It's been almost four weeks since I last got on my bike. That's the problem when you fall out of a habit; it's so hard to get back into it again.
But with the sun shining, a sense of spring in the air and a free morning to myself I thought it was now or never to get back into the swing of things.
I dragged my poor old neglected bike out of storage, checked the tyres and brakes, and then headed to my old haunt — Richmond Park. I went via the Thames Tow Path (see above), cycling through Barnes, Kew and Richmond, before turning off at Ham House and making my way to the park via Ham Gate.
The tow path was rock hard the entire way — I had expected it to be very muddy (as it was this time last year) — and it was only slightly slippery near Petersham Meadows where the Thames floods regularly.
Near Ham House I stopped to admire this horse, which was right up against the fence and patient enough to let me give his nose a rub!
When I got my phone out of my pocket to take his photograph he got a little bit excited — I suspect he thought I was going to give him something to eat. I felt bad to disappoint him.
And then, just near Ham Gate, I spotted this hilarious road sign. (I showed it to my Other Half this evening and he thought it was taken in Queensland!)
I went looking for a volunteer to talk to (to find out more about the toads), but couldn't see anyone around, so I suspect they only patrol the road at night when the creatures are on the move!
Once in the park I headed straight through the middle, along National Route 4, and stopped for a coffee and a muffin at the little van at Pen Ponds carpark, before exiting via Roehampton Gate and making my way back home on the roads through Barnes and Hammersmith.