Sunday 8 December 2019

Brompton lights at Wembley Park

Last Wednesday was a very different Brompton adventure. It started off in the familiar territory of central London but its destination was of all places Wembley Park.

I was travelling in from north London with three choices of how to get to the meeting point outside the birdcage near Kings Cross Station: drive in, take the tube or cycle in. I opted to cycle the 15 miles or so as it would mean I could simply cycle back home from Wembley Park rather than cycle back into Kings Cross.

My route took me on the Grand Union Canal. The first few miles were quite eerie. It was dark and apart from the obvious wildlife I had the narrow towpath to myself. This was to change the closer I got to central London. At this point there were dozens of other cyclists and lots and lots of pedestrians - who walked along in total darkness. Rather them than me!

I think existed the canal towpath at the very familiar Ladbroke Grove and made my way to Kings Cross. I thought that I might be a little later than the 18:00 start so I fired off a text to ride leader Jenny (Mile Monster) to say that I would catch them up as I had the route. I need not have worried as everyone was there when I go there and we waited for Chris to arrive.

We set off and it was good to be back in a Brompton peloton. It was equally good catching up with Jenny and finding out about her recent Brompton adventures to Hong Kong.

Our firsts stop of note was the Hindhu temple at Neasden. This is a quite wonderful building and well worth a visit if you have the chance. It is a little of the Indian sub-continent in London and a stunner. After several photos of the actual temple as well as our Brompton bicycles we were off again towards Wembley Park.

I cannot think when I last visited Wembley Park. Deliberating over this I concluded that it was probably for the Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert at the old Wembley Stadium in 1992! As we rolled in the new stadium was partially lit up and we saw the first of the light installations.

There were a few of them doted around but for me the highlight was a light tunnel that had music pumping out with the lights sequencing with the temp of the music.

The famous Gwyn!

With a few photos taken I decided to make my way back home which would be about 8-9 miles away. Roughly two minutes from setting off I saw a bottle laid horizontally on the top of one of three bollards, on fire. Yes you read correctly, on fire! I cycled as quickly as I could past it and about 40 seconds later I heard a loud bang.

The rest of my ride home was thankfully uneventful apart from the cold. My hands and feet were frozen and I was glad to roll up to the sanctuary of home. The light installations were quite good but the company of Brompton peeps better. As I wrote, the last time I went to Wembley Park was 27 years ago and I think that's the way I'd like to keep things. Hopefully the Canary Wharf Lights will return in early 2020 so I will be able to get another light installation fix then.

Many thanks to Jenny for putting on the ride.

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