Crossing London to the Barrier
In the world of off-roading (or rough-stuffing, as we used to call it), we say that 10 miles of rough tracks are the equivalent of 20 miles on road. Let me now add a piece of homespun wisdom of my own…..the same equation works for urban cycling too. Your expended effort is roughly doubled, and your average speed is usually halved. A combination of crowded roads, crowded cycleways, traffic lights and sundry street furniture, all conspire to frustrate your progress.
But added to that, we did spend 3 fascinating hours at Ham House on the southbank of the river
….then we crossed over to the north side of the River on Putney Bridge, and we desperately needed some sustenance; but long stretches of the river front in these parts are completely occupied by residential and office blocks. You’d be pushed to find food outlets or cafés between Putney and Vauxhall Bridges.
Eventually we made a stop in a friendly ethnic cafe south of the river, and treated ourselves to a comfort sugar-rush with a knickerbocker glory….nostalgic memories of childhood immediately kicked in.
And at 6pm in the evening, with both energy and daylight fading, we hugged each other in front of the Thames Barrier, and a kind Ecuadorian couple took the photo that would become our personal little ‘gong’ for having completed the 184 miles (295km) of Old Father Thames.
And to celebrate, we had booked ourselves into the Devonport House Hotel, a rather elegant listed building that formed part of the Naval College in Greenwich. Virtually straddling the Greenwich Meridian, and next door to the Cutty Sark, we enjoyed a meal and the company of my youngest brother and his partner, and relaxed after a testing day crossing the capital.