I have a couple of weeks' worth of freelance shifts at my old company in South London, so with the sun shining in the sky this morning, I thought I would forgo the tube and head to work by bike — the very same journey I used to make frequently between August 2005 and October 2010, and spent most of last summer doing while I was employed on a short-term contract.
It's been very many months since I made this journey under my own steam, however (shamefully, I've been commuting by tube), and I was pleasantly surprised by improvements to the route: lots of new tarmac and changes around Hyde Park Corner which provides more room for pedestrians and bikes to cross the road. (That said, it was pretty chaotic this evening, because pedestrians and bikes can now mix freely, whereas before they were separated into different streams — I'm reserving judgement until I've cycled through here a bit more.)
This morning's cycle was ultra-quick, helped in part by catching all the green lights, but also because a good deal of the route — Constitution Hill, Buckingham Palace, Bird Cage Walk — was free of motorised traffic while workmen put crowd control barriers in place (or maybe they were taking them away — I couldn't quite work it out). It was such bliss to have the whole road reserved for bicycles only — in an ideal world it would be like this all the time!
It was the same going home this evening — and even on the roads where traffic was allowed, there seemed very few cars about. I'd like to think it will be the same tomorrow... but I won't hold my breath.
Total distance: 12.21miles (19.64km) | Ride time: 1hr 07min and 18sec | Average speed: 10.9mph | Top speed: 18.9mph