A few months ago when searching the internet galaxy other wise known as Google I came across the The Prudential Free Cycle event. It seemed straight forward enough: sign up, get a free bib and map sent through your letterbox and then on the 29th of July 2017 head into Central London to take place in an eight mile ride.
After a quick search on the website I found a lead ride leaving from Barnet, North Finchley at 10 am. Perfect. I woke up grabbed a bowl of porridge and set off.
I couldn’t miss the keen bikers all kitted out in their hi-vis waiting outside Tally Ho pub raring to go. Around fifty of us took over the roads and cycled from North London into Central London (10 miles).
It was refreshing to see all walks of life taking part. The youngest in our group must have been seven while the oldest was in their seventies. The lead riders were fantastic marshals, encourages us and ensuring we were all safe.
‘One of you lot almost ran me over the other day,’ screeched a random lady watching us ride past. ‘hello’ a fellow biker said to her smiling angelically. We all giggled and waved as we past.
Moments later cars incessantly beeped their horns as our guides blocked the way at a green traffic light allowing all 50 of us to pass. Drivers rolled their windows down and tutted as we made them wait. Others were more friendly waiting and smiling at us.
It was great fun heading to the start line with an organised ride. The atmosphere was fantastic and I met fellow bikers. Not to mention, I learnt a new route into town taking us along a disused railway line in Highgate which opened in 1867.
I spoke with a interesting lady about her career in the Pharmaceutical industry. While, another man spoke to me fondly about his young grandchildren.
After cycling through secluded woodland, back streets, main roads and open parks we made it to the start line.
The Prudential free cycle began by St Pauls Cathedral . The route took us past London’s most iconic buildings and parks (Houses of Parliament, Trafalgar Square, Buckingham Palace, St James Park). There were festival tent stops along the way.
I decided to power on not stopping at the first few attractions. I passed choirs singing, bands drumming and passers by cheering us on. There were huge screens to smile at which videoed us as we cycled past.
Our of the corner of my eye I saw colourful patterns swirling in the air. I turned my head to get a glance. In the park people were hula hooping. Being my new obsession I simply had to stop by and check it out.
I dismounted my bike and headed over. Swing ball, outdoor games and hula hoops were on offer for free courtesy of the festival. I grabbed one and began moving my hips rhythmically. Two ladies were manning the hoops. I went and had a chat with them and learnt some new tricks, including hula hooping on my neck. Time flew by and before long I thought it might be time to head off.
Before finishing the cycle I was lucky enough to get some free cereal bars and a pair of sunglasses.
After the 8 mile loop was complete it was time to return home.
The Prudential free cycle ride takes place every year. It is a family friendly event which is open to everyone. I would highly recommend taking part next year!