Saturday 2 August
We were really lucky with the weather on Saturday meaning that the Easy-going ride to Hyde Park went as planned and we didn't have to abandon our picnic plans.
14 of us met at CSG including a couple with their 2 year old grandson who screamed everytime he had to put his helmet back on (surely not rebelling over compulsory helmet use at such a young age?) We were also joined by 3 year old William and his mum and also Olly on his 3 day old recumbent tricycle.
We started this "chill out" ride very appropriately, chilling out in the sun and chatting until 10.30 by which time one of us who'd had a type blow out on them en route to CSG managed to join us. A few diversions to our normal route along the Thames Path to allow the tricycle to get through made for an interesting ride but it didn't take too long to get up to Tower Bridge and then a bit of weaving in and out to avoid the tourists out in their masses along the Thames Path.
After negotiating our way down Tooley Street (buses, pedestrians, cars everywhere, and then a police van just as we slipped onto the pavement for a short distance) the Southwark Cathedral Refectory was a welcome stop. It's a bit pricy in there but the coffee's good and there's a lovely open area outside with lots of benches where you can sit in the sun.
Feeling fully refreshed and ready to tackle central London we made our way down onto Union Street and its excellent cycle path. Our bridge of choice was Lambeth and so we cycled along the Cut and then right , onto Upper Ground, past the London Eye and then across Westminster bridge. We snaked around St Thomas' Hospital, along the Thames Path and then past Lambeth Palace onto Lambeth Bridge. We passed all the major sites and of course this included Buckingham Palace and the long queues of visitors all eager to glimpse inside on this the first day of its summer opening.
The rest of the ride to Hyde Park was mainly off road as we made use of the cycle lane in Green Park and the excellent pedestrian crossings around Hyde Park Corner.
We found a good spot not too far from the bandstand and were just in time for a recital from the steel band that were setting up (and trying to compete with the Red Bull sound system gearing up for Sunday's Serpentine challenge!)
A couple of hours in the park gave us enough time between us to play frisbee, cricket and try out Olly's tricycle which received much attention throughout the day and probably did more miles in Hyde Park than it had in its very short life. Thanks Olly for letting us all test it out!
As always the cycle home seemed much quicker than the way there and we managed to spot a few more famous sights as we cycled up the Mall and then past Big Ben across Westminster Bridge.
20 miles in all by the time we returned to Cutty Sark.