25th December is the quietest day of the year on Britain’s roads, making it a perfect one to get out on two wheels – and if you’re in London, this Sunday sees the ever-popular Southwark Cyclists Christmas Day ride, first organised by the late Barry Mason in 2001.
Upwards of 100 riders of all abilities have participated in the family-friendly, free-to-enter ride in recent years, and all you have to do is turn up with your bike – or, if you don’t have one with you, a Santander Cycles scheme one, which can be hired on Christmas Day – at one of the two meeting points.
Those are Cutty Sark Gardens in Greenwich (SE10 9HT), where the ride departs at 10am, with a further meeting point at the Southwark Needle at the south end of London Bridge (SE1 2SY) at the junction with Tooley Street at 11am.
From Greenwich, the route follows National Cycle Network route 4 past Russia Dock and through Rotherhithe, then from London Bridge takes a winding route through an almost traffic-free city centre towards Edgware Road with lunch there at the Beirut Café for those who have worked up an appetite.
Many riders depart before then – some, obviously, will have family or other commitments – but it’s still fun to tag along for a while before heading off elsewhere.
The total distance if starting at Greenwich is 16 miles, ridden at a very relaxed pace and passes “some fascinating and lesser-known features of central London” – in previous years, for example, it’s taken in sites and locations associated with Charles Dickens.
You’re asked to bring “warm clothing, some cash, lights, basic tools and a spare inner tube in case you have a puncture,” and “active parents are most welcome on the ride, provided that they are accompanied by at least one responsible child, and behave themselves.”
Details of the proposed route can be found here.
Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.