This week marked the anniversary of me and my girlfriend being together. So what better way to celebrate and go out for a bike ride!
I'd bought her a bike a while back to use in Welwyn but after she rode my Pashley the other day, she enjoyed that and decided that she wanted a sit up and beg bike. With that in mind, we went to Evans two weeks ago and got her sized up before she settled on, and purchased, a Bobbin Brownie
We did a small ride last week to test it out.
This weekend, it was going to be a bit longer. We planned to cycle to Hampton and then perhaps get the train back or see what happened when we got there.
We headed off from Wimbledon towards Hampton. I'd looked up the route before hand but had forgot to bring my GPS with me! The route however, was fairly easy but did have a hill in that couldn't be avoided. Maybe it's a bit soon to be introducing her to hills! Once we dropped down into Kingston, we got a bit lost and ended up at the Guildhall before walking back to the main road. We cycled down past Hampton Court whilst Kingston Regetta was on. We could have stopped to watch but boating isn't much my thing so we carried on to Hampton.
We had a picnic at Hampton Court, sitting on the grass outside. The Carradice Nelson Longflap I'd recently got was a great bag for carrying the picnic and picnic blanket. Plenty of space for carrying everything and when we picked up the picnic food, I was able to put the longer flap over the bag allowing us to make the most of the bag. And I didn't have to carry a backpack with me! There was perhaps some issues with the saddle - I think that perhaps the weight of the bag (under the 10Kg recommended by Carradice for the rack) was pulling the saddle backwards as I had to stop numerous times to readjust the saddle. After a while, I think that I'd not adjusted it properly the first time and that the bag was indeed pulling the saddle backwards and thus raising the nose of the saddle. However, I think that it's sorted now though tomorrow will tell when I use it again.
After lunch, we proceeded to head home but went via Richmond. This meant going back to Kingston and then heading down the Thames Path to Richmond. Passing through Kingston we found three fire engines outside the shopping centre but left - I decided that with the crowds around I'd not add to it and rubber neck (though obviously, I was interested!).
We got into Richmond when by accident, we stumbled across the "infamous" Nightingale Lane that I've seen mentioned on the London Brompton Club so , with Eileen's blessing, I headed up to beat it on the bike and wait for her at the top whilst she walked it up. I was doing well, when, just after the corner a car pulled past me and then promptly stopped near the top, stopping me from progressing! With a loud groan, I ended up pulling up behind her. She then refused to move until I moved in front of her, claiming I was to close to her car!! I made it up the rest of the way but was disappointed. A couple of onlookers cheered me when I got to the top and discussed the woman stopping! Anyhow, I'm sure I'll be back to finish the hill as I'm sure I'd have been able to make it.
We then rode down through Richmond to Roehampton Gate.
A quick break at Roehampton Gate for ice cream and a drink before heading through the park to Stag Gate and to the common, in search of Womble's.
Coming across the common, we were able to drop down through the busy Wimbledon village and back into the main part of Wimbledon. All in all it was a total distance just shy of 40Km and I'm extremely impressed that Eileen made it the whole distance. I expected us to get the train at Richmond or Kingston but she made it and soldiered on, I think things really caught up around Richmond Park and the last slog up Wimbledon Common hill was painful but overall I hope she enjoyed it.