CamdenNewJournal

The independent London newspaper

Wheely happy! Family reunited with ‘London’s longest bike’

'The Onderwater is that it’s such a weird vehicle, random people start talking to you'

05 November, 2019 — By Samantha Booth

On their bike: Ben Watson with son Mordecai and daughter Iris

A FAMILY is celebrating the return of “London’s longest bike” after it went missing from outside their Somers Town home.

Ben Watson, 63, and his two children were back cycling around on their Dutch Onderwater – this week after several weeks without it.

“We are ecstatic, we are very happy to have our bike back,” said Mr Watson. “I did not realise how fond I was of it until it got stolen.”

The New Journal reported last month how he used to ride his youngsters Iris, 14, and Mordecai, 11, to school in Soho on “London’s longest bike” before they started secondary school.

“When they were smaller, it just meant we could go to any recreation ground, it really opens up London to you,” he said. “You get to know London cycling to school through Somers Town, Bloomsbury and Fitz­rovia. They know the whole of central London because of the bike.”

Mordecai, a Haverstock School pupil, said he loves riding at the front of the bike. “It’s the best seat in the house,” he said. “I like to feel the wind in my face.”

Iris, now at Parliament Hill School, said: “What I love about the Onderwater is that it’s such a weird vehicle, random people start talking to us. It makes trips through London so much fun. About his long bike, Mr Watson said: “People say it’s dangerous – once you know the lights and know what you’re doing, it’s perfectly safe. You train to think like a car.”

Two Camden Town residents got in touch with Mr Watson after seeing one of his “missing bike” posters in Crowndale Road and the coverage in the CNJ. Kevin Groves and Bill Cartwright say they found the bike dumped in the Mornington Crescent area and declined to accept a £50 cash reward from Mr Watson.

To celebrate on Friday, Mr Watson and his children went for lunch in Inverness Street before a happy cycle home.

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