Some time ago, I talked about the regulars I meet in my morning runs, and how it compares to regulars in a pub. Well, like with pubs, I don’t go to just one and I meet other regulars on my other everyday route: the one I do rollerblading (yes, I’m unfaithful to running).
Unfortunately, on this route there aren’t many other rollerbladers – I only met 3 or 4 others since a year and a half I’m going from Greenwich to Farringdon on eight wheels – and I think I’m the only one doing it several times a week.
Look at me bragging! I actually didn’t start blading to earn bragging rights, but only because I’ve loved it for more than twenty years. But I realised it looks somewhat cool and quite often there are people turning their heads and children shouting their surprise and admiration, which kinds of pumps me up when it happens. Kudos to all children I can inspire!
Don’t get me wrong, I also get a lot of abuse, especially from drivers who are pissed off that I use cycle lanes (why they care, I don’t know) or the road. I once even received a string of insults from a Spanish cyclist on a Boris Bike who said I was dangerous because I was too slow ; how ironic when you know that cyclists on Boris Bikes are notoriously dangerous in London and thatI go faster than them more often than not. But cyclists are generally supportive, especially since I wear protective, reflective and hi-vis gear like them.
Apart from the lovers (gonna love) and the haters (gonna hate), there are other people I come across very regularly. Most mornings, I can see the Muslim Runner going the other way. I have a lot of respect for him (especially since I run myself) because he’s quite old, he’s always running with some kind of a large tunic and he’s always there, on the Thames Path.
There’s the big bearded and tattooed cyclist (I should say biker) whom I cross almost systematically under the greenwich foot tunnel. It’s funny, because he looks like such a rebel but he’s wearing a bright yellow hi-vis vest and he’s very kind – he always holds the lift’s doors and has friendly words. I like this contrast.
You should know that I meet Santa Claus quite often as well. This one has a bright yellow hi-vis jacket rather than a big red coat, he’s riding a Brompton folding bike rather than a sleigh, and he’s fitter, but the long white beard is exactly the same so I’m sure it’s him. Shame I don’t have a picture to show you, I should think of taking one when I skate through Greenwich University.
Along the Thames, in Sir McDougall Gardens, there’s the Tai Chi Lady. She’s an asian granny who was also there every morning, repeating very slow and precise martial arts movements, but I haven’t seen her since last fall. I hope it’s only because it was too cold and that I’ll see her again soon.
Finally, there’s the occasional fox that I cross if I’m lucky. I love seeing them, they’re beautiful animals and surprisingly numerous in London! I’ve even heard there’s a lady-fox and her cubs somewhere on my route, by I’ve never managed to see them…