On my final day in London, Saturday, I arranged to meet a relative, Chris Murfin, for a bicycle ride.  He suggested I rent a hybrid at a location along the south bank of the Thames, near the National Theater.  That worked out easily enough, and shortly before 10 AM we headed west to find Richmond Park.  There is a Thames bicycle path, but it is largely theoretical.  First of all, it rarely follows the Thames, and most of the time, you can’t even see the Thames when you are on it.  Secondly, you ride on streets with busy traffic subject to disruption from buses, construction zones, and other hazards.  If Chris hadn’t been with me, I never would have found my way out of London.

After about an hour and a half, we finally arrived at the gates of Richmond Park.  I quickly realized this was the cyclists Mecca for London.  Whereas I hadn’t seen any high quality bicycles elsewhere in London, or any trace of lycra, here we were surrounded by every imaginable brand of road bicycle and a plentitude of tight fitting apparel.  There is a 10 kilometer circuit in the park with a few rollers, and that is what most cyclists are here for.  Chris and I rode the circuit once and then stopped at a cafe for a cake and a drink.  Then we went off in another direction for a partial lap and finally headed back into central London.

On the way back, we encountered road closures due to the annual inauguration parade of the new Lord Mayor of London.  Funny, I don’t remember a parade with a gilded horse drawn carriage for the new mayor of Denver.  As a result of the closure, we were routed through Parliament Square and then directly up Fleet Street and into Trafalgar Square, before heading over the Thames on the Waterloo Bridge.  Again, it was a good thing Chris was leading or I don’t think I would have braved that intense traffic.  Finally we returned and had a good English ale as a reward for our efforts.

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