Five riders met at 09:00hrs outside Cheam Station Southside. It was a day of complete contrast to the previous Saturday’s ride, the heatwave having broken on Thursday last. The weather was now warm, humid, overcast and drizzling. Indeed I had debated cancelling the ride after the local weather report text from Mick Curtis earlier on, but decided to take a chance on it. Mick very wisely played it safe and stayed at home.
So Dave Rapson, Dave Clarke, Sean Slammon, Adam Domaingue, with myself leading, started off enthusiastically in the humid drizzle. I however wasn’t feeling the same amount of enthusiasm as they were, but was hoping that somewhere along the road I would be removing my waterproof!
Our route took us out along the Hogsmill River, Chessington South, Barwell Lane and out to Claygate Common. Hardly a soul was seen due to the dull overcast and drizzly conditions, but a Claygate Common we must’ve come out from under a cloud and the drizzle stopped. Immediately my waterproof was stowed away with hopes of not using it again this ride. We traversed the burbs of Claygate and descended onto Arbrook Common then Esher Common, Thames Ditton and popped out onto the Thames Tow Path around a mile east of the ‘Wild Brunch’ cafe at Walton Bridge. Still social distancing, this cafe has plenty of outdoor seating and bike parking and so has become one of a handful of stops we are able to currently use easily.
It remained overcast as we sat out enjoying elevenses and just for a moment I thought the rain had started as I could hear light tapping on the fibreglass awning. Much to my relief it was a pigeon walking and scratching above, and so the waterproof thankfully stayed stowed!
Our route back took us north of the Thames as it is less busy at the weekend than the Tow Path. We passed through Kempton, Hampton, Bushey Park and crossed back over the Thames at Kingston. After that we followed the Hogsmill River back to Nonsuch Park and into Cheam where everyone split up for home.
The rain started, as it often does just as I got back to the car. Not all weather gambles pay off, but I think I can say we got away with it for the most part on this ride.
Good ride chaps, my distance 31.4 miles.