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Journeys : Aug Sep 2012
As we trundle along the track and the surprisingly sharp sunny light of London’s neighbourhoods bounces through the train, I look back up – it’s not an Ajax ad, it’s a clever appeal to everyone to help tidy up the city so London looks shiny and clean in time for the Olympics. I smile, knowing that London is abuzz with the expectation of millions about to descend on their royal doorstep for the world’s finest sporting event. This is going to be special. Even the cab drivers are prepared, many sporting terribly athletic legs in the lead up to the Games. Apparently they are in training for the chaos and competition prepar ing to hit the streets. In my hotel, after squishing my suitcase into a luggage room the size of an English tea cup, filled to the capacity of a rush-hour train, I decide to get into the Olympic spirit. More than two-thirds of the city is dedicated to parks and lakes, so it’s time to explore – on two wheels. Leaving the leafy streets of Bayswater, where stately homes join to for m an attractive four-storey white panorama dow n ever y street, I navigate my way to Hyde Park, where the stylish Barclays cycles that line most park entrances beg me to hop aboard. I fumble with the machine, putting in a pound for the privilege, press a few quick buttons and suddenly I’m the proud ow ner of a bike w ith silver f lashing front lights. Having ridden bikes with a Cabbage Patch strapped to the back since the age of four, I don’t think twice about hiring a bike. But as I wobble towards a sea of wide-eyed, non English- speaking visitors I realised that jet-lag and a bicycle are perhaps not a favoured mix. Soon though, as my new friend Barclay and I pick up speed, we realise we can pedal with the best of these English athletes through the pretty paths of Kensington Gardens London’s final sprint to the Olympics Alice Hansen After 28 hours of travel, I look up wearily at an advertisement on the Tube from Heathrow. It begins with a line about ‘cleaning your flat before your Mum arrives’. I look away, deciding it’s an ad for Ajax. Destinations OliverFindlay 16 August / September 2012
Jun Jul 2012
Oct Nov 2012