Friday, January 31, 2014

Audax for A Group

At the end of February I'm down to lead an A Group ride, which has traditionally been the first 'Challenging Ride' of the season and has followed the 'Hilly 50' course.  For a change, I thought it might be a good idea to try something slightly different, so I've spoken to a few people about doing an Audax ride instead.  All votes so far in favour, so here's a bit of background information.

Audax goes back to the beginnings of cycling, when a dozen Italian cyclists rode from Rome to Naples in June 1897.  That's 230 kms, and the ride was described as 'audacious', which I think it was, for the time.  As with many things in cycling, the Italians had the flair but the French wrote the rules, and Henri Desgrange, he of the Tour de France, produced the first Audax Regulations in 1904.  Early Audaxes were group rides, but in the 1920s individual rides became more popular, which remains the case.  The essence of it hasn't changed much in more than a century, and the oldest cycle race, Paris- Brest-Paris, was, and still is, an Audax.

So what's it all about?  Pretty simple, really.  For every event there is a 'Brevet Card' and a Route Sheet.  The Brevet Card has a list of 'controls' you must pass through, the Route Sheet is a suggested way of doing it.  You don't actually have to follow the Route Sheet, but it usually makes sense to do so.  But you do have to pass through all of the controls, and in time, which is the most important thing.  For every Audax there is a minimum and a maximum average speed, typically 10 mph minimum and 20 mph maximum, but it does vary.  Easy enough for a short run, but harder and harder as the distance gets longer.  There is no allowance for stops of any kind - rest, food, breakdowns, it's all up to you.

You get your proof of passage either by getting your card stamped, as you see here, or, for 'Permanent' rides, by getting receipts at garages or cafes.  Permanents, as the name suggests, you can do at any time.  10 mph is not much of an average speed for 50 kms, but longer rides such as Paris-Brest-Paris or London-Edinburgh-London are a pretty tough proposition.

Here's the Route Sheet for the ride I'm planning for us:

I'll bring some copies on the day.

If you're interested in doing the ride as an Audax, you can get a brevet card and route sheet from here; it costs £3.  There's lots of information on the Audax UK Website if you'd like to find out more.

And if all this seems just too much fuss for you, don't worry.  Forget all of the paperwork and come along for the ride!


Thursday, January 30, 2014

Our favourite café

Please see this invitation on behalf of Cycle magazine:

"For the April-May issue of CTC's 'Cycle' magazine, journalist Rob Ainsley is writing a piece on cafés that cater to cyclists.

We would like to include in the feature a list of Member Groups' favourite cafés - not just the ones that cater specifically to cyclists like 'look mum no hands!', but also ordinary cafés visited by riders on a regular basis. Perhaps they have the best (and biggest!) slabs of cake? Or maybe the one which makes the group feel most welcome, and doesn't mind a few muddy footprints on the floor?

Whatever criteria you choose, we would like you to nominate just one establishment for the list, which will be published in the magazine alongside Rob's article."

So, although I have an opinion, I think it would be good to reflect a little democratic consensus when I reply. I suspect that there are at least 20 differing opinions but please send me an email to let me know what your favourite café is and why. This needs to be a café which is a favourite for groups of us when we turn up for Tea, not just your private preference.

A ride 29 Jan: Shepperton - Shere - Leatherhead

Let's begin with the positive points:  We visited a very welcoming pub and got seats by the fire.   Annies served excellent cake.  I particularly enjoyed my warm shower when I got home.   There was no evidence of hail, thunder, or snow, and we nearly saw the sun once.

A smallish contingent assembled at Shepperton-on-Sea, and nine were foolish enough to join me for a ride to Shere, which featured two of my favourite downhill rides.   With the easterly wind & rain at our backs, it didn't seem too cold as we headed along recently-flooded roads to Chertsey-in-Thames over the river, which looks as if it's put on a few pounds over Christmas, through Addlestone & Woodham & West Byfleet, threading round Old Woking before turning South to Jacobswell and Burpham.  Then it was a gentle climb up to Merrow and not-so-gentle to Newlands Corner.  The view from the top was admittedly not at its best, but the swooping downhill run to Shere was made even better by the prospect of a warm dry pub, the White Horse in Shere.  

The hardy few at the White Horse, Shere

Surprisingly reasonably priced (£6 for a main course) with good food, good beer and a log-burning stove right next to us.  The pub was originally a 15th century farmhouse, and has a ghost (a body of a girl that was found in a bricked-up fireplace) and a smugglers' cellar, which when discovered was full of casks of brandy.  It has only become a pub recently, in the 17th century.

Clothes drying round the fire
We were tempted to linger, but reluctantly we put on our wet gear, headed outside, and warmed up by ascending Combe Lane.  After avoiding several lake-sized puddles along the top, next was the second main descent of the day, down Green Dene, where we found the road blocked at one point by a lengthy stretch of flooded road. 

Luckily it was less than bottom bracket depth and we were able to cycle through it, and onwards to Effingham, where Hans and Steve left us for the direct route home.  The return journey through Bookham & Fetcham was straight into the wind and rather cold and miserable, and we were glad to get to Annie's.   Thanks to those 8 brave souls who braved the elements to come with me today.  I measured 29.7 miles from elevenses to tea. 

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

B Ride Wednesday 29 January 2014

B Ride Wednesday 29 January 2014

What a grotty day! It was 4 or 5 degrees, it rained all day with an unfriendly easterly breeze. There were only three of us at North Cheam. When we got to Shepperton there were a few more, the Cs weren't in evidence so Pam (who was due to lead them) joined us. 13 started from Shepperton but only ten made it to the pub. We went by a slightly circuitous route as a consequence of my having missed the turning into Bushey Park. Robin led us from Kingston Bridge by his route to Richmond Park then down to Richmond, where we had lunch at:

High tide was at 1.20 which is when this photo was taken. We did wonder if our bikes were safe. Lunch was fine. Those present were: Andy, Gill, John, Pam, Ray, Robin, Stephanie, Tim, Tony and me. The river was high and racing along. This was Richmond Bridge:

Encouraged by me, we gave up after lunch and went our separate ways. 29 miles from North Cheam.

One Final Finale for Bill

Seen here are many of the Wayfarers paying a final tribute to Bill Mathews. Fuzz is sitting on Rita's knee a former member of the Family section, later the Downland section (now disbanded) along with the Squirrel's (Honorary CTC members thanks to their services to CTC with vintage bikes), David A & Dawn, Lynda, Angie, Ray Dare, Mark Roy, Ed & Terry who did much to help Pat in recent days and many others!

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

The Dieppe Raid: 28-30 June

Each year many Wayfarers join other cyclists to attend the annual 'Dieppe Raid', an excursion to Dieppe in France with an organised ride on the Sunday. If you haven't been before, I highly recommend you ask around and find out about it. You can find more info on my 2012 blog entry here.

If you do plan to attend, then it's advisable to book soon as I understand there are already 120 entrants, and only 40 places left at the after-ride meal. More details here.

More of Bill Mathews Fairwell

More of Bills Family

Bill Mathews Farewell 27 Jan 2014

Pat & Bill's family said farewell to Bill yesterday at the Putney Vale Crematorium accompanied by many of the Wayfarers that new him. While a sad occasion the officiator Andy Climie very aptly created a celebration of Bill's undoubted full & rewarding life, I found the service very uplifting with appropriate music chosen by Pat as some of Bill's favorites. Pat also composed an appropriate poem which was read out & I will try and launch some more pictures later once I have sorted out my Picasa upload problems (if ever).
Those attending were treated to a very nice spread at the Admiral Beatty afterwards for which we thank Pat & her family. As was said while Bill's body has been committed to ashes his memory and achievements will live on and I am sure sustain his family.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

South West London Hilly 50

See SWL Blog for initial details

Friday, January 24, 2014

A Group, 22nd January

Dorking - Woodmansterne - Bike Beans Café

There was a good turnout of some 19 riders for today’s ride to Woodmansterne. We welcomed Angie and David A, as well as Dave, to supplement our regular throng. The first part of our route was along the well travelled cycle path to Leatherhead. Fortunately, this was now rideable, in marked contrast to how it had been the previous weekend, when a deluge of biblical proportions had swamped the flood meadows and part of the path, with the water lapping at the edges of the road.

Passing through Leatherhead and then upper Ashtead, with its picturesque Park, we ascended Chalk Lane to reach Epsom Downs. From there, our route took us through Tadworth to the A217, after which we turned off down Chipstead Lane, past the Well House Inn (highly recommended), to White Hill, which qualifies for one chevron on the OS map. From there, it was a short stretch to the Woodman, who provided a decent lunch, with Ray collecting the ‘Last to be Served’ award.

Our tea stop lay due West, at Ashtead, so for those living in a more Northerly direction, the pull of the compass in that direction reduced our numbers somewhat, with about a dozen of us heading back through Walton-on-the-Hill, finishing up at Bike Beans café, where Mike M joined us.

We enjoyed a decent workout today, in dry weather, with a special mention going to Pete B, both for keeping an eye on the rear, and also for completing the ride, which had a couple of decent hills, on a single geared bike.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Easy Riders, 22nd January

We left Molesey day centre and made our way to Bushy park. David and Wendy Salmon came. Our birthday boy, Fuzz treated us all to tea & coffee and met us later for lunch. Once in the park we took a right turn to pass the playground and came out at Hampton Wick. We continued over Kingston bridge and right at Halfords. Through the market place and left heading for the blue bridge. Passed the waterworks to Berrylands. We then made our way to Woodies for lunch.

Some turned off at Worcester park for home and Sandy, Jane and myself headed for afternoon tea at Ewell Court, only to find it is still shut from Christmas. Opening 11th February.  Plan B was to go through Nonsuch Park to Trisha's in Cheam village. A fairly new very nice tea room.


B Group - 22nd January

19 riders made good time from Dorking to the Jack Fairman Pub in Horley in which we found good service and food.

The route was now clear of flooded roads and we had fine spring weather all the way.

Reduced numbers made the afternoon section to Fannys Farm  in Upper Gatton for tea. There were a few hill climbs on route but everybody enjoyed the challenge?

I enjoyed the day with good company thanks to back marker Neil and helpers.

Approx 25 miles.

- Tony Hooker

Most of the route from Dorking to Horley and beyond
Tony's hills

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

B Ride Wednesday 22 Januuary 2014

Our leader

The group outside the lunchtime pub

Time to go!

We passed a wonderful Wellingtonia (Sequoiadendron giganteum)

Tea at Fanny's 

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Bill Matthews' funeral

Pat Matthews spoke to Terry today to say Bill’s funeral will be at Putney Vale Crematorium on Monday January 27 at 13.40, and afterwards at The Earl Beatty at 365 West Barnes Lane, Motspur Park, near the level crossing. If driving, there is a (refundable) parking charge at the pub. Both venues are on TfL Local Cycling Guides 9 and 10.

Pat isn’t able to receive email messages at the moment, but she can be contacted at her home number and address.

Wednesday 15th January - Easyriders

First stop out of Walton Centre was to look at the 13th century timbered manor house set back off Manor Road as you head towards the bridge.  Well worth a look if you haven't spotted it before.  Then across Walton Bridge, up Shepperton High Street, left past the railway station, on to Halliford Road, cutting down towards Sunbury but then up the Avenue northwards to zig zag through the back streets of Hampton.  Lunch at the Jolly Coopers, Fuzz there ahead of us.  In the afternoon the gentlemen headed for home, Brian (thanks for back-marking), Les, Cliff and Norman, leaving the ladies, Liz, Helen, Judy, Lynda and myself to enjoy a visit to an art gallery at Hampton Court to view Liz's art work followed by tea at 5 on the bridge.  Steph.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

B Group - 15th January 2014

We all assembled at The Walton Centre, Walton on Thames. The weather was overcast and drizzly; so it was rather surprising that 22 B-riders turned up. We set out for Eton going via Shepperton, Laleham, Staines, Wraysbury and Dachet. Pretty flat all the way apart from crossing motorways and railways. Lots of flooding all around, but none of the roads were blocked getting to Eton. During the afternoon the chosen route out of Eton was blocked by flooding.

Just after Wraysbury the leader fell off his bike, but was largely unhurt and was able to carry on. It rained a bit too. Lunch was at the Waterman’s Arms in Eton. 

The meals at the Waterman’s Arms were good. The Wayfarers had been there before and there is no reason why we shouldn’t go back to the Waterman’s Arms in the future. 

After lunch we set off towards Dachet and the chosen route was blocked by flooding as stated before. So, there was nothing for it but to go back into Eton and cross back over the Thames and return to Dachet the way we had come before lunch. From Dachet we went via Horton, Poyle, Stanwell Moor, Stanwell, Ashford, Charlton and Littleton to Shepperton for tea. Twenty two bike riders is quite a large group to manage (although the numbers reduced during the afternoon). I was very grateful to Pam who did backup duties before and after lunch. Having this kind of support from Pam was essential.

Peter Carpenter

B Ride Wednesday 15 January 2014

John Gould's new car

Our Leader

Typical man!

The 4x4 disappearing in the distance had just driven through the flood at some speed giving me an early shower. We gave up and turned round.

B Group - 15th January (maps)

Peter's route from Walton to Eton for lunch then back to Shepperton for Tea in the afternoon

Morning route
Afternoon route

A Group, 15th January

Walton-on-Thames - Ace Corner - Richmond Park

As the gang was not inclined  to line up for a wet pic, this is the famous Ace Café at 11's on a previous Frank ride.
I'm sure that is Toni I can see through the window.
Leaving Walton Day Centre at 11-15 after tea and cakes supplied by birthday boy John Bassett, as it was my run we of course headed in a Northerly direction with a select group of 14.
Over the new Walton Bridge bearing left to Littleton, skirting the Queen Mary Reservoir, across the Staines Road to Lower Feltham, along the many lights of Feltham High Street to turn right along another Staines Road, (not sure how many Staines Roads there are), then left past Hounslow army barracks, crossing the A4 at Heston and on to Norwood Green, crossing Brunel’s 3 bridges at Windmill Lane and on to the Greenford Road, following the side road that runs parallel with this through Greenford and under the A40 via the subway, we approached the slight climb of Horsenden Hill from the North, along Bilton Road, Perivale to pick up the Grand Union Canal for the last mile to the Ace Café on the North Circular Road arriving just a little before 1 o’clock
Tables were reserved for us and as Ron & Doreen were already there that made 16 in all.
As usual service and food were excellent and we were on our way by 2-15.
The weather deteriorated slightly and we needed to cape up by Ealing Village, it was a back street route via Park Royal, North Ealing, Gunnersbury Lane, Popes Lane, Gunnersbury Park, Kew Bridge and eventually the newly decorated café by the golf course in Richmond Park. Despite my efforts we all kept together with thanks to Jeff as back marker nobody was left stranded.
Door to door for me was 51 miles; it may have been slightly more or less for some.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

A Group Ride for 15th Jan from Walton

'A' Group ride tomorrow, although the weather looks a bit iffy, my intended route will be an 18mile ride to lunch at the Ace Café on the North Circular Road. 
If we leave Walton Day Centre at 11-15 we should arrive about 1o’clock, there is very little elevation, just the rise over Horsenden Hill and no off road, just a 1 mile section of tarmac tow path, but rural it isn’t.


Monday, January 13, 2014

Photo Comp Goes Digital

Digital Entries Welcome

Faced with a yawning lack of interest in the Annual Photo Competition, the DA Committee has considered whether, if printed photos were now so old hat, would digital entries arouse more interest and excitement. One way to find out:  invite members to submit entries as email attachments.

So if you have some photographic gem in your digital archive, why not take a punt and send it to the following address:

The rules and categories are simple:

 Competition Period: 1st October to 30th September annually.

Photographic Competition:
A photo showing a bicycle or other  cycling association. 
  • 6.1. Person (male) or people
  • 6.2. Person (female) or people
  • 6.3. Action
  • 6.4. Scenery/landscape
  • 6.5. Building/buildings
  • 6.6. Humorous or funny
The award for a winning photograph in each category will be given to the photographer who took the picture, not to the model.  The photographer's name, CTC membership number, the category, and a short, descriptive caption should be provided - not image001.jpg! Couldn't be simpler.What have you got to lose? Give it a go.


Sunday, January 12, 2014

The Great Lakes

There are many around Walton, tow path closed westwards. Road out of Shepperton westwards closed and Littleton Lane though I got through both by half-pedalling but water was higher on the return so my feet got a wash. Chertsey Bridge closed though I didn't venture that far to experience it first hand. Interesting vistas. All waterfowl are having a field day. To Easyriders I will be heading for higher ground on Wednesday.

Steph x

PS: Even the tow path between Hampton Court and Kingston contains a flooded section at Raven's Ait though easily passable by a muddy detour through the trees.

Lanes around Cobham 11/01/2014

Be aware that Plough Lane is passable but flooded for 250m.  Wet feet are inevitable.
Chapel Lane from W Humble to Polesden Lacey is passable.

Thursday, January 09, 2014

Easy Riders 8th January

A lovely, sunny day as I led our group away from Cobham towards West End.  We made our way to Esher, left at the green passing Sandown; and into Long Ditton.  We took at left into Ember Road,  towards Hampton Court.  We were 7 for lunch at The Albion.

After lunch, we made our way via backroads to Ewell Court Cafe; but on arrival,  found they were shut.  Les, Cliff and Liz made their way home; while Sandy and I went through Nonsuch Park to The Pantry.


Bill Matthews

Terry has just received the very sad news from Pat Matthews that Bill Matthews died this afternoon.
(Wednesday 20:30)

A Group 8th January 2014

 Cobham - Mugswell - Ashtead Park
Outside the Well House Inn at  Mugswell
As the rains fell and flood levels rose, I wondered if I had been wise to accept Paul's offer of the leader's silver chalice. But with blue skies, bright sunshine and the mildest of breezes, some eighteen or so were impatient and eager to set sail from Cobham Harbour, fortified by welcome birthday cakes provided  by Dave V. We were lucky that the seemingly ubiquitous flood waters of the grumpy Mole had receded enough to allow us free passage along River Hill and Mill Road all the way to Leatherhead.  Here Canute had at last managed to work his magic and we were able to pass the recently flooded Leisure Centre and cross the bridge up Bridge St without getting our feet wet. From this point on the strategy was altitude; the higher we went, the further away the water. So we passed the former Royal School for the Blind (now flats), then Headley Court (not yet flats) and topped out at the head of Pebble Hill, for the fun of swooping down past Betchworth Station, where some were rudely halted in mid-career at the level crossing.

Betchworth Bridge
Reunited, we then circumnavigated the Mole, with too little time to admire the flooded Betchworth Bridge and Wonham Lane, both possible route options that had been closed off. At Buckland, our only option was the A25 to Reigate, followed by the A242 to Wray Common, where a near riot erupted when the leader ignored Wray Lane to choose Gatton Park Rd. Disgruntlement turned to bewilderment when the leader stopped at an inconspicuous entrance to a bridleway, left the tarmac and pointed upwards. A somewhat stony track, mottled but not fully carpeted with puddles, though soft in places,  led up to the Royal Alexandra & Albert School. All that remained was to cllimb up past Fanny's Farm Shop and down White Hill to the independent 16th Century Well House Inn at Mugswell. Outside it may not look its best in the depths of winter, but can be glorious in summer. Inside a warm welcome, log fires, a cosy atmosphere, a good selection of beers (Shere Drop a favourite of mine) and food served promptly.

After lunch, a lack of time meant a shortened route to tea. A quick jaunt through Tadworth, past Epsom Grandstand (where some branched off) and down Langley Vale to the Ashtead Park Garden Centre in Pleasure Pit Road. A pleasant venue for tea and cake before, still in daylight,  all set off for home, which hopefully they reached before the faintest of drizzles turned to rain, after what for me was a distance of 44 miles and more than a half century for others. My grateful thanks to Dave and Mark for  sharing TEC duties and so efficiently keeping us all together.

Wednesday, January 08, 2014

B Group 8 January

Happy New Year, everybody - good to see two Lizzes, Tony, Simon and Geoffrey on their bikes today.

Having plotted today's route in November, some drastic changes were necessary. Soon after leaving the RBL Cobham, Plough Lane was flooded so we turned into Chilbrook Road then Ockham Lane.  Passing The Hautboy (now being converted into 'Spectacular Apartments' ) we ignored Flood warnings and motorists' warnings to arrive at the flooded road just short of the roundabout under the A3. Boldly(?) PeteB and Bernard pedalled through, the rest of us preferred to keep legs and feet dry so about turned and arrived the other side of the flood via the airfield (latest rumour - 2500 houses) and cycle path. In Ripley we turned into Newark Lane (No through Road from last Mon due to bridge work - for some months), then left into Papercourt Lane and right into Portsmouth Road. Soon we forked left into Burntcommon Lane (anyone remember The Three Frogs cafe here years ago?) and soon arrived at The Bull's Head at West Clandon.

After a good lunch, quickly served (there were twenty of us) we headed south to the A246, turned left then left again at the 'Bell and Colvill' roundabout. Turning right onto the track immediately before the railway bridge we soon arrived at East Horsley where Glendene Avenue led to Forest Road and Cobham, where about half stopped for threes at Aromas Cafe. A pleasant day's cycling, mild and dry - but it will be a long time before the countryside is back to 'normal'.

Thanks to Irene, Tim, Neil and Tony for assisting in the smooth running of the ride.


B Ride Wednesday 8 January 2014

The flood, only two incautious people cycled through, the rest chickened out!

The pub

The puncture

The party, our esteemed leader is extreme right.

The Mole

B Group - 8th January (maps)

Terry's route from Cobham to West Clandon via Ripley, then back to Cobham for Tea:

Tuesday, January 07, 2014

Pictures at an Exhibition

B Group's resident artist, Liz Bernard, would like to invite you to an exhibition of her paintings:

She and her fellow artists will be in attendance at the gallery at these times:

Sunday, January 05, 2014

8th January - Water Sports

 Health and Safety Impact Assessment

Further to Paul's admonitory advice, there are alternatives for those who do not want to get their bottom brackets wet. In addition to a spare inner tube as a flotation aid, please pack a pair of flippers. Staying in bed is not an option. Before putting on your lycra body suit,  a thick layer of goose fat should be generously larded over the whole body. Do not forget the sunglasses and the suntan factor 20 in case of severe weather conditions. All  those embarking on the A Group ride should hold an Extreme Conditions Survival Diploma (Advanced) or equivalent. Anybody without rides entirely at their own risk and the leader takes no responsibility for the consequences.


A Group Ride Wed 8 Jan

I'm down to lead this ride but the dreaded post skiing lurgi has hit again, and I am laid up with a chest infection.

Jeff Tollerman has kindly accepted my invitation to act as substitute leader, but, given the likely weather and road conditions, has suggested that riders might like to consider some special equipment for his ride....

The Photo below give the general idea.....

Paul Kelly

Saturday, January 04, 2014

Mileage totals 1st Jan to 31 Dec 2013

While you are fumigating your wallets with Flit or DDT to reduce the moth population to find a fiver for your subscription and deposit, why not grab an envelope (or a tenner) and write down your mileage for 2013 on the back,  to give me on Wednesday. You can also email it to me at :


Wayfarers subscriptions now due

I have it on good authority that the weather will improve in the coming hours, weeks, or months and we will be treated to some memorable and enjoyable rides in 2014.   Happy New Year!

With that firmly in mind, I will be collecting Wayfarers subscriptions this Wednesday at Cobham (and deposits for the Wayfarers annual lunch, which is on March 5th in Prezzo Cheam).  

I would be grateful if you could bring the right change.  The subscription has been REDUCED to £2 for this year, but the deposit has increased to £3, so a round £5 both.    I look forward to seeing you at Cobham.

Thursday, January 02, 2014

Jolly Boating Weather

Mill, Wonham Lane

Flanchford Road

Flanchford Road


Sunny today, so Maggie and I took the tandem out for a New Year spin.  Unsurprisingly, there is a lot of water about, which gave a touch of adventure to the day's proceedings.

Happy New Year to all.