First bike ride out of London

When I moved to London I looked up local cycling organisations and signed up for the mailing list of Brent Cyclists. After living in London for almost 1.5 years it wasn’t until yesterday that I actually got around to join them for a bike ride. And for the first time I biked outside of Greater London.

It was a perfect day for a bike ride. Clear skies and 18-20C and a light breeze. We were 4 cyclists from the Gladstone area and 5 from Kingsbury making it a good size group and with very interesting stories and chats as we went along the route.

After a steep climb in Kingsbury we made it up some of the local legendary architect Trobridge unusual houses.

Trobridge's Highfort Court, Kingsbury

Ernest George Trobridge designed some of the more unusual houses in Kingsbury, North West London. His buildings are striking and are either thatched elm wood cottage style or ornate houses with twisted chimneys or turrets and battlements. There has recently been an exhibit about Tronbridge at the local library. Unfortunately most of his amazing houses are in rather poor condition.

After Kingsbury we started to make our way out to the “green belt” with gates and bridges to cross in various parks.

Another obstacle

We made it to an aerodrome to see a couple of small planes take of and someone getting lessons in flying a helicopter.

Beware of aircraft

As our bellies were starting to growl we headed for The Battle Axes to quench our thirst, stretch our legs and fill our stomachs.

Lunch at a pub

Before heading homewards we made a slight detour to see Grim’s Dyke Hotel where David could enlighten us in the story of how W. S. Gilbert lived and died here (trying to save a lady from drowning). There was the most beautiful cherry tree in the garden of the hotel.

Cherry Tree in Bloom

We went to see the grand view of London from a viewpoint called “The City” end then made the trip back to London. On the way passing by an enclosure with deers that seemed even more curious about the bunch of us, than we of them.

Cyclists in all colours

David Arditti had done a wonderful job of planning the trip and could tell stories of the places we passed on the way – a few of them mentioned here. Apart from David the other lads also knew a lot about the places we passed and I thoroughly enjoyed the day in the saddle. Hopefully I’ll be able to join for more of the rides this season.

David's map holder (and finger)

The trip for the Gladstoners (heh) was 49.43 km – the route is up on EveryTrail, GPSies and Google Maps.

UPDATE: David wrote a great report of the ride and more of the stories connected with the places we went.

Beautiful Malta

While London is cold, grey and dreary these days Malta is pretty warm so I decide to post a few pictures.

Malta is very photogenic and very different from my usual habitats so there is lots to “shoot” at. Especially for the Christmas trip where I had a new camera and was spending 16 days. Here is a couple of my favorite pictures and themes from this trip and others to Malta.

Red cat and wallMalta has many cats – some are pets others just roam around.

Balconies in VallettaTypical Maltese balconies can be seen everywhere.

Classical Maltese door and balconyThe decorative doors and windows begs to be admired whether they are falling apart or had a new lick of paint.

Beautiful wall statue in VallettaOld, rustic street decorations as niches, statues and signs can be found on a lot of buildings.

Big panorama from Hastings Garden, VallettaMtahleb Valley panorama2009-04-12 Risen Christ 028Beautiful panoramic views of the sun, sea and the sandstone of Malta.

And a couple of the quirky and cute ones;

Shepherd walking with his sheepShepherd and his sheep

Green Toes - garden shop in ZurrieqGreen toes!!

Japanese truckJapanese truck

Privte PropeirtyPrivte Propeirty

Last but not least I need to mention that I won two nights stay and the luxury hotel Kempinski in Gozo! They had a competition where you should write a blog post about Gozo and then the winner was found in a draw. If you are interested you can go read my piece here: Going to Gozo – A vacation within a vacation.

Cruising on the Mediterranean

…and now it started to snow – again – in London [sigh].