With only four people attending the Big Hill Airshow ride this year, when, in previous years, about a dozen people attended, it is clear that Cyclists in Southwark is an opposition party rather than one that is in power. However, bike politics is just like real politics - an opposition party can still be influential and can hope regain power if the political climate changes. With 2,000 riders doing the Dunwich Dynamo, 50 doing the Christmas Day ride and a dozen or so doing Healthy Rides each week, it is clear that Southwark Cyclists is going to need some long term governance arrangements. Factions such as Cyclists in Southwark, Spokes - London Cycling and Lewisham Cyclists are going to be an important part of the mix needed to establish a quorum for the future management of the group.
There were only two of us at the Cutty Sark meeting point, but we met up with another two at Beckenham Place Park gates. Quite a few tree branches along the Waterlink Way had fallen because of the storm a week earlier. We tried out some new route sections to get to West Wickham. A Gates Green Road we met a group from Team Sidcup Cycles, who showed us the way and warned us about the steep climb up to Biggin Hill. The memorial museum at Biggin Hill was closed, so we continued on to Biggin Hill village, which sits in a very steep valley. There were some surprising steep hills near Tatsfield, but once we reached Clarks lane, things got a lot easier. We stopped off a Botley Hill Farmhouse for lunch and then went to Skid Hill Road to watch the planes for an hour or so. We then retuned to Cutty Sark via Penge, Cator Park and the Waterlink Way.