London’s trees: the good and the bad

When you’re a cyclist you begin to appreciate the passing of the seasons much more than your normal commuter.

Last time I was on my bike — which was (shamefully) on April 17 — the trees were bare skeletons holding their arms up to the sky; today they were adorned in green, creating wonderful leafy tunnels under which to ride. London truly comes into its own when its trees are wearing their full attire.

Although there is one drawback at this time of year: the London plane trees — of which there must be thousands across this city — decide to dump their pollen all at once. The air is currently thick with the stuff. It catches in the back of your throat. It makes your eyes red and itchy. And it makes you sneeze.

I’ll be glad when those pesky flowers and the young leaves (which shed short, stiff hairs) are gone. But in the meantime, I’m enjoying being back on the bike. I could do with the exercise!

Today’s roundtrip total distance: 12.28 miles | Ride time: 71min and 53sec | Average speed: 11.04 mph | Top speed: 20.4 mph

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6 thoughts on “London’s trees: the good and the bad

  1. The stuff is the bane of my existence. I was going down along St James Park and almost went blind.
    People I drop off to must think I’m on drugs or really really sad.

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  2. In Kansas City it’s Pin Oak trees that dump pollen around this time of year. They typically follow that up with a ton of little yellow worms 10 days after the pollen is done. I don’t know which is worse.
    Nice to see you posting again.

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  3. Ludwig, yes, it’s particularly bad in the parks — I ride through Hyde Park, Green Park and along St James. I love the look of the trees, but that bloody pollen is just awful!
    Warren, erk, the worms sound a treat! 😉 Do you run over them?

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  4. They’re so small I spend more time just brushing them off. Riding the bike isn’t as bad as walking the dogs. One of my dogs has black fur and within a block or two you can see these little things all over her (so you know they’re in your hair too). Even worse is when you hop in the car and decide to clear the windshield (wind-screen?) with the wipers and wind up smearing the little buggers all over the place so you can’t see.
    Hate ’em.

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  5. I live in California, but visited London last month. Am currently uploading my photos to Flickr, and wanted to find out what kind of trees were shedding all over me on one extremely fuzzy day in Green Park; Google led me here. The reason I’m writing: the day I was in Green Park was (wait for it) 8 May 07– the very same day you wrote this post. :-> For all we know, you might have passed me on your bike, eh? I actually took a photo of a big pile of the evil tree fuzz, but no one here has been at all impressed by it. But I know you know my pain (and I, yours).
    Best,
    Kelly in SF

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