Cycling to the Walrus

The WI ladies in the tunnel
The Girls in Greenwich Foot Tunnel!

The time has come, the walrus said… To hop on our bikes for a lovely ride to The Horniman Museum

On Sunday Radiant Riders our cycling sub-group, made a trip south of the river to the historic Horniman Museum. Starting from the relaxed environs of Victoria Park, we grabbed coffees from the Pavilion Cafe – where the staff are so beautiful they must be filling time between modelling jobs – while we gathered our group for the day and pumped up our tyres.

We must have been good recently because the sun stayed shining all day, and put us and the rest of London into the happy laid back summer vibe that’s perfect for a cycle. We headed out along the canal to Limehouse then wiggled via quiet backstreets to the river. After stopping to admire the view of the Royal Naval College facing us majestically from the opposite bank of the Thames we took the spacious lifts down to the Greenwich foot tunnel. As a born and bred Londoner I get a particular kick out of doing new things around town, and walking our bikes through a tunnel UNDER THE THAMES for the first time was pretty cool (yeah, I know the tube runs under the river too, but somehow this felt different; give it a go if you haven’t yet and you’ll see what I mean).

The Walrus at the Horniman MuseumAs if to prove that it’s nice south of the river to us resolute north Londoners we emerged at the other end to live music, swing dancing and a vintage festival. After stopping for a browse and a new dress (a Hobbs sixties style shift for £20, since you asked) we were back on the bikes and following cycle route 20 to Forest Hill.

Unfortunately I should have spotted the clue in the name and prepared myself for hills, but somehow the pleasure of pooling along quiet roads with nice people distracted me, and the final slightly sweaty ascent to the museum came as a bit of a surprise. However it made it all the nicer to sit in the sunshine in the beautiful grounds and eat our sarnies.

The Horniman is a free museum with a range of exhibits, mostly natural history, though we also enjoyed an exhibition of photography of women in Sierra Leone. We capped off our wander round the museum with the obligatory selfie with their most famous resident: the hundred year old walrus. Then as a reward for all our learning we grabbed an ice cream on the grass, surrounded by maize in their edible garden.
Whether you’re new to cycling or a Lycra clad pro, Radiant Riders is an awesome way to spend a day; we stick to quiet streets and someone else navigates so you don’t need to worry about getting lost, plus the chance to meet other nice people and explore new parts of town is BRILLIANT. Oh and given our frequent food stops, it’s also possible to treat it as a culinary tour of town, on two wheels.

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Blog written by Louise Corden

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Shoreditch Sisters WI

Founded in 2007, we are a WI for women in and around London. We meet on the second Tuesday of the month at 52 - 54 Featherstone Street, London, EC1Y 8RT at 7pm. Membership is available all year around - joining in Jan-31st March is £41 for the entire year, April-30th June £30.75 for three quarters of the year, July- 30 Sept £20.50 of half a year, and Oct-Dec £10.25. We meet 11 times a year plus extra monthly sub-groups. Non-members are welcome to most meetings for £5.