats! Cycling alongside the canals can actually be a stressful experience and I'm not sure if I'd rather take an A road, or stick with a busy canal path!
Anyhow, I made it back to Kings Cross at almost exactly the same time as my girlfriend, so perfectly timed!
It was a good ride, and I'm sorry to Mark that I cut it short! However, it's got me back on my Brompton, so I'm hoping that I'll get the opportunity to use it a bit more soon. The route was a bit different from what will become my main cycling route which will be a commute into work - however, it was the same distance (round trip of 50Km) which made it a nice trip.