Thursday, September 20, 2018

A Group ride to Chichester

An intrepid group of A riders set off South to Chichester into the teeth of the wind. We managed a good pace over Newlands and Winterfold and despite the unexpected showers we stuck to our task and managed to get to lunch before 2pm. The Stagg Inn in Balls Cross provided an excellent lunch and good beer. Fuelled up we hit the road for the last hilly leg to Chichester. Through Petworth and down through quiet lanes to Barlavington and then the climb up Ducton Hill with the wind in our faces. We took the route across the downs past Glorious Goodwood race track and then a fast downhill and a visit to the Goodwood motor race track. A swift referendum took place, go to Wittering or Wetherspoons? Not surprisingly the latter won by a landslide. We were joined at the pub by Angie Launder who had cycled over from her home on the south coast.
A good ride. 56 miles from Walton and 3,225 feet of climbing. Thanks to Mark for giving me a tow into the wind on occasions and Mike for back marking.

B Group - 19th September

Walton-on-Thames - Dorney - Shepperton Lock

B group had a sizeable turn out yesterday, 27 on the ride + John Scott who was unable to stay out all day. Pretty good considering the weather forecast.   We also had a few A riders join us, just to have a change from their normal riding speeds!!!  Well done to those riders that joined Hans ( I'm looking forward to reading about their day). A big Happy Birthday and thank you to Brian who treated us all to Morning Tea with Cake to celebrate his recent coming of age.

After collecting menu choices and phoning them through to the pub we did not get going until near 11.30. We made good progress via Walton Bridge, Chertsey Bridge, through to Thorpe where I turned off at the Rose and Crown to go down Hurst Lane.  Here we came to a halt for a huge mobile(park) home was being moved - already in the road in front of us! Never mind - patience is a virtue and it wasn't too long before it came to a halt and we were all able to get by.  A thoughtful driver??   Next it was up Prune Hill to Englefield Green.  Then through Windsor Great Park to exit at Rangers Gate where we picked up Sustrans route 4 through Windsor, past the leisure centre and up and over to join the Thames towpath out to Dorney - for lunch at The Pineapple.

Tables were reserved inside but the garden was sheltered and the sun shone so we all opted for the outside.  Food was served promptly and with a smile.  Fantastic, it really was worth pre-ordering!

We left Dorney along the Jubilee river, exiting on the approach road to Eton.  From here we continued to Datchet where Margaret (our Canadian friend) opted for the train whilst the rest of us continued to Shepperton Lock via Horton, Wraysbury and Staines.

There was a hiccup when we got to Wraysbury for Grant had punctured and our backmarker stayed behind with him.  Christina, who was cornering, phoned after some time to say Tim had not arrived - my text (which I had not looked at) told me about Grant - so Tony Hopkins kindly took the group to Shepperton whilst I waited for Christina.  After a ride through The Lammas (looking for the essential loo), we rode on to the Lock where there were still several of the group socialising over tea and cake.

A big welcome to Sarah, Guy and Tony who cycled with the B group for the first time - we look forward to having your company again 😃

My thanks to all who cornered, our back marker Tim and to Tony for leading from Wraysbury and to all who came on the ride.  Sorry I wasn't there to say goodbye to some, next time! 

Cheers Pam 😀😉

The nearest we got to a group photo

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

A Group 19th September

Hans had arranged a tailwind for today's ride, but, due to a mix-up at the Weather Centre, we got a headwind instead.  There you are, these things happen, despite the wind we were able to maintain a good pace.

A good ride and a great day out.


"B" ride today 19 Sept 2018

Dear Pam not wishing to steel your thunder but before I immerse myself in a hot bath, today was a fantastic ride and the PineApple excelled. From my point of view however it was very strenuous. 71 miles home to home and the final climb up the North Downs from Walton on Thames to Walton on the Hill some 213 m. ASL made my loins and my groins ache. Any one available for a massage please! Pam a great day out!
If I may comment it was also good to see Sarah out for what I suspect was her first "B" group ride though she has been out with the "A's". Normally a rider with KPRC she also did the Prudential 100 and so a very fit rider. It was also great to see Christina who with family was on the Birthday Rides and this was her first ride to this part of the world, so once again Pam well done!
I had intended to go to Tea at Sheperton Lock but missed you all due to a misunderstanding. In the end I had a very reasonable Large Late & Danish Pastry at the cafe next to the Co-op in Sheperton, traversing home then via Esher, Claygate, Ewell, Epsom College, Tadworth, where I saw Pete Beyers on his way home.
Can't wait to see how the "A" group got on but did they do any more miles than we, without train assist!

Tuesday, September 18, 2018


Further to Marks post, a video inside the factory.

Brompton Factory


Useful Signage

Glad they pointed it out!

Details for B Group ride tomorrow (19th)

We are having lunch at The Pineapple pub, Dorney. I shall be asking B riders their menu choice on Wednesday at elevenses. For anybody that does not know...the pub is infamous for its over sized sandwiches, many different fillings PLUS soup, salad OR fries!

A little off road but surface OK !

~ Pam

Monday, September 17, 2018

A new Wayfarers tea stop

We came across this place after an arduous and glorious day riding the NC500.  Read more here...

A Group ride to Chichester, Wed 19th.

We need to make a prompt start from Walton to ensure a reasonably early arrival at Chichester and the possibility of a short trip to the sea.
The route takes us over Newlands towards Albury, Winterfold Wood, Cranleigh, Dunsfold & Plaistow. I'm aiming for lunch at The Stag Inn at Balls Cross, approximately 35 miles so a good pace will be necessary. After lunch its up, up, up and over the South Downs to Chichester. If we arrive in good time a trip to Wittering and back would round the day off and make a pint or two in Wetherspoons well earned.
56 miles to Chichester and another 14-15 miles to Wittering and back.

PS Don't forget your lights.

GPX for the ride...

Sunday, September 16, 2018


Sunny today, and I had a good run along the edge of the North Downs.  After arriving home, I washed the bike and noticed a sizeable nail in the rear tyre.

I could have left it in, but that would have been a bit scruffy, so I pulled it out, and lost a bit of sealant - about an egg-cup full.  I'll have to top that up by and by, but the tyre hasn't deflated to any extent.  

Good when things work.


Saturday, September 15, 2018

Robin Michael Charles Johnson 1933 - 2018

The family did Robin proud with a memorable church service at St. Nicholas Chiswick close to his origins and where he was brought up. The music with cello and soprano of part of Handel's Messiah was well chosen. The church bells were also ringing in honor of a very accomplished gentleman. I had not realized that he had had such a varied life as was pointed out by his brothers/nephew.
Robin was clearly a keen cyclist and an avid tourer. His highest achievement however was in sailing  to the extent that he had been selected to represent GB for the Olympics. He became a master at that, having spent National Service in the RN. He was a life long member of the Corinthian Sailing Club, where the family laid on a splendid farewell to which we were all invited.
An excellent collage of photographs were put together and shown on a screen notably from my point of view reminding me of two memorable tours I spent with Robin, the first organised by John Scott in the Jura, the second in Sicily put together by Ian Appleton & Pam. Robin was seen to be enjoying himself immensely on both these tours often seen tucking into good food with a glass of wine. I must say that the wine flowed well at his farewell and it's a pity that he was only there in spirit, he would have enjoyed the excellent RED!

The photographs below are my contribution and I hope that Tim will post the ones taken outside the Corinthian.

Friday, September 14, 2018

A Visit to the Brompton Factory

Having enjoyed some success with our Bromptons as unlikely but effective tourers, Maggie and I took the opportunity to visit the Brompton factory.  Tours are run twice a week, and cost £25.  The tour lasts about two hours, and we both enjoyed it; we had both encountered small engineering factories of this type in our student days, and this must be one of the few still operating as a successful business in England.

The tour started with a visit to the museum, and it was gratifying to find that the third exhibit was identical with the Brompton that Maggie had ridden to the factory - I had bought it in 1991, and, despite the attentions of two generations of Gladwyns, it still goes well.

Raw materials and components entering the factory are steel tubes, castings, rims, spokes, tyres and build kits such as gears, saddles and handlebars.  Machining, brazing, painting, assembly and testing are carried out on site.  There is a pleasing mixture of manual craftsmanship, computerised machines and well-organised processes; rigorous testing is also carried out at the component, sub-assembly and finished machine levels.

Brazing the frame components is the foundation of the design; very high levels of accuracy are required and Brompton offers apprenticeships to brazers.  It takes about eighteen months for a skilled brazer to become fully proficient at producing the complex bottom bracket and main tube structure.

Automated brazing machines are used for less demanding elements of the frame structure, such as the handlebar stem and the pivot clamps, which are machined from castings on site.

Wheels are made using bought-in rims and spokes on a substantially automated machine.  There is some manual intervention, but the truing and testing are computerised.  It gives a very strong wheel.

Painting is done on-site, there are no photographs of this due to the risk of triggering the fire system, but the process is modern with the same mix of computerised automation and manual finishing for the difficult nooks and crannies.  Finished components are then brought together at the assembly line.  This was running with 14 stations for the model being built when I was there, other models may require additional steps.  A single set of actions is carried out at each build station, with the finished sub-assembly being moved on its trolley to the next station when complete.  Cycle time yesterday was 3.5 minutes - viz. a complete bike every 3.5 minutes; as you will see from the counter at the end of the line, the builders were ahead of target.  There are two lines; the factory has space for four.  49,000 bikes were built and sold last year - every one is to prior order.  80% of sales go for export.  A passing remark by our tour guide was that China has 23 cities with more than ten million inhabitants; Brompton currently has dealerships in two of them.  So there is considerable opportunity for growth there, and in other growing economies around the world.

The star of the show is the electric Brompton.  I rode one, and it goes well, but I don't think it has a place in my world - not yet, anyway!

A very enjoyable and interesting afternoon, and I thought that Brompton were generous with their time and access.  I'd recommend it, if this sort of thing interests you - there are not many other places in Britain where you can see bicycles being made.  Brompton is in Greenford, just by the Grand Union Canal, so a very congenial cycle ride from London.