Today's cycle turned into a bit of a panic-stricken adventure.
The first five miles was lovely and sedate. The sun was shining. I was wearing shorts and a t-shirt. Everything was right with the world.
Then I arrived at Richmond Park and stopped to take a photograph on my camera phone. But where was my phone? Surely I'd put it in my left-hand pocket? Or did I leave it at home? No, I remember it was in my pocket because I had to put my house keys in my other pocket. A panicked tap down of every pocket on my person then ensued.
My first thought was to simply turn around, retrace my route and scan the road for the phone that had obviously fallen out of my pocket along the way.
But then I figured if it had fallen out it had probably been run over by a car or had bounced into the undergrowth, so rushing back wasn't going to solve anything. I ended up doing a quick scoot around the park (about three miles) before cycling back home following my exact route (instead of doing my usual loop). I thought I had discovered it along the tow path, opposite Chiswick Pier, but when I turned over the black object it turned out to be an ID card holder.
When I got home I decided to call my mobile number using the landline on the off chance that someone might pick up. It rang out. I imagined the phone was probably lying in the bushy undergrowth by the side of the river, where no one would ever hear it. But then the landline rang and it turned out to be a chap called Sam who had found my phone on the cycle path along Priory Lane.
I didn't know it at the time, but he phoned a very old number in my contacts marked "work" in an effort to locate me. He also phoned one of my friends and left a voice message for her to say he'd found a phone and was looking for the owner.
Anyway, to cut a long story short, I arranged to meet him in Barnes. He gave me my phone, I gave him £20 as a token of my appreciation.
He was just a kid really, probably not more than 17 years old, but was very well spoken with impeccable manners. When you hear so much bad stuff about the world and the horrid people in it who do horrid things to other people, it was lovely to meet a good-hearted person who knew the right thing to do and went out of his way to return a phone he'd just happened to find while he was out cycling.
Thank you, Sam, you made my day — and restored my faith in the human race.
Next time I'll remember to keep my pockets zipped up!
Total distance: 18.09miles (29.10km) | Ride time: 1hr 46min and 20sec | Average speed: 10.2mph | Top speed: 20.3mph