Saturday, 11 April 2020

Riding in Richmond Park, when it's closed to cyclists!

Working for the NHS is finally paying off after 25 years!  The weather has been so so good a lot of us are able to take advantage of it!  I have been into Richmond Park twice using my ID.  They are allowing key workers in with ID and I also have a letter we were given to carry around with me.  It was so peaceful with only a handful of bikes, a few joggers and walkers.

I went through Kingston and not a soul in Kingston Market Place.  Along the River Thames- a few more people there so had to be more careful.  It was along there I saw Mike Barrett.  Past Ham House and into the park.  I was stopped twice for my ID, but I really don't have a problem with that.  It stops everyone else going in!

Take care everyone.  Happy Easter.  Stay safe and stay well.

~Sue Bellamy
Pembroke Lodge car park

Empty road

Relaxed deer

Pen Ponds

Kingston market on Saturday morning

Ham house

Saturday, 4 April 2020

Sue's not "all-day ride" to Chiswick House

Today we should have been going to Chiswick House with Tony for an all day ride. Instead I went in there for my daily exercise, which was only a walk before everyone else decided to go on such a beautiful sunny day.

The playground was empty instead of child shouting and having fun. Squirrels running around the dead tree and spotted my 1st bluebells of the year.

Please stay well and safe everyone. Hope to see you all again soon.

~Sue Bellamy

Friday, 3 April 2020

Exercise in the time of plague

The human mind is a curious place.  Amid the rush and tumble of the everyday grind we might have thought as something approaching paradise a world in which we would have been free for an hour's traffic-free local cycling every day.  Now it is upon us there are days when it seems like a chore!  It's training for nothing in particular; Los Picos is off, Dieppe is extremely unlikely.  Worse, it's riding alone (or just the two of us).  I probably have a reputation for putting my head down as a non-conversationalist but we miss the company very much.  And oh, how important is coffee and cake to turn a day of exercise into a joyous outing!  As Joni Mitchell wrote, "Don't it always seem to go, that you don't know what you've got 'til it's gone". 

We tried cycling East through Croydon and were deeply uncomfortable about the lack of social distancing.  West towards Sutton might be not quite so bad but that is a path well cycled in normal times on our regular visits to Nonsuch Park.  North is the Wandle Trail and that would be unfair to those having a walk as their daily outing.  So South it is, and you can't go South without hills and you can't go too far while keeping within the Cycling UK guidelines of keeping self-sufficient against the prospect of mishap and not using public transport to get home.

Thus we take a daily trip up Farthing Down and then back up the equally inclined Grove Lane to Clock House, through the Woodcote Park Golf Club and through Woodcote Village Green where you can still buy fresh vegetables if you take out a small mortgage, and along Millionaire's Row (Woodcote Lane).

It varies, depending on whether I do a lap or more of Woodcote Green, but last time was 19.10Km with 237m climbing.  It takes a few minutes over the hour but adds up to 95Km a week (we only do five days).  We take energy bars and drinks, of course, and can stop in a deserted place to refuel briefly.

           No Parking by the roadside!  In fairness the sign is difficult to read as you drive past

Paul rides up the furrow we are wearing into the tarmac.

Farthing Down Car Park is never empty, even on rainy days in normal times.  Trouble is, they have also closed the loos.  It's alright for the boys up there, but less so for the girls.

Twice a week I am allowed out by myself so long as I talk to no-one and stop nowhere, and I can push the circuit out a bit without stretching the guidelines too far, because I could call on assistance from home and take the bike back in a car if I had an irreparable mechanical problem.  I can get to Farthing Down over Banstead (the Pine Walk climb) and Holly Lane.  I can return a similar return route using the Rectory Lane climb; this has the advantage over Clock House of avoiding the pedestrian rail bridge and the path near the golf course, on both of which we have had social distancing issues.  Also, instead of coming back down the Down, I can continue past Chaldon Church and up Doctor's Lane to Caterham on the Hill and then whiz down the descent to Coulsdon.  I can vary the route with any combination of these.  All three last week came to 40.8Km with 466m climbing.