Monthly Archives: March 2012

London Nightrider Challenge

nightrider cycle route
From 11pm on June 9th, around 3,000 cyclists will be setting off from Crystal Palace and Alexandra Palace to cycle 100km around London.

I’m doing it on behalf of Brain Tumour UK. You can give money here or find out some of the background of why I’m doing it for them at Don Brown’s blog here.

For those of you who fancy giving it a go, there are still some charity places left. Go to the Nightrider site and click on the ‘partner charities’ link. (If any of you do sign up, let me know and we can try to give each other a wave on the night.)

Cycling around London is a fantastic way of seeing the city and I recommend it to you all, whether you have a top of the range road bike, or just rent one of the Boris Bikes for half an hour. For me the Nightrider challenge not only provides a chance to see some of London’s major landmarks by night, but also stretches of south east London and Hackney which I know significantly less well. Bicycle clips on, time to start training.



Four foot high front door, Chiswick

four foot high front door, Strand on the Green, Chiswick

A picture from a stroll along Strand on the Green in Chiswick yesterday. The tide comes in across the footpath (one could see the tide mark from the previous evening about 3 inches up the garden walls). Obviously the houses used to flood on particularly high tides, so there are is an array of measures in place to try to stop this happening. At this house a rather extreme route was taken with the front door being blocked up to the level of the window sills and the door reduced to around 60% of its original height.

The Tower Hill memorial

The Tower Hill Memorial – picture CWGC

Directly across the road by the Tower of London, hard by the tube station is the Tower Hill Memorial to sailors of the merchant navy and fishing fleets who were killed in the two World Wars and who have ‘no grave but the sea’. (See Google maps.)

There are over 35,000 names inscribed in the Memorial’s two sections; just under 12,000 from the First World War and around 24,000 from the Second. Although overall British casualties in WW2 were substantially lower than in the Great War, the losses of the merchant marine show the dependence of Britain on imported goods and materiel during the conflict, as well as the ferocity of the German U-boat and naval assault on British shipping. Both sides knew that Britain could be defeated if starved of food and resources.

Despite its location, the memorial is not visited much by tourists; walk through the metal gates and you will be in a peaceful enclosed space that seems insulated from much of the traffic and city noise. The original memorial, opened in 1928 by Queen Mary, is quite dark and enclosed, taking the form of a vaulted corridor with 12 bronze plaques on which are listed the names of the dead. Continue reading