Friday, August 30, 2013

A Group, 28 August 2012

Weybridge - Elstead - West Horsley
Girding loins after lunch in the shade of the Woolpack
The dog days of summer brought a good turnout of 17 riders to Weybridge for today’s ‘A’ ride. It was good to see Julian back after a bit of a break, and also Helene, to prevent us being, once again, an all male ensemble.

All went well as we headed out towards West Byfleet, where the wheels of Paul and Jeff’s bikes, having formed a close attachment, found themselves inseparable, depositing Paul onto the tarmac, fortunately with nothing more serious than light bruising. After some dusting down, we set off again, but what subsequently became apparent was that Jeff’s steed had also suffered a bent mudguard, resulting in a small posse in the rear becoming detached from the main peloton. However, in best Wayfarers’ tradition, they decided to make their own way to the lunch stop at Elstead, successfully ferreting us out at the Woolpack, commendably arriving only a short time after the rest of us. Meanwhile, the peloton had pressed on, through Old Woking, Worplesdon, Fox Corner, and Normandy, before tackling the only hill worthy of the name on today’s ride, in the form of Wanborough Hill, which took us across the Hogsback. After that, it was not far to pass through Puttenham, before arriving at Elstead, where we basked in the shade of a large marquee during lunch.
After lunch, we headed for Norney and Hurtmore, passing Charterhouse School en route, and then rode into Guildford, where, having again temporarily separated, we reunited once again to experience the joys of climbing the cobbles of Guildford High Street. Once out of Guildford, the pace picked up as the Wayfarers flashed by in a kaleidoscopic blur leaving a furrow of scorched tarmac (I wish!), in honour of the traditional thrash along the A246 to Squires, Horsley for tea.

To be mentioned in dispatches must be Simon, for keeping an eye on our somewhat fractured rearguard today. I hope everybody enjoyed today’s ride as much as I did, my Cateye telling me I had covered 68 miles in all, including 41 between elevenses and tea.


Raid Dolomites

I've been wanting to do this ride for a long time. It's the longest - and the hardest - of the classic French long-distance 'Raids', going over the edge of the French Alps, through the Swiss Alps and then the Dolomites on the way from Thonon (near Geneva) to Trieste, on the Adriatic. The format is the same as all the others - it's organised by a local Audax Club - Thonon les Bains, in this case. You apply to the club for a 'carnet' and a route card, you get the 'carnet' stamped at the control points listed along the way, and they'll give you a medal if you succeed. It's 1180 km over 38 cols with 21,384 meters of climbing. Roughly Lands End to John o' Groats, but with rather more climbing. Well, a lot more.

The problem with the trip was getting van support. Baxter's had done it every few years until about 2008, but had then stopped, and for the last few years no company has done it at all. Obviously, you can set off with panniers and so on, but it would be a slow old ride, so I wasn't keen. Then, doing the Raid Alpine last year, I had a spot of luck. James Thompson, of Marmot Tours, said that he was planning to run the Raid Dolomites as a route this season. In the event it was so popular that he ran three trips. I got my carnet and booked a place.

So it was that on the 20th of August I stood by the lake in Thonon, carnet in my pocket, ready to go.

Marmot Tours weren't hanging about on this one - the trip was nine days from end to end, so we put the hammer down right from the beginning. 191 kms and over the 2000 meter Simplon Pass at the end of the run to get to our hotel for the first night. It was very hot on the Simplon, with some tedious (and quite dangerous) road works in the tunnels, but everyone made it in good time for dinner and the show was on the road.

I find it best to make an early start on these runs, to get as many miles in as I can in the cool of the day. The second day wasn't too bad - some climbing in the heat, ending at San Bernardino, but day three, going to St Moritz, was quite tough. Switzerland, then Italy, then back to Switzerland, with three big passes, the smallest of which, the Maloja, at 1815 meters I found the hardest. 30 kms up a hot valley followed by a big climb on steep hairpins. But it was followed by a blast along the lake to St Moritz and beers on the terrace of our hotel.

The next day was no easier, with four decent passes ending on the top of the Stelvio, where we spent the night. Thunder and hail in the late afternoon, which I missed by my 'do it early' policy. Not everyone did. Overnight it snowed.

In the morning, one of the vans went off early to check the road for ice (it was fine), and after another long and hard day we got to Selva Val Gardena in the Dolomites. 194 kms and a lot of climbing. Grinding up the Passo di Pinei in the late afternoon I was passed by a local woman racer, out for her evening training run. 'Salve', she said, a normal courtesy amongst cyclists. Then, taking in the situation and my Raid Alpine tag she said 'Courage'. Yes indeed. I made it in time for a beer before dinner; the last bikes were in after 2130, pitch dark and raining.

A couple of easier days - plenty of climbing, but not so long - were helpful to rest a bit. I deliberately took it easy, with decent cake and lunch stops. That left me in good shape for Day 7, which was very tough. Over the Passo di Giau, well known from the Giro, then up to the Refuge at the Tre Cime di Lavaredo, again a Giro classic. The Giau was OK, and I got up it well, but the descent was wet, treacherous and freezing. I was very cold when I got to Cortina, and warmed up with hot chocolate and cream cake, before setting off up again to the Tre Cime. Another very hard climb, but I got up OK and in a decent time. A great lunch in the refuge then down again by the same road, with words of encouragement for some of the party who were still on the way up.

Although there was plenty of riding left, if you had got over the Tre Cime then you were set for Trieste. The run of the country was down, interspersed with climbs, of course, and the pace rose steadily. The last fifty miles were fast indeed, with 'Trieste Express' line-outs vying to be first into town. Under the town sign, champagne and pizza at the Bar California on the front, and that was that. Another Raid done, and great fun it was.

I know it's not about the bike, but most people paid a lot of attention to their mounts, as did I. The steed of choice was the lightest piece of carbon fibre you could find, with a good saddle and a reasonable spread of gears - you can't go too low as you won't be able to keep the speed up on the climbs. I took the Condor that I had made for the Alps last year. SRAM Rival Groupset, with the 'WiFli' Climbing Group, a Fizik Aliante carbon fibre saddle, Mavic SL wheels and Continental Grand Prix tyres. Spot on, and trouble free.

And if it's not about the bike, it is about the logistics. Marmot Tours are top at the long-distance Raiding game, with a well-established system of two custom vans carrying food, spares and clothing, good hotels and your bag in your room by the time you get there. Good people and good to deal with.



Thursday, August 29, 2013

Easy Riders - 28th August

Lynda's route from Weybridge to Teddington Lock for Lunch then on to Nonsuch Park for Tea

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

B Group - 28th August (story and maps)

It was not surprising, given the good weather, that Weybridge Day Centre was bulging at the seams with cyclists!  I spoke to a local resident, commenting on the noise around her, but she said she was enjoying the hubbub of conversation and particularly seeing all the legs!!

I started off with about 24 followers, including new rider Mike, but with the prospect of a stint on the towpath from Walton to Molesey, three opted to go by road and meet us at the other end.  It was a lovely ride beside the river where there was not a ripple!  From Hampton Court, where unfortunately Anna left us due to a puncture, we headed into Bushy Park and across to Hampton Wick.  Here we took the lower road to Teddington Lock, crossed over the footbridge and wove through the various footpaths to Ham.  Off-road again, we followed good-surfaced paths down to the back of Ham House and then parallel to the river to Petersham, going down to the towpath for the last lap into a busy Richmond, passing several people with box-like contraptions on the front of their bikes carrying children or one lady, a dog.  Hire bikes?  From Richmond, where we crossed the river once more, it was a short ride to the London Apprentice at Isleworth.  (Peter C had had to withdraw with a broken cable before we reached the pub.)

The pub coped pretty well with the numbers, apart from one or two hiccups (it has been suggested that adding names to orders might help alleviate these problems) and had set aside two big tables for us, though in fact only one was used as others opted to sit outside.  A shame that the tide was out but we needed low tide at Petersham.

After lunch we headed on downstream to Kew Bridge (Canadian David punctured on the way and Tim stayed to help him fix it.) where we had to cope with a heap of traffic.  We soon got away from it by going back to the towpath and on down to Mortlake.  From here we turned south and entered Richmond Park at East Sheen Gate.  Lots of fine-looking deer were to be seen in the Park.  We left at Ham Gate, cycled across to Tudor Drive and back down to the towpath for tea at the YMCA cafe.  We had lost a few going home from the Park but there was still a good number at tea, where there was a rendition of Happy Birthday for Irene and a slice of cake with a red straw for a candle!  And Tim and Dave rejoined the fold!  Thanks to Pam and Irene for being back markers.

Gill Finlay

Gill's day in the sun: note that the route shown from Kew Bridge back to the YMCA Hawker Centre in the afternoon is not the official route but is that taken by the puncture party, David and Tim

We eventually discovered the cause of David's puncture

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Cycling London to Paris

Some of you may know that I'm cycling from London to Paris in September, in aid of British Heart Foundation, and in memory of a close friend who sadly died aged just 51 of a heart attack.   I 'inherited' his bike, my Dawes Super Galaxy, which I will be riding to Paris, with his daughter Sarah who suggested the idea, and a few other relatives and friends.   The route is London - Calais - Amiens - Paris:  244 miles in 3 days of either glorious sunshine, heavy rain, or something else.

If you would like to sponsor me, I and BHF would be most grateful: just visit  Thanks.

Can anyone help ?

I received the following e-mail from Doreen :

 As you know, Ron had a quadruple heart bypass in September 2012. At his check-up at St Helier Hospital yesterday it was suggested that a pacemaker would be a good idea to regulate his occasional missed heartbeats.

Could you ask if any Midweeker with a pacemaker could get in touch with Ron to tell him of their experiences, good or bad.

 This would be much appreciated.     Best wishes       Ron & Doreen Powney    ( 

B Ride Wednesday 21 August 2013

The Church

The pub

The group

A Group 21 August

A Guildford start offered the opportunity to venture far off our normal tracks and visit some countryside I had seen last summer en route to Portsmouth. Could I do this and fit in the new cycle route at Hindhead as well? It was going to be a challenge but one I felt worth the effort.

So a dozen of us left Guildford and headed out through Shalford where we left the main road and started the long climb to Munstead Heath. There followed a long stretch of rolling countryside through Hambledon, Wormley and along Prestwick Lane to Grayswood. The sting in the tail was a sharp little climb up Three Gates Lane ( ungated!!) to Haslemere which reintroduced us to the concept of traffic but it was short-lived as we soon turned into Hampshire along Hammer Lane. This had a few ups and downs which caught one or two in the wrong gear but soon we were in Bramshott and a final flat few miles to lunch in The Crown at Arford. Both the service and food were excellent. It's a pity its a bit far to go more often.

Now came the challenge of getting to Hindhead though first we need to to pull ourselves up out of the vale at Arford onto the Churt Road before turning off into Whitmore Vale. A mile and a half of single track lane culminates in a long,steep ascent into Grayshott, followed by a further steady pull up to Hindhead. After a stop at the Sailor's Stone overlooking the site of the old A3 we had the payback - the long gentle descent on the cycle path to Thursley. From here we took it at a steady pace, back through Elstead and Hurtmore to the Watts Gallery at Compton for tea. This was busy and we were nearly turned away but common sense prevailed and we split into groups as tables became free. A final climb to the top of the Hogs Back before we split up on the descent to Guildford.

43 miles, mostly on quiet lanes on a beautiful day in good company. A great day out.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

B group August 21

Lunch at White Hart, Witley

Threes at Farncombe Boathouse 
On a fine, sunny day a well supported train assisted ride met for 11s at Yvonne Arnaud Theatre, Guildford. We used the cycle track alongside the A281 to Shalford church, crossing into East Shalford Lane, but despite the efforts of a couple of large lorries we passed them just in time to see a couple of trains at the level crossing. Joining the A248 at west Chilworth we rode on through Wonersh and Bramley, soon turning into Iron Lane. A quiet, shady route led to Busbridge where after consulting OS, Surrey Cycle Guides and Garmin we proceded to Tuesley and Great Enton. Having been warned by the landlord at our lunch venue that service might be slow, an off-road stretch was omitted and soon we arrived at the White Hart, Witley, to find Bernard already tucking in. The service lived up to the promise, but - we were sitting in  the sun - who cared ?
I shortened the afternoon route by adding an off-road stretch and heading directly to Thursley, passing the pub which couldn't accommodate us, then a shady climb to the junction with Thursley Road, heading north to Elstead and Hurtmore. A quick phone call to 'hector's on the wey' to confirm tea and a quickish descent into Godalming led to latish 3s at Farncombe Boathouse. Thanks to Pam and Tony as tecs and birthday boys Robin and Tony for buying teas. Leaving Farncombe together we split at Peasmarsh, some returning to Guildford to catch a train. Not a high mileage day, but a trip down probably unfamiliar roads.

A Group - Aug 21st

Brian led us on a a lovely ride today starting with a good turnout in Guildford, undulating in the morning and decidedly hilly in the afternoon, returning through Hindhead and the new cycle track overlooking the Devil's Punchbowl, where the old A3 has been torn up and replaced by grass.

43 miles with 862 metres of ascent.

Friday, August 16, 2013

B Group - 14th August (map)

GPS Data kindly collected by David Cox

Free Wheel Contest

Mark the eventual winner & congratulations how does he do it!

First & second men at the finish!

Ed the producer of the trophies! What a splendid man he is! Please permit me to say on the question of club governance & the safety of our members I am amazed at the tenasity of Ed for making it to the pub lunch! He had apparently fallen off his bike at high speed having taken part on the "Free wheel contest" and some how or other come a cropper on a downhill section under the relative cover of trees that effectively put him into darknes and after hitting a pothole ended up in a bad crass into a roadside bank which put him in agony with a suspected broken hip or serious injury. It was only Angie that realised his plight and stayed to comfort him at the pub in Smallfield! Simon Waller & I decided to go home to collect a car & leter pick up Ed ASAP. Only problem was my car was in for service & MOT that morning & much to my regret when I got to Dagenham motores at Banstead at 3pm it was only just being put on the MOT bay before a major service despite the fact that I had delivered it that morning at 9am. Simon W therefore carried on to get his car with the intention of picking Ed up ASAP but then got a communication that all was OK & Ed was making his way home by bike with Angie?? At 7pm that evening I got a call from Ed to say was Simon on his way to pick him up! What I said in amazement was where are you - Ed said he was still at the pub & awaiting a pick-up & that Angie had had to leave around 5.30pm to go home as she had no lights convident in the fact that Simon W would be picking him up! Bearing in mind that the pub shut at 3pm he was then left there untill 8pm by which time I had driven like heck to get to him ASAP. Simon W by this time was in Guildford on an evening out as planned! No problem with that! Moral of this story is we should not desert our fellow cyclists as I see it before making sure that all arrangements for a safe return are in hand. If I am at fault here I take full responsibility but the fact remains that by the time I picked Ray up he was in pain and asked to be taken to Epsom hospital which I did even though he had expressed extreme reluctance to go to Hospital earlier and had refused helpers to call an ambulance. After getting him admited to A&E and ensuring that he was well cared for and seeing a Dr. & getting an ExRay we found that he had not broken anything (though I was convinced he had as it took him ages with the use of a garden chair as a Zimmer frame to get to my car after loding his bike). Never the less he was retained in hospital overnight for observation as after I left he suffered a funny turn! He insisted that I go home around 10.30pm as he was convinced he could get home by taxie and the duty nurse agreed that that was fine! Firstly I think that the section should write a letter of thanks to the pub for looking after him but secondly and most importantly I think that we should designate at least one male member not to leave a lady member to care for such an incident without help & support!
Not withstanding that it was a great free wheel contest and th hill chosen was a good challenge but I hope that we can return next year to the Root Hill venue now that the re-surfaced Rd is so excellent! With very best regards to all MHMM

In closing the good news is that Ed is home safe & well though restricted to his downstairs & I returned his bike safe & sound today to his neighbours who will keep an eye on him!
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Thursday, August 15, 2013

A and B elevenses next week: Aug 21 at Guildford

Next week is a new venue and format. Elevenses in Guildford with everyone making their on way there by train ( or ride if energetic). No meeting at N Cheam!! So a few details which I hope will help.

Venue. The theatre is just off Millbrook, thats the A281 to Shalford/Cranleigh that runs past the bottom of the High St and Debenhams. As you approach the building there is a pedestrian gate on the right to a walkway above the river into the back garden behind the cafe.

 Trains:  the first thing to say is that railcards are typically only valid after 9.30 and offpeak tickets are cheaper. Both rides are circular allowing a return ticket to be used from Guildford to get home.
Useful trains are:

From Wimbledon at 9.49, Surbiton 9.57 via Cobham arrives Guildford 10.32.  The train 30 min earlier is only off-peak from Hinchley Wood.  A 9.30 departure from Surbiton is possible changing at Woking.

On the Epsom line the 9.31 from Motspur Park, 9.33 Worcester Park and stations to Epsom 9.47 arrives Guildford 1020. 
From Sutton there is a 9.29 ( not offpeak) or Cheam 9.31 arriving Epsom 9.37 to connect into the train above.

I plan to be at Guildford station to meet the 1020 arrival and wait until the 1032 arrival from Surbiton to point the way to the pedestrian underpass for those who dont want to cycle the one way gyratory. Please dont arrive after this so we can make a prompt departure. Thanks. Brian

Ed Sharp

Following his pre-lunch tumble on a pot-holed descent on Wednesday, Ed decided a visit to Epsom Hospital was advisable. Mike kindly took him there, where he stayed in overnight. He was checked over, nothing was broken then Angie picked him up (thanks Angie), complete with zimmer and took him home (Thursday afternoon). Angie says he is feeling better, walking better and is more confident.


B Ride Wednesday 14 August 2013


 The windmill

 The winners: Angey and Mark.

 The injured: Ed.

 The pub
 The group: leaving the pub

Easy Riders - 14th August

9 left Molesey Day Centre this bright and sunny morning heading for “The Feathers” at Laleham, it was a first for everyone.  We went via Rydens Road,  Station Road, Silverdale and down to Walton Bridge where they are dismantling the old bridge. We then proceeded to Chertsey Bridge and turned right to ride along side the Thames into Laleham.   We returned via Shepperton Railway, Sunbury and into Hampton Court at the "Five at the bridge";  we were then down to 4.
Thanks goes to Lynda for being  T.E.C. and welcome to a New rider  “Paula” who has been out on some Sunday rides.

Thanks one and all


Easy Riders - 14th August (map)

A map for Irene's ride to Laleham with the Easy Riders:

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

B Group 14 August

Furthest-travelling Mark
From Redhill I led the Bs onto N21 alongside the babbling Redhill Brook to Cormongers Lane then further off-road to Marsh Road. This led to Church Hill which I had considered for the fwc but decided it wasn't exciting enough. A short stretch of the A25 led to Bletchingley where, after a couple of minutes' waiting/sorting out the As appeared. Brian was chief 'pusher-off' at the hilltop on Outwood Lane and I went first. Soon Mark appeared and easily passed my marker. Angie was the lady travelling furthest followed by Liz and Simon was only just runner-up to Mark.
We then set off for lunch - not far - The Plough and Furrow at Smallfield via Outwood and Cogman's Lane but unfortunately Ed had a tumble en route - get well soon, Ed. After lunch the traditional awards were presented - a unique wood carving for the winners by Ed (thanks) and a spare tube for the runners-up. 
Following the pleasant, quickly served lunch Angie volunteered to stay with Ed until help could reach him (thanks, Angie). From Smallfield we rode along Perrylands Lane, past the sign banning horses and wagons to Hathersham Lane, Salfords, Lodge Lane and Lonesome Lane to Reigate Garden Centre and welcome refreshments. Most stayed with me to Betchworth then chose to return home via Pebble Hill. 

The Freewheel Competition - The A Group's Ride

Today was the Wayfarers' Annual Freewheel Competition, organised as usual by Terry, but with the important introduction of a new hill.  This was kept highly confidential by the Commissaires, and the A and B Groups made their ways from Redhill to the meeting point at the Prince Albert, Bletchingley.  The As took the road, and the Bs the tracks, which proved, in the event, to be slightly quicker.

A short distance down Outwood Lane we all gathered in a turning and began the competition.  A gradual descent at first, getting quickly steeper and dark under the trees.  Then some undulations and a steady incline, getting steeper as it went, that brought matters quickly to a close.

The course and gradient are above; winning distance was exactly a mile.  Results were:

First Lady:      Angie
Second Lady:  Liz

First Gent:      Mark
Second Gent:  Simon

Many thanks to Terry for organising another successful event, and to Ed for making the very attractive trophies.

Competition over,  we made our way in groups to lunch at the Plough and Furrow, Smallfield.

Most of us were well on with our meals when news came that Ed had taken a tumble on the way to lunch.  An ambulance had been called, and the crew checked him over, but he was not willing to be taken in to Hospital and instead rode to the pub - bloodied but unbowed.  When the A group left after lunch he was intent on riding home.  I hope it went well, and that he is not too stiff.

Taken with the idea of Freewheeling, the As set off for a historic triple, taking in the Norwood Hill course, followed by part of the magnificently re-surfaced Roothill course before rolling over Punchbowl Lane to Pixham and Denbies.  A very pleasant afternoon.

At Denbies we were pleased to find that the 10% vouchers were still honoured, so the tea was doubly enjoyable with the sensation of a bonus honestly earned.

18.1 miles from lunch to tea (and 12.1 miles to lunch).  Rolling average 13.8 mph.

A summers day out.


Saturday, August 10, 2013

B group August 7

                                                                Bs at Annie's

On a fine day I led from Cobham, but for a variety of reasons soon five 'fell off' the rear. The route was to Burford Bridge via Effingham, Lower Road, Bookham, Polesden Lacey and down Bagdon. The group reformed to climb to Boxhill, then, to compensate, the descent of Pebblecombe to Betchworth, Trumpets Hill and Leigh to lunch at the Three Horseshoes at Irons Bottom. Robin and Tony were awaiting our arrival having ridden straight from home.

After a good lunch we returned to Leigh then made for Annie's via Brockham, golf course and Pixham Lane.

Twenty started,  fifteen finished and on a scale 1-10 they gave me 8 !

Distance for me home to home, fifty miles.

My thanks to Terry for booking the pub and Tim for backmarking.