There's been so little rain in these parts recently that authorities reckon we're in the grips of a drought. Apparently it's been the driest March and April in decades.
Not that I've been in London much during those months, because I went to Ireland twice, then headed to the UAE for two weeks. When I did manage the odd cycle in between overseas trips the weather was very pleasant.
Apart from the odd bit of wind, the conditions have been pretty much perfect for cycling — and no more so than on my last two outings.
After spending most of February trundling along a wind-swept, muddy Thames Path how lovely it is at the moment to swish through a leafy tunnel of greenery, so thick you can barely see the river it runs alongside.
I've learnt, however, that the insects — small flying midge-like things — love this greenery too. I might be vegetarian, but I've accidentally eaten my fair share of these creatures — and I even had one fly into my eye and refuse to leave on Friday. From now on, I'll be wearing sunglasses and keeping my mouth firmly closed!
Richmond Park is looking particularly stunning at the moment. The unmown fields seem to have erupted into a sea of bracken fern, all fresh and green and lovely, where previously it was barren and brown.
I've been fortunate to spy a few animals on my journeys too — and I'm not talking about the lycra louts!
Seeing cattle grazing in suburban London seems a bit surreal, but there you have it. These ones looked quite content, munching on lush grass in fields beneath Richmond Hill's Royal Star and Garter Home.
And today I stopped to admire this deer grazing by the Tamsin Trail in Richmond Park. I was wary of him bolting across the path to join two females on the other side of the track. We nervously eyed each other for a few moments, before he decided to trot past me very quickly. Phew. Beautiful creatures, but you wouldn't want to go head-to-head with one.
Stats for Friday's ride:
Total distance: 20miles (32.18km) | Ride time: 1hr 51min and 07sec | Average speed: 10.8mph | Top speed: 20.4mph
Stats for today's ride:
Total distance: 17.47miles (28.10km) | Ride time: 1hr 41min and 53sec | Average speed: 10.2mph | Top speed: 21.6mph