Richmond Park

djwc Posts: 39
edited July 2013 in Road beginners
I've put a few posts on here lately about getting g a new bike which I now finally have, picking it up on Sunday - nice new ORBEA Aqua!!!

I'm very new to cycling and want to get my confidence up on the bike before I venture onto proper roads. Are the cycle paths in Richmond park Tarmac or are they dirt tracks? It will be a convenient place for me to go and practice, but I've just never been there and can't seem to get much info off their website as to whether the 'cycle paths' are made of Tarmac or gravel!!!


  • team47b
    team47b Posts: 6,425
    chosen at random from youtube 'cos I don't live nearby, looks like decent tarmac too!!...
    my isetta is a 300cc bike
  • team47b
    team47b Posts: 6,425
    my isetta is a 300cc bike
  • ugo.santalucia
    ugo.santalucia Posts: 28,237
    The outer 7 miles perimeter is tarmac, there are also two narrower roads that cross in the middle also tarmac, one of them makes a loop with the big perimeter... about 3 miles and pretty flat.
    Only danger is a steep curvy descent if you lap anticlockwise the main road, just mind cars, bikes and deer... other than that, it is as safe as it gets... outside rush hour the traffic is bearable... weekends can be very busy, especially with this weather. I suggest you go there very early in the morning... before 7 AM on weekdays and before 8 at weekends, it is special. Evenings after 8 PM are good too
    left the forum March 2023
  • roger_merriman
    roger_merriman Posts: 6,165
    The roads are tarmac the outer path which is a shared is a light dirt path okay for a roadie as long as it's a relaxed pace, but better suited to hybrids etc.
  • chrisaonabike
    chrisaonabike Posts: 1,914
    DJWC wrote:
    Are the cycle paths in Richmond park Tarmac or are they dirt tracks?
    They're a mixture.

    The track that goes all the way round is part tarmac (Sheen Gate to Richmond Gate), part fine grit (almost everywhere else) and muddy gravel (vicinity of Pembroke Lodge). There's also a section that's very rough and stony that goes anticlockwise down Broomfield Hill to Robin Hood Gate. Completely unsuitable for road bikes IMO.

    I wouldn't ride my road bike on the bike track at all - the tarmac bit isn't very smooth and everywhere else is rubbish except for CX or MTB.

    The exception is the road through the middle, from Ham Gate crossroads through to Pen Ponds car park, and from there to either Robin Hood Gate or the crossroads at the bottom of Sawyers Hill. Cars aren't allowed and the surface is generally fine.

    Your best bet would be to get up there really early and use the road. You can make a nice figure of 8 route if you also use the road through the middle - and it is completely impossible to get lost.

    Traffic is generally benign, and the worst hazard is deer (and toddlers on trikes on the road through the middle at the weekend).
    Is the gorilla tired yet?
  • prhymeate
    prhymeate Posts: 795
    I'd just go straight for the road. With a 20mph limit, few joining roads and no pot holes etc means that it's a good place to gain confidence for roads outside of the park.
  • IShaggy
    IShaggy Posts: 301
    It's a mecca for road cyclists, so you'll feel right at home with your new bike. The road around the edge of the park is 6.73 miles long, and is one of only a few places in London that you can get a decent tempo session in without having to constantly stop for lights, and traffic - at least when it's quiet it is. It can get a little crazy though Saturday and Sunday morning. So either go early or avoid these times. as others have said, the speed limit is 20mph so you get less hassle from the cars. You'll probably find yourself getting held up by cars rather than holding them up.
  • marcusjb
    marcusjb Posts: 2,412
    As above - the perimeter roads are a great little circuit.

    Weekends are now very crazy, unless you're there at 6am.

    In these warm summer evenings, weekdays after 8pm usually isn't too bad either.
  • wandsworth
    wandsworth Posts: 354
    Forget the paths: you'll be sharing them with pedestrians, dogs, families on hire bikes etc. As others have said, the roads are great if you avoid peak times. I was there at 7:30am last Sunday. Plenty of bikes at that time but not too many cars, and also not too hot.

    Try both clockwise and anti-clockwise circuits - each has its own challenges and rewards. Watch out for squirrels and other wildlife.

    I hadn't thought of doing a figure of eight course using the road through the middle. Must give that a try, especially as cars aren't allowed there.
    Shut up, knees!

    Various Boardmans, a Focus, a Cannondale and an ancient Trek.