Friday, March 30, 2012

Easy Riders 28 March

David was not available to lead this ride so I stepped up to the plate. 14 of us left Shepperton, a good turn out but the weather was superb.We managed to negotiate our way over Walton Bridge and headed towards Thames Ditton via Sydney Road, Ambleside Avenue and Walton Park to Hersham Station. Then over the bridle way from Molesey Road to Esher Station. Stangely, we spotted Mike Morley going in different directions in the course of our ride. From Esher Station we headed towards the Swan at Thames Ditton. Four riders left us before lunch to return home; the rest had a very nice lunch sitting outside in the sun by the river. After lunch we headed to the Kings Centre for tea, not a great distance, but they sell good home made jams and marmalade. From there we headed home - 40 miles Banstead to Banstead.

John Conacher

An outing to Winchester - April 18th

As a change from our more circular rides, I'm planning a ride to Winchester on Weds April 18th, returning by train; which gives us the chance to sample some different countryside.

The distance is more than usual but I don't plan to make it a race, so we'll stop for tea in Alton before riding to Winchester, arriving around 6.30, where I'm told they have pubs and many other sightseeing opportunities, as well as a station with frequent trains to Woking, Clapham Junction etc, so getting home shouldn't be a problem so long as we don't all travel on the same one.

Total distance is around 56 miles: 20 miles from elevenses at Weybridge to lunch; about 17 to Alton and then just under 20 to Winchester. I hope you will join us! Simon.

A Group 29 March: Harmondsworth

Ever had one of those  "Oh b****r! moments! Well that was me last Wednesday when I checked the Blog. It appeared that my carefully researched and rekkied thunder had been stolen by Frank. My route was going to the same pub for lunch and the same cafe for 3's! Not only that I was heading up to the lakes on the Thursday so had no chance to sort out a different route.

Fortunately, further checking revealed that while the stops might be the same my Rural Ramble used very little of the road followed by Frank last week. Panic over and I was able to enjoy cloudless weekend walking the Lakeland fells.

So to this weeks outing: 20 of us from Shepperton to Chertsey, along the Thames to Staines, A30 to Egham and up Tite Hill - the only hill on an otherwise pancake flat ride. From the top a magnificent swooping descent down Crimp Hill, skirting Old Windsor and over the river to Datchet then east through the reservoirs before diving off road where we discovered that the mud and soft sand found on my rekkie had set like concrete so we had a bone shaking mile from the Bath Road before picking up Accommodation lane and on to the 5 Bells at Harmondsworth.

A pleasant lunch in the pub garden enjoying the sun and lack of aircraft noise - amazing to be so close to Heathrow and yet feel way out in the countryside.

Then North to pick up the Grand Union - again a bit of a bumpy ride in parts! - to Brentford and along the river to Orleans House for Tea (thanks to Pete B for that suggestion) then all splitting for home.

55 miles door to door for me.

Paul Kelly

Harmondsworth Village - Conservation Area Appraisal

If you scroll down a bit you will find some photos of our A Group ride from Ray. As my camera was in sleep mode on Wednesday, for those who might like to read a bit more about Harmondsworth Village, there is a wealth of information in the Conservation Area Appraisal that Hillingdon Council published in March 2007.

As the village dates back about a thousand years, there should not have been too many changes in the past five years, though I would not be too sanguine about its future over the next 1,000 years. Perhaps the oil will run out and ground the aircraft before it is flattened for another runway or two, in the wake of our new light-touch planning regulations. We know what we inherited from light-touch banking regulations. But where should the runways be, other than somewhere else? Perhaps the Tithe Barn might make a wonderful venue for heavy metal rock concerts, to drown out the sound of aircraft 24 hours a day. There must be a host of possibilities.

If you are mildly interested in the history, both ancient and modern, of Harmondsworth Village, click on the link:


Thursday, March 29, 2012

B Group - March 28th 2012

On a glorious day, 24 left Shepperton on the Laleham Road and then took the Thames Path through Penton Hook to Staines. Passing under Staines Bridge, we took the B376 through Wraysbury and Datchett (where we passed the A group going in the opposite direction), and then the B3026 to Eton and on towards Eton Wick. Just before the latter, we turned left throuigh fields towards the Thames and took the towpath to the Dorney rowing lake. We semi-circumnavigated the lake on its South side and arrived at the Pineapple pub in Dorney just before our planned arrival time of 1.30 p.m. Here, Lisa (Colombo) was awaiting us (by pre-arrangement with Terry) and we all enjoyed seeing her again.

Our sandwiches took a long time to arrive and, when they did come, the portions were so large that they took a long time to eat. Stephanie, the last to be served, sportingly stuffed the second half of her sandwich into her saddle bag so as not to delay us. But even so we did not leave the Pineapple until just after 3 p.m.

On the return journey, we took the Northern road round Dorney lake, the tow-path to Eton Bridge and the B3021 to Old Windsor. Pam then guided us via clever back routes through her home turf to Staines, whence we took the main road thru' Laleham and Shepperton to 5 o'clock tea at the Garden Centre on Halliford Road.

There were a number of incidents.
(a) At Penton Lock, Eddie had to deploy his military self-defence training in order to avoid being hit by an irate pedestrian.
(b) Robin twice fell off his bike when he was unable to extract his feet from his toe-clips
(c) When turning right from the A308 at Old Windsor, Bernard's back wheel was struck by a (slow-moving) car. Thankfully, Bernard was just able to avoid falling over, and neither rider nor bicycle were hurt.

My thanks to Terry for being back marker.

John Gould

B Group 28th March

Pictures from Bernard

28 March - B Group

Our lunch pub - an unusual menu: 65 different sorts of sandwiches at a cost of £7.25 each.

Dorney Lakes where the rowing Olympics are to be held.

Eton college.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Greeno's Elevenses

Top picture the master Veterans on their Tandem Trike.
2nd Picture Godfrey in repair while David and Angie look on in despair.
3rdly a local caught riding on the footpath from which the MWW are banned. I counted at least 3 locals riding by during Godfrey's demise much to my surprise!
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'A' Group 28th March
Some pictures with Paul leading.

A Group 28th March

Another Westward loop this week - this time from Paul. Similar territory, and the same pub, but a completely different riding experience, this time showing the very pretty countryside that is within a few miles of Heathrow. 33.09 miles elevenses to tea, a decent hill, but not that much climbing really. 1,482 calories and a top speed of 37.2mph.

And, credit where credit's due, the weatherman's forecast 24º was delivered. Let's hope this isn't Summer...


Monday, March 26, 2012

A Moulton in the Mountains

I've been waiting to do this ride for a while - it's in the mountains of South Wales, so, obviously, you need a fine day. And today was ideal - 20ºC, and the wind only from time to time. That doesn't happen often.

The point of the ride is that the scale feels a bit Alpine. The hills are long, but well graded, and there are plenty of hairpins to keep the progress smooth. It joins three good climbs in Simon Warren's 'Greatest Cycling Climbs' book, with one of them being tackled from both sides, into a ride of just over forty miles with fourteen hairpins and 4700 ft of ascent. That's a good day out, without being excessive.

Everything being set, I made a fairly early start from home and drove down to Ogmore Vale. There's a good, well surfaced cycle path that takes you from there past Nantymoel and the busier part of the road, and then you're straight in to the climb. I had hardly started when a local rider - Dale - pulled alongside and we passed the time of day to the top. He was going to Ferndale Woods, which he recommended as very pretty, and he warned me that my planned itinerary was pretty hilly - that's why I'm doing it, I told him. We parted at the Bwlch - big views immediately - and I swooped down to Treorchy to start the climb to the Rhigos. Six miles steady climbing, with some very Alpine hairpins, and even bigger views over the Brecon Beacons from the top.

Hairpins again on the way down, with a rather slower descent to Aberdare. The valley wind had got up, and I had to pedal downhill at some places, but at least it would give me a push on the big hill to come.

No such luck. Valley winds are valley winds, and you don't get them on the hillside. So a hard pull through the woods, the heat bringing out flies, before I got above the trees and had a bit of breeze before the top. Flying over the top, then down again, no valley wind this time, and eventually back to Treorchy. Only the Bwlch left.

I took this at a steady pace (slowly), and was pleased to buy an ice-cream from Canale's van at the top. They've been selling ice-cream there since the 1920s, when there was considerable Italian immigration into this part of Wales. It's nice to see that Carpanini, Servini and Canale are still going strong, offering what is, by now, a very Welsh-Italian cuisine.

One last swoop down again, back into the car and off to London. The only tedious bit was a jam on the M25 at the end. Hey ho.

I recommend the area, as long as you get the weather. About three and a half hours by car, or about two hours by train to Bridgend and an extra ten miles each way. A good day out, or weekend if you fancy more. There's plenty!


Sunday, March 25, 2012

'Bespoked' - Hand Made Bicycle Show

Yesterday, Maggie and I went to 'Bespoked', the hand made bicycle show. It was held in Brunel's original Temple Meads Station in Bristol, which was a very suitable venue. Brunels' cast-iron hammer-beam roof was the first of its type, and showed the way for the cathedrals of the railway age like St Pancras and Grand Central stations.

There was a bewildering array of bicycles made of every conceivable material, from bamboo through wood laminate to steel, titanium and carbon fibre. Some you'd be happy to ride, some you wouldn't; either because of the exquisite construction and paintwork or because you just weren't sure how well it would all work ...

The old guard - Roberts, Mercian and Argos - were all there, with some good (and practical looking) machines. But they were surrounded, and to some extent eclipsed, by a new generation of frame-makers such as Robin Mather, Ricky Feather and Tom Donhou. Some very fancy kit from these chaps. The influence of American builders was very apparent in these newer creations, and some well known American frame builders had found it worthwhile to make the trip to Bristol.

A good day out - lots more pictures and information at


Thursday, March 22, 2012

A Group 21 March

Kingston - Harmondsworth - Richmond Bridge

Harmondsworth Village High Street
(Plan copyright London Borough of Hillingdon)

We seek him here, we seek him there...

The Tithe Barn at Harmondsworth, owned since January 2012 by
English Heritage and now inaccessible
. BUT Pete B advises that
it will be open 2nd & 4th Sunday of each month April - October 10am
to 5pm - admission free.

A Team 21st March

Leaving the very congested Bradbury Centre in Kingston a group of 21 (I think) joined the A team heading for lunch at Harmondsworth, West of London; even the most optimistic would not class the route as rural but there were very few hold ups on route.

Through the Market Place and over the bridge along Sandy Lane, we enter Bushy Park, Teddington end, we exited at Hampton High Street, along Hanworth Road, using the very spiral cycle facility over the A316 passing Hanworth Park on our right.

Through Feltham, over the level crossing and along Bedfont Road, crossing the A30, then through Stanwell, but at Stanwell Moore we as a group didn’t use the awful suggested cycle route but used the roundabout over the M25 with total safety.

Then Poyle, Colnbrook and crossing the A4 at Brands Hill, along Sutton Lane to Richings Park, Thorney, West Drayton and into Harmondsworth from the north.

Although The Five Bells were contacted on our number and ETA the service started well but I think the chef must have been fatigued as the service rather deteriorated, although the helpings were very generous.

After a pleasant lunch in the garden it was a Northerly route round Heathrow through Sipson, Harlington, Cranford, Heston, Osterley Park, Spring Grove, Isleworth and along the Tow Path of the Thames to Richmond for tea at the café under the bridge and once again sitting out in glorious sunshine.It was noted that from lunch to tea we encountered just two sets of traffic lights.

The first day of spring and nary a smile to be seen. Frank, what have you done to them?

My mileage for the day was 55 but those living south probably recorded a few more.

Frank C

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

B Group - 21st March

Gill's ride from Kingston to Downside then to Squires in Shepperton for Tea (28.6 miles)

The wonderful spring weather certainly brought out the masses and having circulated round the Bradbury Centre checking on those planning to come on the B Ride, I duly notified The Cricketers, Downside Cobham, that there would be 25 of us for lunch.  However, by the time we were on the road, the group had grown to 32!!  (plus 2 who were only coming part of the way)  Welcome to new rider, Rosemary, and to Pip from the Saturday group. 

Our route was a mixture of off- and on-road, the off-road giving us a chance to get away from the traffic and enjoy the sound of the birds.  Starting off across Kingston Bridge, we followed the towpath to Hampton Court, crossed into Molesey and along Ember Lane south to the Portsmouth Road.  Here we cycled across Littleworth Common and followed Oaken Lane to Claygate where we joined the familiar route on- and then off-road to Fairoak Lane.  Turning in the direction of Oxshott, we soon turned right into Stokesheath Lane.  It was along here that the decision was taken to split the party, with Norman kindly volunteering to lead a small group to the Running Mare pub at the Tilt while the main group continued according to plan to The Cricketers via Sandy Lane and Water Lane to Stoke D'Abernon, and finally across to Downside.  It was a perfect day for sitting out in the garden area of the pub and tables had been reserved for us outside.  Apologies to Les who ended up having to race through his meal after being the last to be served!

As we set off after lunch, having been joined by only a few from the other pub and others having left, I counted 22 in the group.  Our route now was over to Ockham Lane, across the Wisley Airstrip to Wisley, Pyrford Lock and up to West Byfleet where we joined the Basingstoke Canal and then the Wey Navigation, coming off at New Haw.  From here it was through Addlestone to Chertsey Meads and thence into Shepperton where those wishing to partake of tea turned off to go to Squire's while the rest headed home.  There were 11 of us at tea, happily sitting in the sun with no-one seeming to be in a hurry to leave.  Thanks to Pam and Irene for being back-markers.

Gill Finlay

In the Kingston Bradbury Centre then the Cricketers in Downside for lunch

OS map of Gill's route, in two parts

A Group 21st March

Frank led us on a wide loop to the West today, around Heathrow, taking in some of the pretty villages subsumed by the Airport. 30.72 miles from elevenses at Kingston to tea at Richmond Bridge, lunch being taken at Harmondsworth. Not much ascent, but 1,376 calories and, perhaps more significantly, 17ºC this afternoon. March is indeed going out like a lamb.


Thursday, March 15, 2012

Easy Riders - 14th March, 2012

The Easy Riders' route from Ashtead to Cheam and Ewell Court
(Note that I've had to make up the first part of the ride so it is probably inaccurate up to the Rookery Hill entrance to Ashtead Park)

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Easy Riders 14 March

There was quite a crowd at St. George's Centre, Ashtead. I led a small group from North Cheam thro' Stoneleigh, to W. Ewell, down Longmead, taking a right turn at the end of the cycle path to Manor Road. We made our way to Ashtead Common, which was very nice this morning. Also, we have a new Wayfarer, first time out on a Wednesday, Rosemarie. After a social coffee break, we made our way up to Ashtead Park, down by the back of Epsom Hospital, the backways of Epsom to Ewell Spring. Then we went over the lights and made a right into Nonsuch Park. We had a very nice lunch at The Prince of Wales, in Cheam Village. The sun was shining, so some enjoyed the back garden. After lunch, some went home and about six of us went to Ewell Court Park cafe for afternoon tea. An enjoyable day, with good weather.


B Group - 14th March, 2012

On countless rides with Cheam & Morden, we have passed The Crown Pub in Capel but never stopped because it was deemed too close to the morning tea stop. On Wednesday 14th March 2012, for my second ride as a leader, I took a group of 26 cyclists to this Pub via Betchworth Golf Club,   Brockham, Newdigate, and then along side Rusper Golf Course. We continued on Rusper Road, before turning sharp right onto Capel Road. At this stage it looked as though there was going to be a lengthy detour as a passing motorist reported that the end of road was blocked due to a lorry accident. Disregarding this, we all cycled on to Capel. On a nice sunny day, we all ate outside and some of us looked enviously at Robin's generous helping of Steak Pie and Mash, which was well worth the wait as he was the last to be served.

The return journey was the standard route back, via Newdigate, Henfold, Denbies, Leatherhead and on to Ashtead Park Garden Centre, where 8 of us enjoyed afternoon tea, again outside.

A round trip of 50 miles for me and Françoise. I understand that Pam, Gill and Irene clocked above 70 miles!


31 miles from Elevenses to Tea:

The morning part of Frank's ride to Capel and part of the afternoon route to Ashtead as far as Dorking
The last leg of the afternoon ride to the Ashtead Garden Centre

Lunch at The Crown in Capel 

A Group 14 March

A Day out with the Marquis de Sade

A Group 14th March - The Hilly Over 50

A couple of days ago, someone asked me whether you had to be over fifty to ride in the Hilly Over 50. I thought about it for a moment, and replied that no, you didn't have to be, it's just the way we prefer it ...

Anyway, enough of this nonsense. Fourteen away from Dorking at 1116; a good turnout with a couple of stalwarts missing for good reason. Quickly out of town and up Coldharbour Lane. Paul had trouble with his gears here, and again on Coast Hill, and so decided to go and get them sorted rather than have a real failure on one of the big hills. Pity, but sensible enough.

The rest of us set off up Sheephouse Lane, which is a proper climb. Peter went off ahead, as he too was mechanically challenged, but in a different way. He was riding a singlespeed, 68", as his road bike was still in the builders having a winter refit. A tough day for him, but he did it all. John B was so relaxed at the top of this sharp climb that he decided to have a little lie down, though it may have had something to do with his cleats.

Easier ground for a while after this, ending at the roundabout by the Bull's Head in Ewhurst. Here we turned on to Pitch Hill, which we had been able to descend at about 40 mph a couple of weeks ago. You won't need to look too closely at the telemetry to know that we didn't manage it on the ascent. But once we were over the top Hound House Road passed pretty quickly, and we were in the Volunteer only about 15 minutes late. This represents a significant improvement over last year, and our table was waiting for a satisfying lunch.

After lunch, Ken decided that White Down was probably more fun than he needed at the moment, as this was his first real ride this season after illness. After a very good effort he took the main road to Dorking.

The rest of us floated up White Down, rather after the fashion of spawning salmon - you know what I mean, doggedly plunging upward with glazed eye and open mouth. But, just like the salmon, we got to the top in the end, and only one easy hill remained.

So, just before three thirty, a compact peloton of a dozen moved purposefully up Box Hill. Warm sunshine, handshakes, smiles and photographs. We had done it. And with a pleasant, easy cruise over Headley Heath we were all in Annies by four enjoying our teas.

Another triumph for the Over Fifties - mark your diaries now for the next Challenging Ride, the Shoreham Century on 20th June.


Easy Riders - February 29th 2012

Eight riders left Leatherhead day centre to ride to Leigh. We went past the Leisure centre over the river and onto the cycle path alongside the A24 leaving the path at Denbies winery and crossing into Pixeham Lane. Across the A25 and followed the shared path to the bridleway over the golf course and into Brockham. We passed the church and into wheelers Lane, Tapners Road into Leigh.

An excellent lunch was had in the public bar at the Plough Inn, good service and a reasonable price. We returned to Brockham via Middle Street and went to Denbies for tea. After tea we headed towards home via Leatherhead and Ashtead . Riders dropped off at various places on route. During the day we were overtaken by A riders eventually spotting them in Annie's at Leatherhead having tea.

An enjoyable day.
John Conacher.

Easy Riders - February 15th 2012

About a dozen riders left Weybridge slightly disappointed that I had replaced Stephanie who was on holiday it being half term.

We left on a lovely sunny day and went round the back of the day centre through the park to pick up the lane to Hanger Hill and then via Princes road, Oatlands Avenue, Station Avenue, Rydens Road, through the lane over the weir and the river Wey towards Thames Ditton turning off down Ember Lane to Hampton Court. From here with the sun still out we followed the river to Hampton Wick to our destination at the White Hart.

At this point half the group left the ride whilst I headed for an appontment at Kingston Hospital. Following a hearty lunch Lynda led the remaining group to Ewell Court Park cafe and met Sonia there. They do the 'best' hot chocolate! We were 6 for lunch; and 5 for tea.

David Salmon

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

A Group 7 March - Prezzo

The day broke with a strong southwesterly and driving rain. As nominated rides leader, I reluctantly threw off the duvet and ground my way out to Cobham to meet the valiant few who had made it thus far.

Nine A's set off in pouring rain across the Tilt and up Blundel Lane to Oxshott. The track from Fairoak Lane to Claygate was quite rideable despite the conditions and so it was in through Hook and Chessington to take the newly surfaced and now all weather path along the Bonesgate towards Tolworth.

Sticking to roads and tarmac paths we zigzagged back along the Hogsmill to enter Ewell along Meadow Path and then into Nonsuch Park. Here, with excellent timing, we caught up with the B's just in time to get to Prezzo's at Cheam for the Anniversary Lunch.

Many thanks to Lynda for organizing another excellent do.

Pete B

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Saturday 24 March 2012 Barn Dance

Please support this annual social event of the year. It is the highlight of the South West London CTC member group year with great food and lots of fun for young and old. Tickets from Simon & Jen Mitchell, Mike Morley 01737 816160 your rides secretary or any committee member. The results of the photo competition will be on display.
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Thursday, March 08, 2012

Easy Riders - 8th March

Lynda's route from Cobham to Prezzo in Cheam with the Easy Riders, recorded as far as Ewell Court Library

A Group - Challenging Ride

The feasting is over, and next Wednesday brings the first of the Spring Classics - the Hilly Over Fifty. For those who haven't done it before, this is most of the CTC Hilly 50 done at a gentlemanly or ladylike pace. Not for us the sweaty thrash to finish the course in two hours; we prefer to savour our pleasures - two hours to lunch, an hour of refreshment and lofty conversation, then two hours to tea. A steady pace, re-group at the top of each hill and no racing on the downhills.

Leave Dorking just after eleven, lunch at the Volunteer and tea at Annie's about four o'clock.


ps - no bonus hills this year ...

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Annual Lunch at Prezzo - 7 March

For the A Group, B Group and Easy Riders all roads led to Cheam
I would say that portion control left something to be desired

I think this includes everybody, even if you can't quite see them

A word of thanks to all who, on a damp and uninviting day, made their way by one means or another, to our annual lunch at Cheam.
Thanks to:
  • Linda for making the arrangements
  • our ride leaders, the unsung heroes who keep us on the right road
  • the back-room boys and girls who quietly do all the organising
  • all the MWW members who make the Club such fun