As I lost my way home once again while cycling in the rain a couple of days ago I came across Downhill's Park in West Green. Right opposite this park I noticed another, the Lordship Recreation Ground. I couldn't explore them as the rain was getting heavier and any further detour would have disorientated my already muddled mental compass no end.
|Thomas taking a break by the stream|
I realised that I hadn't noticed the number of parks in London until I started cycling. Naturally, it is impossible to notice parks when travelling by tube and the best way to get through the ordeal of crowded London bus travel is by burying one's head in a book or newspaper and being oblivious to all around you. But for the novice cyclist travelling at snail's pace, it's vital to be aware of one's surroundings. So you do get to notice things that once were just a blur from the corner of your eyes.
Anyway, I finally determined my route home by following a bus route I recognised and once home contacted my mate Thomas to plan an expeditionary cycling trip to these parks. Our research into Downhill's Park and the Lordship Recreation Ground turned up some interesting features, notably the Lordship Loop, a long 'pump track' style trail covering a looped distance of 391 metres and designed as a single track experience made up of rollers, berms, step up jumps and the like for riders of all abilities.
|Island in the stream, Downhill's Park|
So we set off for West Green at about 8:00 this morning. The journey was quite uneventful but for the inevitable misdirections from Thomas' GPS. But with the sun shining and a moderate breeze we enjoyed a pleasant ride to our destination.
Unfortunately, there was a lot of building work at the Lordship Ground so most of the park was cordoned off. We cycled around the park trails and made our way to Downhill's Park. It's a very well maintained park featuring, I understand, award winning flora I didn't really have a good look at. After cycling around the park we made our way home. This journey would have been perfect but for sudden winds that threatened blow us off our bikes.
|Downhill's Park, picnic area|
|Another break, picnic area, Downhill's Park|
My round trip this morning was 12.68 miles at an average speed of 7mph and a maximum speed of 20mph (rolling downhill, no doubt!) over 1 hour and 50 minutes. I don't think those statistics merit my promoting myself from novice to beginner yet!
More pictures and clips at Thomas's site: http://www.kenga.co.uk/pages/bike_ride3.htm