Posts Tagged ‘bike ride’

Another ride

Wednesday, July 1st, 2020
Former pub – The Swan, Moor Lane, Staines

Rain began just as I walked out of the door to go on a cycle ride on Tuesday. I’d looked at the weather forecast a few minutes earlier and it had looked as if I might manage my ten miles of exercise before it started, but it had come earlier. I could ride in the rain, but as it was forecast to set in for several hours and get heavier I turned around and came back inside. Perhaps, I thought, it would be better to ride in the afternoon.

Signs used for target practice

It’s a while since I wrote about my cycle rides, perhaps because they are not very exciting. I’ve settled into a pattern, riding – weather and other commitments permitting – five days a week, Monday to Friday, along nine different routes in turn, all around ten miles. Saturdays I rest and Sundays usually walk with my wife for an hour or two. There is some overlap between the routes, with only a choice of two ways I leave home and relatively few ways to escape the immediate area, but the routes provide some variety.

Wraysbury River – a distributary of the Colne

Working out and riding these routes has taken me to a few parts of the local area I’ve never visited before, or at least not for many years. I’ve lived most of my life around here, and in my young days when not at school lived most of the time on a bike, either with friends or on my own. Things have of course changed a little since the 1950s, particularly around Heathrow and with the building of the M25, M3 and M4 in the area.

Wraysbury River, M25 and Wraysbury Reservoir

When I started riding for exercise back in March it was rather more like the old days so far as traffic was concerned, with few cars and lorries on most streets. Now traffic has returned to pre-virus levels and although most of my routes are mainly along minor roads, cycling has become rather less pleasant, though fortunately most of the routes involve some traffic-free sections. But if we want more people to take to bikes we need more and better cycle routes and a considerable driver education programme about safe passing distances.

Another ‘The Swan’ in Stanwell

I’m finding cycling ten miles has become less exhausting over the months, mainly I think because my breathing has improved. I still have a bit of a problem with hills, but last time I got up the only long hill on all these routes with only one stop to wait until I stopped gasping – and that quite close to the top. I’m no longer finding railway and motorway bridges – the main hills on most of my routes – so much of a challenge.

Duke of Northumberland’s River and Heathrow Perimeter road

The pictures with this post are all from a ride I made on 5th June, going north from Staines and a little along the south side of Heathrow before returning. Part of it is along one of the country lanes I often rode around 60 years ago, but is now a series of dead ends and short sections with some heavy traffic. It used to be a quiet route from Bedfont to Datchet and Windsor. In earlier years my father would ride along it before turning north through the orchards to the pleasant hamlet of Heathrow, now the site of Terminals 1,2 and 3.

Swans on nest, Longford River, Stanwell

Both rivers have been diverted for the airport, but here the Longford River (aka Queen’s or Cardinal’s River) still follows its original course, while the Duke of Northumberland’s River used to run around 600 metres to the north. Both are artificial streams cut to take water from the Colne, the Longford in 1638/39 to supply water to Bushy Park and Hampton Court and the Duke of Northumberland’s river around 1530 to provide a consistent power supply for the flour mill at Isleworth.


My London Diary : London Photos : Hull : River Lea/Lee Valley : London’s Industrial Heritage : Flickr

All photographs on this and my other sites, unless otherwise stated, are taken by and copyright of Peter Marshall, and are available for reproduction or can be bought as prints.


Shepperton Ride

Wednesday, June 17th, 2020
River Thames, Church Square, Shepperton

June 4th I took it easy again on my ten-mile ride, forcing myself to stop and take pictures here and there. Of course the stopping and starting does actually add to the amount of energy expended and I find it hard to actually waste the effort I’ve made by braking, so the places I stop are sometimes more determined by where I need to slow down for other reasons.

Laleham

I’d changed my route slightly to go along a little of the River Thames towpath through Laleham village. I don’t like cycling along this bit of the towpath much, partly because its often quite busy with walkers, but mainly because the loose chippings on the actual path are a nuisance. Years ago, as a teacher hurrying along here on my way to an early morning in-service training meeting at the Runnymede Centre in Chertsey a stone flew up and into my chain, snapping the fairly chunky aluminium arm of my Campagnolo rear derailleur. I couldn’t ride the bike but rushed home pushing it, and picked up my wife’s bike to ride to the session. Fortunately I’d left home early to enjoy the bike ride, and ended up only a few minutes late. But I had to buy a new derailleur, opting for a rather cheaper model that seemed to work just as well.

This time I took the path in a leisurely fashion, keeping as far as possible to a narrow hardened mud area to one side of the chippings to arrive at the parking area where I stopped to take a photograph before proceeding.

One of many unfilled gravel pits in Spelthorne
Chertsey Lock and Chertsey Bridge

The narrow path soon becomes a metalled road, which would provide a pleasant ride beside the river to Chertsey Lock and Chertsey Bridge, though marred by the traffic humps and the occasional rather dangerous pothole.

The house where Zane died

Just before the bridge is the house where during the 2014 floods a tragic release from landfill of deadly hydrogen cyanide killed a seven-year-old and paralysed his father. Zane Gbangbola’s parents have continued the campaign to get the truth about the incident since.

Chertsey Lock

At the bridge I turned left towards Shepperton, along a busier road with a road surface curiously resistant to bicycle tires.

House, Dockett Eddy Lane
Pharoah’s Island can only be accessed by boat
Shepperton Ferry – not currently operating.

It was a pleasure to turn off down Docket Eddy Lane which leads back down to the river, and past the houses on the riverside and on Pharoah’s Island to Shepperton Lock and the ferry.

I turned off the route into Church Square and went down to the garden by the riverside, to find a pair of fancy ducks with a small group of chicks. I switched to my longer lens so as not to disturb them while taking pictures.

Back on my bike I rode up Shepperton High St, turning left at the top to go over the M3. It’s always just a little of a struggle up this bridge, perhaps because its usually against the wind and very open, but there is a long downhill stretch after it, with little need to pedal until just before the next traffic lights. I kept on and was soon cycling through Laleham on the road and up towards Staines, over some more resistant road surface and some really poor cracks and holes at the roundabout by the pub I still think of as the Lucan Arms, though it has changed its name several times since Lord Lucan went missing. Nowadays he could easily disappear through a Surrey pothole.


My London Diary : London Photos : Hull : River Lea/Lee Valley : London’s Industrial Heritage : Flickr

All photographs on this and my other sites, unless otherwise stated, are taken by and copyright of Peter Marshall, and are available for reproduction or can be bought as prints.