The Richmond Park Pretzel

There are essentially only two ways to ride around London's Richmond Park: clockwise and anti-clockwise.

Broleur has always been a fan of the anti-clockwise lap, one brother typically entering at Roehampton Gate, the other from Richmond. We meet at the café and then scoot round.

The pinnacle of our park riding is the famed 3-Lap Challenge: an attempt to complete three laps in under an hour - something we'd only advocate at dawn or dusk when the gates close to cars and the roads are clear.

Going off-circuit is a rare occurrence. Something to consider if the park is gridlocked or you haven't got another flying lap left in the legs and fancy a diversion. Spankers Hill is a punchy segment, but otherwise the roads criss-crossing the park have little to commend them.

Until now...

The Richmond Park Pretzel

The Pretzel has been described (by us) as the single biggest innovation in Richmond Park cycling since the introduction of decent espresso at the café.

A Pretzel can start from any of the park's five roundabouts and finishes when you return to that roundabout for the second time. Riding anti-clockwise is recommended so you only ever take left turns, minimising stops for traffic. A Reverse-Pretzel is permitted, but not advisable, not least because it sounds like a sex position.

The total distance is exactly 29.19 km and the elevation gain is around 240m, depending on your device. Sawyer's and Dark Hill are climbed twice, Spankers the once. There are two descents of Broomfield and two opportunities to sprint the length of Priory Lane.

The traditional reward for a successful Pretzel is a beer on the terrace across the road from the Roebuck pub, overlooking a prospect described as "the most enchanting in Europe".

It should go without saying, but please remember that cyclists do not have a right to perpetual motion. Overtake with caution. Slow or stop for cars, deer, horses and people. You can't win an accident.

The Richmond Park Pretzel on Strava

Creating a Pretzel Strava segment is a challenge in itself, requiring plentiful reserves of patience. Thanks to the dedication of our followeurs, we now have one for a Richmond Gate Pretzel, Ham Gate Pretzel, Kingston Gate Pretzel and the ever-popular Roehampton Gate Pretzel.

If you've been able to create a Pretzel segment from another gate, please let us know on Twitter or Facebook.