Friday, 29 July 2016

LEG 7 - DAY 7: Southend - London... the last day!

The final day of our RNLI tour of Britain.

Despite the fact that we were not due to set off from Southend until 9am, we woke early in the RNLI station. One thing RNLI station crew rooms are not designed for is a good night’s sleep- hard floors, limited window blinds and numerous radio devices and alarms which typically go off periodically through the night!  After so many nights on the floor of lifeboat stations over the past 6 years, with our roll mats, sleeping bags and eye masks (good look!) it was very weird to think that we were ever going to sleep in a lifeboat station again.
 
The Peloton met at the station at 9am along with a number of crew, and a friend of Rad’s - Simon Holland Brown who had kindly come to join us for the last day’s ride into London.
 
Following a brief demonstration of the Southend RNLI Hovercraft, we got underway along the Essex coast.
 

 
 
 
 
The route out of Southend took us on a rough cycling track across rather beautiful marshland to the west of Southend. Progress was fairly slow as the peloton trundled along the track but the weather was fantastic and it was a very pleasant start to the day.

 
 
 

Throughout the morning the roads became increasingly busy and the countryside became more sparse, as fields quickly gave way to urban sprawl as we pedalled our way through Grays, Rainham, Dagenham and Barking. With the roads becoming increasingly busy, we split into two pelotons to avoid the group getting split up further at junctions and make the ride safer.

 
 
 

 
With a  few wrong turns and running a little behind schedule anyway, we got our heads down and motored our way through east London. It was not a pleasant ride at all, and we are both hugely grateful to the Peloton for joining us for this part of the tour.
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
Eventually, seeing the towers of Canary Wharf looming in the distance we ploughed on.

 
 
 
Once past Canary Wharf, the next landmark was the City of London skyscrapers, amongst which the traffic reduced considerably. A couple of local entertainments lifted spirits...

 

 

 

 From here we were able to get onto the Embankment Cycle Highway and churn our way down to the official end of our tour- The Tower Lifeboat Station.

 
 
 
Craig and Archie had kindly bought a picnic lunch for us all which we had outside the station,  and following a few photos we got back on the Embankment to head down to Putney for the return drinks.
 

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