12,000 pedal strokes after leaving Richmond Park (according to the Garmin 800) we completed the GGB Casual Ride Olympic Recce. Not, it should be admitted, a reconnaissance of the entire route to be raced this summer but the vast majority of it PLUS a few more hills that we rode for fun!
Guided routes and welcoming pubs
The Going Going Bike Casual Rides are building a reputation for combining guided routes with well chosen pubs. This ride reinforced this reputation with a 75km route that halted for 90 minutes after 60km for a well earned Sunday Roast.
The Parrot Inn in Forest Green offered a roaring fire, a selection of pork and lamb (reared on their farm) and some excellent ale. Highly recommended!
Views of the Olympic route
Anyway, back to the cycling. What did the group make of the Olympic route? Generally it was well received. It is clearly a fast route (at least until the circuits of Box Hill start) and goes via a number of landmarks that will provide excellent photo opportunities. Graham Watson must be licking his lips at the opportunities afforded by Bushy Park, Hampton Court etc etc.
However, the consensus was that the route follows “A” roads at times when there were alternatives that would offer more exciting racing. The drag along the A25 to Dorking, in particular, is never going to set the pulses racing.
In addition, a few riders hoped the roads will be repaired before the collective carbon rolls along them in the summer. Any regular to the Surrey Hills will know the roads are never in great condition. Given the vast sums being spent on media centres and Olympic villages in London I hope some funds are made available to improve this route. Not quite double handlebar tape territory but almost!
Despite any misgivings on the route it was a very enjoyable ride. The weather was warm (averaging 10 degrees Celsius) and once we got into the hills the strong SW breeze didn’t affect the group so much. NOTE: We rode the Olympic course out of London and then continued south at Shere into the Surrey Hills (rather than heading direct to Box Hill). As a result our route should not be followed by those who want to replicate the entire Olympic course.
Next Casual Ride
The next Casual Ride is on 26 February. For more information and to be informed of route details for future rides drop us a line on firstname.lastname@example.org.