Friday, December 30, 2011

John Hammond

I am writing to let you all know that John Hammond passed away few days ago. He was 95years on the 25th of Octber 2011.
According to the care workers of Rosclare home in Ewell Road, Tolworth he was admitted to Kingston Hospital on the 18th and died on the 20th of Dec. He died of Chest infection. Pat and Bill Mathews were his regular visitors and I saw him on the 17th before Xmas. He was quite well and in control of his senses. He could read books and write letters which he used to write to his twin brother.

His funeral is on the 12th of January at 12.30 at Randalls park Crematorium, Leatherhead. His next of kin number is 02086423734, if anybody wants to enquire.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

A Tale of Six Bridges

Walton Bridge

On Wednesday we cycled under the two Walton Bridges. Have you ever cursed the traffic and the potholes on Walton Bridge? Prompted by the itch of curiosity about the clearance work being undertaken at the approaches to the bridge, I decided to try and find out why it is so bad. Answer: it is a temporary bridge, opened in 1999 and planned to be replaced by 2008. This is the fifth Walton Bridge.

The lifespan of the first Walton Bridge was 1750 to 1783. At the time it was considered a wonder and was even painted by Canaletto. It does look splendid. The second Walton Bridge (1788 – 1859) was painted by Turner. This bridge collapsed in 1859. The third bridge lasted from 1864 – 1985. It was damaged during the Second World War and replaced by a fourth bridge in 1953. This one lasted 46 years and was closed to traffic in 1999, because its untreated iron supports were corroding badly. It is now used only by cyclists (as we know) and pedestrians. The sixth is planned to open in June 2013. I wonder how long that will last.

Attribution of photo of Fourth Walton Bridge: Oliver White

4th and 5th as seen by Google

As for cyclists, we are told that: “There will be a 3.5m (11ft 6 in) wide shared footway/cycleway on the upstream side of the viaduct. On the downstream side pedestrians, horse riders and cyclists will have exclusive use of the existing viaduct, which will be retained and linked to the footway on the new bridge. A pedestrian/cyclist ramp and a horse ramp will link from the existing viaduct, and pass under the new bridge, before joining the riverside path.”

See link to Scheme Layout.

Let's see what happens.


A Group, 28 December

Walton on Thames - Woking - Stoke d'AbernonWelcome to David Frank

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

A Group 28th Dec

We left Walton-on-Thames day centre (some 15 of us).. for Woking with the intention of doing this part of the ride mainly off road.This was along side the Thames as far as the outskirts of Weybridge and then on to the Wey Navigation Canal and stopping at New Haw where the above photo was taken.Here we discovered that we had lost four riders.We continued on to the junction with the Basinstoke Canal which took us to the outskirts of Woking then a short way by road to Weatherspoons for Lunch.Here the four missing riders were already seated they having found the roads more to their taste.
After a quickly served lunch we got away early 1.15 and set off again via Old Woking,Send,Send Marsh,by passing Ripley by back lanes to Downside Medicine Garden the intended tea stop.This unfortunately was closed so after some discussion it was agreed that Squires at Stoke D'Abernon would be our best bet.
Tea was taken their and with the late sun shining we departed for our separate ways.My total mileage was a mere 35.


Beez at Threez

B group enjoying 3s at Walton.

PS I will collate/publish 2011 mileages.
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B Group - 28th December 2011

Walton to Thorpe village and back to the Walton Centre for tea
(about 18 miles)

It was a very short ride for the B group to-day...resulting in a short ride report!

I was surprised to count more than 20 riders before starting off on our epic ride!! Irene very kindly offered to lead the second group of a convenient split and it was very successful....many thanks Irene. Also my thanks to Terry for being our back marker to-day!

We left Walton on the tow-path heading for Weybridge and we followed the usual route through to Addlestone, along Green Lane, just touching the A320 before turning right into Holloway Hill. My plan was to take the next right turn but we were a little ahead of ourselves time wise so I continued along Holloway Hill keeping right at the fork and then turning into Lyne Lane, right into Almers Road, taking a left at the T and next right over the railway and M3. We took a right at the next T and on into Thorpe village where we had lunch at The Red Lion. A very nice pub, good food served by very pleasant bar persons!!

We were on our way back to Walton by 2pm via Chertsey park, Chertsey Bridge, Dockett Eddy Lane and Shepprton Church Road. The plan was to have tea at the Riverside Arts Centre but we found it closed (between Xmas and New Year) so....some one had the brilliant idea...have tea at the day centre! We were so lucky for one of the staff (I feel ashamed to say that I have forgotten her name), very kindly made pots of tea for at least a dozen of us. Bargain of the day at 50p a cup!!
So ended another super day....thanks to all for being one of to-days party!

Pam :-) :-)

Thursday, December 22, 2011

A Ride - Ace of Spades Lunch

The "A" group enjoying a splendid Wetherspoons lunch served so efficiently and prompt we were away by 1:45pm on our way to Nonsuch. Thanks to Graham for his exquisite and intricate route finding!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

A Group, 21 December

Leatherhead - Hook - Nonsuch Park
Recent rains meant the Woodstock Lane underpass had to be on my path to Leatherhead. It was passable (just) but the rich aroma and a “Stool Bus” in operation ruled it of contention for the ride. Twenty journeyed south to Mickleham and roadworks, and up Little Switzerland, the day's only real exercise. A northerly plunge back into suburbia came next (Hurst Lane, Woodcote and Stamford Green). Mike M delivered Jake and Gary's Xmas card then we “offroaded” on the cyclepath outside Horton Park. A Collier Close alleyway gave us an opportunity to sample the steep but mercifully short Filby Road.

At the bottom of Garrison Lane, the choc-a-bloc A243 was somehow negotiated for more quiet roads
which run out on Somerset Avenue. All that remained was a short A243 dash to the Cap in Hand. By chance the Powneys had beaten us to it; seemingly crowded as we arrived, we soon changed that! Prior commitments left only eight wanting more. Our tour of surburbia continued with Tolworth Hospital (back of) and Elgar Avenue. Across the A3 we sampled Malden Manor and the more salubrious Cuddington. A long detour (down to Dewsbury Gardens and back up to Sparrow Farm Lane) got us into Nonsuch Park for alfresco tea and cakes at the cafe. A very roundabout but modest 40+ miles door to door.


B Ride, 21 December 2011

Twenty five Christmas feasters set off from Leatherhead's Fairfield Centre towards Stoke D'Abernon. After Blundel Lane, the Crown Estate led to a muddy New Road which eight declined preferring the main road. From Claygate, the bypass was crossed at Hinchley Wood. Then came Surbiton and finally Kingston and the King’s Tun (Empire Theatre as was) where Mary P was a final addition.


B Group - 21st December 2011 (Christmas dinner)

Irene led us from Leatherhead to Kingston for our most enjoyable and
very well attended Christmas dinner.

(click to see the bigger picture and click again to see the map at maximum magnification)

A Group 21st December

A serpentine route from Graham today, with the obvious skilfully avoided. 23 miles from elevenses at Leatherhead to lunch at Hook and tea at Nonsuch Park. Rolling average 10 mph, 1,061 feet of ascent and 1,030 calories.

Home in the light on the shortest day of the year.


Easy Riders - Wednesday 21st December

Lynda's ride with C Group from Leatherhead to Ewell Court Library

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Easy Riders - December 14th 2011

Roger was due to lead our ride today but unfortunately he was not well and Lynda stepped in at the last minute to take the lead. After some discussion with Mark it was decided that we would head for lunch at Woodies ending with tea at the Mannsion House in Nonsuch Park, Cheam. Lynda, Mark, Malcolm, Sandy, Beryl, John C, Neville, the two Alans, Norman, Tom and David set off on the journey.

Our first stop was at the Kingston Sikh Temple in Lower Marsh Lane, Berrylands which Mark had arranged. On entering the building we had to remove our shoes and cover our heads using the scarves supplied by the temple leader before we could enter the Temple itself. The Sikh religion believes in the union of the soul with the one God and that all people are equal. We were shown the "Sri Guru Granth Sahib" a Holy Book which is revered by Sikhs as their supreme guide and were offered tea and food whilst all sitting at the same level on the carpeted floor of the temple. Most of us declined the tea but accepted the food which was sweet cooked semolina a by product from the manufacture of flour.

After this visit we left to continue our journey to Woodies, unfortunately on the way Neville had a run in with a bollard by Berryland station, he was badly bruised and shaken but not far from home. We had a good lunch at Woodies meeting Charles B before the group moved on to Cheam for tea in Nonsuch Park, whilst I headed for home in Hampton. An interesting day but quite a short ride.

David Salmon

Friday, December 16, 2011

"A" Group Xmas Lunch 14 Dec

As Mark has said Paul led us all a song and dance and roundabout route to lunch and for me a hell of a climb over Box Hill above on my "Fixie" it's taking some getting used to!

Thanks to Pam for organising our lunch. There is an old saying there's no such thing as a free lunch but in my case I did get a free soup! If anyone missed out I.O.U. £2! Don't all shout at once!

A Group, 14 December Xmas Lunch

Dorking to Leatherhead
I'm sure that some of you have some much better snaps. Let's see them!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

B Group - 14th December 2011

Harry's ride over Ranmore Common to Ripley
Ripley to Garsons Farm
The big climb up to Ranmore Common represented in GPS Visualizer using a Google Terrain map

Seven of us set out to ride up to Ranmore Common, Tim, Stephanie, Bernard, Mike, John and Peter. The sun was out, slanting across the fields and the wind, though cold, was light. We made a good pace, glimpsing views and secluded country houses through the leafless hedges.

The frenzied descent to the Epsom Road was followed by a long straight downhill run to Ripley and lunch at the Seven Stars on Newark Lane.

There must have been issues in the past with cyclists parking in the pub garden and a wooden rail of the sort horses are tied to in Western movies was provided outside. Nevertheless there was the obligatory fire and service was swift with the food of a good standard.

Bernard left us here to catch a train at West Byfleet and the rest of us set off for Ockham, Cobham and tea at Garson's Farm at West End, again at a brisk pace.

I really enjoyed leading this ride with good company and a good workout for the legs and lungs, arriving home accompanied by a few spots of rain and in the gathering gloom. Truly a classic winter ride.

Thanks to Tim for the route map and Stephanie for back marking.

- Harry C.

(Distance from Elevenses to Tea was just over 21 miles.)

A Group 14th December

Paul tucked a sporting ride into the short time available between elevenses and our Christmas Lunch. 16.3 miles, rolling average 11.7 mph and 1090 feet of ascent. Only 731 calories, though, which didn't make much of a dent in what came after ...


Sunday, December 11, 2011

Easy Riders - December 7th 2011

Ten easy riders left Cobham in windy conditions,and set off for Thames Ditton. My theory being that with Xmas parties starting there are four choices of pubs in Thames Ditton should a split be necessary.

We left Cobham via Church Street along Mill Road and left into Leigh Hill Road. Straight over Fairmile Lane and left into Sandy Lane, left onto A244 and immediately right into Stokesheath Road (this road is being resurfaced). Left into Fairoaks Lane and thence across Princes Coverts bridleway into Claygate. From Claygate over Littleworth Common bridleway to Thames Ditton via Weston Green Road.

We arrived at the Old Swan at 12:40 and they settled seven of us on one table. Most of the tables were reserved so as well we arrived early. This is a good pub, food good and served quickly, the manager makes cyclists welcome. Fuzz, Mick and Phil left us here, and the rest went to tea at the Kings Centre - home after lighting up time but before full darkness.

John Conacher

Friday, December 09, 2011

A Group - 7 December 2011

Eighteen of us set off from Cobham on a blustery but sunny day. Regrouping became compulsory when we turned into Plough Lane and found the road blocked by someone reversing a trailer ( + boat) into the yard behind the pub. Then through Ockham to Hungry Hill Lane where we turned into Tythebarns Lane and directly into the headwind.

At the Send roundabout we took the redundant lane of the old A3 down to Woodhill and then Potters Lane rejoining the A247 at Cartbridge. At Mayford, Hook Hill Lane was closed so we carried on to Saunders Lane, then right into Blackhorse Road. A right turn at Knaphill Lights and then a short run via Barrs Lane to the Grove at Castle Green.

We were very efficently served with generous portions and ready to leave by 1:45. A gentle climb from Chobham up Staple Hill brought us to Longcross and now the wind was behind us all the way to Walton - down Trumpsgreen Road, a detour through Lyne village and over Chertsey Bridge. In heavy traffic at Walton we were persuaded by Vic to walk down the steps and follow the river round to the Arts Centre. It was only 2:45 and fifteen stopped for tea. Unfortunately cake supplies were low and we wiped out them out of flapjack as well.


Thursday, December 08, 2011

A Group, 7 December

Cobham - Chobham - Walton on Thames

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

B group 7 December

'Is it a bird, is it a plane ....what is it ?' One of our experienced veteran riders said 'I wouldn't ride THAT' - but eleven year old schoolgirls do !

Thoughtfully, and to avoid delay on the run, Liz had her puncture en route to Cobham where on a cool, sunny morning (contrasting with last December's snow and ice !)

I led a large group via Downside and Bookham Common to Bookham. After a short stretch of Lower Road we turned south, past the entry to Polesden Lacey, down Bagdon Hill to the A24. A wiggle through the tunnel, along the cycle track to Pixham Lane then across the golf course led to lunch at The Royal Oak, Brockham. The pub was nicely decorated and we had a couple of tables reserved, far outnumbering the other four customers. The food was delicious but the service was rather slow - but - there were twenty of us !

After lunch most followed me, despite the warning of an off-road, downhill stretch with loose gravel. Soon word came through that Robert was a puncturee but backmarker Pam (thanks) and Tim stopped to assist. The off-road ended at Four Wents Pond crossroads where we turned right and followed the usual route to Dorking and Leatherhead (Annie's). Only three of us stopped for refreshments but soon Pam, Tim and Robert joined us.


B Group - 7th December 2011

Terry's ride through Surrey from Cobham to Brockham then on to Annies in Leatherhead for Tea
(about 24 miles from elevenses to tea)

The Lodge Farm Discombolulation in which Pam, Robert and Tim arrive at what looks on the Ordnance Survey maps like a feasible crossing of the railway but only to find that it is permanently locked. The correct route is indicated as a mere bridleway but in my opinion deserves to be reclassified as a Cycling Super Highway and amended on the OS map accordingly. The moral of the story is to pay more attention to Terry when he is describing the route ahead!

A Group 7th December

Winter sun and a chilly wind for Brian's ride today. 29.66 miles from elevenses at Cobham via lunch at Chobham to tea at the River Gallery, Walton on Thames. Rolling average 11.2mph, 1,329 calories and less hilly than the telemetry makes it look.


Monday, December 05, 2011

Railway Ramblings

Last week I wrote about my great discovery of trains from Redhill to Tonbridge. A few days of good weather have given me the chance to explore the whole line, and here's what I've found.

The entire line goes from Reading, where it joins the East-West main line, to Ashford International, where it joins the Eurostar line from London to the Continent. It is served by three train companies; First Great Western from Reading to Redhill; Southern from Redhill to Tonbridge and South Eastern from Tonbridge to Ashford. The trains connect, sort-of, so it is possible to string together a journey along the entire line if you should want to, but the connections aren't guaranteed so if your train is late, hard luck. You'd be most likely to encounter this problem at Tonbridge (I have), but the impact is pretty small as the trains are fairly frequent, and the station cafe has OK cakes.

The Southern and South Eastern trains are the same type - they have a space for bikes every four carriages. Southern marks the bike carriage with a bike sign and red stripes on the doors; South Eastern has disabled stickers on the carriages with the bike space. The bike space is designed for two bikes; I think you could get three or four in without causing any fuss.

The First Great Western trains are of at least two types; one is the Gatwick-Heathrow Railair link, which has bike spaces but which was very busy when I rode it, with lots of tired-looking travellers with lots of luggage. The bike space was full of bags, so I just leaned my bike on them. The other sort is a standard commuter train with no bike space at all - I asked the smiling lady guard where I should put my bike and she said it didn't matter as they weren't busy. Your experience may be different, but mine is that smiling guards are not a universal feature of train travel, so there are obvious risks.

Trains run about every half hour, and the cost of return from Redhill to either end of the line is about £15, depending on when and how you booked it. Internet is cheapest - pick up your tickets at the machines at the station - buying your ticket on the day is very much dearer. A Senior Railcard gets you about £3 off the fares I paid.

So, what about the riding? Well, I've ridden around central Kent - engagingly hilly, with good memories from Audax rides; I've been to Canterbury and have seen the Cathedral, and I've ridden in the Chilterns and had my lunch on Christmas Common. Not bad for December. A day trip to Oxford is an easy hit from Reading, as are the Lambourne Downs. Of course, the intermediate stations give another range of possibilities.

Worth bearing in mind when you're looking for some new territory that's not too hard to reach.


Friday, December 02, 2011

Easy Riders - November 30th 2011

Photo of Norman because it was his 80th birthday last Sunday. Congratulations, Norm.

A good gathering at Weybridge meant we set off with more than a dozen in tow. Turned right out of the day centre, back up Baker Street a little way and down the narrow buttress-walled Springfield Lane to the Green. Straight over and down to the river, over Walton Bridge, up Walton Lane, Manygates to the end, turn right and continue to end. Cross A244 and travelling north a little to join the School Walk footpath which took us in a easterly direction avoiding the snarlup on the Shepperton Road. We paused in the cemetary to search for the grave of John Gregson, star of such films as Genevieve (1953) The Titchfield Thunderbolt (1953) The Lavender Mob (1951) Whisky Galore (1949).

Continuing in a direct easterly direction we followed a cycle path through Oakington Drive along car free open land which was once designated for a main road but thankfully never built upon. Eventually forced to turn south we joined the Lower Sunbury Road for a little way before turning north on a path next to the reservoir straight across the A308 into Kent Passage, turning right to soon join Station Road and down to the Jolly Coopers in Hampton. Very welcoming, nice garden at rear and good quick service. Mick and Nev made tracks for home and about a dozen sat down to eat. Into Bushy Park by Dukes Passage, a pause at the Water Garden for a photo, thanks to David Salmon for some local detail on the illicit goings on in Bushy House in the 1500s. Out of the Lion Gate, along the river to Valeries for tea.

Spotted 3 rainbows during the afternoon and one limping stag.

Thanks for the merry company.

(Mileage, because someone asked: 8 before lunch and 8 after.)

Thursday, December 01, 2011

A Group, 30 November

Some 17 of us left Weybridge on a bright sunny morning headed for Osterley Park. It was my first ride leadership, standing in for Ed.

Crossing the river at Walton Bridge, and the M3 on the Charlton Road footbridge we passed through Charlton and Ashford Common to the futuristic BP campus – acres of car parks but not a cycle stand in sight – no secret about what they’re selling. We skirted Hanworth Park followed by the delights of Hanworth Road, busy with traffic forced off the M25 which was completely closed that day by a crash. Welcome relief came with crossing Hounslow Heath before immersing ourselves in Hounslow West and Heston, and finally to Osterley Park. Lunch was taken at the NT cafĂ© where we ate well and speedily. Emerging from lunch to a change in the weather we rode in the rain chasing blue sky to the north, picking up the Grand Union Canal and heading homeward towards Brentford past the “unique” triple Windmill Bridge and Hanwell Locks. Unfortunately, because of the rain the path was as muddy as it had been dry when I did the last recce on Sunday, so our bikes all received an unwelcome coating of mud. We completed the ride via Syon Park and the Thames Path to Twickenham, whence by road to Bushey Park in good time for tea.

Thanks to all for their support on this my first ride as leader, and especially to Simon for his able back-marking (the red jacket was brilliant), and to Mark and Ray for the photos.