Five riders met at Cheam Station Southside at 09:00hrs, Dave Rapson, Tracy Caudle, Trevor Kite, Dave Clarke and myself leading. Dave Clarke had informed the group he would be ten minutes late due to a puncture. We decided to give him the ten minutes he needed due to the 18MPH wind from the west. Our secondary meeting point was in Carshalton and so a tail wind would make the time up. We made the time up easily and arrived ahead of 09:30hrs taking only some fifteen minutes to get to the ponds in Carshalton where Adam Domaingue and Mick Curtis were waiting to join the group.
The route followed the Wandle River Trail through Morden, Collier’s Wood and out into Earlsfield where we took residential roads up to Wimbledon Park. After crossing the park we climbed up Queensmere Road, one of the many hill roads seen in the background on the TV during the Wimbledon Tennis Tournament. At the top we crossed Parkside and onto Wimbledon Common. Minutes later we found ourselves at the elevenses stop at The Windmill Tea Rooms. The site is currently set up as an outdoor eating venue due to the Covid gig, and so tea and a pasty was a popular choice by the group.
Our route back had us heading south west, descending past the Queensmere pond and using a bridleway that brings us out onto the side of the A3 at the Robin Hood Gate, Richmond Park. After waiting an eternity at two A3 ‘Toucan’ crossing points (@ 3 minutes each!) we finally entered the park. Most of the park is still closed to vehicular traffic at the moment, and so the roads are pleasantly quiet with only walkers and cyclists using them. Alas the 18MPH wind made itself known as we climbed up and over the park as it had become a head wind all the way! We punched our way through the headwind and soon found ourselves at Petersham Gate near Richmond. At this point there was a momentary few hundred yards of busy road before we turned right into the National Trust’s Ham House Estate bridleways. This led onto Ham Lands North bridleways. These are new pieces of bridleway route at this point for me having only recently looked at the O/S maps for route alternatives to the Thames Tow Path which is extremely busy at weekends. I made sure I made mental record for myself so the route could be used again. The new route exploring worked out perfectly bringing us neatly out onto the Thames Tow Path just north of Teddington Lock.
The rest of the route back was the regular one up to Kingston on the Tow Path and back along the Hogsmill River to Cheam via a few ‘back and forth’ off road track routes to add a little variety to a route we’ve used rather a lot recently.
Good ride lady and gentlemen, for me thirty miles, although stroppy Strava begs to differ or turn off when commanded sometimes. Today was a sixty mile ride and top speed 66mph showing, and I also have hundreds of personal bests! 👍🤣👍