I took part recently in the London Prudential Ride event. The roads were shut between Olympic Park to Surrey, where bike riders completed the route at the finishing line at The Mall near Buckingham Palace. It was the one day of the year, when it was ‘totally’ safe to ride on London’s roads on 2 wheels without constantly looking over my shoulders for the fear of the city road rage.
As London becomes more popular, the transport system and roads are increasingly overcrowded with extended rush hours period for up to 3 hours! I’m always a fan of an alternative way to get around London from A to B, and secretly hoped that this special day can give me a little preview.
A long route were mapped out to be blocked from all traffic around some of London’s most iconic landmarks. Score! Cycling and sight seeing like a tourist for a day. However, I did feel a little bit sorry for the motorists that day, it was congestion chaos around the whole of SW London from what I heard.
In the early morning, I picked out a bike with Mr. New Yorker from Waterloo and off on the Waterloo Bridge we went. An uber energetic DJ pumped out some catchy dance tunes while bystanders moved to the beats. The sun was happily out and in full bloom. I pedalled furiously and zoomed forward, taking advantage of the lack of bike traffic in the early hours.
I was in such a zone from the wind in my hair, the feeling of euphoria from the freedom of the road, that I ended up passing by Mr. New Yorker in a flash and didn’t realise I lost him until 10 minutes later.
We located each other down the road and was in a constant state of race against the wind. It was so much fun, to be able to enjoy London’s wide open roads with nothing but fellow bikers. Not to mention the view! The last time I felt like this was in Amsterdam, one of the safest cities to cycle in its designated bike lanes and traffic lights!
Prudential London, we want more days like this! Make London a safer place to cycle for everyone 🙂
Things I learned about road cycling:
1) Get well cushioned bike shorts! I can’t stress how important this is for long distance riding and for the ladies. I was on the bike for a total of 5 hours in my normal running tights and by the end I lost sensation in the bottoms area. Yep, very painful indeed.
2) Eat often and drink lots. I bought some Pulsin protein snack bars (highly recommend) with me to fill those hunger gaps and drank about 2 litres of water every 2-3 hours. You’ll need it for the energy 🙂
3) Smile for the camera! When passing the professional roadside photographers, make sure to get out those pearly whites. I much preferred my happier snaps versus the ones with me blowing out air like a racing horse on a uphill climb.