The end of Winter

by tillieandcoco

Dear Coco,

Today was a beautiful winter day in London. The sky was an icy blue and the sun was bright and hazy in bare trees. We went to a gorgeous café in Bloomsbury called No.26 for double espresso and cake, which had a Pashley parked outside! The takeaway cups were decorated with a bicycle stamp. I took a photo of the cups on my phone, but accidentally deleted it whilst trying to delete numerous bad photos of me trying on sunglasses. Oops.

Bicycles are beginning to make a return to the city. Out the window of a train I saw a girl walk her bike across a park; and a woman in the opposite seat had a pannier stuffed with a high vis vest. I live slightly too far away from work now to cycle every day, so am plotting a way to weave cycling into my routine, beginning with the long-overdue purchase of a lighting kit and a rear carrier to make picnics easier (and twilight commutes possible!)

Cycling to work was one of the greatest pleasures of 2010. If I didn’t have to lug Blackie up four flights of stairs, I’d probably have cycled more short trips as well. My route to work took me past a cake factory, along a trainline, over the Thames, and through the melee of Chelsea. Some evenings I’d cycle home the long way via Albert Bridge. Built in the Victorian era, the bridge is a curious combination of cable-stayed, suspension and beam bridge – the result of numerous modifications during its lifetime because its original design was structurally unsound. Though closed to traffic for repairs last February, the bridge is still open to pedestrians and cyclists. Bikes must be walked across, and there are inspectors ready to fine anyone who disobeys. On the other side of Albert Bridge the roads are blissfully free of traffic, and from there the greater part of my commute was through Battersea Park, with its lovely dappled shade and curving, pot-holed boulevards. On weekends we cycled to the park to eat soft-serve ice cream and read newspapers.

Thankfully, it is almost March.

Love Tillie