I love this stretch of road, a beautiful leafy arch, near Barnes Common, en-route to Richmond Park. I particularly love it when the sun is beating down and you've built up a sweat cycling 10 or 11 miles, because the shade from the trees is such a relief. Today, I stopped, not only to take this picture, but to soak up the lovely atmosphere and appreciate the drop in temperature.
According to the weather website Metcheck.com, the predicted top temperature was only 23ºC but it felt at least 5ºC warmer than that.
I didn't hit the road until 3.30pm, which is really late for me. It was probably just as well, because there were lots of arrows and signage along my normal route through the back streets of Hammersmith, and then at the other end near Barnes, which suggests there was a big cycle (or maybe run) on earlier in the day to Ham House. And then, once I was in Richmond Park, there were other cycling-related events on (or maybe they were all connected?) that had finished or were winding down. If I'd gone at noon, as I had originally planned, I would have got caught up in all that.
Funnily enough, I don't think I have ever cycled to Richmond Park on a Sunday afternoon before. It felt strangely odd. The park itself was incredibly busy. There were walkers, runners, cyclists, horse-riders, family groups and people pushing push-chairs on all of the paths. And the green open spaces, and even the remote shady places, were dotted with groups, small, large and in-between, having picnics. It makes me appreciate how fortunate I've been over recent months when I've cycled during the week and had the place pretty much to myself.
By contrast the suburban streets I trundle through to get to the park and back were empty. No buses, vans, cars or motorbikes with which to contend. No-one double-parked to block my route. Plenty of other cyclists about though, which is great to see. Cycling as a leisure activity seems to have really taken off!
Total distance: 15.33miles (24.66km) | Ride time: 1hr, 21min and 49sec | Average speed: 11.2mph | Top speed: 20.7mph
For the record, here's my ride stats for Friday's commute:
Total distance: 12.7miles (20.43km) | Ride time: 1hr, 10min and 30sec | Average speed: 10.8mph | Top speed: 19.9mph
UPDATE: Seems my internal thermometer is correct, because the BBC is reporting that today's temperature in London was 29ºC.