Blast around one of London's last great wildernesses: Richmond Park. With a well-deserved reputation as a cycling mecca, it doesn’t disappoint. If you're over in West London already, it's surely the best cycle route London has to offer.
However you choose to get over to Richmond Park, you can be sure that the destination really is the best part of the journey! Last time one of the Beeline team did this, they saw plenty of deer and parakeets! They went anticlockwise round the park to get the most downhill out of the undulating outer loop. If you’re into the more punishing cycling, go clockwise and question your choices in life while riding up the hills...
Leg I: Chiswick to Richmond
Peaceful paths for pottering
Wherever you are coming from, it is possible to arrive in Richmond along the towpath: just get yourself on to the Thames...and follow it. If you get out of bed early enough, the towpath is completely deserted If you're riding at the weekend you may need to get onto the road as you approach Richmond to avoid the huge crowds that congregate around the bridge.
Leg II: Richmond Park
Beautiful beasts and very nice views
The Tamsin Trail is a loop around the outside of the park, so you can enter through any of the gates and join it. The trail isn't very well marked but if you look for a gravelly trail along the outer boundary wall you have probably found it.
The first thing you'll pass if you start at Richmond Gate is Pembroke Lodge. It's a beautiful Georgian Mansion that is fancy enough to host lots of weddings but that will also serve you a cup of tea or coffee on the back terrace if that's what you're after. Stop here (or at the food kiosk outside) and enjoy the views from King Henry's Mound with a cup of liquid energy.
Hop out of the saddle and have a wander around the adjoining gardens too. There are plenty of beautiful flowers to admire.
Continue onwards on the trail and keep and eye out for wildlife. Posters dotted around the park will help you to identify what you see. If you don't see the parakeets you will definitely hear them! There are all sorts of rumours flying around about how these exotic birds invaded West London but our favourite is that a pair escaped from a film set, went forth and multiplied.
The deer spend most of their time grazing, but at certain times of year you'll probably catch the stags duelling too. In any case, it must be pretty dreamy to roam around such a beautiful place eating all day.
Keep cycling round and at about the halfway point you'll come across a cafe, next to Roehampton Gate, called Colicci's. This outpost of the ice cream chain has enough delicious treats to put you into a food coma too - and is a big favourite with the cycling community. A couple of the car parks also have periodic bacon butty vans if that is more up your street.
Probably one of the best things about the Tamsin Trail, though, is how quiet it is. Go on a weekday evening, or early at the weekend and you'll have endless paths to yourself (almost).
So there you have it! Cycling solace within the M25 is right here under our noses. A short enough ride for de-stressing before or after work...and if we fancy a longer ride we can go round more than twice or more. What are you waiting for? On yer bike!
If you give the Tamsin Trail a go we'd love to hear how you find it. Please send us your stories at firstname.lastname@example.org, or post your pictures with @ridebeeline #ridebeeline
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