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Published: February 8th 2011
Luke and Tahlia arrived home today, having just flown in from Australia. We chatted briefly with the promise to chin wag over a wine this evening.
It was another beautiful day today which was lucky as we had committed to renting some bikes to ride around London. We were hoping to get a trailer similar to ours at home where both the girl can sit together. It’s a great trailer because they can sleep and talk and watch the world go by. Unfortunately when we arrived the trailer was actually a smaller bike hooked onto the back of the bike with a small tray behind this. It would be a great idea for someone else’s child who wasn’t three and could reach the peddles but Mykenzie wasn’t interested. And I’m not sure if we made ourselves clear or not, but the tray just wouldn’t do for Edyn! So with the good old rear child seats fitted, we were away.
We started by riding through Kensington Gardens and Hyde Park up to Marble Arch, where I used to work. We had to stop and have a warm-up break as Edyn was screaming like a banshee from the cold. We then went to visit my old work colleagues, which was wonderful. There are still so many people I know working there and it was so nice to chat with them. I used to love working for BCD Travel and now I remember why. Everyone is so lovely it used to make going to work enjoyable. Thank you everyone for stopping to chat to me, it was lovely to see you all.
Our aim today was to make it to Tower Bridge going via as many tourist attractions on the way as we could. It was going to be a mission because it was already mid day and we had a 2pm lunch date with Clare O. Away we peddled and the sights came and went. Buckingham Palace – check; Big Ben – check; Thames River – check; London Eye – check; playground stop – check. We were getting through the sights even though Edyn slept through most of them. It wasn’t until the playground stop that she finally woke up.
The day was moving along and we had to make it to Monument for our lunch date with Clare. Off we rode along the Thames, past Vinopolis, over London Bridge all whilst singing English nursery rhymes of the same name. We made it to lunch with Clare and over a sandwich and wine we said our sad goodbyes. It was so lovely to be back doing the same thing with Clare that we used to do 3 years ago, albeit with two kids in tow! So after a final hug and a promise to see each other soon, away we rode to our destination of Tower Bridge. We finally made it around mid afternoon and had the obligatory family photo with this famous bridge in the background.
Now the challenge was on. We were aiming to make it home to Southfields before darkness fell in around 40 minutes. The ride home was going to take at least 1½ hours so we had a dilemma. At the beginning of the day, we had decided to rent the bikes for 24 hours but now we were thinking that if we couldn’t make it home before dark, then maybe we should just return the bikes today. I rang the bike shop and told them that we were 20 minutes away. In actual fact, it was more like 40 minutes but I didn’t want him to know that we were in Vauxhall and had to get to Bayswater. So with the girls hanging on for dear life away we sped trying to ride 10 kilometres in 20 minutes, with kids on the back of our bikes hurtling through London traffic at peak hour. Over the Thames again, up though Victoria, past Buckingham Palace, through Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens and finally back to Bayswater. We were slightly late but if the man at the bike shop was angry he didn’t let on.
It all sounds a lot easier than it was. I’ve never been the most confident of riders so when Jas sped away expecting me to follow wherever he went, I was slightly worried. For starters I could barely keep up with him and secondly, I craved the safety of the footpath. Instead, Jas having ridden around London for years was weaving in and out of the traffic. I know he couldn’t hear me but it made me feel better by screaming at him. I was peddling my guts out, trying to outrun a double decker bus, in peak hour London commuter traffic, sweating buckets in sub zero temperatures and praying that Edyn wouldn’t start crying at that moment. Every time I looked over my shoulder I saw the double decker bus breathing down my neck and the towering over little Edyn! By the time I got to Bayswater I was a nervous wreck and started laughing only because I would’ve cried otherwise! But we made it and now we could relax on the train home. I was too shaky to do much more than sit and stare out the window contemplating the hairy bike ride I just had!
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