Seven of us gathered in the rain at Bromley South. Steve Bunn had sent apologies being only recently recovered from the lurgy he didn’t want to take the risk and spoil Christmas. Linda didn’t have any waterproof trews so she said she would meet us at the pub. We discussed whether we should do the long ride or a shorter version. We decided that as the weather wasn’t so good we do a shorter ride (it has to be said that one rider was in favour of skipping the ride altogether and going straight to the pub – Horror).
So off we went firstly down the little alleyway off Ravensbourne Gardens cutting through to Ridley Road where we saw the first of our Xmas lighting. The various households in the street had either collaborated or were involved in some dreadful competition to put up a lighting display. Anyway it was very decorative and gave us an early taster of what was to come later in the ride.
We rattled through Shortlands and the then cut through by Millwall’s training ground to come out by McDonalds in Downham. Eve was amazed that we had somehow avoided Bromley Hill and had an almost flat ride. We carried on through the side roads of Downham and soon found our first amazing lights display in Downderry Road. There was even a Rolls Royce with the registration plate SANTA 1 with a Father Christmas at the steering wheel. There were scores of illuminated models, some of them moved. Christmas carols were playing. A suitable contribution was placed in the collection box and we moved on.
We had heard that there was a good display in Chislehurst but we didn’t know exactly where and as the weather was pretty dreadful we decided to do the shorter version of the route. At Grove Park we turned back towards Bromley.
The next set of lights to visit were at Hayes Lane. By the time we arrived we were a bit later than planned so we rode on to our rendezvous with mulled wine and mince pies generously arranged by Eve and Bruce. Bruce had been kind enough to bring the supplies and we all enjoyed some true Christmas fare – well most of us. It was at this moment when one of the crew had a puncture so two held back to fix this.
Warmed by the mulled and wine and pies we rode back to the Hayes Lane lights display. They were magnificent. We found ourselves pondering where they had found sufficient plug sockets to power it all. There was a gentle murmur of a generator, so perhaps it isn’t a drain on the national grid.
There was general agreement that all the lights were very pretty and represented a lot of hard work and preparation.
We then retired to the nearby Bricklayers Arms where the staff kindly allowed us to bring our bikes through the pub so we cold store them safely; here Linda joined us. The pub was doing a good trade and it was a while before we managed to get tables.
At closing time we said our goodbyes and wished each other a Happy Christmas before departing to our respective homes.
This is our last Weekly Wander for 2012. If you have been out with us during the year we have enjoyed your company; we also trust you have enjoyed yourself, and look forward to seeing you again in January. If you haven’t been out with us previously then please make a New Year Resolution to get the trusty old, rusty old, iron steed out of the shed, pump up the tyres, check the brakes, oil the chain and come out and join us at least once.
Stats: about 9½ miles in about 1½ hours.
Finally all at Bromley Cyclists wish you a happy Christmas and peaceful New Year.