Today's ride was an adventure as the planned leader, Jeff, needed to be at home with his wife, who had taken rather longer than expected to recover from a hospital visit the day before.
So we were at Caterham without a leader and without a plan, since I was unable to remember any of the details of Jeff's planned route, much less able to follow it. Luckily teamwork produced good results and a couple of maps: Pete Jesson had the relevant Surrey cycle routes map and Dave Vine had the OS map. Dave and I conspired to make a route to Horley Wetherspoons where we knew we would not have to book, and then I utterly failed to enter it into my GPS, confirming all the advice that route planning with a GPS is best done at home on a PC.
The adventurers set off around 11.30 towards Woldingham station, where we chose a road beside the railway called Church Lane. What could possibly go wrong? The road soon turned into a rough stony track (this was not mentioned on any maps) and to make matters worse turned into a very steep uphill. I later noticed that the nearby railway went into a tunnel at this point. We wished Jeff had been there to enjoy the route, or even better to lead us on a different route.
Once on the top of Oxted Downs the tarmac returned and we followed a bit of Paul's route in reverse, down the very steep Chalkpit lane into Oxted and continuing south along lovely quiet lanes towards Crowhurst. Peter Betts punctured just after Oxted so most of us had a leisurely wait watching a light aircraft doing some sort of acrobatics.
Our regular photographer was unavailable, and the stand-in
missed most of the group leaving the pub.
We were running a bit late so Dave and I decided against going via Lingfield and cut the corner, heading down Tandridge Lane, reversing a route recently led by Mark, and across to Smallfield and the Jack Fairman in Horley. John Scott elected to return by train from Horley so ten of us returned on more familar roads through Norwood Hill, Leigh and Brockham to Denbies.
Thank you to Peter Betts our back marker, to Pete Jesson for the loan of the map, and to my co-leader Dave Vine, and our best wishes to Mrs. Tollerman who I hope is fully recovered now.
A very enjoyable day out: 32 miles and 1815 ft of ascent from 11s to tea.
With the absence of Lynda (due to an eye infection) I agreed to lead a select few from the Leatherhead centre. Sandy, Brian, Norman, Cliff, Mary & Mike, Fuzz and myself set off in the Dorking and Brockham direction. Our destination was Leigh, where we stopped for a pleasant lunch in the garden of the Plough.
Tea was at the Ashtead Garden Centre. I think we covered just over 30 miles (my speedometer is defective at present). We all wish Lynda a speedy recovery. - Liz Scrivens
Next week is the annual swimming day. The 10 day forecast (which is never wrong) is 23 degrees C. Usual rules.: lunch and towels provided, bring your own bathers. If it's more convenient to come straight to my house, rather than via Caterham, please do so, 8 Sydenham Ave. London SE26 6UH.
I was expecting a modest group especially after early morning drizzle but ended up with 21 leaving Henfold. Just as well I had picked a pub that could cope. Deciding to avoid Weare Street for a change we went to Ockley and then along Standen Lane to Walliswood before taking the Horsham Road through Rowhook to Warnham for an early lunch at the Sussex Oak. A few left to meet early commitments and the rest of us headed back in the sunshine to Rusper and along Partridge Lane to Park Gate and Strood Green. Here we stopped at the village shop to break the long run back to Ashtead for those in need of an ice cream or other refreshment. About half the remaining group left for home from the Denbies roundabout while the rest of us toiled up through "little Switzerland" to Headley and then down to Bike Beans in Ashtead where eight had tea.
On Sunday, 1st June, nine members of the Midweek Wayfarers (Frank, Françoise, Cliff, Maureen, Tim, Alan, Ian, Pam and Gill) met up with 25 French cyclists to participate in a 7-day tour of the Loire Valley from Nantes to Chambord/Blois and return. Brilliantly organised by Gérard and Guy of the FFCT whom we had met in Brittany last year, we cycled 50-60 miles per day; we were on the road at 8.00 a.m. each day and the two leaders took it in turns to drive the sag-wagon which carried our luggage and provided teas and coffee at breaks en-route, plus picnic lunches. The terrain was flat beside the rivers but hilly away from them and the weather was great apart from a couple of showers and a deluge on the third day.
We travelled eastwards for four days, mostly following the Loire but also its tributaries the Vienne, Cher and Indre. We visited the Château de Brézé, Fontevraud Abbey and the two really famous châteaux – Chenonceau and Chambord on this half of the trip. On the return, we visited Amboise, Villandry (wonderful gardens) and the 15th Chateau Langeais. As for the ‘oenology’ part of the trip, we had wine-tastings at: Montlouis, near Amboise, followed by a picnic lunch in one of their caves; at la Haie Longue – Coteaux du Layon – at coffee time; and finally, on the last evening before dinner, Muscadet wines, which made for a party atmosphere. On Monday, 9th June, we said farewell to our French friends and spent the day being shown around Nantes, riding on a huge mechanical elephant and on a 3-tier carousel of sea creatures! All great fun! The next day was Departure Day and we were transported to Frank and Françoise’s home where we had a magnificent lunch, before cycling back to St Malo to catch the overnight ferry. All-in-all, a wonderful trip.
The eagle eyed of the A group may have noticed a blue police sign in Bookham asking for witnesses to an accident on Tuesday afternoon. Tragically a man of about our age cycling along Lower Road was killed, apparently by a car turning out of a side road. The fact that the car had to be lifted off the cyclist says a lot about the impact.
As a late sub leader, today's route was something of a mixture of 'ones I'd prepared earlier'. A round dozen hardy folk reported willing and able on a glorious early Summer day.
Escaping from the environs of Weybridge via the A245, Pete B had our first puncture of the day just out of West Byfleet, which meant a pleasant snooze in the sun for the rest of us while repairs were carried out.
We then had to negotiate the closure of Newark Lane near the Priory, where work was being done on the bridges over the Wey Navigation. We were pleasantly surprised by the lack of hassle here, with the construction team being helpfulness personified.
On our merry way through Send, the A3 cycle path and Merrow, our first climb of the day took us up Troods Lane to Newlands Corner, an ascent much preferable to the A25. After that, it was a breeze through Albury and Chilworth to the Grantley Arms at Wonersh, where a soporific lunch was enjoyed on the pub patio.
More arduous terrain awaited post lunch, as we made our way via Shamley Green, Farley Green and Shere, to Combe Bottom, which we climbed at a pace appropriate to the temperature. Lower Road took us into Leatherhead, for tea at Annies, which, having undergone a refit, is currently without wc. Shortly before tea, Brian collected puncture no. 2 of the day, though the rearguard were not unduly delayed in arriving at Annies.
Thanks to Simon for keeping an eye on the rear, and assisting with puncture repairs.
GoldenBeeches 2014. We are pleased to announce that after a break last year, the GoldenBeeches weekend is back in the calendar. It will take place on Saturday 18th and Sunday 19th October and will be based at Great Kingshill Village Hall. For riders coming from afar, campervans and caravans can be accommodated in the village, plus indoor and outdoor camping will be available at the Speen Scout Hut (under 3 miles away). Hopefully, some South Bucks members with spare rooms will be able to offer B & B accommodation. It is now 10 years since the GoldenBeeches weekend was resurrected by Mac and Jane and with Cilla dealing with the bookings and all the administrative arrangements. We receive approximately 80+ attendees, not just local riders, but also from the Midlands and the South and South-West of England. We can’t always guarantee that the beech leaves will be golden but the Rally is really a social occasion to meet old friends and make new ones and as such, has become a South Bucks tradition, which we should seek to maintain. In 2011 and 2012, the rally HQ was based at St Leonards but we previously tried to move location within the Chilterns to show our visitors what our area has to offer Volunteers to lead rides or help with hospitality at the village hall would be very welcome. John Capell will be dealing with the bookings and he would be very grateful to receive offers to help; his contact details are Tel: 01494 715636 or e-mail:firstname.lastname@example.org
June 25 is to be our annual swimming day. My house is about 15 miles from Caterham but that shouldn't trouble us. Obviously you can go directly to my house if that suits you better (8 Sydenham Ave. London SE26 6UH). Usual arrangements: lunch and towels provided but bring your own bathers. We can have a leisurely lunch and then go our separate ways, or it's about 10 miles to Fulham Palace for tea, a dog-leg for most people.
I'm conscious that not everyone sees these blogs so please mention it to those who may not have seen it.
As expected it was a select band at Cobham today, though unexpectedly I got there without getting soaked as forecast. Certainly it was a grey and cold day with enough dark cloud to suggest someone was getting soaked, but it wasn't us.
My weather revised plan had us doing a modest run to lunch with several options thereafter depending on the outlook. So 8 of us went via Ockham to East Clandon, up Staple Lane and over to Shere and through Farley Green to the Bricklayers Arms at Shamley Green. Some while later we were joined by Jeff who had been delayed en route to Cobham by a heavy shower and missed us. The optimistic view prevailed after lunch and we set out for a 20 mile run to Denbies through Cranleigh, Forest Green, Ockley and Newdigate. In Cranleigh we passed the former Little Park Hatch pub, ivyless and being renovated for whatever the future holds - apparently demolition was prevented by a Grade 2 listing. It drizzled a bit on and off as far as Forest Green but never enough to be a problem and by the time we reached Denbies there was some blue in the sky. Well worth defying the doom laden forecasters for a pleasant run round the lanes with little traffic.
Impeccable meteorology from Brian today. Despite the dire forecast, and the very evident prospect of a soaking from time to time, we didn't get one. 36.7 miles from elevenses at Cobham to tea in the sunshine at Denbies; a light shower after lunch at the Bricklayers Arms, Shamley Green. Rolling average 12.3mph, 2,372 feet of ascent.