The days riding is going to be split into two – first a 57 km ride to the lunch stop, and then a 57 km (!) convoy into London.
In the morning we rode through some beautiful old towns, with old thatch roofs and some beautiful old pubs with names like The Grey Hound, The Royal Oak, the Crown and Falcon.
There were some more red phone boxes that were book exchanges.
In one of the small towns, in a window, I saw the present for the person who has everything – “Paper mache copies of their pets”.
Lunch was in Hertford town. The day had started off reasonably warm but was starting to get cold and looking like it was going to possibly rain. While waiting for other cyclists to arrive after lunch we went for a quick walk around the town. We walked into the yard of the local brewery – McMullen and Sons – and saw a beautiful old 18 century delivery truck.
The convoy started at 12:30 and we were aiming to be at the hotel around 430 -5pm. We got off to a bad start as Catlin, who was leading, set off in the wrong direction but thankfully quickly realised he was going the wrong way, and with a very red face he turned around.
The weather got warmer and the drops of rain cleared thankfully, as otherwise would have been a wet as well as a long afternoon. We traveled into London along a series of bike paths along the river Lea.
The convoy took a long time, as you are going at the speed of the slowest rider but also with occasional crossing of roads etc. One of the riders got a flat so we all had to wait while that got changed.
There were lots of channel boats lining the river, some looked pretty shabby.
For most of the way into town it was pretty much just the group cycling, but the closer to London we got, the busier it was. Some of the cyclists coming from the other direction were going pretty fast and in some cases were over the centre line, there were a couple of very close misses.
Once into a London we were initially on quiet streets. Going past one there was a very smart looking old pub “The prospect of Whitby”. Then all of a sudden we were in the middle of London! Crazy traffic as would be expected in a city with a population of 8.787 million. Getting to the hotel was scary, hundreds of cyclists all trying to go very fast all around us.
Finally we got to the hotel – The Royal National. It is huge, 4000 rooms, it takes up a city block. By the time we got our bikes away, registered, and up to our rooms it was after 7pm. The rooms were the most basic we have stayed in so far, very small and no sound proofing between the rooms and the corridor. However they are £145 a night, as staying in London is ridiculously expensive. We are also in the center of London where it is the most expensive.
Once we had showered and changed, we had had it and didn’t venture any further for dinner, we went to the “Blooms woodfired pizza” place which is part of the hotel. It was pretty good, or we were pretty hungry. Or both.
Yay two rest days and I get to see my daughter Shellbe on both.