Norwich City fans cycle three miles on Boris Bikes to make FA Cup tie at Stamford Bridge
- Credit: Archant
As traffic disruption derailed city fans' journeys to Stamford Bridge, three Norwich boys decided to get on their bikes.
The FA Cup 3rd Round replay was postponed by 15 minutes after a faulty train at Earl's Court brought two tube lines to a standstill, however, three innovative young Canaries were not going to risk missing the game.
As the tube crawled at a rate of a station per 20 minutes, Ben Steward, 16, Will Rowe, 16, and Will Gosling, 17, and two other friends decided to jump off at Mile End station. It was there that the boys saw four Santander Cycles, or Boris Bikes, as they are more commonly known.
The Boris Bikes scheme, like the popular ofos in Norwich, sees people rent bikes and leave them at other designated bays in London.
Ben said: 'I'm not sure whose idea it was actually. I just remember seeing them and someone said, 'let's do it.''
There were only four bikes docked in the bay, so their friends jumped in a taxi, while Ben and the two Wills took to the streets.
From there, the Notre Dame sixth form students headed straight towards the River Thames, passing the Tower of London and London Bridge.
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Around half an hour later, after three miles of cycling and sightseeing, the boys parked their bikes and boarded the tube at Monument station, having circumnavigated the rail delays.
Disembarking at Earl's Court, the boys marched towards the Bridge, arriving in their seats within a minute or two of kick off.
Their friends also made it in time for the drama that was to follow, although they were around twenty minutes later than the bikers.
Ben said: 'We knew it would make a good story, but we didn't realise it would actually be the quickest way. It was also probably the cheapest way, because our bikes only cost about £2 each, and our mates' taxi cost £20.'
Ben said the match was well worth the improvised journey.
He said: 'When that goal went in it went crazy. I never thought we were going to lose though really because Chelsea didn't really threaten us.
'It was a great effort and one of the best away games I've ever been to.'
Ben's dad, Peter, who travelled from the car to the game via bus, said the journey home was hit by just as many delays.
Mr Steward said: 'We didn't get back until about 4.30am, not because of traffic delays, but because of the boys needing regular Macca's stops.'