A Marshal's Job Is Never Done Until It's Done

Another day, another LCC organised feeder ride; emails to be sent and replied to, phone calls to make, people to cajole into helping out, panniers to be packed in readiness and sleep to be deprived in worry, all part of the job of volunteering to lead the Richmond feeder ride to Ravenscourt Park. And so we set off, resplendent in our marshal’s jerseys of sun kissed yellow and orange, closely followed by any number of eager riders, some regular cyclists, some not so regular and a few complete novices.

Slowly, so very slowly, we made our way along Kew Road, past Kew Gardens and over Kew Bridge. A lovely right turn onto Welesey Street and our journey was almost over. I think it was around here that my hangover (hungover in charge of a large group of cyclists, is that against the law?) got the better of me and I drifted off to the numbing sound of traffic accelerating past.

At Ravenscourt Park most of the group set off on their own, including a marshal’s young son who set off without his parents in his eagerness. It was then I realised I should have given out my mobile number to everyone in the group. Pants.

Our group was whittled away to us marshals (we stick together, like fluff to a half sucked pocket sweet, it’s the tabards) and a couple of other riders who we soon lost in the twisty route to Bayswater Road. And here we came across our first adventure, a family group with a wobbly young son who was tired and wobbly. We gave him a full escort to Hyde Park, protecting him and his family from the cars. What a terrible route to encourage new people to cycle.

We arrived, bereft of responsibility but still weighed down with our marshal’s tabards. One of us went off to perform official duties, one of us nearly fainted from lack of food and another went off to search out the free sandwiches. A couple of emergency flapjacks later and then the sandwiches arrived, along with a stream of people who thought we were marshals of the event and kept asking questions. At one point, we were the info desk and lost person’s meeting point. We took off our tabards.

And set off down the Mall with about a million other happy cyclists. A friend was somewhere, watching it all go by and I had a mobile cycling moment and met up with her and her two young tagalongs for a quick chat and a peck on the cheek.

Off we set again, only to be held up in a wall of cyclists somewhere before Parliament Square. We waited and waited and didn’t move and then it was Whitehall and we’re all moving now.

It was a lovely day with a cooling breeze, proof that cycling is blessed (cf the weather for the Tour de France stages). We went past the sights and I took some pictures with my mobile. We even passed the wobbly family we’d shepherded to Hyde Park. We saw the Dutch Cargo bikes with four, yes, four kids in the front. Recumbents, stripped down fixed wheel beauties, kids bikes, carbon bikes, tourers, racers, tandems, girl’s bikes, boy’s bikes – I love looking at the bikes, bikes everywhere.

And then we were at the finish outside Buckingham Palace, wondering what to do next. We checked out the festival and drank tea, ate cake and chatted. I had a bike map badge made at the LCC stall. It’s great. The badge, not the stall, although the stall was good, too.

The marshal posse met up once all official duties were done and we set off to search for that wanted beer, located in a pub somewhere by the river in leafy south west London. Roll on next year, it’ll be wheelie good.

Posted byRichmond Cycling Campaign at 18:26  


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