London Lite Tuesday, 10 November 2009 13 LAPS IN LONDONS MOST FAMOUS BIKE TIME TRIAL Six of the best PICKETT CALFSKIN NOTE CASE WHIPPED out in restaurants, shops, or tossed on to pub tables, your wallet can either be a stylish reflection of your character, or a moth-eaten embarrassment that your Gran gave you when you turned 13. If its time to smarten yours up a bit, read on. ANGUS WATSON 195, pickett.co.uk THIS thrillingly expensive, hand-made wallet is black leather and business outside, bright, party-loving lizard skin inside. Large pockets fit the biggest business cards and banknotes. 149, harrods.com FUNKY interior design, and a silky black leather exterior jazzed up by white and purple stitching. Just a shame they printed genuine leather and exclusive from Harrods inside. 110, launer.com WALLETS dont come posher than this beauty. Launer is the Queens appointed handbag and leather goods manufacturer. You need an appointment to visit the shop so just use the internet instead. 75, simoncarter.net THIS has a great crocodile skin look without having harmed any of the man-eating beasties. It has a jaunty cartoon interior, and a good flappy inside pocket for ID: handy if youre in the FBI. 15.95, ducti.co.uk ITS silver, its made entirely of duct tape, and has a lifetime guarantee (send it in and get a new one for a fiver). It says: My body works in London, but my spirit is somewhere else. Possibly surfing. 12.99, play.com THE design is based on a video game, but thats no bad thing. This wallet is for angry young men who want to carry their wedge in something that screams attitude, but it has a handy coin purse, too. HARRODS PAUL SMITH LAUNER BRIDLE HIDE AND TAN SIMON CARTER MOCK CROC DUCTI ORIGINAL CLASSIC GEARS OF WAR SKULL BIFOLD wallets chap called BeerAnyone (who just categorises himself as lazy). The vast bulk of times are about 55 minutes to one hour. This gives a clear concept of what a decent time is -- for a novice like me, the perfect motivation. As member Merckx, who listed a sub-53 minute time says, any cyclist who has even a vaguely competitive muscle fibre in their body has to give it a try. THERULES The rules are simple. Three self-timed laps in either direction (the consensus is anti- clockwise is easier) without compromising safety. Drafting -- where you make things easier for yourself by riding directly behind another rider or car -- is considered to be against the spirit of the challenge. Once completed, proudly post your time in its rightful place on the online list. I was up for the challenge. I hopped on the train from Waterloo with my bike and, 20 minutes later, got off at Mortlake -- just a stones throw from the park. In five minutes I was at the Roehampton Gate and ready to start. The first stretch, a long gradual climb past Sheen Gate is okay on the first ascent, but on the second and third seems to go on forever. A mostly downhill section past Ham Gate to Kingston Gate is a breeze, except for cars. You get bad snarls near car parks and rounda- bouts, and it can be a tight squeeze. The hill after Kingston gate is the steepest uphill stretch, and the only time you really rip through the gears: brutal if youre used to level inner London, but brief enough to be manageable. The next long, straight section is a slog, but its followed by a proper high-speed descent down to Robin Hood Gate. Its a hold tight and pray kind of hill. But be warned: the speed limit applies to cyclists, and will be enforced by police. The last stretch to Roehampton Gate is slightly uphill but a good, fast run. STAYINGTHECOURSE THE first lap was fine, but the second was a real test of staying power. By the third, with the end in sight, I got a second wind. My first effort was a pretty dreadful 1hr 4mins, but I was hooked. Ive now done it five times, each one a little faster. I am now just seconds off the one-hour mark. Its still nothing compared to the rockets going around in less than 50 minutes, but every 30 seconds Ive taken off is a boost. Maybe this time next year Ill be trying to break 50 minutes. It seems impossible now, but its called a challenge for a reason. See bikeradar.com for more information Tracks of my fears: Jeremy pushes himself to the limit going three times around the 6.8-mile perimeter loop of Richmond Park Mortlake Richmond Park Sawyers Hill KingstonHill Roehampton Vale Richmond Gate Sheen Gate Richmond Ham Gate Robin Hood Gate Roehampton Gate Kingston Gate START QueensRoad Upper Richmond Road LONDON Tracks of my fears: index.html2.html3.html4.html5.html6.html7.html8.html9.html10.html11.html12.html13.html14.html15.html16.html17.html18.html19.html20.html21.html22.html23.html24.html25.html26.html27.html28.html29.html30.html31.html32.html33.html34.html35.html36.html37.html38.html39.html40.html41.html42.html43.html