I did my first ride in London today. I headed towards Richmond Park, since it looked pretty popular on Strava. And speaking of Strava, I used it’s heat map to select what roads to ride. When I stopped to get some CO2 cartridges, I asked the guy at the bike shop if they had any cycling maps. He said no…just use Strava. There you go!
My biggest challenge for riding here is always thinking LEFT…especially at intersections. It felt weird at first, but my Chicago riding mentality easily kicked in. There was a ton of traffic, but I found myself zig-zagging among cars to move ahead. Pretty much all of the mopeds and bikes did this. I also had to get used to the traffic lights. They go red–>yellow–>green. People act as if it’s the start of a race when it goes yellow. I actually found London drivers to be halfway decent to cyclists, but that just be they could tell I was an American…;)
I pretty much followed my Strava route on the way out. It had picked decent roads to ride on. Richmond Park was a nice 6+ mile circuit with what they call “hills” here. After living in SoCal for 6 years, I considered this a very flat route. The real killer was the heat. Thankfully, the sun wasn’t that strong, but it was still in the upper-80s and humid. Felt like I was back in the Midwest.
I could feel my jetlag and lack of eating. I stopped to get some water and a muffin. I dropped crumbs and the pigeons went nuts. In fact, they started eating from my muffin. It was quite entertaining to watch.
The way back was largely uneventful. I took it easy, shot some photos and somehow got back to my sister’s place. It was hard to believe I road 50 miles, since I was doing so much exploring. Overall, a fun ride! And, I already feel like a local with the traffic…;)