Sunday 2 December 2012
Chilly London Ride
I was up pretty early today and off to central London. The thermometer in the car read -2.5 degrees and fell as low as -4 degrees. When I saw this my thoughts were taken back about 40 minutes when I was standing in a piping hot shower. My thoughts were then taken back slightly further to my warm comfortable bed!
The clothing I wore today was very specific. Helly Hanson base layer. Altura soft fabric windproof. Graghoopers windproof and finally Altura waterproof jacket. It worked really well and I didn't for one moment feel the cold. In addition to this, because all this get up was figure hugging and lightweight, it in no way interfered with mobility or cycling. I will definitely be wearing these items in this order in a few weeks time when I embark on the all night Brompton ride!
Starting off at St James I made my way down the Duke of York steps to The Mall. Memories of a past Brompton Factory ride flooded back! Riding along The Mall I soon reached Buckingham Palace. The Union flag was flying which of course meant that the Queen was in residence. She didn't come out on to the balcony to greet me, but it was quite early.
My Nikon V1 performed really well. The viewfinder proved to be a strong point as the very bright sun made it difficult composing the shots on the screen - as good as it is. I found it intuitive to use. A friend recommended that I simply put it on the auto setting and let the camera do the work - just to see how it copes. I did what he said as I was intrigued with what the results would be. Looking back at the pictures I have to say I am very happy with them. There will be a link to Flickr so that you can view the photos I took this morning. They are the files that came out of the camera, with no tinkering in any way.
I headed towards Trafalgar Square and heading east towards the city. Once there I came across old haunts. One of my first London outings with my Brompton was the Millennium Bridge, St Paul's, the Gerkin, Tower 42 and the Lloyds Building. As I took photos of these locations and my beloved Orange Brompton, I thought back to the first time I cycled this way on my Brompton. Back then I had no idea of the Brompton World Championships. I was possibly well over a stone heavier. I would have thought you mad if the suggestion was made that I cycle from London to Oxford. I have done so much since owning my Brompton bikes!
A few shots of the Lloyds Building and I was about to head back to the Strand when a chap with a very expensive, new and hulking DSLR camera (not on a bike) engaged me in conversation. Now...I don't know about you but I seem to be the sort of person that the lonely, slightly deranged, care in the community or those wishing to unburden their soul like to speak to. On the rare occasions I grace public transport with my presence, I am the person such people will not only come up chat to, but sit next to. I am not sure which category this chap was in but he engaged in lengthy conversation about my Nikon V1, my Brompton, the photos I had taken, the photos I was about to take, where I was from.... Not wishing to be rude I chatted away until I felt it polite to bid him a goodbye. I rode off 20 metres to to halted at a set of traffic lights. In the time I was waiting for the green light, said chap had walked along and engaged me on conversation again for a few minutes. Liberation came when the green light returned.
Turning off the Strand I headed for Temple Church to find a film crew unloading copious boxes and items of equipment. After a few more snaps with my V1 I was off and before long I was back at St James.
I must say that the Nikon V1 is a great little camera. I really enjoyed using it and found it fun and effortless. The pictures were pretty sharp for a camera with its sensor size. The screen was clear and bright and the viewfinder was really helpful. Focus is lightening fast and I can see uses for the high burst rate in the future. My friend was right. Turning it on automatic worked! The camera seemed to know what i wanted it to do. Definitely the best auto mode on any camera I have used. I have likened it to Luke Skywalker on his run to try and blow up the Death Star when he turns off the computer and uses the Force. This little Nikon V1 is a bit like that. Put your trust in it and all seems to be good in the world.
It really was a good little ride and London looked wonderful. In a few weeks I will return to these same locations but in the early hours of the morning. 'London by Night' is sure to be an adventure and a half and I only hope that we get a dry, crisp and not too cold night!
Below please find a link to Flickr so that you can view some of the photos I took. There is also a link to the map data I recorded with my Garmin Edge 200.
Filckr Photos of this ride
Chilly London Ride Garmin GPS Map Data