Unable to resist the lure of a buzzing central London in the height of the Olympics, and keen to see how, at the same time, it can be so quiet, I trekked to Old Street and through the City to the river today.
It seemed to me that London was a little quiet, maybe even subdued, but there was a sense that something was going on somewhere. There were plenty of people wandering about in London 2012 merchandise, or team colours, and various countries have a presence on or around the river and the South Bank in particular. I guess the problem is that people who are here for the Olympics are going to be in Stratford, or spread the about the various venues across the capital, most of which are nowhere near the centre. The expectation that central London would benefit from some massive spendathon seems to be horribly misjudged.
That said, I did have a new experience today. Welcome to my world, the Boris bikes. I’ve been rather scathing about these in the past, but decided that today would be the day to put them to the test, given the quiet roads and the desire to stay above ground and see what’s going on in and around central London. And, wow, I did enjoy the experience! The bikes are easy to hire, nice to ride and they give a great view of London. Knowing the geography of the city clearly helped, but I’ve pedalled round the City, over Tower Bridge, to Borough Market, across to the Festival Hall, back to Bloomsbury and through Clerkenwell. I’ve seen stuff I’ve never seen before, had a lung full of air and felt virtuous with the exercise. Boris, I take it all back; your bikes are groovy!