Thursday, September 14, 2017

B Group - 13th September

First a big Happy Birthday to Brian, our Rides Secretary who, although he couldn't be present with us, had laid on the full morning tea and coffee for us, complete with cake.

It was a lovely sunny morning and after doing a short test-ride along the Towpath, I decided that it was worth risking taking B Group that way despite the overnight rain. There were 21 of us, some enticed to come along because I was heading downstream to Mortlake for lunch and this was close to home for them.

It was a pleasure to be cycling by the river on such a glorious morning and although there were some puddles beyond Sunbury Lock, it wasn't that bad, also the wind was behind us!  Mick & Christina, being on road-bikes, opted to take the road to Hampton Court where they joined the group as we crossed over on to the second part of the Towpath to Kingston.  Here we left the river and headed up to the Kingston Gate into Richmond Park.  Again, after the initial 'hill', we had the wind behind us and a very easy ride across on the traffic-free section before turning left and heading to East Sheen Gate.  Back on to roads, it was downhill all the way to the riverside pub, The Ship, at Mortlake for lunch.  The conservatory was set aside for us, with just enough tables to seat the 20 having lunch - several being cosy two-seater tables!  The lone chef did his best with feeding us, though some poor souls did have to wait rather a long time for their pies!

It was 2.30 p.m. by the time we set off, having had the obligatory group photo (thanks, Tim) with our backs to the river, though being low-tide there was no way it could be seen.  The dark clouds we had seen during lunch had disappeared and we set off along the towpath towards Kew, initially in sunshine and slightly fewer in number as one or two had opted out by then.  We crossed the river at Kew Bridge but found out later that we had lost Terry and Vic at this point - we later caught up with Vic at the teastop, Terry had had to go on.  As we pedalled through Brentwood, the clouds had massed again and we caught the first spots of rain.  It continued to rain lightly as we went through Syon Park, to Isleworth, Richmond and then along the alternative river path to Twickenham which offered some shelter due to the overhanging trees.  The rain was now getting heavier as we hurried on to Teddington Lock, across the bridge and dived into Hawker YMCA cafe for tea.  Albeit rather noisy with young children coming for dancing classes, it filled the bill and by the time we all set off for our respective homes, the sun was out again.  Thanks to Terry for back-marking (apologies for losing you!) and to the occasional 'corner' people.  Not a long ride, but, until the rain came, I hope an enjoyable, low key, river & park ride.

~ Gill Finlay

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