I’m not an attention seeker. But last weekend, I did something conspicuous. I rode an ICE Adventure recumbent tricycle on the 45 mile Palace to Palace bike ride for the Prince’s Trust. I was, as far as I could see, the only person on three wheels rather than two.
Above: in The Mall, ready for the start at Buckingham Palace
It was the trike’s first big outing, and it was a revelation. During the countless traffic lights between the start in The Mall and Richmond Park I relaxed in my comfortable seat, feet still clipped into the pedals, ready for the lights to change. By contrast, everyone else was clipping and unclipping. The Adventure was as fast on the flat as I’d been told to expect. I loved (carefully) overtaking groups of cyclists on the trike, seeing their surprise and delight at the unlikely vehicle passing them.
I’d also been told to expect the trike to be slower on the hills. I’m a slow climber on any bike, but only struggled on the last climb, after some 35 miles. The ICE trike comes with very low gears, and I found it easy to take my time on the ascents ready to enjoy the downhills that followed – especially the 34mph swoop towards Windsor…
Above: my ICE trike folded ready for the trip to London
My trike is long. And big. Yet I can get it in the back of my MINI, thanks to the amazing compact flat twist fold. The rear wheel folds into place between the front wheels after you’ve taken off the seat. It meant Karen could take me to London for the start in our estate car (above), and meet me in Windsor.
Above: ready to ride to the start!
Karen dropped me off in Wigmore Street, and I loved the first mile to the start in the Mall, cycling through Piccadilly Circus and Trafalgar Square. It reminded me of my long-ago days commuting by bike from Teddington to Holborn. I got a similar dose of nostalgia in Richmond Park: that was my route home, past White Lodge, Pen Ponds and Ham Gate. At the time, when people at work complained about the Northern Line I’d sympathise and say I had a terrible journey, held up by a herd of deer…
As I said at the start, there’s no hiding place on a trike. Children and adults smiled and said, “Cool!” – referring to the trike, not me! And I couldn’t help smiling as I steered it like the go-kart I loved as an 11 year old growing up in Cardiff.
Windsor is a wonderful destination for a bike ride. It’s got everything: history, the largest castle in Europe, the royal connection, the Thames and lovely cafes and restaurants. It was a special moment as I crossed the finishing line at Windsor Racecourse.
Finally, the whole point of this ride was raising money for the Prince’s Trust, a worthy cause that helps disadvantaged young people make the most of their potential. The Trust did a brilliant job organising the event, with superb organisation, signposting and marshalling, and a great welcome village at Windsor. I was lucky enough to be part of the PayPal UK team riding Palace to Palace. I’m pleased and grateful that friends and family have helped me raise over £600. If you’re feeling generous and charitable, I’d be delighted if you added to my total. You can do so here. Thank you!