First ride of June

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The weather has been so wet and miserable in recent weeks that I haven't even thought about cycling much less braved the great British outdoors. Plus, I've been extraordinarily busy — office-based freelance shifts during the day, home-based editing or social events in the evening — that I'm not sure I could have fitted in any cycling anyway. If that sounds like an excuse… well… you're probably right.

Anyway, I had a free day today and after sorting out some admin (issuing invoices and chasing others), I decided I'd go for a trundle to Richmond Park before it rained.

The weather conditions were very mixed. I wore longs and a t-shirt with my cycling jacket on top, so not exactly summer attire.

The sun would come out for a while, then disappear behind a bank of heavy grey cloud, only to re-emerge about 10 minutes later. It kept doing this for about two-thirds of my journey, before it just went dark and grey.

As soon as I hit Richmond Park, it was like entering a giant humidifier. The overly-long grass is holding so much water from a fortnight of ceaseless rain that you could practically see the steam rising off the fields as they baked in the sun. But once I got going around my usual route, it felt quite coolish in the shade of the trees.

Some things to note:

  • Lots of birdlife around today, including the heron pictured above
  • Lots of skittish bambi-like deer near Cycle Route 4
  • Saw a cute little puppy while I was having a rest by a pond — he bounded up to me, sniffed my bike wheels and let me have a little pat. His owner kept calling him in a rather high-pitched voice. The dog's name was Ozzie.
  • Nearly got squished by a London bus, driven by an impatient arrogant driver, as I cycled back over Hammersmith Bridge. Cycling over that bridge is dangerous at the best of times, so I try to take the lane, rather than get pushed off the road onto the pillars (which is what happened to a cyclist recently), and cycle very fast (I can do 18mph when I put my all in to it). And yet this bus driver thought he could overtake me by giving me about two inches of space. It's times like these I wish I had a video camera on my helmet to record registration numbers etc.

After so much time out of the saddle, I admit that cycling felt a bit too much like hard work today — but I enjoyed getting out and about. I think my bike computer struggled with the return to work as well, because part-way through my cycle it decided to stop recording my speed or distance. The figures below are guestimates of what I think I did.

Total distance: 15.55miles (25.10km) | Ride time: 1hr 28min and 59sec | Average speed: 9.6mph | Top speed: 21.5mph

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