Breakfast at Smiths of Smithfield

14th December 2014


It was too late to swell the mileage for the Chapter Challenge, but lots of hardier members braved sub-zero temperatures and a very frosty morning to meet and greet for the last time this year. The ‘first Thursday’ and Christmas Cheer events had been well attended, and Facebook chat indicated that the old tradition of a pre-Christmas breakfast in the City of London was still a popular idea.

Years back, this was an official ride - but red routes and CCTV have put paid to any chance of leaving drop-offs in places like Parliament Square, without the drop-off getting an unwelcome Christmas present in the form of an invitation to contribute to government funds. People had a choice of meeting at Smiths (doors open 9.30am), or meeting at Warr’s and making our way there using the buddy system. In the event about half went there direct and the other half met at Warr’s at 9am (or a few minutes after in the case of Les and Peter Smith). It didn’t matter as we met as we pulled out into the Kings Road.

The route was simple (it had to be). Kings Road as far as Edith Grove and Cheyne Walk, then follow the river as far as Parliament Square; continue along Victoria Embankment until turning left into New Bridge Street and right into Smithfield Market. It was a lovely sunny morning, if perishingly cold, and iconic buildings like Tate Britain, Westminster Abbey and The Royal Hospital Chelsea looked stunning in the low angled sunlight.


With my Harley Davidson™ heated clothing (other makes are available) turned up to toasty and the bike slathered in anti-corrosion spray, it was a real privilege to lead the Chapter for the last time this year, with Les in his accustomed position bringing up the rear.

On arrival at Smiths one long table was already occupied by expectant diners, and we quickly dumped coats and helmets before enjoying an excellent full English or other delights from the menu. I think the food has improved since the last time I was there, and there were certainly plenty of staff on duty to tend to our needs. Thanks to Janet Jones for sorting out the tables and dealing with the bill.

I counted about 30 people on about 25 bikes, which was a stout effort considering the temperature and that it was early on a Sunday morning.

First ride of 2015 is on 22nd March, the Pioneer Run Ride. See over 300 of the World’s oldest ‘Pioneer’ bikes being ridden from Epsom to Brighton, including John Warr’s 1914 ‘Silent Grey Fellow’. Keep an eye on the Chapter website for further details in the New Year.

Happy New Year to you all

Michael Howers - C&F Road Captain


Photographs courtesy of Emine San