An Easter Saturday trek to Richmond Park

Sky

Is there anything more life-affirming than riding your bike in the early hours through scenery like this?

Deer

There was a light mist sitting in the valley and the only sound to be
heard was the occasional lowing of the fallow deer and the quacking of
the odd (unseen) duck or two.

It was a little after 8am when I took these photographs. I’d cycled four miles to get to Richmond Park through strangely deserted streets — I rather suspect most "normal" people were still tucked up in bed when I was getting on board my bike. God knows what was going on in my head at the time: I’m not normally a morning person and like to use my weekends to catch up on sleep. But when I woke up early this morning and saw the gorgeous dawn I decided I should make the most of it.

Richmond Park seemed the obvious place to visit. Not only is it relatively close by, once you get there the cycling conditions are superb: an undulating seven mile circuit through a mix of terrains and picturesque scenery.

I find it difficult to believe that a park of this size — 2,500 acres — is located in an urban metropolis such as London. There are deer frolicking everywhere, fields of heather and the most amazing trees you’ve ever seen.

The last time I cycled here was more than 12 months ago. I had my old bike and I struggled to make it up some of the hills.

Today’s cycle was so much better. Having 24 gears at my disposal meant I could actually clamber up the hills slowly but surely — although my poor legs were burning with the effort and I largely suspect that tomorrow I’m going to be riddled with aches and pains in my calves and thighs.

Hill

There were a lot of Lycra-clad boy racers out and about. Of course they all whizzed past me at outrageous speeds, but one or two actually greeted me with cheery good mornings, which was nice. Never say that cyclists are not a friendly bunch!

By the time I’d done the circuit and pottered around taking pictures, the traffic in the park — of both the motorised and two-wheeled kind — was definitely on the increase. I exited Roehampton Gate at a little after 9am and I was back at home, after a short but much needed diversion to my local French patisserie to stock up on pastries, at around 9.30am.

Total distance: 15.96 miles, including a diversion to my post office and a French bakery.
Ride time: 1 hour and 28 minutes.
Average speed: 11.34 mph
Top speed: 21.3 mph (in a 20 mph zone!)

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9 thoughts on “An Easter Saturday trek to Richmond Park

  1. Those photos are awesome. That first photo doesn’t look real! I’m glad you actually got out of bed so early on a Saturday morning for a bike ride. Beats lying in bed…

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  2. Great photos. Richmond Park can appear almost magical first thing. I’ve started to love getting in before the morning mist lifs. The space seems so removed from the urban areas surrounding it.

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  3. Melody, thanks. I even got up early yesterday (Easter Sunday) to go on another ride. Think there must be something wrong with me…
    Adrian, it’s quite hard to believe there is so much open space in London. I need to make more use of it, I think.
    Treadly, sorry about that. 😉

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  4. I’ve been meaning to do just that for a few days now (never cycled there before), and I think those pictures have pushed me over the edge. 7am, here I come!

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  5. Nick, you must do it! The park doesn’t open until 7am so don’t turn up too early!
    Warren, it is a gorgeous park whatever time of day you visit, but it does have a special magical quality first thing in the morning.

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