So, having agreed to cycle overnight to Brighton on 3 July (am so excited) Cyclechick and I wisely decided to meet up at Kew and do a circuit of Richmond Park as 'training'. The last time we planned the same outing we ended up watching the cricket on Kew Green from the pub and we both got sunburn and had lots of beer. Oops.
This time I was determined and, although CC tried desperately to keep us in the pub, we had one beer and were off. Now, I had been warned that Richmond Park was 'a bit hilly' but my God, the pain. It was an uphill struggle to get to the park and within a few hundred yards I'd hit nearly 50kph going down the first hill!
Then we went up, then down, then up. There can't have been more than 50 yards of flat terrain. On the worst hill I actually got off and walked for the steepest five yards and thought I was going to die. CC managed to stay on her bike to the top but confessed to feeling like her legs were going to fall off and that she nearly threw up. We weren't the only ones having trouble but I felt it was a bit mean of the guy in yellow to lap us quite so obviously.
On the plus side we whizzed past huge herds of deer, babies and those with antlers, I nearly crashed while squealing 'Look, it's a bunny!' as one hopped gaily around and, as you're relatively quiet on a bike, nothing runs away at your approach like they would with a car.
We then cycled back to Kew for pizza before heading home. CC is an hour from Kew and had to cycle in this morning so sensibly took the train part of the way but I'm only 40 minutes from there so cycled. It was around 10pm and nature was out in force. Moths the size of bats bounced off my helmet and the bugs of the night were begging to be swallowed. But by far the weirdest experience was hearing the low-level buzzing of what sounded like a bomber coming into land. I then had to swerve as something the size of a plum was suspended at face level in the air.
It was a stag beetle. Flying. Near my face. It was amazing, and f***ing enormous. Ewwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww