It will be very difficult to die of boredom here in London city with numerous events and festivals occurring every weekend. Have been busy for the last 3 weekends and surprisingly it’s almost at the same place along Thames river.
Act 1 – London Mayor’s Thames Festival (16 Sept)
Highlight was the fireworks display to end the 2day festival along Thames riverfront. Only had time to watch the finale as was working during weekend. The long windy wait on top of Waterloo Bridge was rewarded by a marvelous 15min fireworks session. Definitely lotsa colours and sparkles to draw plenty of oohs and aahs from the spectators.
(Final moments taken by Chloe)
Act 2 – Hovis London Freewheel (23 Sept)
Went around London streets on my rented bike (unfortunately my ebay search has not been fruitful yet) to be part of this historic day. Circled the full loop by myself – enjoyed the peace and sights along the way eg London Eye, Westminster buildings and London Bridge. Was joined later by Hema & Ashwin and became typical kiasu tourists and went to all the photo hotspots where the official event photographers will take your pic FOC. Eventful day as we get to bike along busy roads specially closed for this day and my sore arse after the long ride has given me more motivation to get my own MTB.
(On London Bridge with Hema & Ashwin)
Act 3 – Rat Race Urban Adventure (29-30 Sept)
Became a race marshal for this urban adventure race spread over 2 days. Prologue event was held on Sat called “Mean Streets” where the teams had to orienteer by foot through checkpoints around London city. Some CPs had interesting challenges such as eating jellied eels and finding marshals in costumes eg Sherlock Holmes. Mine was a simple CP at Barbican Centre – ended up chatting to people curious to why there are these teams of 3pax running around looking for me.
Sunday main race event was definitely more interesting. Morning session was a simple CP at Hyde Park – ensuring early morning walkers are no knocked down by passing racers in bikes. The challenge was waking up at 6am on a Sun morning, since I have been sleeping in since cold autumn arrived.
Second CP was better – kayaking section at Putney. It was a simple kayak loop, but having an urban race in London attracted plenty of newbies who have not kayaked before. Funny seeing how racers fumbled with their PFDs and even sat on the kayak faced in the opposite direction.
The highlight arrived at about 4pm when the high tide overflowed into the streets. We started the kayak section at about 1pm at super low tide and within 3+ hours, I was wading through 2ft of river water. Due to the Autumn Equinox, we experienced the 2nd highest tide of the year during that afternoon.
So it was a battle to manage the PFDs, paddles, people and keeping myself warm as I was soaked to the bones with water up to my knees for about 1+ hour. The kayak section finally closed down about 6pm-ish after all the gear packing. Unfortunately no dinner awaited us poor marshals at race HQ, but plenty of free beer for the post race party. After 3 pints and watching the prize-giving ceremony, I was happy to call it a day and great cap to end the month of Sept.
Indeed London has plenty instore for one if you are game to stay intouch and try new experiences.
(Racers kayaking on flooded streets)