By Hannah Phillips
A London newbie whose train was unexpectedly cancelled – leaving him stranded in the capital 250 miles from home – visited 25 tourist attractions in eight hours on a 67-mile Boris bike ride just to kill time.
Ralf Hodgson, 22, visited London for the first time for a meeting on Monday [Dec 2] but the business owner’s late train home to Darlington, County Durham, was cancelled at the last minute – leaving him with nowhere to stay.
So while waiting for a new early train the next morning, Ralf, who owns a window cleaning company, managed to pack in 25 of the capital’s tourist attractions throughout the night, racking up 67 miles in eight hours on a Boris Bike.
And despite being sent a bill for £56 after he misread the price instructions on the bike and thought it cost just £2 for 24 hours, the young businessman insisted he didn’t regret his madcap two-wheeled adventure.
Ralf said: “My train home was at 9.30pm.
“When I got to the station, they said the lines had been cancelled and I could either get a train and a coach which would get me to Darlington in the middle of next week or sit it out in the station until the morning.
“I didn’t fancy sitting on a coach all night all the way back to Darlington.
“I had friends in the area who offered me a bed but I thought ‘I’ve never been to London before so I may as well go on an adventure’.
“I think I have a screw loose – I haven’t done anything like this before.
“I just wanted to turn a negative into a positive.”
Ralf posted a video on Instagram asking his followers for any sightseeing suggestions and was immediately inundated with over 50 recommendations including Wembley Stadium, Downing Street and The Shard.
Between 9.30pm and 8am, the cyclist hit 25 tourist attractions including the Tate Modern, Oxford Street, Harrods, Trafalgar Square, the London Eye and Camden Market.
Ralf said: “I just posted a video on Instagram saying if anyone has any recommendations to drop me a message and I’ll go round them instead of sleeping.
“By the end of it I was pretty tired, the bike must have weighed 25kg and they aren’t made for speed or efficiency.
“But there were barely any cars about and it wasn’t busy, so luckily I didn’t have to watch out for other tourists.
“I did it in a bad order, I just went in the order that people were recommending them in so I went down the same bit of road five or six times, back and forth.
“When I told my mum, she said I couldn’t do it because it’s dangerous and I should stay with a family friend but I’d made my mind up, I just didn’t go down any dodgy alleyways.”
When Ralf’s brother, Jack, 20, posted about his brother’s adventure in the capital the post went viral, reaching more than 11,000 likes.
And while his sightseeing trip cost him £56 after he misread the instructions on the Boris bike, he said he doesn’t regret his late night adventure.
Ralf said: “When my brother posted it on Twitter, it blew up because he’s a Youtuber.
“I got loads of messages and when I started taking photos it got loads of traction.
“People must have been putting it in their group chats, people who don’t even follow me.
“I thought the bike was £2 for 24 hours but I didn’t realise it was £2 for every half an hour you didn’t dock it and I was on it for eight and a half.
“I got a bill for £56 but it was definitely well worth it.
“I’d like to go back and see everything properly because I was rushing around, but I had a good time.”
To follow Ralf’s adventures: go to https://www.instagram.com/ralfhodgson/