We had a later than usual start so that we wouldn’t be in rush hour traffic when we left the hotel at 9:30 am.
The ride I am on – “The Pub Ride” – was so popular is sold out in a matter of days, so TDA decided to run “Pub Ride 2” as well. Pub Ride 2 left Dublin three days after us so they will be arriving in London tonight. It is interesting to hear the differences as various riders from both groups talk to each other. As an example, the day we rode from Boston to Cambridge we had great weather with no wind. Pub Ride 2 battled a really strong head wind all day, and didn’t get into Cambridge in time to visit the town. However it also means what didn’t work well for us can be corrected for them. They still went to the Smoke House in Grimsby, but they were down stairs in the main restaurant, had quicker service, and had a great time.
I am very pleased, as is everyone else, that the proposed 43 convey out of London has been reduced to 10 km. Getting out of London was so much easier than getting in, and we came to the end of the convoy very quickly.
After a few kms through the city we then went for about 10 km along a bike path along the Thames, past housing estates and Thames Dock areas. We passed some more geese and ducklings swimming in the murky brown river.
We stopped at Greenwich as we wanted see a few things. First of all “The Cutty Sark” which was clipper ship that bought tea to England 1869 to 1895. This was one of the fastest ships, and did well in the annual tea race to be first in port with tea. It’s top speed was 17.5 knots (32.4km/hr). The Cutty Sark is one of only 3 remaining original ships of this kind from the 19th century. It had an unusual name so I was curious to find out where it came from. Cutty Shark is the nickname of the witch Nannie Dee in Robert Burns 1791 poem Tom O ‘Shanten.
Next to see is the Greenwich Foot Tunnel under the River Thames. Opened in 1902, it is 370.2 metres in length. There are both lifts and stairs to get down to the tunnel and it is for pedestrians and bikes (being pushed) to get from one side to the other.
Then off to the Royal Observatory at Greenwich prime meridian which is where longitude is measured around the world, east or west in degrees. This is where you find zero.
We went through some quite busy towns, but also some quiet country roads. Just before lunch we came across a paddock with a number of horses and foals, some of them really small still.
Due to late start, and the stopping along the way, we didn’t get to lunch until after 3pm. No wonder I was starting to feel hungry.
After lunch only 15 km to ride. Every day, along with our notes, Michael Coo – one of the TDA staff – recommends a pub to visit. Today is the “Coopers Arms” in Rochester. On the way up through the village we came across the most crooked building I have ever seen, and then on the hill to the pub we went past Rochester Castle.
The pub had a lovely outside area, and we sat outside having a cold beer in the sun. My legs weren’t that happy to get working again, especially as there were a couple of hills to climb.
Coming up one hill I was distracted by looking at headstones in a cemetery and rode straight into a pole – ouch! I have a nice bruise on my left arm to show for it, but luckily was not knocked off my bike.
We stayed at the King Charles Hotel, which was past its best days, but was pleased to get there. Only just had time for a shower and change before riders meeting and dinner.
There were a number of woman walking around in a range of costumes, it turned out the pub was having a ladies night that night. There were a number of hens parties taking advantage of the male free evening.
Had dinner with Shirley and Dan and Michele and Tony. We had soup which was most likely pumpkin, and a very small turkey main meal with boiled potatoes, carrots, and peas, followed by a ice-cream sundae.