Saturday 21 September 2019

Daily photo - 21: Belated Rapha Women's 100 - A Royal Ride

Stopover at Windsor Castle
Every year women all around the world cycle 100km on a given date either in organised events or in other individual rides, all in the name of doing the Rapha Women's 100.

It actually took place last Saturday, 14th September but I was busy racing. I also raced on Sunday so it was difficult to find the time to fit in a 100km ride. Finally I made a date with doing it on this sunny Saturday.

Whenever Rapha do these biking initiatives I like to get on board and find a theme, so this Women's 100 was called a royal ride.

It was basically a route that I have been wanting to do for ages but a combination of habit and laziness has meant that I generally stay in the lanes nearer to my home in Kent and Surrey.

Today would be a bit of an outing, and to mark the occasion I used the fancy Liv Avail Advanced Pro 1 I've been testing, and put on my favourite Primal jersey. I don't think motorists can say they didn't see me!

My ride started from home, in Crystal Palace. Anyone familiar with the area will know it's not regal, but the name fits with the theme.

The route took in the Royal Borough of Kingston upon Thames, Hampton Court Palace, then Virginia Water Lake. I love coming to this part of the world. I get a cosy feeling as I ride past the exclusive properties in Virginia Water village, cross the main A30 road and see the panorama open up as the lake comes into view. It is also from here that my ride becomes largely traffic-free, as the route goes up through Windsor Great Park, and then after Windsor Castle the route follows bridleways (National Cycle Network route 61) to Maidenhead.

As it was a sunny day many people had the same idea as I did, to go there and see the other sights of The Royal Landscape. I passed the Totem Pole and then climbed up to reach the Guards Polo Club, before moving on to the Copper Horse statue at the top of the Long Walk.

It's so tempting to ride straight down the this 2.64-mile path straight down to Windsor Castle. Sadly cyclists are banned from this stretch so I have to take the long way round through the various mini estates of Windsor Great Park.

Snack stop at Maidenhead Bridge
One of these days I might have a rebellious moment à la Theresa May running through a wheat field, and ride my bike down this Long Walk and take no notice of anyone who shouts at me.

But today I followed the rules, as always, and headed to central Windsor, and then over Eton Bridge to take the Jubiliee riverside bridleway to reach Maidenhead. Even though the terrain was rough, it was okay to take the Liv Avail over it since the tyres are quite wide. It was like going over the "strade bianche" type roads you get in parts of Italy.

Maidenhead, in the Royal Borough of Berkshire was near the apex of my ride and it was here that I had a snack on the riverside near the bridge. Afterwards I made a pleasant discovery in the shape of Taplow, an even more upmarket place than Maidenhead. I felt a bit too dressed down, particularly in these parts.

From there it was a case of heading back to Windsor, again via bridleway (National Cycle Network Route 4) via Dorney rowing lake and Eton College, then onwards through Datchet ànd Wraysbury to end my ride in that idyll of Middlesex, Staines.

My Garmin recorded 64 miles, but I am happy to call it 100km. It was just good to have executed my mainly right royal Rapha 100 ride.

My route on Strava is in the link here.

Related posts
Reflections on the Rapha Festive 500

Styling it out in Compiegne, Chantilly and Senlis

Kentish spin

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