Four riders met at Nonsuch Mansion at 09:15hrs, Mick Curtis, Trevor Hughes, Gareth Moss and myself leading.
The ride out to Kingston was to be the usual route along the Hogsmill River. Today, although cold, was lovely and sunny with blue skies. My enthusiasm was improving as it normally does when the sun is out, for me probably the first time I’ve cycled in such bright weather this year!
All was well for the first two miles until Trevor’s rear tyre went down. He pumped it up in the hope the self-sealing inner tube would do just that. It seemed to work and we carried on following the Hogsmill until just outside Tolworth when it stubbornly went flat again. Trevor admitted defeat and changed the tube out. At this point the ‘Inner tube Gremlin’ came out to have a laugh with us. More specifically with Trevor for having a spare tube with too short of a valve stem length that made it impossible to pump up once installed. St Paul came to the rescue with a spare tube with a better 46mm valve stem length for deeper rims.
The delay cost us a lot of time and so with a little recalculation the route was changed to East Molesey Cricket Club, a closer tea stop. Kingston was sunny and busy and so was the Thames Tow Path route I had chosen to take.
Hampton Court Bridge was still in chaos from whatever they’re doing ‘roadwork’s wise’ to the western side pavement and inside lane, so we used the eastern side pavement and Toucan Crossing to get across.
The tailbacks approaching the bridge were around a mile in all directions. Luckily we were now travelling away from the ‘car park’ situation and on turning right arrived at the elevenses stop at the cricket club.
The sun was out, and as expected with our later-than-usual arrival it was packed and staff were working hard for their pay. We refuelled with the usual teas, coffees, bacon rolls and cake and then departed for the return journey.
Our return had us going back into the maelstrom of Hampton Court Bridge’s roadworks, which we negotiated perfectly and then turned into Bushey Park for some peace and quiet. Gareth left us at this point and headed for home in Teddington. This left Trevor, Mick and me to head back to Kingston and retrace most of the route used on the way out. With Trevor’s tyre behaving itself we parted company with Mick at Chessington and rode up through Horton Park to where I was parked and Trevor lives just around the corner.
An eventful ride, just over twenty six miles for me.
MTB rims, beware of valve stems lengths!!