In my previous post, I had talked about getting a new bike for my son. This not only allowed him to ride with me during holidays but also help to reduce playing online games at home. After several rounds of product research and shop visits, I finally got his new bike last Saturday.
At first, I considered this a trivial task. Simply identify the brand, type, model, frame colour and sizing and bang, your bike is ready!
In reality, things turned out not as expected under the pandemic. Recently, there were enormous demands on new bikes as an alternate means of transportation or for outdoor activities, that led to extremely low stock level for most of the bike shops. Taking my son’s required XS sizing as an example, most of the shop I visited were running out of stock. Even if you were willing to pre-order and wait, the delivery time would extend into early next year due to the international shipping constraint.
Fortunately, I managed to find a nearby bike shop with a higher rank model in stock. As there were only two bikes remaining, I immediately made the order despite the price was much higher.
早前提過要為兒子買單車，除了放假時能與他出外遊玩，亦可盡量減少他留在家中玩 online games，經歷數輪資料搜集及實體店舖拜訪，上星期六終於收到新車。
原先以為這個任務應該很簡單，選了品牌、車種、型號及車身配色，計算好車架 sizing 便可以！
怎料又是疫情關係，過去一段時間，搶購單車情況非常嚴重，很多店舖只餘下極少數車輛。以兒子需要的 XS 碼為例，大部分到過的店舖都沒有現貨，即使肯等候，打算預訂的話，因受國際貨運影響，到貨日期亦往往要順廷至明年初。
As it was the first ride with the newly bought MTB, my son would like to take a short ride to grasp the controllability of the bike.
Similar to what I had last time, we first rode south along Portsmouth Road. Upon reaching Brighton Road, we took a U-turn back to the Kingston town centre. Next, we pedalled towards Kingston Bridge through the Kingston Historic Market. At the end of the Kingston Bridge, turned left to Barge Walk and we arrived at the entrance of the cycling journey.
跟我上次一樣，先沿 Portsmouth Road 南下至 Brighton Road 再掉頭回市中心。接著經 Kingston Historic Market 往 Kingston Bridge 走，在橋的盡頭左轉進入 Barge Walk，便是這次行程的開始。
The Barge Walk is about 4.5 Kilometers in length and ended at the Hampton Court Bridge. To the right of the exit is the main entrance to the Hampton Court Palace. As no photo had been taken on that day, let me share some of the pictures I had taken during my first visit in early June.
Barge Walk 全長約 4.5 公里，一路申延至 Hampton Court Bridge，之後往右轉便是 Hampton Court Palace 的正門入口。當日沒有停下來拍照，就讓我找回六月初第一次到訪時拍下的照片給大家看看。
As cars are allowed to enter from both ends, most of the Barge Walk are paved. Despite some of the road surfaces may need some fixing, the overall condition is still acceptable.
About one Kilometer from the entrance is a two-Kilometer long gravel road. This would not be an issue to my son as he could fly across with his new MTB. But for me with my racing road bike, extra care had to be paid in order to match with his pace.
離開入口一公里之後便是兩公里長的碎石路，兒子的 MTB 當然如履平地，高速而過；但對於騎在競賽 road bike 上的我來說，就要格外小心，才能保持速道，緊隨其後。
At the end of the gravel road came the Privy Garden built in the 18th Century.
As usual, “Check-in” could never be omitted.
離開碎石路不久便到達 18 世紀建造的 Privy Garden 。
Under normal days, narrowboats would moor against the bank of River Thames in front of the Privy Garden. And on the other side of the river bank, is the “Perfect Suburban Village“, Thames Ditton.
在 Privy Garden 前面的 River Thames，經常會有運河船停靠在岸邊，而河的另一邊就是被稱為＂完美郊區村莊＂的 Thames Ditton。
Right after the check-in, we moved towards Hampton Court Bridge.
打完咭便繼續往 Hampton Court Bridge 走。
My son did not want to stop and we immediately took on the return trip after we reached Hampton Court Bridge.
兒子不想停下，到達 Hampton Court Bridge 便轉身回程。
For my son who used to ride long journey, 13 Kilometer seemed to be very short. But taking this as his first ride in UK, it’s not too bad!
By considering the ease of riding, personally I believed MTB should be a really nice option for outing in UK.
在英國以單車郊遊，看來踩 MTB 亦是一個不錯的選擇。
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