I rose early and whipping back the curtain much to the disgust of Mrs Orange I could see that it was in fact a rather lovely morning. Cobalt blue sky a a few wispy clouds greeted me and I had the feeling that the weather app 'yr no' might just be right.
I headed for Richmond railway station, having to endure public transport. Luckily it was an uneventful train journey and arriving in good time I saw the familiar sight of Brompton bicycles in what can only be described as the half cocked, ready for action position.
Saying hello to the assembled, I saw many familiar faces and a few newer ones. It was great to see Anne and David again and lovely to see Mick and his wife Kate. It was also great to see new face Ken who is from America. He has lived in London for a couple of years and this was his first time on an LBC ride.
With our leader for the ride Andy ready and eager to go we set off. My hints to have a slight diversion up Nightingale Lane for warm-up purposes didn't materialise unfortunately. Perhaps next time?
|Ready for the off|
|Peter from the Tweed Run read too|
Heading off from Richmond, the start point for so many rides with the sky so clear and the sun shining my mind wandered off to some of the rides we have planned for the coming weeks.
A small alley lined with shops caught our attention and a specialist chocolate shop caused many to sniff the air to try and savour any vapour that might have come from within!
|Some rather lovely shops|
|A war memorial in the middle of a temporary near-lake|
At Teddington we crossed the bridge and took in the views it offered. This brought back memories of me and my riding Partner Andrew trying to find Richmond Park for a training session and ending up crossing this bridge!
On the street just at the other side of the bridge we saw a wall, still damp from where the Thames had spilled over from its banks. I wouldn't like to have parked my car there!
|You can just make out the water mark|
This ride was a fairly tame affair. It was not a huge distance and the pace was very easy but as I cycled along I was loving it all. There was always something of interest and it meant that you could have a chat along the way.
I could not help but take a picture of Mick's cycling helmet with the number 7 still on the back - his number for the Brompton World Championships back in 2012. I was trying to convince him to enter this year and will possibly enlist the help of others. It wouldn't be the same without him!
Mick and Miranda took every opportunity to cycling through puddles. The one below was tackled with enthusiasm by Mick with legs outstretched he resembled a child from a bygone era.
I decided to take my Original Orange Brompton with me on this ride, with my Titanium Orange Brompton staying at home. It of course had nothing to do with the fact that it might get a little dirty!!
Tony was amused at the quantity of photographs I took of my beloved Brompton. In my book you can not have enough!
At one point we made a short walk to a secret garden with marble statues aplenty. Our leader for this ride Andy, is better than any internet search engine for his knowledge of interesting highlights along the rides he is in charge of.
A coupe of stone blocks were too good an opportunity to miss and after I have down this a few others do the same.
Nearing Kingston we encountered more puddles to keep Mick happy. We debated about whether to stop here for luncheon but decided to press on to Hampton Court.
Eventually we made it to Hampton Court and decided to get that all important group shot - one of many throughout the ride.
I do love Hampton Court Palace. I am actually a frequent visitor can often be found there with Mrs Orange and my daughters on a Sunday. One thing I notice that was rather dramatic was the height of the river at the two locations you can get a boat to take you to Kingston and back again. The picture below shows the gangway leading to where one waits for a boat but now totally submerged. The other side of the river wasn't much better.
|A very high River Thames!|
At Hampton Court we had a lovely light luncheon and said goodbye to Ken. Hopefully we will see him on future rides. Travelling through Bushy Park brought memories of Box Hill back. In fact David planned to pencil day ride to Box Hill for the summer.
The deer at Bushy Park are fairly tame and used to people. I got as close as I dared to a stag. If it had of charged I would have surely showed myself up and ran. Thankfully, it possibly sensed this and settled for a penetrating stare.
Bushy Park was also the location for Tony to suffer a front wheel puncture. At hearing this Mick was in his element and gave a masterclass - using the new Brompton Toolkit - in how to rapidly repair a puncture.
Upon inspection it appeared as if Tony's tyre had a small particle of flint that caused the puncture. The topic then turned to the best tyre.
Mick's pump was deemed not up to the job and Miranda produced a metal number which seemed to be rather good.
Back on the open road we headed for Richmond to complete our loop. As soon as we reached the point we met up at in Richmond all those hours ago, it started to rain. What perfect timing on Andy's part!
|The ever happy Mick|
It was lovely to meet up with everyone and Andy needs thanking for a great route and for leading the ride.
Below you can view my Garmin data. It is incomplete as when I got to Hampton Court I turned it off and forget to get it going again. In all I think I probably did over 30 miles if you include cycling to and from the ride.
Map and ride data
I also recorded a little video footage so look out for a short and quite terrible little effort in this regard in the near future.