Left home just after eight o'clock and gave the bike a thrashing down the A1 (great fun on knobblies... Not!) then a slightly slower trip round the North Circular through the near stationary traffic to arrive at Chiswick, where I joined the planned route.
I was surprised to see it was still only 9.10 and a check on Twitter found nothing posted in the last hour, so I decided to head down to Twickenham on the basis that I was bound to meet the convoy coming the other way.
I needn't have worried as I arrived at Twickenham Stadium, to find a whole bunch of bikes, the Dakar Team GB Tatra Support Truck and the Desert Rose Racing Nissan Patrol still there.
The big pile of cans is the new energy drink "Pussy" (I kid you not)! who were supporting the Team and the event. Which needless to say produced no end of puns throughout the day.
And a very neat Polaris buggy that can be carried on the back of the Tatra truck
And Simon Pavey's 2011 Dakar Bike
With some really neat details
However we were still waiting for the arrival of Patsy Quick of Desert Rose Racing with the Dakar Race bikes. So a trip over the road to the local Tesco for breakfast was in order.
We arrived back to find the bikes had arrived and a few photos outside the front of the stadium were in order. Unfortunately we hadn't counted on an absolute jobsworth who threw a wobbly when we tried to park the bikes on the pavement. Even a decision to line up on the road instead seem to cause extreme concern with what was now a whole team of jobsworths! A few photos were quickly taken and we all trooped back to the car park. It seems they were fine with us doing something for charity as long as we did it out of sight of the public.
So we retreated back to the car park for more photo opportunities:
Toby and Jago's 2012 Dakar bikes
And the guys themselves posing with their bikes
The impressive looking Desert Rose Racing Ford F350 Truck
We eventually got on the road at about 11.00 am and what followed was a hoot, the Dakar bikes led off followed by the Ford, then the Tatra truck with a bunch of bikes then the Nissan; I followed up behind in another group of bikes.
We wound our way towards central London, with the convoy getting broken up several times but always managing to catch up, we had bikes boiling over, bikes running out of fuel and the odd wheelie! Standing up, off road stylie was the order of the day! lots of pussy was handed out to passers by who asked what it was all about. We eventually had a brief stop at the Royal Albert Hall. Unfortunately I didn't get any photos although we did have loads of pictures taken as we wound through the streets.
We eventually made our way to Parliament Square and did two (rather slow) laps getting stuck on every traffic light. Time was running short so we turned onto the Embankment and headed straight towards Canary Wharf. By now the numbers were looking severely depleted and less than a dozen bikes arrived at the finish.
The Dakar bikes were lined up on display and the Desert Rose Racing crew set up their truck and lots of Pussy was dispensed (ooh errr missus).
Rotary International with their Shelterbox initiative, one of the charities Toby is raising money for were represented. Those of us left, having made some new friendships on the day had some food and a chat and agreed to met up at the Dakar Team GB fundraiser on the 1st December.
I eventually left Canary Wharf about 4.30 and made it home by 5.45 despite having to thread my way up the highly congested A12 to the M11.