Sunday, July 12, 2020

Easy Riders - Wed 15th July

Leave 10am North Cheam. Or meet at Teddington boat yard, for 11's, Flying Cloud.

Then going through Bushy Park, to Home Park, see how the signets are doing. Continuing on tow path to Hampton Court. Lunch by river. Maybe 8 on the bridge, if open, or by river, with a sandwich.


Tandridge Public Toilets Update

As at 11 July, the toilets at Warlingham Green have re-opened.   I haven't checked but would surmise that other Tandridge DC toilets (such as Oxted and Lingfield) are also now open again for transactions!

Saturday, July 11, 2020

100 Women in Cycling - Lynda Barrow

I'm delighted to tell you that Lynda Barrow has been selected as one of Cycling UK's 100 Women in Cycling. This has just been announced as part of the Women's Festival of Cycling.

Recently we re-published a profile of Lynda from 2002, when she was fairly new to the Sou'Westers and to regular cycling. Since then Lynda has been a huge support to the club, organising the first printed club shirts, a regular rider with the Beginners and the Wayfarers' Easy Riders section, and in fact almost single-handedly keeping the Easy Riders section going for several years when it seemed Lynda was leading nearly every week.

Congratulations, Lynda!

Friday, July 10, 2020

Royal Parks Movement Strategy released

Royal Parks are trialling the permanent closure of Bushy Park to through traffic, and restricting through traffic in Richmond Park, extending what's been done during the Covid-19 lockdown.  This is a first step towards implementing their new Movement Strategy, which aims to reduce car traffic and promote "considerate" cycling.

A group ride 15 July: Cobham-Walliswood-Denbies

As is the new normal, Wednesday's ride will be in socially distanced groups of six and I'd ask that you make sure that you're familiar with the update to ride guidelines published in this blog on 6 July.

The ride through Surrey lanes will be starting from the Medicine Garden in Cobham, cycling 22 miles and over a couple of hills to the Scarlett Arms in Walliswood. At a comfortable pace the first group should arrive as food service starts, which is 12 til 2.30. There's plenty of outdoor tables and chairs and the landlord has also offered a covered outdoor space in the event of inclement weather.

If anyone is not comfortable with a pub lunch there's a lovely green with a bench at Walliswood, more or less opposite the pub.

After lunch and with the big climbs behind us we'll head off to Denbies, 20 miles, briefly dipping into Sussex by skirting the edge of Rusper and then we'll be avoiding the usual route home via Henfold.

42 miles and 2,785ft elevation in total, here's an outline of the ride.

Brian, Frances and Mike R have kindly offered to sub lead and will have the routes. If anyone else would like the gpx file in advance please let me know.

So that I can sort out the groups and book us into the Scarlett Arms please email me by 7pm Monday 13 July if you would like to join the ride. I'll assume that you'd like a place booked at the Scarlett Arms unless you tell me otherwise. I will let you know your start time by Tuesday evening.

My email address is

Thursday, July 09, 2020

'B' Group Weds 15 July - A Very Convenient Ride

Next Wednesday's 'B' ride, in groups of no more than six, will start from Great Bookham, at the small open space between Epsom Road and Lower Shott (, where there are public toilets (open), and coffee shops and several bakeries nearby in the High Street and Lower Shott shops .

The lunch stop will be at Newlands Corner where there are two cafes open if required.   The public toilets there were closed when I visited, so, about ten minutes after leaving lunch, the return route will cunningly pass alternative facilities at Stoke Park, Guildford, which are definitely open!   The return route to the tea stop (at The Medicine Garden, Cobham) also passes the (open) public toilets at Ripley Green.   All in all then, a very convenient ride!

The whole route is about 26 miles, but on the outbound portion there are two off-road sections amounting to several miles (all perfectly rideable, and nothing outrageous we haven't tackled together before, and you know my aversion to mud), and one climb of the North Downs using a quiet and very scenic lane (Shere Road) which I don't think the 'B's' often use.  The way back to Cobham is not hilly.

If you'd like to join the ride please e-mail me at not later than 7.00 am on Tuesday 14 July.   I will hope to have let you know your group and start time by about 9.00 am on Tuesday.   A clear and detailed route sheet will be provided to all. 

Of course, the whole ride does depend on sufficient co-leaders volunteering to lead the individual groups, so any offers, please, to co-lead a group, or back-mark?   Do also suggest a suitable name for your group!


Pat Matthews

Pat receives her copy of Sou'Wester eventually
Pat is in good spirits, still walking a lot despite her knees not working as well as they used to. She is well occupied with cooking, shopping, reading and gardening though slightly frustrated that she can no longer climb up ladders to do roof repairs. She has a long memory of the days when she used to ride with the club, including the Family Section and her many cycletouring adventures.

~ Tim

Wednesday, July 08, 2020

8th July A Group ride to Horsted Keynes

After the rain apocalypse forecast by the Met office it was with some trepidation that eleven riders decided to take the plunge and ride. Ged, Dave Vine, Steve Wiltshire and I met at a grey rainy North Cheam at 8 am to ride to Tesco Hookwood. We were joined by Janice in Epsom. I was amazed because she is riding her route in preparation for leading next Wednesday's ride (with Brian who was also riding today) tomorrow. Anyway we arrived at Hookwood at 9.35 am, but Tesco was a little busier this time and the 'elite group' led by Ged and comprising Janice, Brian, Steve W. and Patrick left at 10.20 am. By this time the rain had reduced to fine drizzle and so we abandoned a shorter route plotted by Dave Vine for emergency bailout and opted for the entire off road route to HK. Group 2 left 20 minutes later comprising me, Dave Ward, Dave Vine, Dave Ferrett, Neil Warland and Geoff Gregory as back marker. Well it all went swimmingly. We arrived at 12.45 after Dave Ward left to return and took up seats inside for a drink and meal - like normal, but with 2 metre spacing.

We saw the first group in the covered area at the back, which I had reserved because of the rain and met some other cyclists who happened to be there from East Sussex CTC!

After lunch we left at 2pm and made our way North to Banstead in patchy, misty, rain that did not justify a waterproof, eventually arriving at 4.30 for a coffee.
It was a nice ride, but not at its best due to the rain. Next year will be better! My thanks go to Ged and Dave Vine, the key workers of the club, who volunteered to recce the ride and lead. I have learned much about the effort and experience they both put in to make the club work well. Thanks also to Geoff who seems to be flying along after a four month break, who was my trusty back marker.

Ged also provided some of the pictures and the following:

''Steve's meticulous planning paid-off. Many thanks for a well researched - and endlessly recced ride. (More trial runs and route options tested than a rides leader would do in an average year!).

Whilst I was notionally sub-leader for the first group to depart elevenses at Hookwood, (comprising Janice, Brian, Patrick and Steve Wiltshire) Brian was able to correct my errant navigation on numerous occasions. His Garmin-loaded route saved us from circling around Three Bridges, as well as getting us on-track along Worth Way. Thanks Brian.

Thanks also to Janice for backmarking: still an essential job, even in the new normal small groups.
(Despite being at the back Janice was first in The Green Man pub-thoughts of picnicking forgotten in the cool and rather damp conditions!)

In all, despite dire weather warnings, it was a long and rewarding ride, deserving of the surprisingly kind weather conditions that ensued. And a pint never tasted so good!"

B Group - 8th July

Despite awful prognostications about the weather and a few people deciding against riding today we mustered twenty fine specimens of cycling prowess. Several called in at Coco Café by Claygate Station to get stoked up for the rigours of the day and more-or-less on time our several groups departed at ten-minute intervals. Had I been able to process the few cancellations more quickly we could have condensed into four groups, but it didn’t matter.

The ride entailed a considerable number of unpaved roads and paths starting out with New Road leading south out of Claygate. This had become a little bit muddy with the nocturnal rain but not enough to derail anybody. We crossed Fairoak Lane and continued through Prince’s Coverts for a mile and a half and came out into Oxshott where we crossed into Wren’s Hill and the lovely Bridle Lane path and emerged into Blundel Lane. In Stoke d’Abernon we took the unpaved River Lane through to Downside for the next off-road stretch through Bookham Common.

Just before the Vineries we turned up Manor House Lane and thence to Woodlands Road for the climb up to Polesden Lacey which we entered via a path through the woods and a back gate into the car park. We left by the more conventional entrance and soon found ourselves descending Chapel Lane and Bagden Hill quite cautiously to regroup near the Stepping Stones PH. As planned, we crossed the A24 for lunch at Rykas. We were lucky to be able to eat outdoors though we needed our raincoats to keep the Scotch Mist from dampening our spirits. I did think it was Irish Mist but apparently that is something different altogether so thanks to the person who corrected me.

Other groups rolled in to Rykas after our group. Several people headed for home after lunch and we were able to condense into two groups for the ascent of the scenic road up into Norbury Park and out the other end where Admirals Road meets the A246 near Bocketts Farm. We rode through Fetcham and Stoke d’Abernon and up Fairmile Lane towards Esher where we stopped at Costa for coffee and tea. We parked outside G!Ro which was just closing and wandered across the road to Costa to buy our beverages which we consumed in the outside seating area next to G!Ro.

It was a pretty wacky route by any measure, but everyone seemed to enjoy it. I am massively grateful to the four other leaders John Austin, Dave 'Fixie' Cullen, Tony Hooker and Steph Wyatt who led their little teams all over Surrey and ended up at Rykas. I am looking forward to seeing their recorded rides in Strava to see where they actually went today. Thanks too to five back markers and everyone who played a part in not losing anyone. Thanks to all riders including two guests, Gina Coulson who normally prefers riding on roads and Simon who normally prefers A Group’s adventures. Apologies to everyone who cleaned their bikes recently.

~ Tim

Report for the B riders who left Claygate at 10.40am

Led from the rear by Dave C (aka Fixie Dave):

Many thanks to Yasmine, Terry, Pete B. & Ken for being on the ride, and all contributing to the navigation without which I am sure the journey would have been at least twice as long.

A good and well devised route by Tim! Many tracks, trails, & roads I have never been on before, at least not that I can remember.

Not a route that I could emulate although I’m pleased to have taken part. Good that the slight rain never really got going.

~ Dave

Monday, July 06, 2020

Update to Ride Guidelines

After 3 weeks of organising rides in groups of 6 open to all, and subject to our New Riding Guidelines it is worth reflecting on how things have gone, and the lessons we have learned.

The feedback I have received is that riding in groups of up to six is popular, so much so that several members have suggested continuing the format even if the government's maximum group size is abolished in future. Achieving that will be a challenge and will depend on the availability and continuing enthusiasm of ride leaders, which is up to you our members.

There are some lessons learned too.

Respect the ride leader by always booking in advance, and don’t jump groups without checking with the leader. Take the leader & sub-leader mobile nos.

Keep to your designated start time and stay in your group of 6 as far as possible, even at 11's, lunch and tea stops; we must respect the government guidelines.

Maintain social distancing. Two metres when stationary, and a minimum of 10 metres when moving, is the gold standard. The government advice has been relaxed from 2m to “1 metre plus” only when 2m is not possible, and only if additional safeguards are applied. Please bear this in mind, particularly now we can visit inside pubs and cafes, where risks are increased.

Always have a back-marker however small the group and apply corner marking whenever the back-marker is not visible. We do not want to lose riders. Follow our usual Ride Guidelines.

Be prepared to leave contact tracing details as required by pub or café.

Sharing of food with fellow riders is not good practice, however popular it may be.

Carry hand sanitizer, and bring face-mask in case you must bail out on public transport.

CUK are regularly updating their advice. The latest from CUK can be found here and here.

I would welcome any further observations you may have. Enjoy your riding with us, but with the clear objective of no new Covid-19 cases in our club.

Saturday, July 04, 2020

Tanhouse news

Having noted Mike's comments re possible non-accessibilty of Tanhouse to cyclists I decided to check it out. En route I noticed this sign - not very tempting!
Old crumpet, anyone ?

I arrived at Tanhouse after closing time (1500) but had just noticed quite a few cyclists heading away, possibly from T. Two walking customers were just leaving as I arrived and confirmed cyclists were still normally served. Turning round, and thanks to a tailwind I was soon at Henfold (cafe and loos open).
Refreshments now available at Ranmore