Richmond Park in the winter

j_mcd
j_mcd Posts: 473
edited September 2013 in Commuting chat
Afternoon all,

This summer I've started pushing up the miles and cycling back in the evening instead of getting the train (live in Guildford so get the train to Surbiton each day and cycle the rest). Obviously with the light evenings I've had no trouble with going through RP but I'm curious what it's like in the winter when it's dark.

How does it fare in terms of danger (from motorists,deer, odd pedestrians etc) and visability. I've got lights but they're much more of a 'see me, see me' rather than a light my way type.

Do people ride it in the dark or just stay well clear?
Giant Defy Advanced 0 - Best
Planet X London Road - Wet
Montague Fit - Foldy thing that rarely gets used these days

Comments

  • asprilla
    asprilla Posts: 8,440
    Get some lights to see where you are going; deer don't wear high viz and joggers are bigger ninjas than us when it comes to going out at night.

    It's fine with decent lights. The biggest issue you will have is the cyclist with 2000 badly adjusted lumen coming the other way.
    Mud - Genesis Vapour CCX
    Race - Fuji Norcom Straight
    Sun - Cervelo R3
    Winter / Commute - Dolan ADX
  • veronese68
    veronese68 Posts: 27,545
    Deer are made out of special light absorbing material to make them extra invisible. It can be quite disconcerting when you can smell them but can't see them.
  • asprilla
    asprilla Posts: 8,440
    Veronese68 wrote:
    Deer are made out of special light absorbing material to make them extra invisible. It can be quite disconcerting when you can smell them but can't see them.

    It's all right when they are facing you as you get the reflection from their retinas, but if they are facing the other way then there is a very real chance that you'll end up with your head up their bum.
    Mud - Genesis Vapour CCX
    Race - Fuji Norcom Straight
    Sun - Cervelo R3
    Winter / Commute - Dolan ADX
  • My experience of riding through the park in two winters (2005, 2006):

    - you can certainly smell the deer before you can see them
    - ride carefully even with good lights as it's really quite dark in the park despite the glow from London
    - watch out for joggers on the road, some are easily visible, others don't seem to care about being seen
    - dark = no cars as the road gates are shut at dusk, but the pedestrian gates remain open (except during the deer cull)
    - never had any problem with shady (human) characters hanging around
    - it's probably busier in there than it was 7 years ago, what with the boom in cycle commuting

    Have fun - I loved the car-free roads and the feeling of (almost) being the countryside in the darkness. It only occasionally freaked me out. And in almost all ways, it was better than the alternative routes.
    "Tyres down on your bicycle, your nose feels like an icicle"
  • mpdouglas
    mpdouglas Posts: 220
    When I first started cycle commuting about 18 months ago (Surbiton - Picaddilly), I had similar concerns and I used to go the long way round the park when it was dark (Roehampton Lane, A3 past Asda, Kingston Hill etc).

    After a few weeks of truly hating that shared use path that runs down the A3 past Asda, I decided to give the park a try. With a half decent front light, it's way preferable to the alternatives. And when it snows, it's truly awesome!

    I run an Exposure Strada front light which is very bright (but in a road friendly beam pattern). I do get some people complaining (most do not) but I think they just need to stop looking at it (I'm sure they actually want to find it annoying and end up making it an issue - a bit like the guys with helmet cams that seem to attract trouble).

    I can't say that any oncoming lights have ever made me feel the need to shout at the rider - you just learn to shift your focus/look somewhere else. You can't have lights that are good enough to spot joggers/deer in time to take evasive action and not offend some people it seems. When I know that my beam is being cast upwards (e.g. going up ballet school hill), I'll shield the light with my hand if someone is coming the other way.
    "The Flying Scot"
    Commute - Boardman CXR 9.4 Di2
    Sunday Best - Canyon Ultimate SLX Disc w/ DuraAce Di2
  • asprilla
    asprilla Posts: 8,440
    mpdouglas wrote:
    And when it snows, it's truly awesome!

    Most fun you can have riding in London, cyclocross with ice spikes is hilarious.
    mpdouglas wrote:
    I run an Exposure Strada front light which is very bright (but in a road friendly beam pattern). I do get some people complaining (most do not) but I think they just need to stop looking at it (I'm sure they actually want to find it annoying and end up making it an issue - a bit like the guys with helmet cams that seem to attract trouble).

    I also run a Strada and do the same as you. However, when riding from Pen Ponds to Ham Cross it's a bit difficult to look away and still see where you are going when someone with a pair of Magicshines is coming the other way.
    Mud - Genesis Vapour CCX
    Race - Fuji Norcom Straight
    Sun - Cervelo R3
    Winter / Commute - Dolan ADX
  • spasypaddy
    spasypaddy Posts: 5,180
    im tempted to come down to richmond park on my CX with some spike tyres when it snows.

    long way but probably well worth it!

    i have a few off road sections on my commute that i can use when its snowed. they are lethal!

    exposure strada on the bars and a joystick on the helmet
  • bigmat
    bigmat Posts: 5,134
    Sounds a bit like my stretch through Beckenham Place Park when it snows - absolutely beautiful diversion from the main road and feels like you are a million miles away from London. No ice spikes though so its a bit treacherous!
  • spasypaddy
    spasypaddy Posts: 5,180
    also on the CX with studs do you stick to the roads or head off onto trails?
  • asprilla
    asprilla Posts: 8,440
    spasypaddy wrote:
    also on the CX with studs do you stick to the roads or head off onto trails?

    Bit of both really.
    Mud - Genesis Vapour CCX
    Race - Fuji Norcom Straight
    Sun - Cervelo R3
    Winter / Commute - Dolan ADX
  • guinea
    guinea Posts: 1,177
    I find cyclists' lights in Richmond Park far worse than car lights. They seem to be aimed far too high and are far brighter than required. If there is three or four mega light owners riding together it's very uncomfortable. There is nowhere to avert your eyes safely.

    I've done thousands of miles in there with only a cateye and no incidents, so I don't see why they are required.

    When riding off road or in an area I didn't know I use my Exposure Diablo Mk4, otherwise, a cateye is fine.

    Regarding the OP, the ice is more of a problem in RP in winter as the roads aren't gritted as often through the day or at all through the night. On a dry winter's day, the park is generally perfect for riding.
  • edds
    edds Posts: 156
    Unless you are riding through just as they are closing the gates and there are still some cars in the park I actually don't see the need for a massive front light. I was riding through on wednesday evening at about 11:30 and I could see more without any my light on than with my light on. This is especially true when there is any fog as the light just reflects and reduces your vision even further. Once your eyes have adjusted it really is easy enough to see.

    Do be careful around rutting season in the park at night though. The horny stags seem to love hanging around on the road fighting, howling or just looking menacing.
    edd
    --
    FCN 4-5; Giant SRC 3; formally known as edduddiee
  • spasypaddy
    spasypaddy Posts: 5,180
    Asprilla wrote:
    spasypaddy wrote:
    also on the CX with studs do you stick to the roads or head off onto trails?

    Bit of both really.
    excellent, i shall have to investigate this winter i think. i dont actually know the trails in there...
  • veronese68
    veronese68 Posts: 27,545
    I find light in the park varies enormously according to the conditions. Full moon and clear sky is fine in the road, the trail is not so good. New moon and cloud makes it significantly darker.
    I went for a ride through the park in the snow with some mates last winter and CJCP was riding through with his daughter. She was having the time of her life, grinning like an absolute loon.
  • veronese68
    veronese68 Posts: 27,545
    spasypaddy wrote:
    Asprilla wrote:
    spasypaddy wrote:
    also on the CX with studs do you stick to the roads or head off onto trails?

    Bit of both really.
    excellent, i shall have to investigate this winter i think. i dont actually know the trails in there...
    Only the one trail really, goes around the perimeter. Take a look here.
    If you go out of Robin Hood Gate you can ride across Wimbledon Common in search of Wombles.
  • spasypaddy
    spasypaddy Posts: 5,180
    Veronese68 wrote:
    spasypaddy wrote:
    Asprilla wrote:
    spasypaddy wrote:
    also on the CX with studs do you stick to the roads or head off onto trails?

    Bit of both really.
    excellent, i shall have to investigate this winter i think. i dont actually know the trails in there...
    Only the one trail really, goes around the perimeter. Take a look here.
    If you go out of Robin Hood Gate you can ride across Wimbledon Common in search of Wombles.
    ah, i thought there were trails through the middle
  • asprilla
    asprilla Posts: 8,440
    guinea wrote:
    I find cyclists' lights in Richmond Park far worse than car lights. They seem to be aimed far too high and are far brighter than required. If there is three or four mega light owners riding together it's very uncomfortable. There is nowhere to avert your eyes safely.

    I've done thousands of miles in there with only a cateye and no incidents, so I don't see why they are required.

    When riding off road or in an area I didn't know I use my Exposure Diablo Mk4, otherwise, a cateye is fine.

    I used to use an Exposure Flash and then I came within a gnats pube of cleaning up a ninja jogger (black shoes, leggings, jacket, black buff over face and black hat).

    Now I pack a few more candlepowers.
    Mud - Genesis Vapour CCX
    Race - Fuji Norcom Straight
    Sun - Cervelo R3
    Winter / Commute - Dolan ADX
  • mroli
    mroli Posts: 3,622
    spasypaddy wrote:
    ah, i thought there were trails through the middle
    There is a road/path through the middle - one comes up from the roundabout to Sheen Gate. Goes up past the ballet school into the centre and you can either go "left" down to the Roundabout by the "steep hill" (forget its name) or go "right" on more of a path to Ham Gate.
  • pangolin
    pangolin Posts: 6,520
    mroli wrote:
    spasypaddy wrote:
    ah, i thought there were trails through the middle
    There is a road/path through the middle - one comes up from the roundabout to Sheen Gate. Goes up past the ballet school into the centre and you can either go "left" down to the Roundabout by the "steep hill" (forget its name) or go "right" on more of a path to Ham Gate.

    That's a road really.

    There are lots of little paths criss crossing the park that you could happily ride on a CX. However the only trail that you allowed to ride a bike on (other than the roads) is the perimeter one as Veronese says.
    - Genesis Croix de Fer
    - Dolan Tuono
  • spasypaddy
    spasypaddy Posts: 5,180
    maybe during the winter someone will show me around
  • I was there last night after dark and it's amazing the number of cyclists doing laps without any lights at all. :shock:
  • First commute home last night in the dark through RP. My front light batteries failed on me at the ballet school - it felt like riding without a helmet after that. Nearly came a cropper after that with deer on the roads.
    Rose Pro DX Cross 3000
    GT Edge Ti
    Ribble Audax
  • Wrath Rob
    Wrath Rob Posts: 2,918
    Love RP after the gates shut, its great for some easy mid-week winter miles. Agree with all of the comments above, particularly re. ice - there are cold spots in the park where ice seems to form more readily, other cyclists lights - is it really that hard to cover your lights with your hand for 5 seconds? and jogging ninja's - some of those guys are just suicidal.
    FCN3: Titanium Qoroz.
  • Richmond Park covered in snow was a fun ride home from work, a full lap of the trail which was hard to see at times!

    th_rp_snow_bike.jpg

    - Jon
    Commuting between Twickenham <---> Barbican on my trusty Ridgeback Hybrid - url=http://strava.com/athletes/125938/badge]strava[/url
  • Richmond Park in the dark with no traffic is a reward for keeping cycling during the dark months. It's great but really do watch out for the deer and the ice, although I think ice is more of an issue in the morning. It's the right thing to politely remind people if their lights are too bright/badly aimed, there is a lot of that. I always aim down or cover with my hand if I'm on high beam and another rider is coming towards me.