Sunday 25 June.
70km, 242 m climbing, 25.1 avg speed.
The night preceding the Sunday ride had been spent enjoying the warm hospitality of Robin and Stine. It was a lovely evening, with a delicious and “on trend” (Tony’s term) dinner and good conversation.
There was big talk that night about the Sunday cycle. Jim and Andy were committed to the LCC ride, but Joe wanted to navigate a separate KRMCC Leith Hill route and many were signed up to the idea.
How does that proverb about ‘good intentions’ go…? Sunday morning was heralded by a flurry of Whatsapp messages. Chris had to spend Sunday packing, Joe had to walk the dog, Stefan was ‘running late’, and Tony was not feeling it. But five of us turned up at HSBC at 8:40: me, Franck, Mick, Mike and Nick B. There was little enthusiasm for a challenging ride, and the only one present who could actually lead a ride was Mick, who settled on the Windsor route.
Or I should say A Windsor route rather than THE Windsor route, because we managed to go there and back without entering Windsor Great Park. In fact, we seemed to doggedly avoid pleasant scenery as we stuck mainly to busy A and B roads, though this was not intentional.
We stopped for coffee at Cinnamon’s, but found that we are no longer welcome to park our bikes along the barriers. As soon as I’d done so, a grumpy old man dressedin a blue boiler suit and carrying a broom came over and barked at me “there’s a bike rack out back”—gesturing toward Cinnamon’s inner courtyard. For those of a certain generation and nationality, he was like a villain out of Scooby Doo (“And I would have gotten away with it too, if it weren’t for you meddling kids!”)
When I hesitated while I waited for the others to arrive, he came back again and growled at me. Mick parked our bikes on the new racks and Nick B found out that part of the agreement for Cinnamon’s keeping their lease involved discouraging cyclists from parking out front.
There was little agreement on which route to take back, so we let Mike lead. Yep, you heard right. He’d said something about Englefield Green and the river, and we were happy to follow. All was going pretty well for a while, and Mike led us to the majestic buildings of Royal Holloway and then the descent of Prune Hill (which would be an interesting ascent). We’d just finished complimenting Mike on his navigating when things went slightly pear shaped.
Approaching a roundabout, Mike did not signal his intentions causing confusion and a near crash (amongst each other) when he ended up almost turning, changing his mind, then going all the way around the roundabout. We stopped for a moment so Mike could work out his bearings, and then re-entered the roundabout. Mike proceeded to go all the way around the roundabout again. Some back tracking was necessary, and we found our way again to the busy A and B roads that would lead us home through Weybridge and Hampton Court.