First ride of the year

River-January

The first (much delayed) ride of 2012 yesterday and it was glorious.

While the blue sky quickly vanished before I'd even cycled a mile, it was still pleasant being in the great outdoors. And cycling by the river, its mercurial surface lit up like diamonds, was such a treat, especially with the smell of warm malt from Fuller's Brewery in the air.

The only downside was the maniacal vehicular traffic through Barnes town centre — it was lunch-time after all — as cars pulled in and out of parking bays, or made turns without using indicators, but once in Richmond Park it was all behind me.

The park was very quiet — and devoid of colour. The trees have all finally lost their leaves and all the lush, green bracken fern has died off into withered clumps of brown or sepia-toned detritus. This makes the Tamsin trail feel more open, more exposed.

The highlight of my trundle was seeing a huge herd of deer, some of which were engaged in antler-to-antler combat, gathered near Martin's Pond. I witnessed one stag chase a female deer across the road and when others looked to follow suit I made my escape as quickly as I could, lest I get flattened. They are absolutely beautiful creatures, but you wouldn't want to get on the wrong side of one, as it were.

Total distance: 15.47miles (24.87km) | Ride time: 1hr 29min and 49sec | Average speed: 10.3mph | Top speed: 19.6mph

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