This ride was a game of two halves. The first half was in the dark, in rain-ish weather and with tailwind all the way to Southend. The second half was in daylight, in glorious sunshine and with a stinger of a headwind all the way back to London. I had a great time!
Of course, the first half was in the company of the Fridays. Riding out of London, it has become second nature to take note of buildings. Here we are by the Shard.
|Fridays by the Shard|
It wasn't long before there was a puncture. We got off our bikes, parked up and sheltered from the drizzle whilst the repairs were being done. Then, because it has become second nature to look up at buildings, waw! we were right by the Walkie Talkie coming up like an alien looking to see what we were up to.
|The Walkie Talkie|
The half way stop was a good service station, overwhelmed coffee bar staff type of stop. I often feel like helping out. But we had plenty of time, so there was no need. We were not on an audax.
|Thankfully there were two of them|
The run in to Southend wasn't so dramatic, as it had already been light for a while. I was still taken by the exotic look of the seafront, because of the palm trees.
|Palm trees in Southend|
Breakfast was in a great cafe overlooking the beach and sea. That was a great spot to enjoy a full English breakfast, soak up the sun and have chats about rides past and future. There is revival in the air. Like me, a few others had taken a break in 2015, but are now out an about looking for new adventures. I didn't want to leave, but I had planned to ride back to London, so as to get some more miles in, in preparation for the Texas Stampede in May. Reluctantly, and after asking Titus for some oil, I set off.
It turned out to be a fantastic journey back. Sun, sun, sun! Sun means ice cream. After a night of drizzle it was appropriate that I stopped at the Puddle cafe.
|Ice cream at the Puddle cafe|
I did my usual straight through everything route which takes you through the estate backstreets of Ilford to tourist laden canal towpaths. With that sunshine, people were out creating a festival-like atmosphere. I was tired from battling against the headwind and the pesky little climbs dotted around London, but I was loving it.
An even bigger smile appeared when I came across this:
Many, many thanks to Titus, Martin, TECs and all the Fridays (including Simon) for yet again, a wonderful experience.
The rest of the photos are here: MyPhotos