Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Today's B Ride

12 of us viz Adam, Angy, Christine, Gillian, Ian, John G, Mike M, Norman, Pat, Ray, Robin and my good self set out from North Cheam. 12 miles to my home in Crystal Palace through suburbia although the route kept us away from too many busy roads. Coffee and then a trip round the local excitements. 

First the almshouses: 
There are many Victorian almshouses in Penge, the oldest being the Royal Watermen's Almshouses, built around 1840 by the Company of Watermen and Lightermen of the City of London for retired company Freemen and their widows. It is also known as the Free Watermen and Lightermen’s Almshouses on Beckenham Road, built 1840-1841 to designs by George Porter (architect). It is the most prominent building in Penge, Kent. In 1973, the almspeople were moved to a new site in Hastings, and the original buildings were converted into private homes.

The Queen Adelaide Almshouses, also known as the King William Naval Asylum, St. John’s Road, founded 1847 and built in 1848 to designs by Philip Hardwick at the request and expense of Queen Adelaide of Saxe-Meiningen, the widow of King William IV, to provide shelter for twelve widows or orphan daughters of naval officers. Again, the almshouses are now in private residences.

Then the dinosaurs:
In 1854 Queen Victoria opened ‘the world’s first theme park’ complete with the first life-sized models of prehistoric animals built anywhere in the world. These models were built to demonstrate the process of evolution - before the publication of Darwin’s ‘Origin of the Species’. A recent massive restoration programme has restored them to their former glory. 

 Then the remains of the Crystal Palace:
 The Crystal Palace was a cast-iron and glass building originally erected in Hyde Park to house the Great Exhibition of 1851. Following the success of the exhibition, the palace was moved and reconstructed in 1854 in a modified and enlarged form in the grounds of the Penge Place estate at Sydenham Hill. It attracted visitors for over seven decades.
Sydenham Hill is one of the highest locations in London; 109 metres (357 ft) above sea level (spot height on Ordnance Survey Map); and the size of the palace and prominence of the site made it easy to identify from much of London. This led to the residential area around the building becoming known as Crystal Palace instead of Sydenham Hill. The palace was destroyed by fire on 30 November 1936 and the site of the building and its grounds is now known as Crystal Palace Park.

Then swimming for some and lunch for all.

Everyone seemed to enjoy it and it was after 3:00 before we left. As soon as we set out Pat let the side down by having a puncture and ended up with a wheel that wasn't circular. A glimmer of sunshine on our way back to Mitcham Common where we parted. I'm most grateful for the bottle of malt whiskey and the bottle of wine which I was given.

Very many thanks.

Easy Riders - 31st August 2011

Molesey - Osterley Park - Grand Union Canal - Richmond Bridge

A Group 31st August

A maiden lead from Paul today, and a good lead it was. Hilly before lunch, over White Down and Leith Hill to Newdigate, and flat after, giving a good opportunity for a sprint finish to Annies, where we enjoyed our teas in the sun.

32.68 miles at a rolling average of 13.1 mph, maximum speed 43.8 mph, 2,567 feet of ascent and 1,464 calories.


Friday, August 26, 2011

Easy Riders report 24th Aug.

From Greeno most of our easy riders went with B group who were going to Isleworth along the tow path and the number was too many and easy riders also went to Isleworth the previous week for lunch at the APPRENTICE pub. So six of us decided to go to PRINCE OF WALES at West end Esher with our leader Ron Weedon instead of Fuzz. names are Mark Roy, Beryl, Roger and John C.We crossed over the Walton bridge and entered the the housing estate high class houses and roads as smooth as baby's bottom and exited at the road Walton railway station from there we crossed over in to Burwood housing estate towards seven hills road then turned left towards Hersham passed the day centre to the roundabout right towards Esher over the river Mole right towards Garson's farm and ended up at the pub.
From the pub after lunch we came back towards Esher and again through the housing estate emerged opposite one-way system and entered another housing estate and through woods to Claygate Day centre and had very nice big lump of bread pudding costing 50P. After that we all went our own way John C and I towards chessington climbed the hill with ease after the bread pudding and named the hill as "BREAD PUDDING" from now on. I clocked as many miles as I did the previous week to Isleworth a total of 25 miles less a Bee sting which I had on the tow path on the way back from lunch.

Mark Roy.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

CTC Birthday Rides Framlingham

The imposing Framlingham College was an excellent venue.

Detail of one of the three Birthday Cakes

The Historical Framlingham Castle seeped in history and the Howard family of Duke of Norfolk fame. Plutocratic caravaner's seemed to be separated from the campers close to the mere!

The two Princess's & the Toad next to the water clock on Southwold pier! For those wishing to know it's a Surrey Road Toad though it was seen during the week in both Sou'Wester and KPRC skin!
More pictures on the SWLDA Blog

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A Group 24 August

Shepperton - Dorney - Shepperton LockJohn
Today assuming the mantle of the Grand Old Duke of York

Sunning ourselves beside the pineapple fields of Dorney

Ready for the magical mystery tour

The advance party at Shepperton Lock

What is Paul looking at?

“A” ride from Shepperton, 24 August 2011

17 left Shepperton and cycled on a flat route through Staines, Wraysbury, Horton, Datchett and Eton to Dorney Lake, the venue for the 2012 Olympic rowing events. Then via the wide tarmac road on the South Bank of the lake to sandwich lunch at the Pineapple in Dorney village. The route back through Windsor, Windsor Park, Sunningdale, Wentworth and Chertsey was a little hillier and it was nearly 5 p.m. when we arrived for tea at Shepperton Lock.

Before planning the ride I had heard rumours that A Group’s bikes (and their riders) were so delicate that they only cycled on main roads with a white line down the middle. I decided to ignore any such namby-pamby nanny-state “health and safety” type restrictions and included some good quality non-tarmac paths on our route. By puncturing four times during the ride, the group managed to demonstrate that this was a mistake .
John Gould

B Group - 24th August, 2011

Shepperton - Isleworth - Richmond Park

B Group Aug 24th

B Group's ride for 24th August was a river ride with a couple of inland loops thrown in for good measure! There were 24 of us setting off from the Greeno heading for The Town Wharf pub at Old Isleworth. After the rain of the day before, we took the inland route to Molesey before joining the towpath at Hampton Court. From there on it was towpath to Kingston, over the bridge and along the other side as far as Teddington Lock. It was good to see youngsters out on the water at Molesey Boat Club and at Kingston. At the Lock, we turned inland towards Ham then followed a series of paths round the back of Ham House to the Garden Centre at Petersham and finally on the 'dry' flood route path across a meadow to join the towpath once more at Richmond - a new route for most with some challenging narrow paths! Crossing the river at Richmond Bridge, the final lap to the Town Wharf was familiar territory. With a large group and a stand-in cook, lunch stretched to a couple of hours and I thank everyone for their patience. However, it was pleasant enough sitting outside next to the river (albeit at low tide!), watching the resident heron, chatting and being entertained by the constant flow of aeroplanes coming into Heathrow low over our heads - the flight path changed just as we left! After lunch a slightly shorter route than planned was put into action. We went through Syon Park and on to Kew Bridge where Liz, took over as leader. Crossing Kew Bridge, we turned sharply left and left again, to join the towpath which we followed under Chiswick Bridge to the brewery, then turned inland to the East Sheen Gate into Richmond Park. Back on my original route, we crossed the park to Ham Gate, turned left immediately to cut across to Tudor Drive, down to the lights, straight across and left on to paths leading us straight to the YMCA Cafe, back on the river. There were 12 of us by now, others having dropped off on the way After tea most continued to Kingston Bridge before separating to head home. Thanks to co-leader, Liz, and to Irene for being back-marker. Gill Finlay

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

A Group 24th August

John G's first 'A' lead today, and he brought the sunshine with him. 44.3 miles from elevenses at Shepperton to tea at Shepperton lock, with an ample lunch provided by the 'Pineapple' at Dorney. Moving average 11.6 mph and 1,984 calories.


Wednesday, August 17, 2011

B Group Aug 17th

Pat, Terry, Ed S, Peter (the pump), Ed C, Harry, John G, David V, Brian G, Christine (Ooh LA La!) PM and a big welcome to a first ride from Tom Reay. With Terry leading and Brian back marker we set off at a very steady pace down and up to the view point at Tilburstow Hill, a regroup and stop to admire the scenery and off with a woosh down to another stop at Crowhurst Churchyard. It was mentioned that last year the Yew Tree was certainly a Thousand Years Old Terry said that now it must be a Thousand and One Years old!
Lunch at The Old House at Home was dramatically interupted with the news that our leader Terry had blacked out at the bar and fallen and hit his head, an ambulance was summond (3 mins to arrive!) after a check by medics Terry was moved to hospital for a complete checkup. His bike being stored at the Pub to await collection at a later date. This called for a replacement leader, so I came out of leadership retirement and took the front for the rest of the day, quiet lanes and a very easy pace found us at Tea at Redhill Aerodrome at the very smart and modern Café.
Homeward via Merstham and a light drizzle over Banstead before dropping down to various destinations. 54 miles

From Pete M
p.s. Have just spoken to Terry who was home and sounded fine and in good spirits. Seems the service at East Surrey was quite prompt and they could find nothing wrong and came to the conclusion that he had fainted. ( He said the doctor used a technical term which apparently meant the same thing!).

The Crowhurst yew

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A Group - Challenging Ride

Today's ride was billed as challenging, and so it turned out to be. A nucleus of the A group rode - several stalwarts were unable to be there - so eight of us took up the challenge. Fast from the off, we shot down White Hill using the well-tried 'falling stone' descending technique before turning into Bletchingley and over Tilburstow Hill. Down again, and on to Crowhurst where we spent a few minutes looking at the yew. I promised to Google the age of the tree for the blog, and, as might be expected, precision is hard to come by. The consensus is that it is very old, certainly 1000 years, probably 1500 years and maybe more. Perhaps much more. (I think I could probably do tree dating if that is the accepted standard of accuracy). It's a fine thing, anyway.

Back on the road over Marlpit Hill - too small to worry about - and through Edenbridge and Four Elms to the first of the challenges - Yorks Hill, setting for the Catford Hill Climb. This is said to be the oldest bicycle race in the world. The hill is certainly a toughy - two ramps of 19% and, just when you think it has finished, you realise it hasn't. The record is about 1 minute 45 seconds; I took about five minutes, which wasn't the quickest, but it wasn't the slowest either. Hmm...

But, challenge met, things looked a lot better as the pub, the Cock Inn at Ide Hill, was only a couple of minutes away. It's a pleasant old-fashioned sort of place; they were ready for us and served us quickly. With Jeff absent on his sick-bed the traditional pub snap was taken by a nice lady called Sarah, who kindly offered to take the picture with my phone.

Revictualled, we used the 'falling stone' technique again down Ide Hill, but, sadly, what goes down must go up and our next challenge, Toys Hill, was quickly upon us. This is a long and hard hill, and poor Ken suffered when his gears translated from low ratio to no ratio on a tricky bit. All sorted out quickly enough, and up we went. And up a bit more.

A long, easy cruise down to Brasted, then up to the Pilgrims Way and along, by stages, until we got to Titsey Hill. Here was our third challenge - White Hill, the scene of the Bec Hill climb, normally the partner of the Catford. Another tough climb, but we were pretty blasé by now, and the opinion at the top was that this one wasn't so bad, not really.

Tea was now a topic of conversation, and we made short work of the Ridge and down through Woldingham to the A22 roundabout. Here Burntwoood Lane provided a bonus hill - it wouldn't have seemed much earlier in the day - and, during a breather at the top, we returned to the topic of tea. The options were the Italian Cafe in Coulsdon (better cakes) or the cafe in the lavender field at Woodmansterne (novelty value). Being more-or-less on the way home for more-or-less everyone, the lavender field won, which was how we ended up eating lavender flavoured cakes, lavender flavoured scones and buying bunches of lavender to take home to our loved ones.

So, challenge met, we set off smartly home. 47.14 miles coffee to tea; a brisk moving average of 13.2 mph; maximum speed 43.2 mph; 3,374 feet of ascent and 2,112 calories. A pretty good day out.


Monday, August 15, 2011

London-Surrey Cycle Classic

London-Surrey Cycle Classic video highlights


Situations Vacant

Applications are invited for leaders to fill the following vacancies:

28 September: Easy Rider leader from Weybridge DC

19 October: B Group leader from Addlestone DC

Please let me know if you are ready, willing and able to lead one of these rides!

Many thanks,


Sunday, August 14, 2011

Friday, August 12, 2011


Yesterday I cycled into central London, mostly along the route I used to take in to work many years ago. Not much had changed, except that the part on the north bank of the Thames from Chelsea Bridge along the Embankment to Lambeth Bridge has become part of CS8. It is a big improvement. This stretch of road, well surfaced, wide and with few junctions is ideal for the superhighway approach and the width of the blue cycle lane is generous. The improvement at the foot of Vauxhall Bridge is especially marked with the blue streak giving you a clear line across innumerable lanes of revving traffic onto Milbank and the Tate Gallery. Sadly, the route seems to stop suddenly at the roundabout at Lambeth Bridge, but otherwise the two miles or so I did were a joy. It would be nice to think that the rest of CS8—from Chelsea Bridge to Wandsworth—is as good. Has anyone ridden that section?..............Julian

Two Back Up - A Tandem in the Pyrenees

I've given the Pyrenees a fair bashing on a solo for the last couple of seasons; now it was time to give the tandem a try. Maggie and I based ourselves in Arreau for the first part of our trip - a very pleasant little town handy for a few classic passes. We had a very good time, and did a lot of what we had planned. The weather was pretty Pyreneen, which is to say hot and dry, and cold and wet, and some in between too.

Our first pass was the Peyresourde, which went off very well. The next was the Aspin, and we had planned to follow it with the Tourmalet, but a temperature of 34 degrees on the first few ramps out of St Marie de Campan led us to think better of it, so we left it for a cooler day.

The next couple of days were wet, so one day we had a good time visiting friends, and the next drove through the Bielsa Tunnel to Spain, where it was hot and sunny. Some tandemists we met told us it had been like that for weeks. Ho hum. A good ride, then back to cloudy France for supper.

Cool and clear the next morning, so we tucked in the Tourmalet while it was available. A good ride - some wisps of cloud above La Mongie, but clear at the top and applause for the tandem, which was nice.

For our journey home we had planned to take in one of the Voies Vertes, having enjoyed one in the Ardennes last season. This year we stopped in Burgundy and rode the Veloroute des Vignobles between Chalons and Beaune - fantastic riding though some of the world's most prestigious vineyards, followed by an excellent lunch in a beautiful medieval city. Sixty easy miles in the warm sunshine - we'll be back for more.


Thursday, August 11, 2011

A + B Groups, 10 August

The Ace Café - Wembley - Little Venice - Richmond Park

Leader Frank

Leaving the Ace Cafe "Behind"

Terry as "Tail End Charlie! did an excellent job! Slightly out of sync. as we left Cafe Laville due to bike facing wrong way! Not easy to manoeuvre on the narrow path at side of Grand Union Canal.

Who's this guy! Does Frank have a brother? It reminds me where was John Scott hope you are well and probably relaxing in the Jura. You missed an excellent ride and would have enjoyed the lunch venue and Frank's impeccable knowledge of the route. I have to say Frank I enjoyed your Brian Hanrahan poetic comment (ex Faulklands), were the Soles Dover or Shoe? or simply part of the Heart and Soul normally associated with that bit that goes to heaven and your clear dedication to cycling, you are one of the true Souls of our club and we appreciate all that you do "Mr Fix-It" (here endeth the spelling lesson for today - I'm the worlds worst!)

Finally and "Behind" the scene Judy doing an excellent job in contacting Frank after some of us took a wrong turn down a dead end before we finally got to the excellent scenic ride along the canal!
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