With only three of us attending this loop ride from Dulwich Clock Cafe to Osterley House, is the writing on the wall for Cyclists in Southwark? Certainly not! Because, for us, cycling is not so much a competitive sport as a game of bike politics! Like opposition parties, just because we don't get many votes doesn't mean we can't temper the extremes of those who oppose us.
There was a fourth rider who failed to find the Dulwich Clock Cafe but said he would have better idea of where it was on future rides. We know there were far more people who attended the Lewisham Cyclist' ride to Windsor the following day - but how many of those were simply tactical voters, attending a non-preferred ride simply to stop a rival candidate from having too much political power?
As Mrs May has discovered, trying to form a breakaway group is a thankless task, if you don't have the necessary political support to do this. The same is true of Cyclists in Southwark. We used to get 20 people on our rides, but we now only get half a dozen or so riders. So, despite requests from British Cycling for us to avoid organising rides which clash with those of other groups, we are finding that we have no choice but to do this, to establish the quorum/critical mass necessary to form a sustainable cycling group.
By doing this we were given an opportunity to explain to our colleagues in Southwark Cyclists that Cyclists in Southwark is a social cycling group primarily for residents of the boroughs surrounding Southwark (who nevertheless want to meet up in Southwark), as opposed to Southwark Cyclists, which is a London Cycling Campaign group which they have set up for Southwark residents.
A suggestion was made that we could use https://www.meetup.com/Bikealicious/ as a model for our cycling group, meeting up at Putney for long rides and charging a few pounds for each ride. However, if we did this, would they try to get us banned from using strava.com for causing "aggravation" by organising rides starting at the same place as them and undercutting their ride charges?
We set of for Clapham Common and soon reached Wimbledon Park, where we cycled round the scenic lake. At Richmond Park we took the sort cut through the middle of the park and cycled down to Ham House. It was a bit confusing when we go to the Petersham Scout site and we weren't sure what we should do then. But we did find a passageway that took us to the Thames Path, which we followed to Richmond.
We stopped of at Osterley Park for lunch and then went to see the Brunel multi-bridge on the canal at Hanwell. There was a huge traffic jam as we went back to Kew and we took a lot less time than the cars to reach Kew Bridge. We then used the Thames Path to return to Clapham Common and Dulwich, where the ride finished.