Monday 21 September 2009

No specific destination

I did the London Skyride yesterday. Days off are rare at the moment; even rarer are those that allow me to simply ride my ancient bicycle with no specific destination in mind.

After lunch near Marble Arch with a friend I freewheeled it along to speaker's corner to hear some semi-sane ravings for old time sake. I used to be addicted to Speaker's Corner. Whilst half listening to a man warn of The Robots impending takeover I noticed hundreds of people wearing yellow jerseys with the words "Skyride" emblazoned across them. I cycled down towards Hyde Park Corner where they appeared to be congregating.

As it turned out, our mayor Boris Johnson had closed down a huge part of central London to enable 50,000 cyclists to take to the streets without a car in sight. The route ran from Buckingham Palace, along the Victoria Embankment to St Pauls, to the Tower of London and back again. I merely planned to observe this post-apocalyptic/eco-warrior's wet dream car-less London; but instead, I became literally swept along into the whole event and completed the ride with a huge smile on my face. What a priviledge it was to pedal down Constitution Hill without a car in sight. London and it's September summer was on beautiful form. Dressed in all it's finery, with no Range Rovers to negotiate, the city revealed itself as a beautiful old friend. I was a tourist again in my own city.

It was 15km in total and although teams of 7 year olds on BMXs seemed to race by every 30 seconds it was a pretty graceful experience. With speakers installed in Blackfriars Tunnel, Kasabian's "Fire" reverberated around the grimy old tube like psych-rock from the bowels of the earth. It was a great moment - unique and surreal - and a great reminder of everything this city can be.




19 comments:

  1. things that happen spontaneously are always the best one's!
    after your brilliant berlin-showcase we took the pillows from 1st row and spent the rest of the evening on the streets of berlin sitting on these pillows everywhere unplanned (bar, street, trainstation, bar, bistro, street..) & everybody was wondering about the awkward jc-pillow-people. good promo though ;)

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  2. There is no place like London. I spent some time there on my teens and it completely changed my point of view in life.

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  3. Make me want to head back there soon. Speakers corner, yes, quite a unique place....

    Love your music! Listening now actually :)Wanted to check out your European dates but couldn't make it. Maybe next year :)

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  4. I agree Pablo, London is unique and that seems like a great event to happen in a town (especially London).

    Jamie, I enjoyed reading your post, as well as very talented, you seem to be a sensitive person. When you come to play in Brazil again, I'll make sure not to miss your concert, love your music.

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  5. Great post! I can only imagine how beautiful the car free London view was.

    Here in my city in Brazil we have several groups that do the same kind of thing. Every Tuesday and Thursday evening hundreds of cyclists get together and ride their bikes through the city's most crowded streets. But noone closes the streets for them, they have to share the space with the thousands of cars and impatient/unpolite drivers. I used to join them every week, but my now busy life keeps from enjoying some old pleasures.

    Love your music! Can't wait to have you performing in Brazil again!

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  18. Your spontaneous London Skyride adventure sounds amazing! Pedaling through car-less streets, enjoying the city's beauty, and stumbling upon the event made for a memorable day. Thanks for sharing this unique experience
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