14 February 2012

A quick off-road spin in Richmond Park

We've been hibernating for a few days in London. The snow has finally made its arrival, and temperatures have dropped below freezing, causing patches of ice on some roads.

On top of that, time is very limited for me due to work commitments. So a quick unplanned mtb ride it was. With Epping being supper muddy, and the North Downs being an unexplored territory for us, Richmond seemed like a sensible idea.

We head to Richmond when all the other plans don't work out. It is easy to get there, nice-ish, and full of other machacas to cheer you up. But this time we took the mtbs rather then the skinny tyres. And what a great decision! Just minutes after we entered the park, we saw a fellow rider badly falling over in a roundabout. His front wheel hit some ice and within milliseconds he was on the floor. Luckily the cars had seen him, so he was fine.

The park was packed with other roadies though. Mtb's were all over the place also, and so we decided to join the trail going anticlockwise. It is about 12 km long, flatter than the road, and with plenty of pedestrians. There is no complicated parts, except that this time there was slush in some sections. When I tried to go find the singletracks (yes, there are some!) I was soon told off by a local...Apparently, bikes destroy the paths, so cyclists are not allowed to go off the trail.
Paths that you're not supposed to cycle on...
Only minutes before we were told off, Lucy had her first and only fall in the park. It was a downhill-ish section, with wet and slippery surfaces. A great combination for some good fun I thought. But I forgot that she's still learning what not to do in those circumstances: pulling the front brake when turning while going downhill. I did not realise, but she fell. Fortunately, a fellow mtber was there and gave her some intructions: put your weight behind the saddle and do not pull the front brake! She made it down the rest of the hill safely. Oh well, we will try again next time?! She seems to have assimilated the rule number 5 because, to my surprise, she did not complain nor shout at me that much...!

Post-fall muddy effects
Apart from those exciting minutes of singletrack, the ride finished smoothly two laps later. At least we managed to put in some kms and spin the legs. We got sooo muddy, which in a way feels good. But not so much when we got home and found out that the hose was completely frozen, so no running water to get rid of the mud!
Lucy's got new freckles!

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