o2 arena londonLast night we went to the O2 Arena in London out on the Greenwich peninsula. It was the first time out there so arriving on bicycle was a bit of a test.

No clear signs for a cyclist from Greenwich town centre and the closer we got we only got a dual carriage way and signs for the dome erm the O2’s parking lots, for cars that is. After been told at one car par that we couldn’t get in there, we doubled back and found a cycle path. This cycle path were not clearly marked as road marking had worn of and there was plenty of grit, gravel and glass on it.

We then by asking found our way to the bicycle parking, quite a few unused Sheffield stands, only used by 10 or so motorbikes and only our bicycles. That told us that the O2 is not a cycling destination :)

We then walked over to the O2 under a marquee which would be a great cover for our bicycles. Walking in it looked like mini Vegas (though I have never been there) with all that light and big screens. The escalators up to the different levels was in full use and pretty much no none was on the stairs. Inside there was good signs and help full staff telling us where to go.

EDIT : I forgot the security check. For some reason the drinks bottles you can take into the arena have to have their caps removed. But if you take your sports drink bottle you are a ok, eh? I can only see one problem with that, these drinks are going to spilled all over the place. Guess what happened, on the table next to us the security lady removed the caps on two coke bottles. She then managed to knocked one of them over and spill it all over the legs and shoes of an other lady.

And we sat down in the “gods” and was entertained by Eddie Izzard for the next few hours. Simply genius, smart and funny, do go if you can you are in for a treat.

Leaving the O2 was not a treat, we where by the look of it funnelled out the back of the arena and through out the indoor high street. Which clearly wasn’t built to handle 20+ thousand people leaving at the same time. The O2 is not fully build up and coming down the stairs we were looking down to want best could be described as a derelict building sight. Quite a contrast to the brand new, high tech arena we had just been in.

I spotted an exit which I quickly learned that we couldn’t use. And once outside I could see a whole “avenue” that was empty and could easy handle the flow of people. Yes you might say that the reason for pushing us into the high street was that O2 and its bar, restaurants could make a wee bit of cash before we all left the peninsula. Then if that was the reason why weren’t the amusement rides and all the market stalls open when we left ?

Naa everyone was clearly in a rush to go and stand in the queue for the underground or the queue for the parking tickets and subsequently the queue to leave the car park.

We found and unlocked our bicycles and hit the gridlocked roads. But it was not pleasant journey, yes there is the cycle path which we could use. The road was full with people who just wanted to get home out of the queue away from the crowds and therefore were not really looking out for cyclist. So we took the cycle path which was full with pedestrians walking all over the place, since the marking aren’t clear. And also full of glass and grit, which put our anti puncture tyres through their paces. And the other road users were in a hurry to leave the car parks and were not really looking out for cyclist on the cycle path they were crossing.

So in short, the O2 is a great arena for shows but if you are on your bicycle take your time and care arriving and leaving.

Oh and while there at the O2 I didn’t have any NETWORK on my MOBILE PHONE and I use… well have a guess and you will soon spot the irony.