This was a good weekend and I have to say participating in Ride London’s free cycle event has to be among the most fun things I’ve done in this city on my own. I realised that I wanted to participate pretty late, on Friday evening. But it took perhaps a minute or two to register. The route was circular and about 8 miles long looping around tower hill in the east to St. James’s park in the west, and cyclists could join wherever they liked. I checked the tyres on the Duchess and we were off. The intention was to get there early to avoid the massive crowds but it was Saturday and I did linger over tea. So it was past 11 am that I left. I cycled to Monument and joined the route there.
The first few moments were amazing! I could not believe the number of people who were already cycling and I could not get over the fact that there were no cars to worry about! I felt happy and proud to be part of a big event for something that really matters to me. I spent the first few minutes cycling on the left, out of habit but then warmed to the idea of just wheeling wherever I wanted. Also parents tended to keep their kids towards the left of the road so it was a bit slow there. Speed wise the pace was slower than comfortable and some overtaking was in order in many stretches. Also sometimes some people would slow things down if they were having a conversation but why not, after all the event was meant to foster a positive attitude towards cycling and get more people to bike.
The Thames as usual looked beautiful, the sky was blue and cheesy it might have been for some people to ride along iconic landmarks but i thought it was lovely to cycle past Tower Bridge, Big Ben, the Palace and the beautiful parks. I half expected the Queen to be on her balcony waving at us. But that understandably didn’t happen.
I left earlier than I wanted to, to make it to a colleague’s birthday party. I had to quell all my apprehensions of meeting strangers and force myself to go. I told myself that being invited to someone’s home gives me an insight into their life and blabbity blah and that I did move here to meet new people and blah blah. It turned all right in the end.
Today I had to force myself to go shopping (I seem to have to force myself a lot these days for all sorts of things!) so that I could brighten up my holiday wardrobe (Turkey! End of this week! Yes!). Because I feel so terribly conscious sometimes I’ve been telling myself to pretend I’m invisible. It’s quite liberating but I feel a bit mental at the same time. Shopping was a success, I timed my visit with just over an hour to go until shops shut. I preferred the morning and afternoon hours to pursue the classic Sunday activity of sitting on my arse and doing nothing. Oh except cleaning up the apartment thoroughly, oiling the Duchess and cleaning her up, doing two hundred loads of laundry and some cooking. Bueno!