Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Riding the folder in England: One day in London after the riots

We had bought a one day rail pass at 20.50 pounds which allowed us to ride the fast train from Reading to London and back and gave us freee rides on the bus and metro during our day in London.

Naturally, there were some commuters with a Brompton among the passengers.  We also saw some on Oxford street where on this special day after the riots much more police than usual was guarding some of  the major shops.

As reported in the press, 16,000 police officers were on duty in London in order to discourage any more violence and looting by young people from some marginalized sections of the society - mainly from those with a migration background. 

A lady passenger on the train said that the new police action had caused her a delay of three hours on her way from her work to Paddington station.  Luckily, we did not get involved in any of the disturbances.  Generally, we heard people commenting on the riots like this: "What a shame that this is happening here."

Back to my Brompton topic and to an impression from Tower Bridge.  We saw many cyclists, obviously coming from work, quite a few Brompton riders among them as well as users of  those public bikes for rent that seem to be available  anywhere in the city.  I ob-served that the Brompton riders were going at a much higher speed than the users of rental  bikes.  I also noticed  that there was no extra lane for cyclists on the busy city roads.  The cyclists are, however, allowed to use the same lane as the buses and taxis.  No wonder, that really every single cyclist was prudent enough to wear a protective helmet. 

Brompton riders crossing Tower Bridge
At the heart of  political power and governmental functions around Westminster and the House of Parliament we saw a large group of peace activists protesting against the involvement of the UK in the Middle East and in the Afghanistan war.  They were camping in small tents and showed their posters.

Peace activists in London protesting against the War in Afghanstan

Here is a poster with some numbers of the casualties in  recent war theatres:

A poster by peace activists camping in London at Westminster on August 9, 2011

As I am leaving my notes from one day in London, I should like to finish this blog entry with an encounter I had shortly before entering the ferry at Dover on our way back to Germany.
Some motor cyclists were waiting next to our queue, one of them a man from Rosenheim near Munich who had just got a new Harley Davidson motor bike.  He was taking his newly purchased machine home.
Isnt`t it strange that a pedal cyclist by conviction finds himself attracted to beautiful motor bikes?  And the kids loved the "ride" they were given by this proud and very friendly new first time owner of a Harley.

A new Harley Davidson, bougth at Warr`s in London before crossing the channel at Dover

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