There’s nothing quite like the smells of Spring! Its wonderful to ride through a park or along the road and smell all the flowers and trees coming blooming back to life after the winter. So now that Spring is finally here its time to dust off the bikes and get out there!
In Richmond Borough we have some lovely places to ride, plus plenty more not too far away. Here are some of our favourites!
- Richmond Park – we never ride in Richmond Park without feeling blessed that its on our doorstep. Plenty of off road tracks and tarmac trails. Remember to take a lock if you want to go into Pembroke Lodge – you can’t take your bike inside the grounds but there’s plenty of bike parking outside.
- Thames Towpath – lots of choice here and of course there are some great refreshment stops! Tide Tables and Hollyhock cafe in Richmond are firm favourites – they are owned by the same people and Hollyhock has recently had a face lift. Check out their website. Taking bikes on Hammertons ferry between Ham House and Marble Hill is fun. Loop this together with a ride to Teddington Lock and back on the road – Strawberry Vale has cycle lanes all the way back to Twickenham. Hammerton ferry costs; adults £1, children 50p, bikes 50p, open 10am to 6pm every day but subject to tides and weather – see info here. And of course the ride to Hampton Court Palace can make a lovely day out and easy to come back via Bushy Park.
- The Duke’s River Walk – is a new path from Kneller Gardens in Twickenham following the Duke of Northumberland’s River to the Thames in Isleworth. You can download the route from the FORCE website – you’ll see that the route takes you round the back of Mogden sewage works which on the face of it isn’t that attractive but when we rode it recently we saw four herons! Once in Isleworth you will need to ride back via St Margarets to pick up the Thames path and parhaps stop for a cuppa and a play at Cambridge Gardens.
- Swinley Forest (RE45 7EX) – 24 km of purpose built cycling trails from the 1km green trail for novice riders, through to black technical routes. The 10km blue route is our favourite. There’s also a great play area, cafe and The Look Out Centre on the same site. See trail information here. You’ll need to be able to transport your bikes but its only 30 minutes by car and has hours of cycling fun for a max £4 car park charge.
- Other managed mountain bike trails which are a bit further afield are Alice Holt, south of Farnham in Surrey, and Bedgebury, near Sissinghurst in Kent. Both Forestry Commission owned, Alice Holt is a little more gentle and Bedgebury has some really fun downhills!
Please tell us about your favourite trails and send us some photos if you’re out riding. We’d love to hear from you.