With only two people having booked onto our Farningham ride, it was with some trepidation that we approached the start point at Cutty Sark Gardens. However, it turned out that five people wanted to do the ride, including two who met us at the start of the Ridgeway path.
With about 20 people turning up to Cutty Sark Gardens to do a Healthy Ride to the QE Park and just five of us going on our ride, our ride took on the flavour of a protest ride. However, not all the Southwark Cyclists were hostile - several were quite friendly and one had even been on Bermondsey Bill's recent Cyclists in Southwark ride.
There are many questions to be answered. Is it right for people to use social rides to promote a political agenda? Is the reason why Cutty Sark rides are being organised by Southwark Cyclists rather than Greenwich Cyclists because the latter group is not seen as being left wing enough? Why don't Bexley Cyclists do Healthy Rides from Bexley out to Farningham and back, as such rides would only be only 14 miles long? Given the popularity of "Southwark Healthy Ride +"s, as opposed to "normal" Healthy Rides, why don't Southwark Cyclists do them every week? Why can't Southwark Cyclists organise all-day rides? Why don't they do them on weekdays and on Sundays?
For three of us the ride was 50 miles long, but some Bexley cyclists joined us a the Ridgeway and for them the ride was much shorter. This was our route:
The trouble with protest rides is that we had one rider who did his own protest, by insisting on cycling along the Thames Path by the river, when others of us, for political reasons, wanted to infiltrate Southwark Cyclists who had chosen an inland route to get to the Emirates cable car station. However, as we don't stonewall each other for political reasons, it was easy for us to use our phones to rendezvous at the cable car station. Although there were rumours that the Thames Path was closed, we found on our return journey that this was not the case, and even saw a seal basking on the banks of the river:
We were told by a local that the Thames is now one of the cleanest urban rivers in the world and that, upstream, salmon have even been seen
This is a view across the river of the Rainham land fill site:
Cyclists listening the the classical music being played in the Dartford Park tunnel to deter youngsters from congregating there and causing trouble: