Sunday, 29 July 2012

London - you're Amazing!

 As a Londoner born & bred, I was incredibly proud when we won the Olympic bid 7 years ago. In the light of the tragic events of the following day, it turned into a vital beacon for the Capital to cling to, its timing could in many ways not have been more perfect. Like most, I have to confess to some caution over the last few years in relation to the cost, and the potential for disruption, but in spite of working just a couple of miles from the Olympic Park so far it's caused far fewer problems than were perhaps anticipated. In the light of this we decided to travel into the city yesterday for the day, to soak up some of the atmosphere and generally see what was going on.  

Anyone arriving in London having spent the last few years living in a cave would have caught on quite fast....both Underground.... 


And Overground.....
Olympic references, advertising, and banners absolutely everywhere. There was a sort of a buzz about the place as well, far more smiling faces than you would usually see - even on the tube!  One of the very few events which offered spectator opportunity without a bought ticket was happening - the Mens Cycling Road race - so having checked the route in advance, we headed for Putney Bridge in the hope of seeing some action, arriving there about an hour before the bikes were expected, there were already good crowds lining the route with more pouring in from all directions...

 We found a spot with a handy wall which I was able to stand on for a good view over the crowds in front, and were quickly joined by others who had also seen the beauty of this particular vantage point. Even the over-zealous stewards appearing every five minutes or so to tell us to sit down couldn't dampen our spirits - we sat down alright, then stood up again just as soon as their backs were turned! Eventually the cavalcade of attendant vehicles started appearing - motorcycle Police grinning broadly and waving to the crowds - who were quite happy to cheer and wave their flags in return! Police cars, Event cars, ambulance crews all poured through before - finally! - the first of the Competitors...

... quickly they were flooding through - as each wave of bikes approached the roars and cheers of the crowd formed a wall of sound approaching - an incredible noise. Spotting individual riders was close to impossible as they passed at such a pace - to give you a clue, I had the camera set with a shutter speed of 1/1000th of a second, and was shooting at a rate of 6.5 frames per second in burst mode, and STILL I was missing riders passing. These guys are seriously, seriously quick. Only when evaluating the shots afterwards was I able to see that I had indeed caught one of the Team GB chaps in the main group....


No idea who that was I'm afraid - not into my cycling enough to recognise them individually. Below, however, is Chris Froome - identifiable from his race-number of 12. He had sadly ended up right at the back - in fact the few that finished after these two were to be declared as not finishing.


Once the final Police Car bearing the "End of Race" sign had passed, we made our way to a favourite pub for a couple of drinks - again the atmosphere was amazing - the sun was shining, the drinks were flowing, and people were just enjoying London's moment of triumph.

Refreshed, we went for a wander through Hyde Park (lots of people on "Boris Bikes" laughing uproariously as they attempted to recreate the earlier race on their less than ideal contraptions!) before heading for Tower Bridge - bearing its Olympic Rings with pride!


Lovely Ben had been gallantly carrying my tripod around all day so we could return there as darkness fell for some shots of the Bridge illuminated...we and others were a bit disappointed that the rings were folded up however - lots of speculation that they folded them up overnight perhaps, before a passing Policeman was asked and to my delight we found out that after a bit of a wait there would be a light show.....


...incredible to see this icon of London lit up in all these different colours - cycling through lighting up different parts of the bridge, and making it look more like a fairytale castle than ever! Finally the lighting was returned to something more normal and the rings returned to position...


...Now what better symbol of LONDON 2012 could there be? Proud to be a Londoner? You bet I am!

Robyn.

4 comments:

dreamer said...

Thanks for sharing your photo's and descriptions with us. It sounds like you had a great day :)

Robyn said...

It was fabulous - definitely a day not to be forgotten!

me and my girl said...

I must admit I had no interest in the Olympics at all, sorry, but after watching the opening ceremony, we've both got into it and had it on (at least in the background) ever since :) quite proud to be British!

Robyn said...

It's getting a lot of people like that I think!