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Biggin Hill & A Richmond Park Jaunt

Biggin Hill & A Richmond Park Jaunt

In the second post to our weekly blog, we’re summarising a couple of rides. The first of which saw Big Mac make the most of his shifts to take in the sights of Richmond Park on a chilly Monday morning. Then on Saturday, we both headed out to Surrey Hills to see the home of Charles Darwin in Downe.

Richmond Park Map

Richmond Park is an old favourite of ours and we frequently made trips at the weekend while we were training for our ride across France in 2014. We’d usually pull up in the car park next to the cafe, and ride circuits of the loop anticlockwise without fail.

Now, in 2016, we’re going to be heading back here a lot as it provides a decent mix of climbs, descents and general riding variety. I guess its only shortcoming is the distance of a lap (~7mi).

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Big Mac popped out for a couple of laps, but was also on a reconnoitre to explore the roads which head towards the centre of the park and actually discovered an alternative climb to the infamous Dark Hill which tests so many amateurs. Check out the Strava map below:
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Positively Balmy

As the weekend approached, we were eagerly checking the Met Office for updates to the likelihood of precipitation. Cold, cloudy weather will rarely stop us, but if it’s going to absolutely chuck it down, we’re unlikely to get out!

11 degrees the high and 4 the low with a 20% chance of rain later in the morning, what a difference to last week where we were out in -1 testing the true capabilities of our winter gear.

Our mission for today was to ride out to the Surrey Hills and not end up going up Beddlestead Lane for once! So we opted to map out a route on Garmin Connect to Biggin Hill, circle the airport and head back via Woldingham.

Click for full size panoramic photo

Click for full size panoramic photo

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Saltbox Hill

The ride out to Biggin Hill wasn’t too eventful, we stopped a couple of times to take a few pictures for this post and rounded the back of New Addington to approach Biggin Hill. What we didn’t quite realise was the hill which was about to present itself to us.

Saltbox Hill is a bit of a beast which neither Big Mac nor I were expecting to face. On our Connect route, it looked like a tiny kick up, but in actual fact it was a menacing 200ft climb over 0.3mi which peaked at around 20% according to the Strava segment!
Saltbox Hill, Biggin Hill

At the top we were rewarded with the view of a refurbished Spitfire and a Hurricane which are sat outside the airport.
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After this, we circled round the back of the airport and into Downe to stop off at the English Heritage site, Downe House which was the home of Charles Darwin.

Downe House

Visibility was low when the fog dropped onto us

Visibility was low when the fog dropped onto us

The first puncture of 2016

Since we’ve both got new bikes and neither of us have moved over the Gatorskins from the old ones, this was inevitable. 8 miles from home in the fog and mist, Big Mac suffers the first puncture of the year!
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I think we’re both looking to swap to the winter tyres as a priority now!

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