Young and coffee in varying degrees, Kat also says stuff @ThoroughlyMode
Published October 26th 2010
Richmond is a good place to start biking trips because it's on the river, along which run tow paths that are enjoyable, though sometimes a bit bumpy to ride on. Windsor is also on the river, making it a similarly good choice for journey's end for the same reason. And while you can't ride along the river the whole way between the two, you don't have to deviate too far into traffic, so it makes for a pleasurable ride as well as a scenic one.
Because Richmond masquerades as being in London and Windsor claims its independence strongly, this also sounds like an impressively long trip. But in reality the speediest riders will do it in less than two hours and even if you're not particularly quick you'll still manage it with enough time to visit the castle at Windsor before you turn around (or get on the train back to London – not having the cycle back is another reason this route is such a good one.).
Of course there are several different routes you could take, and different cycling websites will plot different paths for you – many of them assuming you're looking for the quickest trip. In this case you're not though, so use the relevant parts of the map of the Thames Valley Route, as plotted by the National Cycle Network. The full version of this route starts in Putney and goes though Richmond Park, but you can pick it up on the river just past Richmond Station.
Once you reach the lock, you'll have to dismount and wheel your bike across the bridge, on the other side of which there's a pub called The Anglers, which has a huge garden. From there turn down Broom Rd past Teddingon Studios and keep going until you reach the bridge to Kingston, when you can get back along the river, cycling a tow path all the way to Hampton Court. You're riding past the golf course here so it's very peaceful.
At Hampton if you want to stay beside the river you need to cross again, to the Molesey side. It's a bit bumpy but very pretty – plenty of river boats along this stretch. Ride past the old race course at Hurst Park and on to Sunbury Lock then Walton-on-Thames. At Walton Bridge It becomes necessary to go onto Walton Lane and head for the Weybridge Ferry where you can cross to the other side and rejoin the tow path. It's a quiet ride from then until you pass under the M3, soon after which you'll reach Laleham. You'll lose the tow path for a few minutes while you ride though Laleham, but you can join it again by turning off Staines Rd. The route diverges from the Thames again coming into Staines where you join Laleham Rd. and cross the river, yes AGAIN, and head off again along The Causeway.
After Staines there's a climb up Coopers Hill – and if you leave your bike in the enclosure at the RAF War Memorial you can climb the tower for a view of Runnymeade, where the Magna Carta was signed.
The Causeway soon becomes idyllic Windsor Rd., which leads you along yet another quiet, rural stretch, then past Home Park and into Windsor Great Park and Windsor – dropping you right in front of Windsor Castle via a fantastic, traffic free view of it. The pubs, and the station, are down hill on the river.
Tip: Most of the trains heading from Windsor to London have a bike section in some carriages - there's a little bike icon on the side of those carriages.