England : London Friday Night Ride- A Windsor Wander, 10 July 2020. Ride report.

StuAff

Silencing his legs regularly
Location
Portsmouth
…and we're back. This wasn't the first of the rebooted, regulation-compliant rides (they started at the beginning of the month), but the first overnight one. As @rb58 has posted elsewhere, rides are being posted on the Fridays FB page at the moment- these few rides are a trial to see what works & what's popular before any get put in the club email. Signups are limited to five plus ride leader, so it's a case of get in quick once it's posted. I didn't get in quick enough for this one, but I did get a reserve spot, which turned into an actual spot on Wednesday. Short notice, the usual Charging of the Batteries was somewhat compressed and cut down, but definitely better late than never. This itch needed scratching…

Ever since the job moved to Southampton, the post-work train of choice has involved a seven-and-a-half minute dash to make it. Not last night, there was no 2138 Waterloo service due to the currently reduced timetable. The 2208 was the only option, which at least left plenty of time for changing in an actual changing room, no need to hurry or have all the gear on the bike ready to go. So, train to Eastleigh to get to work (rather shocking lack of mask-wearing by others), the usual drudgery, unusual relaxed post-work routine, uneventful journey up (more mask-wearing on this one). And then, over to (blast from the past!) Wellington Arch and a legally-compliant meeting with ride leader Titus, a select group of mostly usual suspects, plus a first timer, Daniel, who'd apparently been lurking on the mailing list for a couple of years but never managed to make a ride before due to acts of work. @Mr Orange was on his rather splendid Flame Lacquer Brompton, though socks were his favourite colour. Daniel had a rather nice Kona gravel bike, @sagefly was on his Defy, and as for the rest of us: Titanium Bike Club. Like the Brompton club, only bigger, faster, shinier and dirtier. I was on the Litespeed, Titus on his Vaaru, and @lilolee had just got a Planet X Tempest. Looks like a quality bit of kit at a bargain price.

And, just after midnight, off we went. Through Knightsbridge- once Greg had made his way back to the group after deciding to take the other way west- Hammersmith, Sheen, Richmond and Twickenham. With a small group, there was very little waiting and we were (by FNR standards) flying along, even into the headwind, traffic lights the only hindrance. A couple of quick stops for a breather were all we needed. The thirty miles to Windsor were done and dusted before three. Given the lack of overnight retail options at the moment, most of us had brought food, Titus opting for a burger from a kebab shop. We adjourned to the (deserted) central station to eat and rest under cover.

The return leg first took us through Windsor Great Park, with a couple of detours due to closed gates. Lee left us here to make his way home to Maidenhead. On to Egham- we didn't window-shop the Ferrari dealership- Staines, again, Laleham and Shepperton. Most of the remainder of the ride was on the Thames Path, and with extremely variable surfaces, from actual tarmac through very, very mild off-roading to the kind of conditions a wuss like myself hates with a passion, even if the bike was purpose-built for the job. Alongside Walton, Molesey, across the river at Hampton Court, back over at Kingston. Our earlier pace was dropping- mostly my fault, I really don't like off-roading- and the early predictions of being back at six or so were proving over-optimistic. Back we went through Richmond, John peeling off for home, Wandsworth and Battersea, before the final stretch on Millbank and back to Parliament Square just after seven, just over seventy on the clock (Titus made it 73, I had 71 or so from HPC, so I might have missed recording some sections). Here, we parted ways, and my idea of continuing to Guildford didn't meet approval. 'Take the train' they said. But, lack of breakfast notwithstanding, I felt fine and knew I had enough in the tank to get the monthly century done and dusted.

In view of my usual half-lap of Richmond Park to get to Kingston being off-piste (thanks, Royal Parks, for banning cyclists) I had an amended route SW set up on the Garmin. Off and rolling at about 7.15. Back to HPC, down Knightsbridge, then Brompton Road, over Putney Bridge, a short detour/route check due to the traditional Stupid Garmin Direction (telling me to turn when I was on the right track), A3 bike path and then the A308 alongside Richmond Park. Rather less pleasant, rather lumpier than the park, but best option under the circumstances. Successfully navigated the Kingston one-way system for once, then the usual run down the A307 through Thames Ditton and Esher to Cobham. Ockham, a slightly different route than I normally take to Ripley (worked out well though), the A3 bike path (back to being overgrown, and bumpy as ever, but better than than the carriageway…). Back to Guildford station at 10.20- so slow and steady, but I wasn't rushing, even if I had the energy for that. Straight onto the 10.25 train which turned up as I got to the platform, and back home just before noon.

Thanks to my fellow riders, and same again hopefully soon…
 

lilolee

Über Member
Location
Maidenhead
Nice job Stu, good to see after all this time.
 

johnCM

Active Member
Thanks for your company again, everyone. Nice write-up Stu. Big thanks to Ross for leading the ride, and to Tim (and Mrs Tim) for their splendid hospitality at Strood.
 
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