Sunday, 18 May 2014

Tour de Penge 2014

Sunday 18th May was a glorious sunny day, so perfect for the 8th edition of the Tour de Penge. Families and riders gathered in the park from about 10, and by the time I turned up with my peloton of 16 people, the place was heaving. We signed on and joined the 300 or so others for Le Grand Depart!

Unlike last year, the local police hadn't turned out to close the roads for us, but with marshalling help from Bromley Cyclists & the adult section Penge Cycle Club, we managed fine. The ride rolled off down Maple Road, then along the high street, with passers by taking pictures of the enormous Peloton, and gathered again in Cator Park to form into smaller groups, with a marshall leading the way, and another bringing up the rear.

From there it was 8 miles along the Waterlink way via Catford, Ladywell, Lewisham and Deptford to Greenwich. The pace was languid, targetted at letting the kids keep up, or set the pace, so there was none of the usual misery today. The only slight concerns were making sure that the tan-lines were straight, and having enough money for ice cream.

Groups formed, splintered, reformed again, and there was a great atmosphere as we made our way gradually along the quiet paths to Greenwich for our picnic. Just as some of the little ones (and a few of the grown ups) were beginning to grumble, we came around the corner & the masts of the Cutty Sark hoved into view! Phew!

On arriving in the park in front of the Greenwich Mean Time brewery, there were loads of other riders having their picnics in the shade, and, given we were picnicking in front of the brewery, it would have been rude not to sample a bit of the product...

The kids all seemed to be re-energised by some food, and were really happy running around in the sun until it was time to go back. This time we went in one big group, and the children were all looking forward to ice-cream in Ladywell Fields, and a splash in the river. It was such a warm afternoon that I was also tempted to join them...but I resisted. It was lovely to see new friendships being formed, old ones being rekindled (my daughter was really happy to see a girl she'd met on last year's ride,and they played together in the creek), as well having some time to chat to people you usually see ahead of you on rides!

After an hour or so lazing in the sunshine, we headed off, over the curly wurly bridge,and back along the waterlink way to Cator Park, where Conrad, John & Helen, Liam, John & Jane were waiting to welcome us back, then it was back to ours for some refreshing beers.

It was a great day out - brilliantly organised by Penge CC, well marshalled by Penge CC & Bromley cyclists, and most importantly wonderfully supported by the community. There were bikes being ridden by people who may not be out on those bikes until the same time next year, loads of kids - and hopefully all those casual cyclists will have enjoyed it enough to do another one - be it Breeze, sky ride, or just doing the same route again in the holidays.

Thanks to all the organisers, the marshalls, all the riders, and roll on next year. I imagine there'll be a lot of kids sleeping the sleep of the righteous tonight!

PS - you'll be pleased to hear the lycra top did its job, and the sunburn is nicely symmetrical!

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