We are still used to the summer and the day felt cold enough to make you think twice about going out, but it was Beddington Park Saturday and Colin could not take charge; we had promised to take his place.
We had reconnoitred one of the original Quemby routes (#2) the previous day; paths rarely ridden in recent times. Roy and John, Anna and Roger, Paul and Maggie; six of us turned up and after passing through the young lads doing their wheelies we cycled downstream on the Wandle Path. This is familiar but today it raised the spirits. Jays, the clear, racing water of the river, the wet, golden leaves (take care!), and the beauty of a cold, autumnal day in brilliant sunshine. We shared the pavement for a short while with the men and boys walking to their football at Tooting and Mitcham. At Ravensbury Park we began the lesser pedalled route, crossing Saint Helier Avenue, Central Road and the London Road and entering Morden Park by Links Lane on its North Eastern corner to take the narrow, fenced track which we have not ridden before and which comes out at Lower Morden Lane, a few yards from the garden centre there. The tarmac of the path has deteriorated, the carpet of leaves was deep pile and the low winter sun was bright in our eyes (a problem we had not experienced during the drizzly recce!), it needed a couple of gears below what you would expect.
Merely a pleasant saunter in the fresh air, perfect for Roy, who was feeling just a tad below his best, and for John, recovering from his cataract operation, yet we all really enjoyed it, rediscovering an old route. And who should we meet at tea but Shirley, Richard and Lynda, enjoying their own afternoon.
Homewards as the sun went down and the chill wind began to set about our fingers and our faces. We split up at Angel Bridge and Maggie and I rode home through a quintessential late South London autumn Saturday, the cheers as Carshalton Athletic scored a goal coming to us over the houses. Home to a change of warm clothes, a mug of tea and a buttery crumpet; what more can you ask of a Saturday afternoon?