The River Thames is 215 miles long and I have been riding my bike along the Putney to Hampton Court section for 20 odd years. The ‘gravel’ Thames path here lines the south bank of the river and has been my regular haunt to play out my ‘Roubaixesque’ fantasies.

Amongst this hubbub of human activity are two interesting points that pricked my enquiring mind as I pedalled along the river path, one was the great uproar of political thought that raged at Putney in the mid-17th century and secondly how the River itself has been shaped to fit into a man-made landscape in the 18th century.

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