The ride was going to be a fairly tame affair, cycling in and around Windsor Great Park and Virginia Water for 20 miles or so however after my cold at the start of the week that rendered me like a sickly child with a note from Matron, it was probably for the best!
With Andrew behind me we parked up and waited for a few others who we're doing the same. What the locals made of several Brompton bicycles of various hues and several Brompton riders equally as colourful I do not know? Soon Andy, Michael, David and Anne joined us and before long we set off for the meet up point in Windsor.
|The roadie is asking how can he join the club|
|Former station now a shopping centre|
The inside of Windsor Royal Shopping betrays its past use as the main part of Windsor and Eton Central Railway Station. The roof structure is particualrly good and brought back memories of the larger central London stations.
|Waiting for the off|
|How would you like me to pose for the next shot?|
Heading back we again passed part of Windsor Castle. The weather was glorious and it really did make one think that Spring might actually be here.
|A fibreglass model|
Windsor Great Park was very pretty in the glorious weather we were treated to. There were only a few other bikes out there ands the sight of a Brompton peloton must have made an interesting if not unusual sight for a Saturday morning.
At one point, a line of trees running parallel draw ones eye to Windsor Castle in the distance. The Castle has been the second Royal residence since the time of Henry I. It is therefore the longest occupied palace in Europe.
|Windsor Castel in the distance|
Also at this vantage point was a statue of our current Queen. A few people could be seen milling around its base taking the odd photo.
|The photographer changes his film|
Making our way to Virginia Water at the southern edge of Windsor Great Park the views seemed to get better and better.
Interestingly, the entire lake was drained during WWII as it provided an obvious landmark for possible German bombers.
At a certain part around the lake offering superb views we assembled for a photograph of us and our Brompton bicycles. Well, it has to be done!
|Virginia Water Lake|
|The ever stylish Tony|
Not too far after our group photographs, Miranda succumbed to a rear wheel puncture. Luckily we had Michael on the scene who is an expert at Brompton repairs and wheels were rolling pretty quickly.
|Michael tending to a puncture|
With nothing to do I decided to take some more photos of my Original Orange Brompton. I even put forward the suggestion that a nice tartan rug laid down on the ground, flasks of tea and a few cakes should be brought out while this was all going on. Maybe next time?
|A ruddy great totem pole|
|Emm, why are you smiling David?|
|With the Black Riders in pursuit, we don't hang around|
|You shall not pass!!|
|Into Hobbit land|
After being fed and watered we were off again for the last few miles. Thankfully we look a different route back which meant we didn't have to return to Rivendell.
When we reached part of the Long Walk that leads up to the castle it of course provided another photo opportunity. I decided to focus on some portraits.
|The Long Walk leading to Windsor Castle|
|King of the Hill|
|Not more posing!|
|Don't worry...still my official muse|
|The lovely Anne|
Reaching a direction sign that was pointing the wrong way a few decided to put right this wrong by having a go. Unfortunately, a gust of wind brought it back to where it had been!
With the station in our sights we headed in for goodbyes and a few more photos the photographer wanted to take.
This was a thoroughly enjoyable ride. Great company and another interesting route! It is not often you can liken yourself to a Hobbit and travel through strange and mystical lands.
Many thanks to Andy our leader for this ride and to all who came. It really is getting out in a group that makes a ride and it was great to see as always familiar faces and a few new ones.
It has however left me very conscious of the fact that I need to put in some more training, get out onto those hills and put in some miles. Hopefully the weather might ease up to allow this.
Windsor Great Park & Virginia Water map and ride data