Sunshine, Smiles & Sweet Bikes: Richmond Ride Out Retrospective
Sunday, 4th June 2023. Tipped to be the hottest day of the year so far, the sun was out in full force as riders started to roll into Richmond – with our sights set on Enigma HQ, the inaugural Richmond Ride Out was already stacking up to be a good one!
Expertly devised and recce’d by our team, the 127km rolling route took us on a tour of some of the finest country lanes the South of England has to offer, leading to a fleet of shiny Ti bikes awaiting us at Enigma HQ in Hailsham. Manager Jake and Phil lead the pack, while owner Richard manned the broom wagon behind, stocked up with plenty of post-ride goodies.
For those local to us, the start of the ride was a familiar sight as we made our way through the gates into Richmond Park. Glorious as ever, it made for the perfect start to what would be a fantastic day in the saddle, and it was great to see so many others out making the most of the sunshine! Thanks to a well-crafted route combined with quiet Sunday morning roads, escaping the suburbs was a relatively smooth experience: heading through Kingston, Esher and Stoke D’Abernon before escaping the confines of the M25.
The legs started to ache as we left the Big Smoke behind and entered into the beautiful countryside. With a few inclines in the legs already and plenty more to come, as the roads started to roll, spirits remained high! With the sun still blazing and showing no signs of going anywhere, suffering up the hills didn’t seem so bad.
Just shy of the halfway mark we found our café stop of choice: Tanhouse Farm, a popular choice for cyclists in the area, and for good reason! There were plenty of caffeinated beverages and tasty treats to choose from, situated on a quaint farm accompanied by plenty of cute animals (Phil was particularly fond of the donkey!) – what’s not to like? Once everyone was refuelled, it was time to hit the road again.
The roads between Tanhouse and Hailsham didn’t disappoint, comprised of quiet country lanes, steady inclines and some fantastic views – with Enigma in our sights, even the headwind couldn’t dampen the mood! Upon arrival at Enigma HQ, we were greeted by the Enigma team and of course Richard with the all-important post-ride grub. With an array of drool-worthy titanium steeds on display in their demo fleet, it was time to refuel and indulge in some top-tier tyre kicking!
Once energy levels were suitably replenished, it was time for the factory tour to commence. It was great to see father/son duo Jim and Matt at the factory, giving those that have bought Enigma bikes from us the opportunity to meet the makers!
Sometimes even we forget what goes into building a bike, and the tour proved to be a real eye-opener. It was a fascinating insight into the tools, process and passion that goes into the creation of a bicycle frame by some of the best in the business! Each and every one of their signature frames are handcrafted, in-house, to your specifications. From initial consultation to final finishing touches, it’s clear to see that quality and craftsmanship are paramount at Enigma.
Enigma also specialises in custom paint jobs, and boy were there some stunners on display (more on that later!). We were lucky enough to get to snoop around their painting dojo and get a sneak peak of some projects on the go – as the winner of ‘best-finish’ at NAHBS 2018, we expected some pretty serious paint jobs, and we weren’t disappointed.
We then migrated into the showroom, which is where Enigma keeps some of their most drool-worthy bikes. No words are needed here – we’ll let the bikes speak for themselves:
Factory tour over, it was time to test some titanium bikes! With the full spectrum of their range on show, from road to gravel, there was something for everyone to try. After the long ride down, everyone’s legs were feeling slightly worse for wear, but luckily you don’t have to ride these bikes for very long to realise just how good they are. Smooth, lightweight and punchy, they’ve got it all – and you can’t deny the beauty of these bikes, just look at them!
Once everyone went their separate ways, it was time to pack down and make our way back up to Richmond. Chapeau to those that rode, and big thanks to the folks at Enigma for their hospitality! Couldn’t make it this time? Keep an eye out for the next ‘Richmond Ride Out’, you won’t want to miss it.