You may have noticed the many blue plaques fixed outside on many properties in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea. They've helped immortalise the famous and iconic figures who lived in them, recognising their accomplishments. I normally double-take when I walk past them; some of the names are instantly recognisable and some names, I'm ashamed to say, I haven't the slightest clue.
So last Sunday, I decided to break my usual early-Sunday morning ritual of aimlessly roaming the streets of Notting Hill and instead, hopped on my bike and joined Bikeminded's Blue Plaque Tours to learn about the these extraordinary people who helped shaped the present.
With our tour guide, Julian, ready and dressed in his tweed outfit, we zoomed off - going through the backstreets of Chelsea on our "mechanical steeds". Our group visited the home of Winnie the Pooh author A. A. Milne and his artist neighbour Augustus John, where it was revealed his wild parties and naughty escapades.
Bram Stoker and the origins of the vampire novel Dracula also made its home in Chelsea near Royal Avenue; just round the corner lived fellow author Samuel Langhorne Clemens - better known as Mark Twain, writer of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and the Adventures of Huckleberry Fin.
And not too far away on Tite Street is Oscar Wilde's former home, the famous author who wrote The Picture of Dorian Gray and The Importance of Being Earnest, and learnt about his demise to being imprisoned because of his homosexual acts that were deemed unlawful at the time.
How the times have changed? If only they can change the criteria on achieving a blue plaque so that you don't have to be dead to get your name immortalised.
By the end of the tour, I found the overall experience odd in a way that I was cycling in and around Chelsea focusing more on learning about the local history rather than contemplating whether or not to overtake an 11 bus on the King's Road. Then again, the people who helped support and marshalled the Blue Plaque Tours made sure we all felt safe and secure, so a big thank you to them!
If you want to relive the tour with your friends and family, you can download the app here.