Taking Flights & Taking Flight

Diane and Gene's first WNBRs out of GB required aeroplanes to Cork then Helsinki, each arrival hot on the heels of VIP twosome visitors, who got wind of D&G's coming and buggered off smartish in advance. In Cork it was Charles and Camilla, Helsinki had hosted Trump and Putin. These self-clicking flag pics are therefore L-R reversed timewise, but match the catchy title!

Please note that pics are self-clicking not flags - flittering here 'cos they featured as Naked H&C Body Art. Flags fluttering as H&C Naked Bike Art weren't clickable, self or otherwise either. D&G weren't sure re Irish tinted Union Jacks so consigned 'em to pube areas where they went down (pun) OK. Bike flags were flown with Tricolour above Union Jack, Nordic Cross over St. George's in Cork and Helsinki respectively, respectfully. Indeed D went OTT and flew her Union Jack upside down as well. Actually G's mistake not noticed until the photos! Bet you didn't know the Finnish flag is called Siniristilippu and Nordic Crosses chop off 2 squares at the hoist.

Different Kettle of Fish This is what lines of longitude are. Great circles passing through both (fixed) poles, but which one's zero degrees is arbitrary. Well arbitraryish. Your starting line's got to go through somebody's big shed with a posh telescope otherwise it'll be a bugger to pin down. Well the chaps at Greenwich had such a shedascope and fixed the line there. Trouble was other non-Greenwich chaps had other non-Greenwich lines, especially les chaps qui avaient un hangar à Paris. 1884 saw delegates from 25 countries at a Washington (USA) conference to fix zero longitude once and for all. A lotta sheds around by then and all agreed there could only be one. Question ... which one? Foregone conclusion really. 65% of world shipping used Greenwich, 35% used more than 10 other meridians between them. 22 countries voted for Greenwich, San Domingo against. Les Français étaient très miffés! They suggested a neutral shed! (floating?) and abstained along with Brazil. So zero longitude, the Prime Meridian is the Greenwich Meridian via Greenwich's Shed.

Here's a NIFTY WEBSITE You can enter coordinates (latitude, longitude in either decimal or degrees minutes and seconds) for any two places on ................. Earth and then calculate the distance between them in miles, nautical miles and kilometres for a spherical and ellipsoidal Earth. In decimal north of the equator and east of Greenwich are positive, south and west negative. There y'go!

WNBR meets Longitude Zero? What's the bet there's no WNBR in Antarctica? That's the only southern hemisphere terra firma traversed by the Prime Meridian. Africa WNBR map (2018) shows Cape Town (no chance) & a ride in the middle of Libya. What? Turns out to be a cockup of some magnitude and significance 'cos it's Zaragoza, which is (a) in Spain, (b) a little under 1 degree (W) of Greenwich, (c) historically a WNBR prime mover. France & Spain see a fair bit of our meridian, but (surprisingly [?]) aren't (currently) rich in naked bike rides. No listed French ride (dead or dying) comes within a degree of Greenwich and Paris is 2+ in the East. Bettering Zaragoza Spain has 3 listed rides within half a degree of Greenwich, all dormant at best. So that leaves England. Cambridge, London and Brighton WNBRs are currently the closest to the Prime Meridian. Of these Cambridge is in the eastern hemisphere, the other two are western.

Closest WNBRs to the Prime Meridian

Cambridge D&G's ride (2016) Queen's Road (A1134) heading south about 80 metres after crossing Bin Brook.
Coordinates 52.207537, 0.110700 Approximately 4.7 miles east of Greenwich Meridian.
Brighton D&G's 4 rides (2015 to 2018) Entrance to Black Rock Car Park at end of ride.
Coordinates 50.814405, -0.110494 Approximatey 4.8 miles west of Greenwich Meridian.
London D&G's 3 rides (2013 to 2015) Marble Arch start, Fleet Street - Chancery Lane junction.
Coordinates 51.513857, -0.111048 A little under 4.8 miles west of Greenwich Meridian.
London D&G's ride (2018) Tower Hill start, Trinity Square in front of Trinity House at the start of the ride.
Coordinates 51.510161, -0.077662 about 3.3 miles west of Greenwich Meridian.
London is the closest WNBR to Zero Longitude, Cambridge closest in the eastern hemisphere.

Measured at the point on the route closest to Greenwich Meridian,

So, how do you get your coordinates? Easy! Get yersel' onto Google Maps, find your place, (big magnification), then click your cursor bang on the spot! A little box will pop up with 6 decimal coordinates. Not forgetting minuses for west and south (of Greenwich and equator) put them into Steve Morse's box for your point. The point you're measuring to/from is the Meridian, so enter the same latitude in the other box and for longitude enter 0.000000. If you've done it correctly the answer should be accompanied by a direction exactly east or west. To measure distance to/from the equator enter the same longitude in the other box along with 0.000000 for latitude and the direction will now be north or south. Y' can measure distance between any 2 points .. as long as they're on this planet!

London WNBR past and might have been

London D&G's ride (2013) Map showed route round St. Paul's Cathedral but shortcut via Chancery Lane instead.
Had the ride followed published route the turn from east to west would have been at New Change.
Coordinates 51.5135266, -0.096331 Approximately 4.1 miles west of Greenwich Meridian.
London (2010) Before D&G's WNBR career. Route finished at Tower of London via Tower Bridge (south to north).
Where Tower Bridge Approach turns into Tower Hill.
Coordinates 51.509287, -0.073849 Approximately 3.2 miles west of Greenwich Meridian.
London WNBR (2010) was closer to Zero Longitude than any other WNBR to D&G's knowledge.

Proximity in miles to Greenwich isn't always closest in longitude. Latitude matters too.

D&G's Wish List (WNBRs D&G would do if they existed).

A few places have potential for naked riding across the Meridian. Lincolnshire has Boston ... better Louth ... What are you waiting for?
Oxford had a ride in 2014. D&G missed it & no repeat so far. Perfect partner for 2016's Cambridge ride, will there be another Oxford?
No-one should need to be told why Coventry should have a ride! D&G would do it on bikes. No way Gene's climbing aboard a horse!

Kettle of Different Fish This is what lines of latitude are. Not only non-arbitrary but equidistant from each other all the way round the planet. Lines of longitude are on another hand, maximum distance apart at the equator heading for an almighty pileup at the pole(s). So distance comparison based on longitude is really valid only at the same latitude. 'Sworrit says in little print up there. Even so UK's just a titchy bit of Earth. A longitude degree's about 43 miles at 51 degrees latitude reducing to around 35 miles at 59 degrees latitude. That's the squeeze all the way from southern England to northern Scotland.

Notwithstanding the above (in fact G was sitting at the time of writing the above, which was therefore not above until after writing, at which point G was still sitting), the data for the relevant WNBRs were entered into Steve Morse's boxes on his website, comparison for the purpose of wrt proximity to Greenwich, as appearing in the two white scrollable panels even more above above. Not only that but this. Data for other rides were entered too so that anti proximity might be compared. In other words the most easterly, westerly, (measured from Greenwich) most northerly, southerly WNBRs (measured from the equator). These are D&G WNBridden WNBRs and the relevant most extreme point's coordinates have been used in the calculations.

WNBR Lat & Long with label & key reduced
WNBR Lat & Long with label
WNBR Lat & Long Key

Data Tables in clickable upable form to the right.

1 is the Data Table with integral Key to Routes, 2 is the Data Table and
3 the Key to Routes. The integral version is more easily referenced,
the two separate versions are clearer. Negative - west of Greenwich.




The Point is that to know the Point of Extremity (E,W,N,S) the route must be known, which isn't always easy. Sometimes a published route is wrong (e.g.London via Chancery Lane, elsethere referenced), sometimes it is changed, sometimes unknown to D&G. They (D&G) pieced together Bristol 2015,
significant as England's most westerly to date, from their photographs (see A Pair of Aces), but crucially no pics after Millennium Square until Hotwell
Road. When D belatedly found a 2015 Bristol Route Map (see clickables left) it became clear that it couldn't be
correct. The route is shown accessing Hotwell Road near Waterfront. D&G's (sole) clinching photo (Diane
passing SS Great Britain) could only be taken further west in Hotwell Road and the most likely feasible point
of access is near Grain Barge at Mardyke Wharf Car Park, taken as the most westerly point on the ride.

Bristol Route Map 2015 New
Bristol Route Map 2015 New Close Up
058 for website

This video link to the Helsinki ride provides info additional to that given in the click up panel above. 1. After emerging from the park on Itäinen Teatterikuja the route went straight on across Rautatientori (cycle path) into Kaivokatu and accessed Mannerheimintie via Asema-aukio and Postikatu. 2. From Mannerheimintie (Parliament House) the route was Salomonkatu, Lapinrinne, Ruoholahdenkatu, Hietalahdenkatu, Hietalahdenranta and Telakkakatu to Eiranranta. 3. Senate Square (Senaatintori) was accessed via Eteläranta, Pohjoisesplanadi and Katariinankatu. The video stops in Hämeentie just short of the junction with Vilhonvuorenkatu, the most likely turn off, which cannot be confirmed but is the assumed most northery point.

D&G's WNBRs to 2018 .. Northernmost - Helsinki, (UK Newcastle), Easternmost - Helsinki, (UK Clacton), Southernmost - Portsmouth, Westernmost - Cork (UK Cardiff, England Bristol). Conservationists don't like what the Universe does. Change.