Thursday, July 26, 2012

Crossings of London Part Four: Final Stage

When I started this crossings of London challenge I never expected it to run into into four days and span March to July. I never do things the easy way. Today would definitely be the final stage with just seven crossings to do, two of those stupidly overlooked on my last trip. It was a warm summers day in London and I was looking forward to the day and finally finishing this ride! Annoyingly during the time I have taken to complete this ride the cable car over The Thames, The Emirates Air Line has opened at Woolwich meaning there would be one method of crossing the river I hadn't done, but seeing as it wasn't an option when I was in that area I excused myself from it. Will do it one day though.
I got to Fenchurch Street and rode to the first bridge, and one of the two I'd forgotten, the Hungerford Bridge and Golden Jubilee Bridges.
It was a pleasant two mile ride along Lower Thames Street and The Embankment to the bridge. The Hungerford Bridge is solely a railway bridge leading into Charing Cross but it has two footbridges either side, the Jubilee Bridges. I'd missed the second one on the previous ride and if you ask me it's pretty pointless having two identical footbridges either side of a railway bridge but there you go, just making excuses for missing a bridge that was clearly indicated on my itinerary!

Crossing Twenty Seven: The other Jubilee Bridge I missed.

I just wanted to get to where I called it a day last time which was Kew Bridge to continue the ride to the finish line, Teddington Lock. Then I remembered I had to chalk off Fulham Railway Bridge. This meant,  a train to Putney Bridge, which rather conveniently ran from Waterloo station that was a two minute ride from the Jubilee Bridge.I stopped for a Burger King, and thought just how much London Waterloo station has changed since DelBoy met Raquel there in 'Dates' in 1988...

I took the next train to Putney and rode back along the Thames to Fulham Railway Bridge, carrying my bike up to some tough iron steps. It was a bland bridge, just a footpath along a railway bridge which meant I had to wheel my bike along it. There were some dubious looking drunk eastern europeans on the bridge so I just moved on quickly and ticked it off.

Crossing Twenty Eight: Fulham Railway Bridge.

I now had a 5 1/2 mile ride just to get to my start line, it meant passing past several bridges I'd covered before and also past Fulham Football Club, no chance of getting in there like I did with Charlton on Day Two of this ride but I did stop for a quick photo.

I now had a very pleasant ride along the north side Thames Path which made a nice change from the previous trip when I rode along muddy cycle paths on the south side, this was all paved along side quaint riverside cottages and nice looking pubs. A sign on a fence covering a new housing development caught my eye for its irony.

Are they taking the piss or what?

After riding leisurely past previous covered bridges, Putney, Hammersmith, and Barnes I got to Kew Bridge and it felt like the day's challenge had begun.
The next bridge was Richmond Lock Footbridge, three miles upstream and reached mainly by an annoying and busy road ride. There was no signposting, the Thames Path had disappeared and I ended up finding it by instinct, I rode down a pleasant tree lined street to find the Footbridge, looking magnificent in the summer sun, as did the Thames itself.

                                           A duck enjoying the crystal clear Thames water

Without doubt, one of the most elegant Thames bridges.

Crossing Twenty Nine: Richmond Lock Footbridge.

A mere quarter of a mile upriver and already in sight was my next bridge, the boring and uninspiring Twickenham road bridge. The main purpose of this bridge is to connect the nearby M3 motorway to Central London. I was amazed to discover it is a grade 2 listed building! It was tick box exercise again for me so I pedalled over to the south side, which was now the north side in effect due to the way The Thames snakes its way westwards. It felt like the south though! 

Look closely and you can just about make out the bridge name, if you want to...

Crossing Thirty: Twickenham Road Bridge. 

Now totally confused as to what bank of the Thames I was on I pedalled down to a bridge I was looking forward to seeing-Richmond Bridge- based on the write up by Rob, the website author where I got the idea for this ride. Richmond Bridge is a grade 1 listed structure, and significantly is the oldest bridge on the London stretch of  the Thames, dating back to 1777. It was pretty, without being spectacular. There were nice views up and down the Thames, now looking very peaceful with people relaxing on the banks and a few rowers in their thin boats going up and down stream. 

Crossing Thirty One: Richmond Bridge.

Significantly for my challenge it was my last road bridge too.I rode over into Richmond and joined the riverside path. I'd almost forgotten that the Thames was still tidal at this point. It very much resembled a peaceful country river, with seemingly still water, ducks and lilly pads. However I quickly got a reminder that it was still very much under the influence of the moon when the cycle path ahead of me was under 20-25cms of water, didn't expect that. I had a choice, deviate around or try to slowly ride through it. I could see people in the distance riding through so I decided to brave it. The water felt quite deep, with the level just a fraction below my shoes. It was strangely satisfying riding about 300 metres through deep water and also slightly unnerving that I couldn't see any underwater obstacles and also that I couldn't stop if I wanted to.
Further on, however, I came across river bank flooding that I couldn't navigate through. Halfway to my next crossing the path ahead, this time an unmade muddy path, was obviously under deep water. A man on a mountain bike coming the other way said it was too deep for my road bike and would be at least half a wheel deep and would also submerge my paniers. Annoyingly I would have to retrace my steps and reach Ham House for the Ham-Twickenham ferry by road. This was one of the quirky crossings I was most looking forward to. It's a tiny, on demand ferry that goes between Ham House and Twickenham. 
'Ferry' really is pushing it a bit.
A very tranquil looking Thames from the bank at Ham House

It is one of only four remaining crossings of London not to be replaced by a bridge or tunnel and is operated by a nice relaxed bunch of lads who were very friendly and helpful, who sat discussing their evening plans as they went back and forth. I paid my £1.50 and crossed over to the Twickenham side and turned straight back, as earlier I'd seen a road sign to my ultimate destination, Teddington Lock. 

View of the Thames, looking downstream from the Ham Ferry.

All I did on the Twickenham side was take this photo.

Crossing Thirty Two: Ham Ferry

With the end now firmly in sight I retraced my path back to the road and to the road leading to Teddington Lock Bridge. It was a mile along quite residential streets, a right turn along a cycle path and I was there. I couldn't see it initially but suddenly I saw it through some trees. It is actually two bridges which connect on a small island and were built between 1887 and 1889. My finish line that I had put so much effort in to reach was in sight.This challenge was to ride all the crossings of the Tidal Thames and strictly speaking it is above the Tidal Thames but I didn't care, I had done it.

The Finish Line

Crossing Thirty Three, and final one on my challenge:
Teddington Lock Footbridges.

I wheeled my bike over the bridge into Teddington and into a welcome looking pub called The Anglers. I needed a pint!

The challenge I begun back in March was over and I was proud I had done it, just surprised it took four trips. I'd somehow covered 137 miles over the course of the whole trip and had seen parts and sights of London I'd never seen before and in the case of the Greenwich crossings brought back some nice childhood memories. It was time to head to Teddington train station for the trip back to Waterloo station and the long trip from the far suburbs of leafy West London and home.

A timely reminder I'd reached the end of the Tidal Thames.

The End: Homeward bound.

Total mileage for the day: 34.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Crossings of London Part Three: Fenchurch Street to Kew Bridge

With the awful winter like 'summer' we've had recently abating slightly I decided to have another crack at my attempt of crossing all London's Bridges, tunnels and ferries. I hoped to finish the last 18 today as they are pretty close together. Read on to find out if I do or not.
It was quite a windy day and from the west so I knew that most of the day I would be riding into the wind. My fault though for choosing to do the ride in reverse to the way Rob, the website author recommended due to the prevailing winds.
I took the C2C train to Fenchurch Street which was was thankfully engineering works free.
On my last Bridges ride I got as far as Blackfriars bridge which meant my next bridge would be Waterloo Bridge; a 2 mile ride past The Bank Of England. It's quite surreal riding through this area on a Sunday, it's almost deserted, yet in less than 24 hours it will be one of the busiest places in the whole country.
This is meant to be temporary, but I have a feeling it's here to stay. I hope so.
I stopped on the banks of the Thames for a photo with the huge mural of the Royal Family on the opposite bank. I stopped for lunch at a Walkabout where they kindly stored by bike in a unused function room, but blotted their copybook by putting Blue Stilton cheese in my burger.

First bridge was on the horizon, Waterloo; a fairly ugly non de script bridge which links The Strand and Aldwych to the famous South Bank. It's biggest plus point is the view of London from it. It has arguably the finest street level view of London from anywhere in the capital.
Crossing Thirteen: Waterloo Bridge

Looking East...

Looking West towards The Eye and Westminster.

I rode around the South Bank where the atmosphere was vibrant. I pushed my bike through a West Country market and picked up a bottle of organic cider for a friend. Definitely not for me, I can't stand the stuff!
I rode slowly along the South Bank looking to my next bridge, Westminster, or so I thought. I spotted a bridge I hadn't even noticed at street level, The Jubilee Bridges. I made a hasty retreat to cross this bridge, gratefully taking advantage of the lift up to bridge level.

Crossing Fourteen: Jubilee Bridge

It was tough pushing the bike through this very crowded bridge so I stopped a few times to watch the criminal con men fleecing tourists out of money with old con tricks such as 'which cup is the ball under' etc. I hate seeing people conned so tried to warn a few people but I lost count how much money was handed over by gullible tourists to dodgy characters with Russian sounding accents. My good Samaritan act didn't help, one Spanish woman handed over £80 in under two minutes. Why do the Police allow this?

Next up was Westminster Bridge, a mere half a mile upriver and the oldest bridge on this stretch of The Thames, dating back to 1862. I cycled along the Embankment with Big Ben right in front of me. It was picture postcard territory. 

Crossing Fifteen: Westminster Bridge.

I took a photo of Big Ben just as it struck 3pm, a timely reminder that I had to get a wriggle on.


I looked back at Parliament Square and decided to cycle around it. It's notorious for its traffic chaos but it has to be the finest roundabout in the world, so I joined the road and went for it. It was great cycling around a road that when I was younger I wouldn't even drive around. I got a few bibs from cars but I didn't care. I rejoined the Bridge and crossed over the South side again. 

I rode along to the next bridge, stopping at a good vantage point for a great shot of The Houses of Parliament, otherwise known as The Palace of Westminster. All pictures now were from my old Nokia N95 phone camera, I'd forgotten to charge up my main camera and the hour's charge I'd given it before I left had given up the ghost on Westminster Bridge.

Next up was Lambeth Bridge and a lovely riverside cycle path to get there. It's a pretty if unremarkable bridge and it felt like the first time I was leaving central London behind, even though Parliament and many famous sights were were still clearly visible.

Crossing Sixteen: Lambeth Bridge

Following on from Lambeth Bridge was Vauxhall bridge, which I approached from Millbank on the north side,

Crossing Seventeen: Vauxhall Bridge.
It's quite a pretty bridge and decked out in red and gold. with some people believing the red represents the colours of the seats in The House of Lords. It also  has some nice sights from it, the most impressive being the MI6 Headquarters.

I didn't have time to pop in on M for a cuppa so I carried onto the next one, Chelsea Bridge, which connects Chelsea ( unsurprisingly) to Battersea in South London.  Opened in 1937, it is a pretty metal construction and very pleasing on the eye.

I rode along the south bank, hoping to get close to the iconic Battersea Power Station. I came to a dead end where someone had very inconsiderately dumped a huge hotel by the riverside, blocking the cycle path. Equally flummoxed by this was another cyclist who also was having trouble trying to work out how to rejoin the cycle path. His name was Martin and he was from Katowice in Poland. His route home pretty much followed my route and we joined up for the ride west along the Thames and was a nice guy to ride with. He even bought into my mad  plan of riding all of London's bridges and even offered to take my photo at each one, I was very grateful for that.
I should add Martin's reason for being here was to get at close to the power station as possible. So we tried a few options but were met with huge security doors, locked fences and obstinate security guards. We cycled past a very expensive hotel where a private helicopter approached, ruining the Sunday peace and quiet, and landed to whisk away some rich businessman. As we rode away we noticed it wasn't the only one as several helicopters landed at the hotel. We could barely hide our disdain.

Crossing Eighteen : Chelsea Bridge ( Taken by Martin)

Next up was the spectacular Victorian construction, The Albert Bridge. In my opinion one of the most distinctive bridges on the whole Thames. We had given up on getting closer to the Power Station and carried on my quest. It was nice to have a little company.

Crossing Nineteen: Albert Bridge
( it does say that, honestly)

As close as we got... 

On the south side I had a little surprise, the cycle path became a mud path, like a mountain bike path. Fine for joggers and Martin on his mountain bike, not so great for my pannier laden road bike. I slowed down to avoid several deep muddy puddles, but this allowed me to take in the view of the Thames, now taking on a distinctly fresh water look with rowing clubs dotted frequently along the bank.

Next on the route was Battersea Bridge, London's narrowest road bridge at just 40 feet wide. It positioned on a sharp bend on the Thames and over the years has been closed several times due to collisions. It's quite a handsome bridge with faux gold designs, however it's narrowness makes it quite hazardous to cyclists if you are unlucky enough to have an impatient motorist behind you. With only roads leading away from the river I simply rode over the bridge to the north side and immediately doubled back to the south side and rejoined the muddy path west with Martin waiting for me at the start of Battersea Park. He must have been a little bewildered at my madcap plan.

                                               Crossing Twenty: Battersea Bridge.

It was a one mile trek along to the next bridge, alongside a nice and again muddy path to the next one, and very busy with joggers,walkers and dog walkers. My bell got good use here!

I got to Wandsworth Bridge in a short time. It's not the most spectacular bridge, it's just a functional road bridge. I stopped for the photo and moved on to the next. 

Crossing Twenty One: Wandsworth Bridge

Next was the elegant looking Putney Bridge, the traditional starting point for the annual University Boat Race. 

Crossing Twenty Two: Putney Bridge

Putney Bridge from the riverbank.

With my legs now tiring we continued on to my next bridge, the very distinctive green Hammersmith Bridge, designed by Joseph Bazelgette. It is a suspension bridge that was built in 1887. It's a beautiful bridge, and even though time was against me I had to stop for a minute or two to take in the spectacle of one of London's most impressive bridges. Incidentally, there is a theory that suggests the green of this bridge represents the green seating of the House of Commons just like the red on Vauxhall Bridge represents the other house.

Crossing Twenty Three: Hammersmith Bridge

View from the Bridge of it's distinctive green construction.

We cycled down to the next bridge,The Barnes Railway Bridge. This was serious tick box stuff but as it's a legal method of crossing the Thames it had to be done. It was a mile upriver and was merely a footpath next to the railway track on the bridge. Martin had no trouble with his 9kg bike, my road bike weighed considerably more and was quite tough to carry up.

Crossing Twenty Four: Barnes Railway Bridge.

We cycled through some back streets on the north side of the Thames, making a brief detour through what we hoped would be a short cut through a  park- it wasn't- to the next one, Chiswick Bridge, an average looking road bridge than gave no reason to linger. I felt like I was taking advantage of Martin's good nature at this point by instinctively handing him my camera for this photo!

Crossing Twenty Five: Chiswick Bridge

Martin suggested a beer and with time running short and tiredness increasing it seemed a good idea. Just one more crossing today which would mean my quest would continue into another day. I had hoped to finish today but it wasn't to be. Last up would be Kew Bridge. I hadn't completely given up on squeezing in one more more but it being a Sunday I didn't want to head to far west late into the evening. I would decide finally over a pint, but I was fairly confident Kew would be the last.

Kew Bridge was opened in 1903 and is a Grade II listed structure and a mile upriver from Chiswick. 

Crossing Twenty Six: Kew Bridge

We rode to a pub Martin knew and had a welcome pint. I'd planned to buy him a pint for endulging me in my bridges tour of London, not to mention the invaluable photographic assistance. For that I was truly grateful . Not having to assess each passer by for risk of stealing my camera was very nice and he really helped me out. Martin though, insisted on buying. We sat outside in a beer garden, the peace and quiet only ruined by an awful covers band in the pub ruining Hey Jude amongst others. Before I could buy him a beer back he announced he had to leave to meet a friend. He asked for the address of this blog and maybe we'll meet up again so I can buy my round! He was a nice guy and it was nice sharing the last stage of the ride with him.

I now had a deadline. Netherlands v Portugal in Euro 2012 kicked off in an hour and I was in West London. I'd never get home in time so decided to get back to Fenchurch Street and find a pub. I went to the nearby Kew Bridge mainline station but was dismayed to find out that SouthWest trains that run from there into Waterloo only run an hourly service- and I had just missed one. So I had no choice but to locate the nearest District Line tube station and head back east that way. Luckily Gunnersbury was minutes away and after a short wait I began the laborious 39 min- stopping 18 time- journey to Tower Hill.  It was shortly after kick off when I arrived and with the help of a underground employee found a pub showing the football, only to find it was the wrong game, the Germany one. I rode on and came across what I thought was a pub. I went in and found out they were showing both games. The very friendly and accommodating manager told me they had no secure bike locking facilities but very generously offered to lock my bike in "the luggage room". I wasn't in a pub, I was in a quite trendy City Hotel called the Chamberlain. The manager was a real star and went out of his way to make me feel welcome. He really didn't have to let me store my bike there, especially as I wasn't a guest but he insisted saying " relax, have a pint, enjoy the game"
The game didn't go to plan but I had a nice time chatting to an Irish guy called Jim and later a German guy called Fritz*. We had a lively chat debating English and German mentalities and approaches to football. He couldn't understand England's mentality and lack of preparation of penalty shoot outs and it was an enjoyable end to my day.
I left the bar and went to reception to get my bike, my eye drawn to a sign with the room tariffs, highest price, £325 a night! I didn't even have to get it myself, the receptionist radioed to a someone, and shortly after a smartly uniformed porter complete with posh hat wheeled my bike through reception and handed me my crash hat. A surreal end to a good day.

Total Mileage: 32.

* Fritz wasn't his name, I never actually caught it, just gave him a pseudonym for the purposes of the blog
** When I got home I realised I'd missed a bridge, The Fulham Railway bridge which will have to be done next time. Bugger

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Crossings of London Part 2, West Ham to Blackfriars Bridge

With the UK's early summer-like weather continuing and a late change to my university schedule giving me Friday off I decided to crack on with my challenge of crossing every one of London's bridges, tunnels and ferries.
On my first stage a few weeks ago I got as far as the Woolwich ferry before I called it a day- this meant my first crossing today would be the Woolwich Foot Tunnel.
I had a nice chat with another cyclist on the train who was using a very different cycle, called a recumbant cycle. It looks like a reclining chair on wheels and I was very intrigued. Would love to try one out one day. I left West Ham mainline station and rode the five miles down past City Airport, Silvertown and the lovely Royal Victoria Docks area on my way to the tunnel. They have retained the now defunct cranes here as a visible reminder of the Dock's former life and they make for a very impressive sight.

  The Woolwich Foot Tunnel entrance is a elegant circular buidling and a grade two listed building. I nearly missed it again as now it is completed encased in scaffolding and coverings for major renovations. I had to carry my bike down the spiral staircase which was very uncomfortable but I was on my way back south of the water again.

Crossing Five: Woolwich Foot Tunnel.

It's a 504m walk through the tunnel to South Woolwich with annoying barriers to prevent cyclists from riding through the tunnel. Next on my crossings list was the little known Hilton Hotel Docklands ferry, although the author of the website I found that inspired this ride advised against it. It's £4 for a 2 min crossing and is only really used for hotel guests so I thought I'd just make up my mind when I got there.

 Whilst riding along the Thames Path I began thinking about this ride and how to get as much out of it as possible. Sure I could just ride between crossings, take the obligatory photo and move on to the next. I considered that a waste.There were so many sights and attractions on the way I made a decision there and then to stop as often as I liked at places of interest on the way, otherwise my ride would just feel like a 'tickbox' exercise. I was about to ride through Greenwich but what caught my eye next gave me an idea for a little detour, a sign for Charlton Athletic Football Club's ground, The Valley. I thought I'd pop in and try to get a photo inside the ground. I rode up and put their reputation as one of the friendliest clubs in England to the test. Within two minutes a friendly security guard ( itself a rarity) was escorting me through the stands to the pitch. Try doing that at The Emirates!

In the home team Dugout.

With glorious sunshine making for perfect cycling conditions, I made my way along to my next crossing, the Greenwich foot tunnel back to the north side. I also made a short stop to have a look at The Thames Barrier.

. Whist riding through Greenwich, and past the eyesore that is the O2 arena formally The Millennium Dome, I fancied dropping into the Royal Observatory in Greenwich. I stopped for a nice packed lunch of bananas, grapes and coffee on the lawn at Greenwich Park. It's a beautiful park and on this summers like day it was glorious.

 I went up the impossibly steep hill on which the observatory sits and really struggled to push the bike up. I felt like the boy in the Hovis ad pushing his bike up Gold Hill...
It was obviously very touristy at the observatory and the tour parties of Japanese and Americans didn't take long to get on my nerves. The view though back over Greenwich Park took my mind of them though...

I took the obligatory shot of me standing either side of the Greenwich Meridian Line, the point of which all of Earth's time is calculated.
The rest of the world to my left, the rest of the world to my right.

 To be honest, aside from the Meridian Line the rest of the observatory wasn't that good. There's some interesting exhibits on the history of time but I decided to move on. An employee told me of a hill which led back down to the park, I wish I'd known about it earlier! I got up to 28mph on my way down and rode on to the nearby Cutty Sark which wa right next to my next crossing, The Greenwich Foot Tunnel. Major renovation works are going on by the ship, presumably connected with the tragic fire in 2007 that almost destroyed one of Britains's best loved historical ships. The Cutty Sark was Britain's last built clipper ship built in 1869 and was a merchant vessel.

Again, this area was swarming with tourists, and I was glad to leave them behind and move on to the Greenwich Foot Tunnel. This tunnel, opened in 1902, links South Greenwich to The Isle of Dogs on the north side and is an almost carbon copy of the Woolwich one. It's 370 metres long.

Crossing Six: Greenwich Foot Tunnel.

I briefly stopped at the Hilton ferry but just like the website author, decided to skip it. It just wasn't worth the money.I carried onto past a impressive and very expensive looking Isle of Dogs riverside apartment complex along the north side Thames Path to my next crossing, and one that filled me with some trepidation, the Rotherhithe Tunnel.  According to that website listing all the crossings this isn't one to be enjoyed but as it's legal to use as a cyclist and a footpath exists it had to be done. although I really wasn't looking forward to it.

Looks like everything is banned apart from cyclists, I quickly wished they were...

I entered the tunnel and and into a merky world of loud reverberating engine noise and air thick with exhaust fumes, it was a very uncomfortable experience through the 1481 metres back to the south side and Bermondsey. The tunnel itself isn't straight, its a long twisty succession of sharp bends, apparently designed to prevent spooking horses back in olden days.

Crossing Seven: The Rotherhithe Tunnel

Upon leaving the tunnel, and doing all of 3mph disaster struck. There was a tree coming out of the pavement that that had a circle cut into the pavement for it to grow out of. I didn't notice that this circle was reinforced by a ring of metal that was impossible to see. My front wheel just slipped into this circle and I fell off. Well fell off sounds dramatic, I was going so slowly I basically lowered myself to the pavement. But being caught in this ring of metal acted like a train wheel on a  track and it caused catastrophic damage to my front wheel- it was buckled almost beyond use.I just couldn't believe so much damage could be caused when going so slowly. I asked a local guy if there was a cycle shop nearby and he said there was, literally two minutes away along Jamacia Road. Problem was, it was 1715, would he be open? I was able to ride very slowly to the shop with a comically shaped wheel to the shop. All I needed was a yellow wig and a red nose and I would've perfected the clown on a bike look. Luckily the shop was still open and the owner offered to sell me a reconditioned second hand wheel for £10. I was very lucky and also very grateful that I wouldn't have to carry my bike home and I could carry on my ride. 

Next up was a Bridge I was looking forward more than any, the iconic and world famous Tower Bridge, only five minutes away from where I was. It was a great experience riding over this bridge and I stopped to take in the view.

Crossing Eight: Tower Bridge.

View down the River.

I knew now that the bridges would come thick and fast compared to the miles gaps of the ones downriver, I could look along and see the next few. I was now in Central London and the chaotic travel. It was too busy and dangerous to listen to the radio like I like to do when I was cycling, so I put it away and had the noises of London as my soundtrack. I rode past the Tower of London, stopping for a quick photo.

I rode along Upper Thames Street to my next Bridge, the rather non descript London Bridge, no more tunnels now! A famous Urban Legend exists that when the previous London Bridge was sold to an American Billionaire to be rebuilt in the Arizona desert in 1962, he mistakenly believed he was buying Tower Bridge. It's completely false but does make for an interesting story, one of those that you WANT to be true but quite simply isn't. 

Crossing Nine: London Bridge

Next up was one of what I consider to be one of London's prettiest bridges, the green and gold Southwark Bridge. I took the cycle superhighway back to the north side of the Thames.

Crossing Ten: Southwark Bridge.

With time running out I decided I only had time to do a few more so settled on two more and then I would go in search of some dinner and carry this on to another day.
Next was the newest Bridge to be built over the Thames, The Millennium Bridge, famously known as The Wobbly Bridge after some early technical problems led to users feeling that the bridge was bouncing underneath them as they walked over. It closed for some time whilst engineers tried to solve the problem.
It's a beautiful steel structure linking Bankside on the south side with the City on the North, close to St Paul's Cathedral.

Crossing Eleven: The Millennium Bridge. 

With my energy sapping and my stomach rumbling I set off for for the few hundred yards to my final bridge of  the day, Blackfriars Bridge.

I rode past thousands of City Workers spilling out on the streets from packed bars, enjoying the warm Friday evening. 
A nice Japanese tourist offered to take my photo and I completed my last bridge of the day.

Crossing Twelve: Blackfriars Bridge

With my bridge crossing finished for the day, my attention tuned to food. I decided I'd go to the only pub in London I knew that sold cheap food- a Wetherspoon's pub just off Trafalgar Square. I had a great time riding down The Strand in Central London, past |Charing Cross, through Trafalgar Square and to the pub. They were still serving food but I had a problem- nowhere to lock up my bike. The manager had no secure facilities and could only recommend locking it at Charing Cross station, 400 yards away and totally out of eyesight. I couldn't take that risk or lock it to a lampost outside as the police remove all locked bikes immediately for security reasons- Parliament and Downing Street are only minutes away. I even got thrown out of a McDonald's for wheeling my bike inside! They reluctantly agreed to let me buy a takeway before showing me the pavement, and I sat on a bench in Charing Cross eating what I'd been trying to avoid all day, McDonalds. Annoying thing was the pub food would've been nicer, cheaper and healthier.
So that was my day. I'd made Central London by the end of day two and had twenty more crossings to look forward next time. It was time to go home.