Challenges

Round Trip Ride – London Eye 走一轉系列 – London Eye

Even though I have been living in UK for nearly one year, I still found London’s winter very cold and couldn’t stand the piercing cold wind especially riding outdoor. That explained why I had not go cycling for several months. Anyway, it just happened that I still had a number of cycling trips that I could share with you here.

Comparing with those previous journeys around suburbs or countryside, I attempted some completely different trips across cities. When mentioning city, the first came to mind was definitely our famous cosmopolitan city London. And my destination was central London, the Parliament House, Big Ben and London Eye.

雖然在英國住了差不多一年,倫敦的冬天對於生長於香港的我仍是有點冷,騎單車的話,迎着陣陣刺面寒風更不好過,因此自去年十一月後已有數月沒騎車出外,還好先前尚有多個行程可在此和大家分享。

相比早前走的市郊路線,去年九月尾想過要作不同的嘗試,來個穿越城市之旅。説起城市當然第一時間就想起英國的國際大都會倫敦,而目的地就是倫敦市中心,國會大樓大笨鐘以及 London Eye


For the outbound trip to London, I took Richmond Park as my shortcut to Putney. Crossing Putney Bridge to Fulham and then rode along Chelsea Embankment, Vauxhall Bridge and arrived at South Bank. Whereas, for the return trip, I rode through Battersea and Wandsworth Park back to Putney. Followed by the Thames Path (National Cycle Network Route 4) back to Kingston.

The ride went through a. number of London Boroughs: Kingston Upon Thames, Richmond upon Thames, Borough of Wandsworth plus Hammersmith & Fulham, Kensington & Chelsea, Westminster and Lambeth that I had not ridden before.

這次到倫敦會利用 Richmond Park 為到 Putney 的捷徑。横過 Putney Bridge 後抵達 Fulham,再沿 Chelsea EmbankmentVauxhall BridgeSouth Bank。回程則經 South Bank 騎到 BatterseaWandsworth Park 重回 Putney,再沿泰晤士河畔的 Thames Path (National Cycle Network Route 4) 返回 Kingston。

騎行路線會穿越多個 London Boroughs:Kingston Upon Thames、Richmond Upon Thames、Borough of Wandsworth,加上之前未到過的 Hammersmith & FulhamKensington & ChelseaWestminsterLambeth

London Boroughs Map

Other than the Thames Path, the trip moved along various town areas through major roads. In areas where traffic were heavy, bicycle paths were used whenever possible.

As I was going north this time, the ride started from Kingston Riverside instead and along the following major Point of Interests:

  • Skerne Road / Skerne Road / Latchmere Road
  • Ham Gate, Richmond Park / Roehampton Gate, Richmond Park
  • Barnes / Putney / Putney Bridge
  • Fulham & Chelsea
  • Chelsea Embankment / Battersea Bridge / Albert Bridge / Vauxhall Bridge
  • South Bank
  • Westminister Bridge / London Eye
  • Battersea / Wandworth Park
  • Putney / Putney Embankment
  • National Cycle Network Route 4

除了 Thames Path 外,這次行程會遊走於各個市區,真的可説是個「大鄉里出城」之旅。全程以馬路為主,而在繁忙的倫敦市中心附近則盡量改走單車線。

由于是北上,出發地點改以 Kingston Riverside 開始,沿途經過以下幾個主要地點:

  • Skerne Road / Skerne Road / Latchmere Road
  • Ham Gate, Richmond Park / Roehampton Gate, Richmond Park
  • Barnes / Putney / Putney Bridge
  • Fulham & Chelsea
  • Chelsea Embankment / Battersea Bridge / Albert Bridge / Vauxhall Bridge
  • South Bank
  • Westminister Bridge / London Eye
  • Battersea / Wandworth Park
  • Putney / Putney Embankment
  • National Cycle Network Route 4

In the early morning, there were not many visitors nor cars in Richmond Park and riding was smooth and safe. In fact, I wondered if there were more fathom deers instead. By starting the journey with the initial climbs, it also served as a really good warm up exercise.

晨早的 Richmond Park 遊人及車輛都較稀疏,相信黇鹿的數量可能更多,騎起來既安全亦非常暢快。而以這爬坡路段作開始,亦是一個不錯的熱身。

I switched to ride on the roads after leaving the Roehampton Gate. Traffic was light at that time and I swiftly arrived in the Putney town centre via the Barnes Railway Station.

離開 Roehampton Gate 後改走馬路,沿途車輛流量不高,很輕鬆便經 Barnes Railway Station 到達 Putney 市中心。

Barnes Railway Station
Putney

Putney is a historical old town closed to central London and with excellent transportation network. Roads around the high street were quite narrow and congested. Be alert and if possible, avoid cycling here during peak periods.

Despite buildings around Putney Bridge were a little bit old, the craftmanship was magnificant. In a way, revealed the prosperity of yesteryears.

Putney 鄰近倫敦中心區域,交通便利,擁有悠長歷史。High Street 一帶頗狹窄而且非常繁忙,騎乘時要小心留意路面情况,可以的話,盡量避免於上、下班時段到來。

Putney Bridge 傍的建築物帶有一些歲月的痕跡,但做工細緻,流露出昔日城市的繁華。

After crossing Putney Bridge, followed the footpath on the left to go under the bridge, you would reach the Fulham High Street. Not far away, there was a famous second-hand bookstore with more than 50 years of history, the Hurlingham Books. Just by looking at books piled up in the store and on the shelves outside, you would have some ideas the huge collection of books she carried.

To be honest, although I am not the kind of person who font of reading, I was also tempted to go in and had a look. Anyway, with my bike around me, I had no choice but just taking a short glance outside. Maybe leave it to my next visit.

跨過 Putney Bridge,再沿左邊小路走過橋底便到達 Fulham High Street。不遠處隱藏着有一間五十多年的舊書店 Hurlingham Books,單看堆滿店中及門外書架的書本,便感受到她藏書之多。

自問不是個非常喜愛閲讀的人,但也有點衝動想走進去參觀一下,無奈帶着單車,只好簡單的店外看看便算,留待下次有機會再詳遊吧!

Hurlingham Books at Fulham High Street

As I was in such affluent areas of Fulham and Chelsea, there was no reason not to visit one of the richest football clubs, the Chelsea Football Club.

Sigh. How could one know the football club would be seriously impacted by such an evil madman.

At the time of writing, the sale deal is still not yet finalised.

來到富貴之地 Fulham 及 Cheslsea,當然沒理由不去英國最富貴球會之一的 Cheslsea Football Club

唉,但誰又預料到球會受瘋狂大惡魔所牽連而落到如斯地步。

執筆之時仍未知最後花落誰家!

Chelsea Football Club

In order to get some idea on how wealthy this area was, one much visit Imperial Wharf and Chelsea Harbour along River Thames. With the luxurious packaging and the excellent river view, average selling price of two bedrooms apartments is around 1.2 to 1.3 Million pounds. Monthly rent is also on the high side of around 3000 pound. Normal people like me can hardly afford to live here.

要感受這個富貴地區就一定要到泰晤士河畔的 Imperial WharfChelsea Harbour 參觀一下。這裡集豪華外觀及開陽景緻於一身,兩房單位平均售價約 120 至 130 萬鎊,月租亦動輒 3000 鎊,非一般人家如我之類可入住!

My journey continued along Chelsea Embankment. Here you could enjoy the beautiful river views and appreciate the historical bridges linking the two river banks. Being the second longest river in the United Kingdom, River Thames has more than 30 bridges with long history, in the Greater London region. For that particular section along the Embankment, you would come across Battersea Bridge, Albert Bridge, Chelsea Bridge, Grosvenor Bridge and Vauxhall Bridge, etc. All have hundreds of years of history.

參觀完豪宅區,繼續沿泰晤士河北岸的 Chelsea Embankment 騎行。除了可欣賞靚景外,又可以溜灠連接南北兩岸的大橋。作為英國第二大河,泰晤士河在大倫敦區便有差不多三十多條具歷史價值的大橋,而單是這段路便經過了 Battersea BridgeAlbert BridgeChelsea BridgeGrosvenor BridgeVauxhall Bridge 等,全部也有佰多年的歷史。

To tackle the traffic congestion issues, cars entering Central London have to pay Congestion Charge. And for those old cars not meeting the requirements on Ultra Low Emission (ULE), they were also subjected to ULEZ Charge. As such, it is more cost effective and convenient to move around central London on bicycle. In case, you had not bought your bike, you could still make use of those public sharing bicycles available in London, via appropriate mobile Apps.

作為國際大都會,為了解決交通擠塞問題,車輛進入 Central London 需繳交 Congestion Charge,另外舊款車輛如未能滿足 Ultra Low Emission (ULE) 的要求,更要支付 ULEZ Charge,因此在倫敦遊走,騎單車會比較方便。如果沒有帶自己的單車,這裡亦有不少共享單車可供租用,一個 Mobile App 便可來去自如。

ULE Zone & Congestion Charging Zone, Grosvenor Road, Pimlico

After crossing Vauxhall Bridge, I arrived at South Bank. Within few minutes of further riding, my destination, the Westminster Bridge, Parliament House and Big Ben appeared right in front of me.

跨過 Vauxhall Bridge 後便正式進入 South Bank,不一會便到達今天的目的地,Westminster Bridge,而國會大樓,大笨鐘亦活現於眼前。

Westminster Bridge, Westminster Hall, Big Ben, South Bank

And the London Eye as well.

當然還有著名地標 London Eye

London Eyes, South Bank

Being a cosmopolitan city, there are so many landmarks in London that you could always stop and look around. By the time I arrived at London Eye, it was already three in the afternoon and quite late for lunch. And with a road bike beside me, it was impossible to have lunch in a cafe. I ended up getting something to eat from a food van next to London Eye.

Everything was sold out except one Jam Doughnut left behind.

Wow, too sweet for me!

稱得上國際大都會,倫敦實在有太多的景點,到處都可停下來拍拍照,抵達 London Eye 時已下午三點有多,想吃午餐但帶著單車不可能在店內進食,只好在 London Eye 傍找架美食車。

無奈的是午市已過,所有食品都已售罄,最後只有吃個賣剩的 Jam Doughnut。

唉,甜上加甜!

Late lunch

My late late lunch was over and it was time to return home.

Along South Bank, I rode towards Battersea. Without any attractive landmark, I kept on pedalling and only took a brief rest at Wandsworth Park. Next I rushed to Putney Embankment and followed my original plan back to Kingston via National Cycle Network Route 4.

食完 Doughnut 已差不多四點,又要趕回家煮飯,回程不再到處流連了。

沿着 South Bank 往 Battersea 方向走,這裡景緻一般,所以亦沒有停下來,只在 Putney 附近的 Wandsworth Park 稍作停留。接著便往 Putney Bridge 傍的 Putney Embankment,準備經 National Cycle Network Route 4 回 Kingston。

To move into the Putney section of the National Cycle Network Route 4, turned right to Putney Embankment at Lower Richmond Road (B306) next to Putney Bridge. There is a Thai restaurant, Thai Square Putney Bridge, at the entrance, where you would easily recognise.

要走 National Cycle Network Route 4 Putney 段,可在 Putney Bridge 前方的 Lower Richmond Road (B306) 右轉至 Putney Embankment,入口有間泰國餐廳 Thai Square Putney Bridge,相當易認。

Thai Square Putney Bridge with Putney Embankment on the right

Putney Embankment is also the starting point of the annual Oxford Cambridge Boat Race. The official route starts from here and finishes at Mortlake. To facilitate training, boat clubs of prestige universities and public schools like Imperial College, King’s College School could also be found here. In addition, the famous Ranelagh Sailing Club is also located along the Embankment.

Putney Embankment 是每年 Oxford Cambridge Boat Race 的起步點,路線沿泰晤士河往上游,最後以 Mortlake 作為終點。亦因為這原因,英國很多著名學校如 Imperial CollegeKing’s College School 等的 Boat Clubs 都位於 Embankment,方便日常練習,而歷史悠久的 Ranelagh Sailing Club 亦在此地。

The London section of the National Cycle Network Route 4 rides on the Thames Path along the River Thames. Besides the stunning river views, there are also a number of historical bridges. Personally, I liked the Hammersmith Bridge which was built on a classic suspension structure. Whereas, the Barnes Railway Bridge was based on a three modern arch structures.

London 段的 National Cycle Network Route 4 是以沿著 River Thames 的 Thames Path 為主軸。除了兩岸極佳的景緻外,亦可欣賞多座大橋。我覺得比較特别的是 Hammersmith Bridge,以懸索橋形式建造,古典優雅。另一條 Barnes Railway Bridge 則以三個具現代感的圓拱結構組成。

Recalled that I had come across some flooding information related to River Thames while I was doing my UK immigration planning work. Frankly speaking, I had some reservation on those information. But OMG, I finally saw it today!

About 5 Km into the Thames Path from Putney Embankment, a small section of the Thames Path near Mortlake High Street, was flooded by River Thames. Despite the water was believed to be not very deep, I decided not to continue with Thames Path as I was unfamiliar with that part of the trail and not intended to make my shoes wet!

還記得在香港計劃英國居留時曾找到一些泰晤士河泛濫的資訊,起初真有點懷疑,今天終於給我遇上了。

在進入了 Thames Path 約 5 公里,近 Mortlake High Street 的地方,一段數十呎的 Thames Path 就給河水淹没了。雖然水位估計不算太高,但因不熟悉此地勢,亦怕弄濕運動鞋,還是放棄再跟從 Thames Path 路線前行!

River Thames flooding @Mortlake, Thames Path

With the road ahead blocked, my pre-loaded cycle route couldn’t be used any more. Using my Wahoo Elemnt cycle computer, I immediately worked out an alternate route from Mortlake High Street to Mortlake Railway Station, Sheen Lane and going through Raymond Park via the Sheen Gate.

前路不通,原先準備好的騎行路線亦用不着,只好利用我的 Wahoo Elemnt 單車電腦尋找即時路線。最後改以 Mortlake High Street 到 Mortlake 火車站,再沿 Sheen LaneSheen Gate 進入 Richmond Park 回家。

Sheen Gate, Richmond Park

Quite a lot of the KOLs said that Raymond Park is an excellent place for enjoying the magnificent sunset. Luckily, I got it today, absolutely brilliant and also marked a perfect ending to my 51 Km wonderful cycling journey.

網上很多 KOL 話 Richmond Park 是欣賞落日的好地方,今天終可一睹風采,真的色彩斑斕,亦為 51 公里的路程劃上完美的句號!

Sunset at Sheen Gate, Richmond Park

I really loved the following photo taken on my journey home. It truly reflected my feeling at that moment. Riding home alone!

我很喜歡這相片,亦非常配合此刻心情,一個人在歸途上 !

Riding home alone, Richmond Park

By the way, I was absolutely eager to ride to London, since I been here in UK. Not for any challenges on the distance of the journey nor the physical demands on myself. Maybe purely for comforting my soul.

And today, I finally made it!

Sidetrack: I strongly suggested not to ride racing road bike along Thames Path. They are not designed for rough gravel roads!

來到英國後,一直都很想騎車到倫敦,不是因路線長短,更不是體力的挑戰,而可能是心靈上的慰藉。

今天終可完成這個心願了!

題外話,要走 Thames Path,真的不太建議騎 Racing Road Bike,碎石路真的很辛苦呀!

Round trip to London Eye
Round trip to London Eye

If you are interested in my rides in UK, click here for more details.

有興趣看看我其他在英國的單車遊,可按這裡


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