27 December 2009

Oh come and cycle, all ye faithful: London’s Christmas Day bike ride

Guest blogger Alex Crawford of Southwark Cyclists reports on this year’s annual 25/12 bike ride – the ideal antidote to Chr***mas, and a highlight of London’s cycling year

Roughly 100 riders, from every end of London and beyond, converged at Southwark Needle - friends, family and strangers - all keen to do what they love most on the friendliest day of the year.

Having bunged my turkey in the oven, I donned my flashing earrings and made my way down through the deserted city, where I was greeted with big smiles and a warm shot of sherry at Southwark Needle.

Some other kind soul was offering homemade mince pies and shortbread while festive-looking Barry Mason briefed the masses on today's route. It took us first to nearby Druid's Cycles. The owner Thor had turned the workshop in to a cycling Santa's grotto, complete with flashing lights, reindeer on the roof, and cups of steaming, brandied wine and Glühwein.

We then braced ourselves for the cold again and set off for Putney for a scenic drink at the Duke's Head on the river. Then, numbers dwindling to 46, we set off for a cheap but good Lebanese lunch on Edgware Road via Chelsea, Knightsbridge and Hyde Park. Only us, tourists, dog walkers and the odd car (no doubt late for lunch) were out and about.

After lunch, most peeled off, either for home or Critical Mass. Others went east through the city. I was long gone, back at home boiling brussels sprouts and steaming puddings. I wouldn't have missed the ride though - next time I'll try harder to get the family along too...

Thanks for images too, Alex. There's an 0101 ride to bring in the New Year too - see the Southwark Cyclists e-group for details.


  1. Clever...spelling Chr***mas instead of Christmas!
    So tell me, do you also spell Ramadaan as Ram***an, etc.?

    Because if you don't, then you're eroding your self-built pedestal. See, either you play fair, preaching and practising tolerance, or you don't. As simple as that!

    If you're not religious, then that's perfectly fine. It is NOT perfectly fine to try and remove some sense of identity from what is still largely a religious festival (even though it is celebrated by many non-religious people, and indeed people from different religions).

    It is as good as the Daily Mail starting to refer to you as a Cyc***t.

    So play fair, and stick to the standards you profess to, or admit you're as bigoted as James Martin.

  2. Hi William. I'm not quite sure what you're on about, but it's nice to have your comment. Thanks, and have a happy N*w Y**r!

  3. Tempted by that New Year ride (even though I'm over the border in Lambeth).

  4. What IS W*ll**m on about??