I have lots of rides coming up in the next few weeks and I have been conscious that training of any description has been scant and almost non-existent. With London to Cambridge in less than a weeks time I need to start a more regular training programme in addition to my daily commute.
Yesterday was great fun and looking out of my bedroom window this morning it was sunny, almost as if the arrival of British Summer Time was beckoning me to go out for a bicycle ride. I was soon up and obligingly took up the offer. Richmond Park was my destination at a time whe most would surely be still in bed!
Richmond Park is not my favourite locations to cycle. I do prefer Hyde Park and find that there is more to see. Added to this is a certain sentimental fondness of the South Kensington side of the park which was on of my old haunts as a child. I have written before that as fair as training is concerned, Hyde Park is unable to hit the mark.
Richmond Park is frequented by copious amounts of Lycra clad roadies on their hundreds and in some cases thousands of pounds of cutting edge bicycle technology. Cycling clubs can often be seen there, riding swiftly in snaking pelotons in their distinctive club colours. They are there for a reason. Richmond Park provides a demanding ride. There are flats, lengthy gradients and serious inclines that really do test fitness, stamina and to some extent mental strength (especially true ascending the hills). Riding on the flats is one type of cycling but Richmond Park is a step up.
I drove to Richmond and parked in one of the car parks within Richmond Park that are free. I took my Titanium Orange Brompton with me unfolded and headed out. My blog posts are usually punctuated by the odd photo but not today. This morning was not about that. I wanted to complete a few circuits (or as much as I could) without stopping or any trivial distractions. I therefore have no photos at all.
Joining me on this early morning ride were dozens of other cyclists, who like me had managed to negotiate successfully the clock change. Road bikes dominated but I spotted a few mountain bikers and tourists on Boris Bikes. I was the only Brompton.
If you have read yesterdays blog post you will have read me signing the praises of my newly acquired Titanium Orange Brompton. It really is a great little bike. Today for the first time I carried nothing. No tools, Carradice Roll Bag, lights, spare tube or snacks. I only took my iPhone, car key and Garmin Edge 200.
It was perhaps riding the bike in this way that I could truly appreciate the weight reduction. My Titanium Orange Brompton felt like the S2L Raw Lacquer I sold a few weeks ago. The addition of the extra four gears made the sense of agility that bit greater. In short, I am loving this bike! On the flats I managed a top speed of over 26 mph using the 12T cog which I am enjoying greatly. The 12T cog really came into its own coming down the big hill as I managed 37.12 mph before having to slow down for cars.
My assertions in the past that some (and I really do mean some) of the road bike users at Richmond are among the rudest people you could care to meet were again justified. As I was slowing down for the car park I saw a family of three out on various bicycles enjoying Easter Sunday in front of me. A peloton of six roadies tore past me and were only inches away from my shoulder. The girl of about 10 years old, in front with her mum and dad was weaving a little left and right. As the peloton approached, they did not slow down or move over to allow the girl any space. One of their number actually shouted out at the top of his voice, "move!" Totally disgusting in my opinion and certainly backs up my assertion that some and I stress some of the roadies regard anyone not on a road bike as a lesser species.
My stats for today were as follows:
Distance: 8.64 miles
Maximum Speed: 37.12 mph (on the descent).
Average Speed: 15.82 mph
I really enjoyed this morning and it has spurned me on to keep ticking away. I hope that wherever you are you are enjoying the Easter weekend and even if the weather isn't particularly good where you live, try and get out on your bicycle!