The meeting point was outside Kew Gardens and I cycled the almost 7x miles from SW7 to get there. London was again a little busier than it had been of late but still quiet when compared to what I remembered it to be pre 'C' word.
I took my Titanium Orange Brompton while Tom had the newest of his Chpt3 Brompton bikes. There are no photos this this post as Tom is notoriously camera shy and is one of those rare people in 2021 with no online presence. (His real name ins't even Tom, so you get the idea).
We set off in good time and reached Bushy Park quite quickly. There were quite a few people in the park and for one moment I thought there was a 'Park Run' taking place as there seemed to be lots and lots of joggers out and about?
The route was the same one used for previous outings and the fact that there were very few cars made things that bit better. I knew that the route would lead us through the Claygate Badlands and my first worry was whether the Schwalbe One tyres on Tom's Brompton would get through in one piece?
Reaching the entrance to the badlands at the end of a residential street, the road was replaced by a bridal path. The sun was well on its way to setting before be reached this point and entering the Badlands was a little like a clip from 'The Walking Dead.' At any moment I half expected the zombie hoards to surround us and had visions of me partially folding my bike to gain access to my Brompton Toolkit to use as a makeshift weapon! Thankfully, this was not needed but we would be going this way on the return!!
Arriving at the base of Box Hill we took on some water and a few snacks before making our ascent. We cycled up together and reached the top in good time. The ascent of Box Hill is not really too taxing but it is an interesting and lovely climb and well deserving of its 'must do' reputation. The top was total darkness, with only the small pinpricks of light from houses and cars below. There was however lots and lots of cars parked, playing loud music.
Making our way back we passed the 'Smith and Western' pub still sadly closed until a few weeks time when it can open again. If it does I think I will see if some members of the band can join me so that we can cycle there and having something tot eat before returning.
Back at the Claygate Badlands - which I still wasn't looking forward to - we traversed in complete darkness, negotiating large ruts and horse droppings, freshly made! We arrived back at Kew just after midnight, said our goodbyes and went our separate ways.
The Box Hill run is a good one. We clocked up just over 49 miles and with a couple of hundred metres of elevation, it certainly keeps things interesting. In addition to this, once you have ascended Box Hill itself the second half of the ride is almost downhill all the way to Kew Gardens.
Until next time, stay safe out there people.