Saturday, May 31, 2014

A date for the calendar - Wayfarers artist in action

Liz Bernard is opening her studio to the public during this event and welcomes you to come along and visit.  Her studio is at 49, Palace Road, East Molesey, KT8 9DN.  Please feel free to bring a friend/s.  Liz's studio will be open on Thursday 12th June to Monday 16th June from 11am - 5pm, and Thursday evening from 6.00- 8.30pm. Plenty of space to park bikes!!  And there will be refreshments!

Friday, May 30, 2014

Easy Riders - 28th May

I led from North Cheam to the new venue at Bishop Fox Way, West Molesey.  We were allocated a large table and already there was Ron and Doreen and the Squirrells.  We saw Fuzz nearby and he joined us.

We went round the road to Kingston Market place, then on to Woodies for lunch.  Then Ewell Court park for Tea.  It was a drizzley day and not very warm.

- Lynda

Sorry but there is no map for this ride (RW/TC)

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

B Group - 28th May

Nine cyclists left Hungers End cafe on an overcast day and cycled to Gatwick Airport via route N21 through Riverside Garden Park. We had lunch at The Greyhound Pub, service and food good.

Ian left us after lunch and we returned to Ashstead Garden Centre via Dorking for our afternoon tea.

Forty miles in total.

Thanks to Steph for back marking.

NB Merstham was famous for the Country's first Iron Railway, wagons being pulled by horses on the Wandsworth to Merstham line in 1805.

- Tony Hooker


Maps for Tony's excellent ride from Merstham to Charlwood (13.6 miles) then to the Ashtead Garden Centre (16.8 miles)

Old Railway Tunnel at Hooley

1805 Railway Line

This is part of a tunnel for the 1805 Wandsworth - Merstham railway line, referred to by Tony in his report. It is being demonstrated by Pete Beyer, who knows a railway line when he sees one, and can be seen beside Starbucks Coffee at the junction of Dean Lane with the A23 at Hooley,

A Group 28th May

Never a popular start-point, Merstham, and a wet morning doesn't draw the crowds either, so it was a pretty select band at Hunger's End. Good to see Terry there, looking pretty chipper.  I hope he will be back on his bike soon.

The band got even more select as we began our rides, not many for the Bs and even fewer for the As - five As, in all.  But no matter - a small group is a fast group, and we set off with gusto down Nutfield Road, taking the rolling lanes that lead to Hever.

We got on well until the other side of Horne, where John had a puncture.  Not a bad place to have one, with a convenient lay-by just at hand. Steadily using his well-provided tool-kit John had a new tube quickly in place.  On to Lingfield, Maxted Road to Edenbridge and then a whizz along pretty lanes to Hever, with a small surprise when we rounded a corner and found a tractor trimming the hedge.  Haircut, anyone?

Just after one we were at the Henry VIII.  It's a good pub and they made us welcome.  A table was reserved for us, food was served quickly  and we tried to guess which bits of the pub were Tudor and which bits rather later.  The bit round the corner, we concluded, but it's a handsome building in any case.

Henry VIII, Hever

Back on the road we went up to Four Elms, where it began to pick with rain.  Here we tried the old cyclists' trick of putting on rain jackets, which worked very well.  The rain stopped almost at once, so that a few miles later we had to stop again to take them off.  The rain didn't re-start.  On to Tilburstow Hill, the only real climb of the ride, and a short stop at the view-point for the traditional picture.

The view wasn't bad for such a dull day, but we've had better.

On at pace, now.  The handy cut-through at Bletchingly that made the turn on to the Surrey Cycleway much safer has been newly painted 'No Cycling', which is irritating, then on up Church Lane and White Hill Lane, Graham going so well that he powered past the turning on to Spring Bottom Lane in his eagerness to get to the really steep bit.  We called him back.

Last few miles, now, and we finished strongly up the hill to Fanny's.  Good cake, plentiful tea and good conversation to finish the ride.  Not bad for a damp day.

39.5 miles elevenses to tea; rolling average 13.9 mph and 2,184 feet of ascent.  It was a pleasure to ride with such a capable group.


Hostelling party 21 May

Which way is Streatley ?

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

A Group Ride Tomorrow

The forecast isn't too terrific for tomorrow, so I plan a steady ride on easy lanes, no big hills.  Lunch at the Henry VIII in Hever and tea at Fanny's.


Sunday, May 25, 2014

"Uneasy Rider"

John Bellamy kindly cut out and delivered an article from today's Telegraph. This is a link to the online version:


Fortunately the man wasn't injured so it is easy to see the funny side of his misfortune.

Friday, May 23, 2014

B group May 21st

I thought I had a compact group of 10 when we left the day centre but on arrival at the canal I had 12.  In electoral terms it was B's gain 3, lose 1, as it seems John Bellamy had punctured as we left and no one told the leader. Anyway, too late and onwards to Woking, south through the park and on to Mayford. Then through the lanes where the leader missed a turn and we also encountered a large hole  and the muddy contents blocking the "closed" road. Breath in and pass to the left, except the two who went right with consequent muddy shoes! On to Normandy and up Wanborough hill which took its toll but we arrived at the Good Intent in Puttenham about 1pm. Service was prompt and we were away early enough to make a scenic detour to the ponds on lower Puttenham Common and then through the other Gatwick and Lombard Street to Farncombe, Shalford Park and Guildford. Tea at West Horsley was about 34 miles from New Haw.

Easy Riders, 21st May

We arrived at The Kings Centre the same time as Pat M.  Two new riders joined us - Alan and John - Welcome!  I had a message from John C who has bad back pain.  Get Well Soon.

We were a dozen or so leaving the Centre towards Claygate.  Took a right turn after the A3 bridge and down to Long Ditton - passing Squires Garden Centre to the foot tunnel; where I suggested to walk as twice before there had been shattered glass down the far end - and its still there.  Into Hampton Court - over the bridge and left into Bushy Park.  A left there, passing The Pheasantry.  We took the second Woodland Gate exit which goes by the side of Hampton open-air pool.  We then turned left down to the High St. and next right, which took us to The Jolly Coopers.  This is a favourite pub, v nice food on large plates and friendly staff.  We made up a large table outside and Sonia joined us, after having dealt with her puncture. 

After lunch we took the path round Bushy Park and out of Hampton Wick Gate.  We walked through the Market Place and took back roads to Worcester Park.  Turned right passing the Hogsmill pub down to Ruxley Lane and into Ewell Court Park.  Les made his way home and the rest of us went to the café; sitting outside with either cake or ice-cream.  A pleasant day and we all got home without a shower.


Easy Riders - 21st May (map)

Thursday, May 22, 2014

A Group, 21 May

New Haw - Englefield Green - Walton-on-Thames

Happy persons

Where's John?
Here he is, with our leader in the background!

A group 21st May: New Haw - Englefield Green - Walton

Our brave group of cyclists struggled through lashing rain, over hill and dale to reach our destination of Winchester ... but I digress, that was two years ago, when an uncertain weather forecast turned out worse than expected.   This time it was the same, only different.   Regular readers of this organ will know that I called off the planned Winchester ride after seeing a sea of blues, reds and yellows on the forecast between Farnham and Winchester: and spent Wednesday regretting it.  If there's one thing better than carrying an umbrella at preventing rain, it's calling off a ride due to expected rain.

In the event, the weather was fine with a helpful easterly breeze - rats!  Instead of Winchester we pursued a less ambitious objective of Englefield Green.  About eight miles as the crow flies, so the morning was an exercise in not getting there, as we wound our way around a maze of green and twisty little lanes, all different.   Our group of eighteen followed the B group westwards along the canal to the throbbing centre of Woking - not that you would have known it - and escaped through Horsell to the countryside around Chobham, following a succession of lanes - Carthouse Lane, Scotts Grove Road, Beldam Bridge Road; a near miss with West End and then more wooded lanes with dappled sunshine (grrr!) towards, but not actually to Windlesham and Updown Hill.  A little tour of the lesser known hills of North Surrey followed, with Chickabiddy Hill, Oystershell Hill on Chobham common, and Flutters Hill - all in the 50-60 metre height range.

Lunch was beckoning so we turned north across the M3 and towards Virginia Water and Gallowhill, a proper hill, before arriving at the Happy Man, a tiny pub in Englefield Green.   The beer garden was bedecked with racks full of real ales for the forthcoming beer festival - starting the next day (just like the rain!) but a selection of four real ales was available along with a good selection of wholesome and very reasonably priced, if not gourmet, food.    As we sat outside in the beer garden I anxiously scanned the clouds, unusually almost hoping for a few drops of rain, but none came.   Meals arrived quickly and we departed via Tite Hill for Egham, Lyne, Addlestone, Weybridge and to the riverside café at Walton Bridge, where tea, ice cream and a limited selection of cakes was consumed.   About 31 miles from elevenses.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

A Group 21st May

Simon's stand-by ride today, the main event being postponed for better weather.  30.8 miles from elevenses at New Haw to tea at Walton Bridge; lunch at the Happy Person (née Man) at Englefield Green.  Rolling average 13.2 mph and, surprisingly, over 900 feet of climbing.

A decent ride at a decent pace.


Tuesday, May 20, 2014

A group: 4 June: Leader needed

A calendar clash means that I am not available to lead the A ride from Cobham on 4 June.

Is anyone able to stand in?

Paul Kelly

Tomorrow's ride to Winchester is OFF

There looks to be a good chance of rain between here and Winchester tomorrow afternoon, so I have reluctantly decided to postpone the planned ride to Winchester for the A group.  Having taken that decision, I've every hope that the sun will shine all day!  Unlike George Osborne, I have a plan B which involves a meander round the lanes and getting to tea at a normal time, so you will be back for your evening's activities whatever they entail.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Nev Dable

Nev just rang me to explain why we haven't seen him recently - he has eye problems and has been told not to drive or cycle. He hopes to attend 11s at Kingston Bradbury Centre but if you'd like to speak to him he'd welcome your call - his no is on the Contact List.


Friday, May 16, 2014

North Cheam to New Haw?

Do we have a knowledgable volunteer to lead from N Cheam to New Haw on Weds? If not then if someone will lead to Esher, I am prepared to meet the group there to continue to NH. Will firm up details depending on the response.


Thursday, May 15, 2014

Easyriders 14th May

Easyriders 14.5.14 

A surprising number of easyriders were keen to set of for Isleworth.  I counted seventeen, certainly thirteen sat down for lunch and four lunched outside.  A lovely day for the minor roads around Teddington, taking in a little of the River Crane and stopping to admire some historical architecture - the alms houses and plague pit - both dating mid 17th C.   An early arrival at the pub allowed us a quick trip through Syon Park, meadowland full of buttercups. Lunch where Henry VIII reputedly dallied at The London Apprentice.  Traditional return following the Twickenham riverside all the way back to Hampton Court (stopping to admire the Carrerra marble fountain and going under Hampton Court Bridge for the very first time - thanks Alan).  Also thanks to Ron for the trail.  After a mass exodus at Hampton Court Bridge where I think fear of the unknown was a factor... five enjoyed tea at Squires at Long Ditton.  

Thanks to all who came.... the first time I can say too many to name.   Steph x

Easy Riders - 14th May (map)

Steph's route from Teddington to The London Apprentice then to Squires in Long Ditton for Tea (18.3 miles)

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

B Group - 14th May

Just over 20 of us took off from Teddington at 11:15, not quite the great barmy circus that can turn up for B Group rides sometimes when the sun is shining. Just down the road we acquired John Bassett who had mislaid the A Group and I hope that he had no regrets about joining us today. Through Twickenham John Bellamy and Pam managed to elude the back marker and give us the slip. Happily they rematerialised later in the morning. We found them sitting in the sun by one of the many bridges across the Grand Union Canal. I thought we had Ian on board but we didn’t. However he did arrive at lunch in good time to join us.

In Twickenham we made an excursion to Sandycombe Lodge which had been J M W Turner’s country retreat 200 years ago. This was at a time when Twickenham was a village in the countryside and there was quite a risk of falling prey to a highway robbery on the way there from London. Turner designed this quite modest house himself having previously trained as an architectural draughtsman. His greatly loved old Dad managed the house and garden for him and used to take care of the catering for picnics and other social occasions which Turner enjoyed with his friends. Today it is open for visits on the first Saturday afternoon of each month from April to October, from 2.00 pm to 4.30 pm. Details at

We rode the scenic path along the Duke of Northumberland’s River through the Mogden Sewage Works in Isleworth and took Osterley Lane around the outskirts of the park and joined the Grand Union Canal at North Hyde Lane. I had intended for us to ride through Stockley Park and its golf course but due to taking a long time to get through all the lights around Twickenham and beyond I decided that we would be kept from our lunches for too long if we went that way. So we stuck to the Canal all the way through Hayes and Yiewsley, collected Pam and John, and pressed on up beside the Packet Boat Marina to the WatersEdge Bar by the bridge in Packet Boat Lane.

Four tables had been reserved for us and we enjoyed good basic pub food at the WatersEdge Bar. The kitchen and waiting staff went into overdrive to serve us all quickly and efficiently. Unfortunately Peter C. had had to abandon the ride during the morning because of a broken gear hanger so couldn't be at Lunch.

The afternoon started with a ride around the very lovely Little Britain Lake. Returning down the western side took us along a narrow path which separates the lake and the Colne River. Once south of Packet Boat Lane we crossed over the Slough Arm of the GU Canal into Trout Lane but before reaching Fray’s River we turned right on to a very minor lane towards the Iver Water Treatment Works which I believe receives sludge via a pipeline from the Mogden plant in Twickenham. We took a path through the shrubbery, under the railway line, through to Thorney. We went south through a muddy track under the M4 then a path through the Harmondsworth  Moor Waterside reserve then under the A4 into Accomodation Lane. Everyone seemed keen for even more off-road riding so we followed a track through the fields alongside the River Colne to Junction 14. I had a front wheel puncture which was soon mended before taking the long path by the M25 leading to Moor Lane into the centre of Staines. Pam led us through Staines and via the Thameside path to Laleham where we hit the main road towards Shepperton.

Although it was getting late I had in mind to loop around through Charlton into Nutty Lane but due to a lapse in attention to the map (GPS) I found that we were heading towards Upper Halliford. Fortunately Pam and Gill decided that it would be best to go to Squires. We were too late getting there for Tea but Gill very kindly had about ten of us to Tea at her place. We would have been too late for Tea at Flours in Walton so Gill’s hospitality saved us all from the dire prospect of going without. Pam and Liz had thoughtfully ducked into Squires and purchased a cake. So it was all perfect in the end.

Many thanks to David for being Back Marker and to many people who did helpful and intelligent things during the day to keep the group together and on the right track. Quite a tricky route; thank you everyone for your good company, especially to Rachel, Ingrid and Jane who are quite new in the group, not to mention Roger and Ray who we haven’t seen for a while and Eddie who is recovering well from an operation on his hand. I hope the maps will help to answer all your periodic questions about where we were, since at the time I didn’t really know.


Tuesday, May 13, 2014

FT London Sportive


This is to add to Mark’s great write up of last Sunday’s ride.  I share his comments re the pre-ride organisation, the marshalling and signage – all excellent.

For the record I should point out that I started after Mark and finished way ahead of him.  I expect he will be along shortly to say that I took short cuts that saved a mere 62k from the Long Route that the Gladwyns,  père et fils, rode.  Well, that is a lack of guile that you might expect from younger people who insist on using Imperial measurements.

Seriously the Medium route was a mere 104k and with only one hill in Surrey, BH, we had only 1200m or so of ascent.  This is not dissimilar to an MWW ride after including the home to 11’s leg.
I was best in class for my age group – there was no one else over 70.  Amongst the over 60s I was in the top half having sauntered after Coulsdon so as to better appreciate the architecture and other features of SE London.  At Herne Hill the steep sides to the velodrome were a little intimidating so I continued the afternoon saunter  along at the bottom of the track and let the fast boys (and girls) flash by.

I am pleased to have done it – particularly since at 06.30 the weather forecast was such that a day at home seemed the best option.

Geoffrey Shields

Monday, May 12, 2014

FT London 100

Yesterday, I rode the FT London 100. That's miles, not kilometres, a proper Century.  It was a very good ride, though fairly tough in the circumstances.  The forecast had been pretty dreadful, but the delivered weather was rather better.  We did get the strong westerly winds, but almost none of the rain, which was a good thing.

The start was at Dulwich Park. About 2500 riders set off in waves of a few hundred at a time, as is usual with these things.  Well organised and no problems at all.  The route went out through Croydon to the Downs, down the other side and across all the old favourites like Weare Street to the bottom of Pitch Hill in Ewhurst.  This leg was a hard pull into the wind, the next was a bit of a surprise for some  riders, who thought that Box Hill was the only hill in Surrey.  To make sure the point was understood we went over Pitch Hill and Combe Bottom then right down to Ripley, before climbing again to Ranmore.  Much more slowly, now. On the way up an Australian asked how far it was to go, and were there any more big hills.  'About thirty, and only Box Hill' I told him.  'Thirty K?'.  'No, miles'.  'Jeez, Box Hill'.  That's global recognition for you.

There was a timed 'King of the Mountains' up Box Hill, but I left that to the younger folk and just did a steady ride.  Then it was over the top and down through Chipstead when the good bit effectively ended.  From here it was a scrabble through the suburbs back to Herne Hill, about ten miles through South London's finest, out for some Sunday retail therapy in their cars.  To be fair to the organisers the route was not too bad and was well marshalled, but it was the least enjoyable bit for me.  Not for all, I suspect - I'm sure my Australian friend felt he was getting a genuine London experience - and the 'lap of honour' at Herne Hill went down very well indeed.

So, round the Velodrome, congratulations and a nice medal, then home for tea.

The ride was organised by Human Race, who do lots of Sportives, Marathons and so on.  It showed.  Organisation was slick, friendly and low key.  Timing chips and numbers came in the post a couple of weeks before, everything worked, and your time arrived by text about five seconds after you crossed the line.  Marshalling and signposting were excellent and there were three feed stations, which I didn't bother with.  Audax teaches me to be self-sufficient, I guess. Very well run.

My time was OK, middle of the field, but good in my age group.  I've a hatful of excuses as to why I could have gone faster, but that's what the clock said on the day.

The event also begs comparison with the Prudential London 100.  At 2500 riders it's certainly not small, but that's a lot less than 20,000, and the scale and logistics reflect that, for good and ill.  The FT 100 course is much harder - I clocked more than 8000 feet of climbing - and the roads aren't closed, so you don't get the fast pelotons that you get on the Prudential 100.  So it's slower.  Which one should you pick?  Well, do both is the obvious answer!


Saturday, May 10, 2014

B Group - 7 May - Cobham-Holmbury Saint Mary-Dorking (Denbies)

On Wednesday 7th May, I led 27 cyclists from Cobham to the Royal Oak Pub, in Holmbury Saint Mary. We went up Cobham Park Road, through Bookham Woods, Effingham and up through the woods, carpeted with bluebell, towards White Down where we passed a number of cyclists struggling upwards. At this stage, we lost Stephanie with brake problems. Although Francoise and Tim waited for a while at the next junction, unfortunately Stephanie was not seen again.

We continued via Raikes Lane and up to Holmbury Saint Mary. It was good to see Terry and his wife joining us for lunch. Having pre-ordered our choices, we were all served in a reasonable time and the food was better than the average.

After lunch we proceeded to Forest Green, Capel, Newdigate, Henfold Lakes before turning right heading towards Brockham and eventually Denbies for tea.

The leader admitted that his new bike only cost £299 and Bernard remarked that Frank was parsimonious. This is a word not commonly used these days and is perhaps more often encountered in period dramas. Anyhow it is a nicer word than “stingy, mean, miserly, frugal, penny-pinching, cheese-paring, penurious”, to name but a few. Even though it is a low-cost bike, the aluminium frame and 30 gears perform surprisingly well. It would go even better if Frank could lose a stone from his waist!

Thank you for joining me on a mainly traffic free ride in the beautiful Surrey woods. By a good stroke of fortune, we managed to avoid the downpours during lunch and tea.

A round trip of 60 miles for F & F.


B Group - 7th May (maps)

Frank and Françoise took us from Cobham to The Royal Oak in Holmbury St Mary for Lunch (12.6 miles) followed by a longer and very lovely loop back to Denbies for Tea (17.4 miles).

Friday, May 09, 2014

A group ride to Winchester on May 21st (weather permitting)

I'm due to lead on Wednesday week, and if the sun shines I plan to do a one-way ride to Winchester, returning by train.   It's about 51 miles from New Haw: gentle in the morning with a few lumps just before lunch to create an appetite, and a couple of hills in the afternoon.   The idea is to stop for lunch at the Bat & Ball, one of Paul's finds just south of Farnham, and then tea will be somewhere after Alton, leaving 12 or so miles to take us into Winchester where there are many attractions, including pubs, and frequent trains homewards towards Woking, Walton, Surbiton & Clapham Junction.   So it will be a late finish if we stop for a pint in Winchester.

Some will remember that I did a similar ride two years ago and the weather was wet.   I have improved the route (quite different in the morning, a bit different in the afternoon) but I have an alternative ride in case of wet weather.

A Group, 7th May

Cobham - Alperton - Richmond Park

 Frank, the Marco Polo of N.W. London, straddling the River Brent

Now to find our way back from the Wacky Warehouse

B Ride Wednesday 7 May 2014

Our leader with his nice new £2,000 bike!

He took us over the North Downs to 215m, the fresh leaves and bluebells were lovely.

A pleasant lunch at the Royal Oak.

 Tea at Denbies

Wednesday, May 07, 2014

Missing cleat anyone?

Did anyone lose an SH56 cleat at the RBL this morning? This is the type most commonly fitted to Touring or MTB shoes.

Terry reports:
"I have the cleat - it was found by Margaret Squirrell.
All would-be claimants can contact me - I'll draw the winner out of a hat and post it to the lucky individual."

I don't believe that the screws were found.

It looks like this:

Tuesday, May 06, 2014

David Ward awarded

Today I managed to track down David Ward and present him with his SWLDA trophy for the highest annual mileage for the 2013 season, 9313 miles. David mentioned that if all goes well he will retire in a couple of year's time when he intends to ride with the Wayfarers and other groups in the DA. I can't imagine how many miles he might clock up when he gains his freedom from the world of work.

Monday, May 05, 2014

Isle of Wight Randonnee

May Bank Holiday, so off to the Isle of Wight, as usual, to ride the Randonnee.  This year's ride was the best for a long time in terms of weather, and attracted a record number of entrants - over 2000.  The route was clockwise, as is now standard, to avoid bike jams at the Chain Ferry.  However, this year it didn't matter, as the Chain Ferry was out of service.  The fall-back route along the River Medina was well signposted and marshalled by the IoW Wayfarers.

A very enjoyable ride, and not all that easy.  We did just over 69 miles at a rolling average of 12.3mph.


Thursday, May 01, 2014

May/June rides schedule

For anyone who can't find the May/June rides list it is at
this address.

A Group, 30 April

 At the Royal Oak, Staffhurst Wood

 In the fields
 In the car park