Playing catch-up: another 85 miles and the sights I’ve seen

The unseasonal sunshine and warm weather that marked my last post has persisted ever since. We've been experiencing some lovely days — and even though the mornings feel a little crisp, cycling to work is a joy.

I'm still happily cycling in shorts, with a cycling jacket over a wicking t-shirt, and even then I'm occasionally too hot. The only difference is that when I cycle home in the evenings (shortly after 6pm) I'm now using front and back lights, more to increase my visibility on the road than anything else.

Here's a few things that I have seen enroute to work over the past fortnight:

★ Princess Anne — she was travelling in a Range Rover with a security vehicle behind her and two motorbike outriders alongside. I had to stop at the top of Birdcage Walk to let her cavalcade enter the road ahead of me from Horse Guards Road. It's not every day you can blame your late arrival to work on the Princess Royal!

★ Countless horse-drawn carriages —usually at Hyde Park Corner, but one morning there were two near Knightsbridge Barracks. They are stunning to see, especially the drivers who are all dolled up in 19th century attire.

★ Soldiers. Soldiers. Soldiers. I saw one group (or should that be troop?) jogging on the bridlepath that runs parallel to the South Carriage at Hyde Park. They were in their camouflage gear and heavy boots, kicking up dust as they pounded along, so that they were enveloped in a giant cloud — with the sun filtering down through the trees it looked kind of magical. But I have also seen soldiers wearing bearskin hats parading out the front of Wellington Barracks while tourists, faces pressed up against the fence, take photographs.

★ A big burly policeman wearing a machine gun (or whatever weapon it is) strapped across his chest — I actually talked to him, because the road (Birdcage Walk) had been cordoned off, and I wanted to know if it was OK for me go through on my bicycle (unlike other cyclists who simply cycled on the footpath or ignored the cordon altogether). He said it would be fine if I took it slowly and stuck to the far right gutter. I'm not sure what the cordon was for, but there were certainly plenty of police and police vehicles around, and I did spy two light poles on the ground — perhaps the result of a car accident, or some wanton vandalism?

★ Leaves, twigs, acorns and conkers — on the ground! I think this means autumn has finally arrived, even if no one has bothered to tell the sun!

Total distance*: 85.68miles (137.9km) | Ride time: 8hr, 04min and 54sec | Average speed: 10.8mph | Top speed: 21.8mph

* I've been having trouble with my bike computer, which failed to work on three separate commutes (approximately 19.5 miles in total), so I have added this into the figures above. The figures also include a jolly around Richmond Park (roughly 15 miles) earlier today.


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