At about 9am I entered the 8 mile circuit at Buckingham Palace and already lots of people were cycling round in their hi- viz Prudential Freecycle tabards. Straight away I met to 2 ladies who had not ridden their bikes much before but travelled up form Hampshire to see the sights. Onto the Mall and I stopped and said hello to Steve Trew commenting on the event and got a shout out for triathlon coaches! He got a big hug and a kiss!
As I carried on under Admiralty Arch, through Trafalgar Square and past Downing Street into The Embankment I met Batman with his mum and dad. Hi super powers were full on pedalling with great focus!
As I meandered past the Thames I chatted to families, couples, groups and lone riders of all ages and riding experience. One dad was with his lads fully kitted up with Team Sky kit and Boardman bikes and they wanted to race! Not much chance of that happening with all the riders on the course.
One of my highlights was seeing a small boy on his bike with stabilisers pedalling like fury up the incline into Puddle Dock towards St Pauls! If that’s not legacy I don’t know what is.
Music was around the course with steel drums, rock bands and cheer leaders! At the Tower the route was busy as we entered the Festival Zone. Guys on stilts on bikes and a man on a penny farthing emerged onto the course adding to the spectacle.
I had a bit of a competition with making some noise under one of the tunnels at Upper Thames Street and rang my bike bell and “Whoo whooed” to be out done by a cyclist with an air horn! But everyone in the tunnel seemed to join in and we had our own little festival!
I re- joined the Thames and caught up with two ladies from Harlow who were having the best “sight seeing” bike ride they had ever been on. They may be getting in touch with their local Breeze leader in Harlow as they want to go out on more social rides as they have the bug now.
As we entered Westminster and past Big Ben the crowds swelled and travel was slow but the atmosphere was like being back at London 2012 with everyone chatting and saying hello. Spoke to a lady from Amsterdam who worked in the city and she was pleased that finally London was welcoming cyclists to the streets!
Then up Birdcage Walk and to Buckingham Palace again where I encouraged the riders to cheer for the safety warden at the crossing as he was our favourite! One lap completed and even in less than an hour the riders were increasing and the route was filling up.
The second lap was more of the same but with lots of stops for photo opportunities and then back to meet Scott in Green Park for the Festival Zone fun. Whilst waiting in the queue at Green Park I met a four year old called Fern who was so proud of her “King of the Mountains” cycle top she was wearing, which she told me had been bought in Mont Ventoux! Her sister was in World Champions cycle kit and her brothers were in full Sky kit. Again this made me smile and believe that London 2012 did have an impact on the kids and our future Olympians. They named Wiggo and Cav as their favourite riders!
We bimbled round the Festival Zone and saw the Skoda Team performing amazing stunts and bumped into Jody Cundy at the British Cycling stand – have a look at the Gallery!
We were then treated to some great criterium racing from handbikers, youth and the female cyclists around St James Park.
All in all a great event which I would recommend you get involved with next year. See you there in 2014!