My plan to get back into the cycling habit isn't really taking off. I've managed to go on two longish rides — one last Wednesday and one today — so I guess that's better than nothing. But I do think I need to get a bit more serious — and stop looking for excuses not to ride.
Especially when I am so lucky to live within 5 miles of Richmond Park — the best place in London, by far, for leisure cycling. My heart sings every time I trundle through Roehampton Gate and a whole vista of greenery opens up in front of me.
At the moment the place is heaving with baby deer. I spied two little ones peacefully munching on grass underneath the trees near Richmond Gate — right by the shared pedestrian/cycle path.
And prior to this, as I carefully made my way down the steep hill not that far from Bog Gate (yes, delightful name, isn't it?), I spotted a herd of adult deer, including some males with impressive-looking antlers, huddled in the shelter of some low-lying trees.
Last week I actually spied two working shire horses pulling a mower across the open fields near Sheen Gate. I was so intrigued by this blast from the past, I had to look it up online when I got home. Apparently the Royal Parks use six working horses to cut grass during the summer months and chain harrow bridleways — not just in Richmond Park, but Hyde Park and other parks — because it's more environmentally friendly — and much quieter — than using modern fuel-hungry machinery.
Cycle ride made today:
Total distance: 15.55miles (25.10km) | Ride time: 1hr 28min and 59sec | Average speed: 10.5mph | Top speed: 20.8mph
Cycle ride made on Wednesday May 23:
Total distance: 19.78miles (31.82km) | Ride time: 1hr 51min and 28sec | Average speed: 10.6mph | Top speed: 21.2mph