Monday, April 6

Bank holiday cycling

Sometimes enforced solitude is a good thing - not that I've been entirely without company this weekend. But I've had plenty of time to do my own thing and often that involves pottering around, looking at things and finding things. It can be just as much fun alone as it is with others, sometimes more as you can be entirely selfish.

This weekend it started off with a bike ride down the Thames on a rather chilly morning. I decided to hop over the river on the cable car (your own pod guaranteed if you bring a bike! no extra charge!) to the Royal Docks.

From the cable car terminal on the north bank it's a short hop to Trinity Buoy Wharf - a rather otherworldly space on the end of a swathe of semi-derelict peninsula which has many surprises when you turn the corner, including a beautifully shiny, newly-painted red lightship, a stack of studios made of multi-coloured containers, two cafes and a whole host of art.

Bow Creek cafe has a lovely outdoor seating area and serves up great coffee and grub - I avoided the temptation of the all-day breakfast in favour of a humus, olive and roasted pepper baguette, probably just as much in terms of calorific content, but I suspect a lot of it was burned up on the ride home in any case.

Today has been another day of wandering, this time upstream. I left home in glorious sunshine before 9 and meandered up through Surrey Docks to Tower Bridge.

It was bright and sunny and there were very few people out even at that hour until I got to the Tower.

Spent half an hour or so wandering through the streets of the city; deserted apart from construction crews taking advantage of the traffic-free conditions and lack of parking restrictions to get refurbishment work done.

The morning light threw some fantastic reflections off the many tall buildings in the city, and I also got chance to pull over and look at some of the little details that often get missed when you are dodging traffic or trying to find your way.

I'd originally planned to go back on the north side of the river, but couldn't face the long stretches of cobbles and view-free streets of Wapping and the Greenwich foot tunnel for a second day running, so I took the southern route again. There's so many lovely quiet tracks and routes between Tower Bridge and Deptford I could ride it a dozen times in a day and go a different way each time.

Coffee break was in the blossom-festooned churchyard at Rotherhithe, and on the final stretch the tide was right out so I got the chance to admire the beautifully-dressed stonework of the Surrey docks. 

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