252 Upper Richmond Road
At 8am on Friday, 14th July, Velosport staff and customers made their way to the store to gear up for the 106km Tour de France – Bastille Day store ride out into the Surrey Hills.
We started with coffee and or breakfast and for those looking to try out X-Bionic cycling gear, we got them kitted out. Then at 8.30am, a group of 25 of us were off direction Richmond Park.
We had a quick stop at Roehampton Gate for Dave Hemming of X-Bionic to set the plan for the ride. We were all going to ride together at a steady pace (around 13-15 mph), heading over to Box Hill via Leith Hill and White Down Hill.
So, off we went with rain initially looking like it might threaten but ultimately didn’t and it gradually turned into good cycling weather.
Steve James did a great job of cycling up and down the group, checking everyone was together and making sure we left no one behind before hitting the major climbs. Very little traffic and some stunning views accompanied us along the Surrey Hills then once at Leith, Steve James waited at the top to lead a slightly shorter route that cut out White Down Hill for those that didn’t fancy that 18% climb. Both groups would then meet up at the top of Box Hill for a coffee and cake break. I was aiming to make that right turn to take the shorter route. Then at an inopportune moment a lorry came alongside me preventing me from turning right. So it seemed, I was taking the longer steeper route!
I had climbed Leith Hill a couple of times before, slowly, but not yet attempted White Down Hill. I think I prefer it when I don’t know quite what awaits on a climb and once started, I just had to finish. It wasn’t fast or pretty but I certainly got a sense of achievement on reaching the top.
Once recovered we were all off on the descent until we realised that we didn’t have all our group members. On realising this we sent Dave Hemming back to find out where they were and it seemed the initial descent from White Down had produced two punctures in the group.
Repairs done and it wasn’t long though before all groups were up at Box Hill and re-stocking energy stores and caffeine levels.
The ride back to the store started at quite a brisk pace. I was very lucky to have Steve and Tim hanging back and pulling me along with them, then before too long we found Greg at a roundabout working out which direction the group had just taken and our small breakaway group of four set off back via Epsom, to Richmond Park and then back to the store for a total 109km ride.
It was a great ride. Really challenging and so nice to be able to ride in a group with colleagues and customers, many of whom I was meeting for the first time. Back at the store, it was time to rest, chat some more with the ride participants, watch a bit of stage 13 of the Tour de France, rehydrate and generally eat my way through the cheese and French bread that Velosport had laid on.
It certainly seemed like a good time was had by all. Thanks to everyone for coming and thanks to Steve James and Dave Hemming for organising.
We are now planning to get a regular monthly store ride in place and would be interested to hear what works best for people – an early morning, pre-work weekday ride or an evening ride. Do give us your thoughts and comments below or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Hopefully see everyone again on our next store ride.
Ride report written by Liz Pepper, 15th July 2017