We landed back at City airport on Saturday morning after a fantastic week in Ibiza. We had scheduled in 2 weeks to tour around the UK allowing for some quality time with family and friends as well as a bit of time to repack and get the van ready to live in over the summer, following our 4 week tour around the Mediterranean.
We have been back for a week so far and it would be an understatement to say we have been spoilt! We have been taken out for some delicious meals, had countless cups of tea and biscuits and are feeling very lucky. Its been harder than normally keeping up with the amount of cycling that we would like to be doing but we have both decided to take the opportunity to see people we haven’t seen for quite a while and as soon as we are back across the channel turn our focuses back to riding our bikes for long times up big hills (hopefully in the sun).
Our UK tour started in London celebrating my Grandad’s 80th Birthday. He celebrated in style with 150 family members and close friends at a venue near Charring Cross. Whilst in London, any spare time we had was spent wandering the streets and parks acting like tourists.
Considering France is the hope of ‘The Great Race’, there are very few bike shops open, let alone any that are worth visiting or purchasing from, unless you are in dire need of a tube. The prices are so high and opening hours so erratic that I do wonder how they stay afloat. So whilst in London, we decided to make the most of the abundance of great shops and vibrant scene and visit some famous velo locations- such as Rapha, Condor and Kinoko. Not just bike shops anymore, these places are verging on Art Galleries and Museums, with stunning bikes and components dripping from the walls.
I took the chance to sneak off for a haircut whilst Ben and his friend Graeme shot off on what turned out to be quite an epic pedal completing London- Brighton- London.
They absolutely flew all the way there and completed the first 100km within 2 and a half hours were sitting by the beach in a cafe having lunch. (Not realising that they had been helped along by a tail wind).
The way back was much harder fighting a head wind all the way, plus climbing the infamous Chalk Hill Lane, at 20 percent hill rising up just before Croyden Road. Eventually after a 4 and a half hour slog back they were home and after a quick wash we were straight out the door to meet another good friend Anja for a Wagamama, I think Ben was thankful for the generous portion sizes that Wagamama is known for!
The London transport systems are fantastic and it makes life there so convenient to travel. We decided that since we were lucky and experienced a few sunny days, that the Boris Bikes would make for the most effective transport. They were brilliant, you can dodge the crowds of the tubes, the traffic and take in all the amazing sights London has to offer.
We have been extremely lucky with the weather so far so it hasn’t been to hard to adjust post Ibiza, 23 Degrees C in London is good in anyone’s book. We even managed to keep our Island tans topped up.