When I got the invite to see Team GB cyclist Lizzie Armitstead cycling at Hamleys to promote the official London 2012 toy range, my first impression was that she was going to be doing wheelies around the toy store.
‘This I have to see,’ I thought, accepting immediately. Somewhat disappointingly, the only cycling she did was on a stationary bike that was set up to power an Olympic train set.
It was fun though and I had a go on the bike myself, in what turned out to be a fairly action-packed morning.
The boys and I were picked up by official London 2012 Taxi no.1 ‘Rhythmic Gymnastics’, in hot pink.
Cabbie Steve (he’s on You Tube) regaled us with tales of how the public react to his ride.
‘I’m often asked if this is a taxi for homosexuals,’ Steve said, with a chuckle.
The boys gave his car the thumbs up and they were ‘tickled pink’ when Steve presented them each with a taxi of their own.
He dropped us off outside Hamleys where the window displayed an almost life-size model of an Olympic taxi along with other samples from the Hornby Olympic range.
Destination 2012 is a collection of 40 London 2012 inspired, 1:64 scale, die-cast taxis each representing a different Olympic or Paralympic sport. The Hornby 2012 range also features Great British Classics, a collection of 5 classic Brit vehicles, along with super cool GB racers, train sets, velodrome cycling set, commemorative 50p coins, and figurines of Wenlock, the Olympic mascot.
I have to say they’ve done a sterling job with these 2012 souvenirs and I expect people of all ages will go crazy for them as excitement for the Olympics reaches fever pitch.
Inside Hamleys, Jed got to cuddle Wenlock and pose with Lizzie Armitstead while Ezra was busy ‘window shopping’.
I had a sit down with Lizzie who told me how she was preparing for the big year ahead:
‘One of the highlights of preparing for 2012 is getting to do stuff like this. As a female athlete you don’t get many promotional opportunities but it seems I’m in the right place at the right time.
‘The cyclists in Beijing were so successful that there’s a lot of pressure. It’s like if we’re not winning gold every time, we’ve failed.
‘The media does create this atmosphere where they like to build you up and knock you down. I think everyone will be too focused by 2012 to worry about any of that.
‘For me, it’s not about the fame or the accolades. I’m cycling for myself.’
Catch more of my interview with Lizzie and our day at Hamleys on our upcoming Video Blog!
**PS Thanks to Hamleys and Hornby for the goody bags containing 2012 taxis, Concordes and commemorative 50p coins.