Thursday, May 31, 2012

Halfords Tour Series - Canary Wharf

Prompted by Tony's timely reminder, I went to Canary Wharf this evening to watch the racing.  It really was fast and exciting - Zak Dempster, of Endura Racing, won the main event, with Clifford Chance and Russell Downing winning the pro-am.  (This last was a disappointment for my son, who works for J P Morgan.  They came second.)

Mark Cavendish was at the prize-giving, which was a nice surprise.  He was a bit down-beat about the Giro - 'some wins, some crashes', but as ever spoke well and was roundly applauded.

The tour's at Woking on 12 June - worth going, if it's a pleasant evening.


B group - 30 May 2012

B group 12 set off from Ellery Hall Teddington.
Going south through Bushy Park over Hampton Bridge onto A30 cycle track. Past Esher station onto Littleworth Common then Arbrook Common, left to Roundabout under A3 then Sandy Lane to the A245 and Cobham Road to Leatherhead, past football ground to Dorking Road cycle track Right on to farm bridle path straight on through Mickleham to Pixham Lane, Betcham Park, and Brockham Green. A good lunch and service was enjoyed in the Royal Oak garden.

Reversing the morning route back to Leatherhead we took the railway pathway to Kingston Road then the over and under pathway, after one Km turning right onto bridle path running north of Ahstead Common, crossed B282 and rode through Horton Country Park to the Golf Club for tea. 

A mainly warm and sunny day and luckily the threat of rain did not materialise.


A Group 30 May 2012

Teddington - Chobham - Walton


Summer had arrived! Under bright blue skies, 16 A's left Teddington (or was it Twickenham?) through Bushy Park to emerge by the Thames. Down the well trodden route of Lower Sunbury Road through Shepperton to Chertsey and a brief diversion over St Anns Hill to stretch the legs.
Then Almers Road, Longcross and Staple Hill to cross Chobham Common and the backroads of Chestnut Lane and Sparrow Row to Halebourne. Thence Pennypot and Lovelands Lane, although to the disappointment of the leader none ventured through the ford, and on to Castle Grove for lunch where we were joined by Ray Dare who had gone direct. Ample platters, promptly served, accompanied by reasonable ale, satisfied the inner man (plus Pam of course, who had made a welcome return to the A's for the day). Then heading south via Goldsworth Park we took the Basingstoke Canal to West Byfleet and through Woodham and Addlestone to Walton Bridge. For a change we took refreshment at Cafe Gino's, where the scarcity of cakes was amply compensated for by lashings of ice cream, whilst we surveyed progress on the new bridge before making for home.


Best wishes Ken Williams and hopes for a speedy post-op recovery.

See you soon, Ken.

Halfords Tour Series at Canary Wharf

Race Date: 31st May (tonight)
Start Time:19.00

The racing is usually fast and exciting.

Tour Series

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

The A's lunch at The Grove, Chobham 30/5/12.

A Group 30th May

A Summer Saunter from Pete today, 35.71 miles from elevenses at Elleray Hall with lunch at Chobham to tea at Gino's Gelateria, a new stop at Walton Bridge.  Ice-creams all round - just the job for a summer's day. Rolling average a respectable 12.2 mph, a couple of hills for sport giving 710 feet of ascent in a pretty flat part of the world, and 1600 calories to balance off the ice-cream.


Tuesday, May 29, 2012

A Tandem in Tuscany

Italy for our Spring Tour this year - we went on Skedaddle's 'Tuscan Tourer', and it worked out very well.  The route is a sweep around some classic parts of Tuscany, starting and ending near Pisa, passing close to Florence and Sienna.

The arrangements were pretty standard van-support, with a van carrying the luggage and a rider shepherding the group.  Massimo and Vanessa, from Skedaddle Italia, took turns to fill this role, and also prepared a very good picnic lunch each day.  Accommodation was varied and interesting - we stayed in a couple of pleasant hotels, but also in a castle and a couple of remote farms, all of which provided excellent meals from fresh local produce - including wine.

Daily mileage wasn't huge - between forty and fifty miles, once or twice a little more, but the short steep hills of Tuscany aren't all that tandem friendly, so no complaints from us (or from anyone else,  for that matter).  Skedaddle provided us with .gpx tracks for each day, so route-finding was easy and we could set our own pace.  We were very pleased to have the chance to ride on some of the 'Strade Bianche'.  These are white gravel roads, common in the area, that are used for the 'Eroica' and for Giro stages each year.  They were good fun, with great scenery, and we'd like do do some more of them.

We had expected good weather, but in the event it wasn't terrific - grey for the first couple of days, with evening storms, but improving as the week went on, so that in the end it was about as good as it was here ...

All in all, very enjoyable, and we'd recommend the trip and the company.


Saturday, May 26, 2012

Teddington May 30th

It seems there is a typo in the Sou'wester stating that next weeks elevenses are in Twickenham. To avoid any confusion for those not familiar with the venue Elleray Hall is in Teddington!

Friday, May 25, 2012

One last Olympic Village visit 25/5/12

With the Olympics just around the corner a last visit to the Olympic village seemed timely. Only 3 of us braved the hot weather and busy canal towpath all the way there and back from out meeting point at Ealing Broadway station. 11's at Camden lock, lunch a stones throw from the stadium and a fast ride back with a strong wind behind us. A great day out.

A Group 23 May, 2012

New Haw - Bourne End - Shepperton

With just 28 days (four Wednesday rides) left before the summer solstice, I felt that we should make the most of daylight. With New Haw as the starting point, direction of travel oriented neatly to the North West, not often explored by Wayfarers and, as Paul has warned, still being cleared of dragons. This may explain the caution that reduced the crusading “A”s to a scouting party of nine + leader. There might of course be other factors.

A blazing sun was ideal for dragon hunting as we cantered via Row Town past Addlestonemoor cemetery and the chance to shoulder bikes over the railway line. We avoided some Chertsey traffic by following the peaceful banks of the Bourne before spinning along familiar roads to Egham and Runnymede. Here the offer of a comfort stop provided an irresistible, if sensible, place for Brian to suffer his first puncture in 5,000 miles, and give the group an excuse for some idle sunbathing. Within less than two miles of remount it was dismount for puncture number two, with Paul falling victim to the treacherously smooth, hard, hot tarmac. These Marathons just aren’t used to it! While Paul worked, some supervised and the rest absorbed more sun and my carefully if tightly timed programme inexorably unravelled.

With rubber vulcanised, it was heads down for them thar’ hills via Windsor, Dorney, Taplow (should we stop here?) and the indiscrete bowers of Cliveden to reach Bourne End Station. Once again we shouldered arms to cross the Thames and walk beside the river bank to our destination, the Bounty, blissfully inaccessible by motorcars, though motor boats are welcome. One o’clock was long forgotten, but still time for food and drink – even draught ginger beer.

Lunch was unhurried, which meant our departure was nearer 3pm than 2pm. We left Bourne End via Harvest Hill, to follow the Chiltern Way for a while. Unfortunately, not everybody had the same idea, which built in a little more delay, but charity prevailed! With head and headstrong tail briefly reunited, we meandered through some peaceful Buckinghamshire lanes and tracks to Hedgerley and the chance to climb Hedgerley Hill, which we had descended the previous week with Paul. Then it was Fulmar and Alderbourne – film buffs will know or remember the locations used by Pinewood Studios in the 1953 film, Genevieve. Before my time, I’m afraid! After Pinewood it was helter-skelter due South via Shredding Green to Poyle, and another separation of head and tail. The prospect of tea in Walton had by now completely evaporated, so we stopped at Vermeulens Garden Centre – alas too late. We improvised with a vending m/c in the aquatic centre. The last leg was via Ashford, Charlton and the spiral bridge to Shepperton. Some branched off at Stanwell and the rest at Shepperton.

I imagine there is some pretty awful punishment for a leader who deprives the group of afternoon tea and cake. I cry ‘I have sinned’ and await my fate with resignation. But still, dust off your torches – the days will soon start getting shorter!


Thursday, May 24, 2012

Jeff's splendid "A" Route 23 May

Here we are over the Thames just like Jeff an old father!

Almost a bridge too far not quite a hundred miles but 86 door to door and finaly defeated on a hill on my "Fixie" as my left cleat pulled out in the Chilterns. Must tighten it up!
For Jeff this was a very un-typical route lots of tracks, cycle-ways and off-road with a few punctures to prove it. Well done Jeff it was obvious that you had done a thourough recce!
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Bill at New Haw

Caught on Camera as I raced to catch Bill on entering the Day Centre. I hope that when I reach 90 yrs I can emulate him just as well!
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Wednesday, May 23, 2012

A group 23 may

A Group 23 May

New Haw - Bourne End - Sheperton

Leader : Jeff
Distance: 49 miles
1700 ft ascent
Average speed N/A

Cracking route on a very hot and sunny day.
81 miles door to door 11.8 mph avaerage

Paul Kelly

B Group - 23rd May

What an amazing day for a ride after all the wet stuff we've been having! A group of eleven B Group riders headed off to seek the shady towpath by the Basingstoke Canal - an attractive option on such a warm day - and we followed it all the way to Pirbright, somehow missing the planned turn-off to Brookwood Cemetery. Never mind - a route for another time! Now we were on roads heading south to Wood Street Village and the Royal Oak pub for lunch. Here we received a friendly welcome and were soon seated outside in the sunny garden.
After lunch, we cut across Broadstreet Common and into Guildford via Park Barn. Using cycle paths it was an easy ride on to the campus of the University of Surrey. There were students everywhere enjoying the sun in the park-like grounds and even a group practising surveying, easily identifiable in their high viz vests and hard hats! We crossed the R. Wey near Guildford Station and made a detour to reach Stoke Park where huge marquees were being erected for the County Show. Cutting down to the river again, past the Leisure Centre, we followed the path through the nature reserve to join the A3 path into Ripley. Tea was at Ockham Bites, where some sought ice creams and all sought a shady spot before heading for home. Thanks everyone for your company and Pam for being Back Marker.
- Gill Finlay

From Woodham and New Haw DC along the Canal. This map also shows the home stretch to Ockham Bites, following the A3

Lunch at Wood Street Village and the scenic route through Guildford

All the usual suspects

Getting to New Haw: after Oatlands Avenue between Walton and Weybridge I followed this route to the Byfleet Road (A318) at the point where it crosses the Wey Navigation Canal
As New Haw is a new Elevenses stop I gave more than the usual amount of thought to my route from home in New Malden and was relieved to discover that the part of the route between Oatlands Avenue and the Wey Navigation Canal is a most enjoyable rural route, with very little mud and only a mild tingling sensation from the nettles. The route crosses the River Wey next to the Seven Arches Bridge. The only problem was having to carry the bike up several steps to a level crossing for pedestrians and then down the other side so I'm not sure that it is up the Wayfarers' Health and Safety Standards. Extreme care is needed there although visibility up and down the railway tracks is very good.

Ron's Birthday Ride - Wed 23rd May

A jolly gathering at the Longmeads Centre on a perfect day for a perfect ride.  Tom, Sonia, Rosemary, John C., Mark Roy, Norman, John Scott, Roger and last but not least our guide across unridden turf, down shady avenues, round tight corners into leafy lanes, unravelling the history of the five mental hospitals that we passed on the way. Along with a smattering of natural history, sorry Ron can't remember the name of the huge conifers (Sequoia?), a ride enhanced by the blossom of horsechestnuts, Indian chestnuts, hawthorn and birdsong. 

I think we were offroad entirely, except for a short section along bikepath next to the A243. See the trail for the route, a really beautiful ride through lots of old railway track that I had not ridden on before (the mental hospitals were connected by their own railway track  hence a network of useful routes). Lunch was taken in the garden of The Woodman at Ashtead and the afternoon took in a visit to "the well" at the centre of The Wells on Epsom Common, again a place I had not visited before. A well reccie'd route enjoyed by all.

Thank you Ron. Must repeat it next year!

Easy Riders - 23rd May

Stephanie's route with the Easy Riders, starting in Sefton Rd, lunching at The Woodman and taking Tea at The Wells

Steph, Rosemary, John C., Tom, Norman, Mark Roy, John S. near the Tea stop (The Wells)
(Photo taken by Birthday Boy)

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Brain-teaser of the day

Bike tutorial for dummies:how to fit new cleats?

The scene is:

1.New pedals
2.New shoes
3.New cleats
4. Bolt cleats firmly to shoe and clip into pedal to check position and adjust if necessary.
5.Tighten bolts (5-6 n.m)
Nothing can go wrong, can it?
After step 4 I needed to loosen bolts to adjust cleat position.
BUT, when I took off shoe to loosen bolts and adjust cleat, what did I find?
I had stood on a stray ball-bearing on the floor, which had nested very snugly in the head of the hex bolt.

Brain-teaser of the day - how do you remove the bearing/bolt?

The shimano instruction leaflet said nothing about being careful not to step on a ball-bearing before you tighten the bolt.


Friday, May 18, 2012

Easy Riders - 16th May

The Easy Riders' route from Shepperton Greeno to Ashford and on to Five At The Bridge for Tea
(as always, we have Ron to thank for collecting the GPS Track data for this map)

Thursday, May 17, 2012


....for your generosity - £57 was collected for Thelma and Hazel, the two ladies retiring from the RBL at Cobham due to doctor's orders. I spoke to Thelma last night - she was quite overwhelmed. She is going to speak to Hazel (the short lady) who has just come out of hospital and will let me know what they would like.


Post Crash Recovery

Jeff tending his wounds.
Pete getting his bike road worthy.

A Group, 16 May 2012

Shepperton - Hedgerley - Sunbury

Welcome to John

Lunch at the White Horse, Hedgerley

Tea at the Walled Garden

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

A-Group "Here be Dragons ride" May 16 2012

Some time ago Vic muttered on here that rides were sometimes a bit samey and rarely ventured into the North West quadrant of the putative Wayfarers' territory. So, having discovered a fantastic Pub at Hedgerley I thought  I would kill two birds with one stone.....

Thus, with the sun shining encouragement on our endeavours, our gallant band of 16 mounted our trusty steeds and ventured forth  toward that part of the Wayfarer map beyond the M4 & simply marked "Here be Dragons"!

First to Chertsey, and the river; thence to Staines. Onward rode our gallant crew! Wraysbury, Datchet, past the jousting fields of Eton onward ever faster to the Slough of Despond beyond the M4 - where the Dragons struck!

Tony was the first to fall - victim of an errant cone, Jeff and Peter too were attacked! But our trusty brothers are made of stern stuff. Up they got, tended, their wounded steeds and prepared for further trials. Jeff and Peter volunteered to venture on to face the unknown challenges ahead while Mike of Morley, generous and gallant soul, volunteered to accompany our wounded Italian Troubadour to the safer territories of the Homelands.

Onward we rode through the Poges of Stoke and into to Enchanted Forest, not far from the wondrous Beeches of Burnham. Then on, down the precipitous slopes of Hedgerley Hill  and safe to our destination - the famous White Horse of Hedgerley, a marvellous hostelry famous for serving serving warriors of our ilk ale and sustenance since the 1920's and oft voted the best ale house of the region by those stout and bearded Defenders of the Faith - CAMRA! Therein we found our trusty colleague Staring Bob - magically there before us!

Fed and watered, we ventured forth. North to the foothills of the Mountains Of Chiltern. South we turned to Fulmer, passing close to the Magical Kingdom of Hogwarts in the Pine Wood, eventually to rejoin our outward path of the morn, braving once again the deadly cones of Slough, retracing our tracks to Shepperton and thence on the the Walled Garden to be waited on by the wenches of Sunbury.

Paul Kelly

B Group - 16th May

17 of us made our way to the Rose and Crown at Woodside for lunch to-day. Our route was via St Anne's Hill, Chertsey, through Virginia Water to Virginia Water Lake in Windsor Park. There we turned left to cycle around the lake passing The Water Fall and The Temple before exiting at Blacknest Gate. Right along Mill Lane, another right into Buckhurst Road leading into Sunninghill Road before turning left to Woodside.
Our hosts were friendly and efficient - but for whatever reason - two lunches didn't appear until others had finished eating?! Hence it was too late when we left the pub to go to my planned tea stop in Walton so we made our way to Squires, Shepperton/Halliford?
Our return was along a well worn route! Entering Windsor Park at Cranbourne Gate, past The Long Walk and exiting at Bishopsgate.
Englefield Green, Prune Hill, Thorpe, Chertsey Bridge, through Shepperton village to tea. 12 of us made the most of the pleasant weather and lingered long over tea, cakes and chats!!
My thanks to Terry as back marker and Tim for his photos and mapping...and to all folks who were on to-days ride.
Pam :) :)

Three men in a pub and a large gathering for Tea at Squires
The routes there and back
The scenic part, around Virginia Water and through Windsor Great Park after lunch
about 28.2 miles from Elevenses to Tea

A Group ride 16 May 2012

A Group ride 16 May 2012. Shepperton to Hedgerley.
Tea @ Walled Garden
Leader: Paul Kelly (Piquet!)

42.5 miles 852 ft climbing

Average moving speed 14.1mph

Max speed 31.5

Calories 2200