Cyclists’ Tea opens the Bikeweek in Waltham Forest

Children screaming at the passing cyclists and signs on the grass all invited the riders to stop at the stall in front of Victor and Liz’s house in Coppermill Lane, on the most popular route from central London into Walthamstow – across the marshes. The commuters were offered a cuppa, cake, and they could find out about the Bikeweek events in Waltham Forest.

Victor and Liz, the hosts of the party, don’t remember which time they organised the Tea. It must have been their fifth or sixth year, though.

Paul Gasson and Gerhard Weiss brought extra LCC literature: on avoiding bike theft, on rides, signing up, etc.
There were also balloons, temporary tattoos, spoke badges, pennants.
At first cyclists passed without stopping, afraid of street marketing. But when some did stop by, more and more joined in and even the onset of rain didn’t’ scare them away. Two carloads of police officers arrived, too – exempt from the requirement of being cyclists by the indisputable authority of the uniform. They complimented the initiative, and especially the cakes.
‘Free tea for cyclists!’ we shouted. But as the rain got heavier, we changed it to ‘Hot tea for cyclists!’ Still, cold drinks were the drink of choice for many faster riders.
The tea party was in full swing and some were prepared to revel into the wee hours, but for most the pull of the World Cup was just too much and we wound up in time for the match.

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