Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Henfold update

Geoff, Neil and I called in at Henfold Lakes yesterday, on our way back from a glorious Dieppe Raid weekend in excellent company.  As we passed last Friday there was a sign saying "Cafe Open this weekend".   There is now a caravan on site providing some refreshments, but it looks as if it's only open at the weekend, and work does not appear to have started on the (extensive) repairs needed to the clubhouse.

Henfold Lakes clubhouse (refreshment caravan on right)

If you haven't been to the Dieppe Raid, you really should: here is a sample of what you missed.
Looking across one of the Trois Vallees in Dieppe

Thursday, June 25, 2015

A Group 24 June

A lovely day and thanks to David Vine's effort's a fine ride into territory most of us hadn't previously visited. In spite of which, but probably because of Dieppe, holidays and other commitments we were a very select group of 5 ( Neil, Ged, Peter, John B and me) - the smallest A group I can remember for a long time. Maybe we should repeat this sometime for greater benefit.

So to start it was the familiar switchback to cross the A22 and up through Woldingham, but then we veered off Clarks Lane to go along Chestnut Avenue through the woods to Hawley's Corner. As we stopped to check the route we were joined by a group from Kingston Wheelers, who had passed us earlier but then stopped at the top of the climb,  whose Garmins were being equally unhelpful but we suggested they take Rag Hill Road rather than the rough stuff. On to Knockholt with little of the traffic we encountered at school time in March then down to Otford and along the Pilgrims Way to the George and Dragon at Wrotham.

We returned the same way to Otford then along the bottom of the escarpment to Clarks Lane. At the top we turned north through Ficklesole after which reality struck as we were thrust into the traffic of Addington along Coombe Road to the Coach House cafe at Coombe Wood, again a first for most. Having taken the precaution of plotting a route home I then led back through South Croydon and Stafford Road to Belmont and Ewell with the others peeling off where it suited.

44.5 miles to tea, 13.3mph and 2900 ft of climbing ( plus 1000 to get to Caterham for me!) 
The group on the top of the Downs with the London skyline in the background.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

B Group and Mt Ventoux

There is a selection of our photos from our week in Provence at:


We rode up the mountain on a Monday. By contrast have a look at these photos taken four days later, on the Friday, by a chap called Ian from a CTC holiday led by Sheila Simpson.

Ian Cooke's photos from Mt Ventoux

~ Tim

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

A Group 24 June

A bit late to be telling you where we are going but its been a very hectic day. Thanks to David Vine's recce and Garmin willing I will be leading you to lunch in Wrotham and tea at the Coach House cafe just off Coombe Road in S Croydon. Way out of my knowledge zone but I do have the maps if the Garmin is having a bad day!

PS: this means I am now potentially leading next week and July 15 as well as tomorrow. Volunteers to take over Cobham next week would be most welcome.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Easy Riders - 17th June

Kingston Bradbury Centre,  Laleham Village,  Molesey Lock Café
It was lovely seeing Wendy Salmon out with us today.   9 set off for lunch at The Feathers in Laleham Village via Bushy Park, lower Sunbury Road through to Chertsey Bridge where we did a down and under the road to continue along Thames Side to Laleham where they were expecting us. After lunch we returned to Walton Bridge and continued along the dusty dry towpath to Molesey Lock where we had tea & cakes in the garden.

Thank you one and all for a lovely sunny day & good company.


Cycle Safety/HGV

Go to the little read SWDABlog page for an interesting insight promoted by the MET

A newbie in the Alps

Apologies to those who have spent time on a bike in the Alps;  I write this to encourage those like me who have wondered “could I cope?”

Late in May I had my cycling first experience of the Alps with 5 days based in Aurel.  My companion (and guide) was a London/Fountaineau based friend Martin, an INSEAD prof, who spends at least one week each year in the mountains.  He knows Mont Ventoux and the environs rather well.

We made two ascents of the infamous Ventoux.  On day 1 we took the easy route from Sault.  The first leg up to Chalet Reynard at 1400m was cool and not difficult.  In the forest we were well sheltered from the NNW wind.  The second leg to the summit at 2000m was quite different; above the tree line there was no shelter from the wind that was either head on (manageable) or across the course (from time to time dangerous); Garmin reports an average 37kph windspeed.  It was chilly – I wore a merino base layer, fleece arm warmers, knee warmers and a gilet and did not break sweat.   We returned to Aurel via the descent to Malaucene; it twists and turns at varying gradients and this route probably offers the most demanding way to the summit. 

On day 3 we essayed the classic TdF ascent from Bedoin.  We saved a little by joining the route at Sainte Colombe which is a few gentle kms above the recognised beginning of the climb.  “Cheat” you may say but by then we had covered 32k with already 550m of ascent.  At 1015 when we left the charming roadside cafe at St Colombe it was clear that there were many strong riders out that day or perhaps there was a mass sugar rush provoking a collective early hammer and tongs approach to the climb.  We were more circumspect and for over an hour gently spun up the steady average 9% grade for 11k – 1000m of vertical gain to Chalet Reynard.  It was hot about 26 C in the shade of the forest and 30C otherwise; flies were bothersome; it was not a pleasant experience but that is not the purpose when going to MV. That was sufficient of the high ground for the day and we descended comfortably to Aurel.

Days 2, 4 and 5 were spent exploring the gorges and other areas.  This is Martin’s forte; somehow he picks good routes from a map designed for motorists and spurns route mapping sites and Garmin guidance.  Away from the drama of MV there is great cycling terrain with many cols offering 5-7% climbs with 500m of vertical gain. Lavender, bright yellow broom and cherry orchards were in in bloom.  Our unresearched  lunch stops were excellent and good vfm. 

In summary:

·      the first day with the hellish wind to the summit and over 2100m of climb was un baptême sans pareil - pleased to have done it and no doubt will do it again but…. 

·      we did not ride more than 100kms on any day but we climbed at least 1200m on every day - ca suffit pour les seniors. 

·       a great region for cyclists with good quality roads, light traffic loads and variable terrain, good local wines (AC Cotes de Ventoux)

·      MV ascents are doable for anyone with a decent bike, wide range of gears and reasonable fitness.  Prior to visiting the area I wondered if I would have the mental ability to stick at it and grind out the vertical gain but the reality is that there are many others on the route with the occasional scalp on offer and that alleviated the problem for me

·      descents are manageable – max grade we encountered was probably 13% and the norm is 7 or 8%.  The good road surfaces and moderate gradients allowed a relaxed touring experience on the downhill sections.

Auto biographical note to encourage waverers - I am 73 yrs old with 5 years experience, mostly in Surrey and Kent.  If I can do it ……

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

B Group - 17th June (map)

This map shows Terry's anticlockwise route with 14.6 miles in the morning and 13.2 miles in the afternoon. However with Tanhouse Farm being a bit further from home than Henfold Lakes my mileage for the day was 67.4 miles and for some it would have been further than that.


B Group 17 June

                                                  Henfold Clubhouse/cafe
                                                   Greets Inn, Warnham

Having been forewarned Henfold wasn't available for 11s due to a fire (thanks, Neil), As and Bs took refreshment at Tanhouse Farm Shop, whilst Sally stood at the entrance to Henfold to redirect any in doubt. Thanks, Sally. Unfortunately Tanhouse was having a power cut so service was a little slower than usual.

With these problems we nine Bs left a little later than intended in cool but dry conditions. I revised my planned route and set off back to Newdigate, turning left to Capel then across the A24 to Ockley and headed towards Forest Green. By turning left into Mole Street we were soon able to turn right into a new (to me, at least) bridleway. Unfortunately a slight 'mechanical' occurred, but it gave Ray the chance to advise a young lady living nearby how to tackle (or not) her forthcoming 100k Charity ride. With everything in good working order we continued south through Walliswood and Rowhook to cross the A29 and via Rowhook Road, A281briefly, Strood Lane and Byfleets Lane to The Greets Inn at Friday Street, Warnham. The weather was good enough for us to sit outside to enjoy lunch.

After lunch the sun came out, thus making photography a little difficult. John and Peter made their own way home, the rest of us chose the 'usual route' crossing the line at Warnham Station then via Rusper, Newdigate, Parkgate to a new (to most) 3s at The Shop at Strood Green (south of Brockham), a community-run shop where a good selection of cakes was available at a reasonable price. Most then stayed with me to cross the golf course thence Pixham Lane, after which I left at Denbie's roundabout, having ridden about forty two miles, a lot less than most.

Thanks to all for your company, especially Tony Hooker for keeping an eye on things at the rear.


The Shoreham Century

Well, that was a jolly day out.  After all the Henfold kerfuffle, neatly solved by Terry and Sally, fifteen of us set off from Tanhouse Farm shortly before 1100.  A good turn-out, given that a number of A Group stalwarts are away in distant lands.  Briskly over Rusper, where we had hoped to meet Geoffrey Shields, but alas this was not to be.  Down to Faygate, over Tower Hill and on to Grouse Road, where some took the opportunity to have a good blast.

Good group riding and good route marking ate the miles steadily, and decent weather did no harm either.  Warninglid, Blackstone, past Upper Beeding and then a detour over the Adur to Botolphs for quiet lanes and the wooden bridge to Shoreham.  We were at the Bridge Inn on time, and it was good to see Sue, Dave Vine's wife, and their friend George already installed.  Even better news was that Dave, invalided off his bike for the moment, was on his way on a train, so we should expect him shortly.  More or less as Dave arrived Pete T turned up too, passing through on his way to Lewes.

Although they were expecting us, service was slightly haphazard, with a troubling rumour circulating at one point that the food would take forty minutes to arrive.  In the end we got served quite quickly, with those who ordered the simplest dishes first being last to eat. There you are. As long as you were out of the wind everything was fine.

By 1430 we were all ready to go -  a slightly smaller group as, as is usual, some made their way to other destinations.  A baker's dozen headed back up towards Partridge Green, a bit chilly at first, but soon warming up as we climbed in the sunny lanes.

Partridge Green was an important milestone, as this was the Ice Cream Stop.  A complex mix of carbohydrates and sugars, the perfect athletic supplement.  No one complained, anyway.

Refreshed, we powered away to tea, and sat for a few minutes in the sun before returning to our steeds for the last lap.  The new route out of Horsham, known to many as it turned out, worked out well and we were in Rusper with little apparent effort.  Familiar roads now, and the pace was up.  A wave to Tanhouse Farm as we passed, though Newdigate, up Pixham Lane and along the cycleway to Leatherhead.  Here Mr Wetherspoon provided his excellent Sportsman's Tonic, avoiding the very real risk of dehydration, and we passed the time of day pleasantly, though I thought that my suggestion of back-to-back centuries fell a bit flat ...

So, an excellent day out in good company, with a very high level of group riding skill enabling a steady pace to be maintained.  70.1 miles elevenses to Leatherhead, at a rolling average of 14.4 mph, which is better than respectable for the distance.  Those who sought their personal centuries - and there were several - pretty much had them in the bag.

My thanks to all for making such an enjoyable day possible, special thanks to Geoff and Neil who acted as back markers, and to all those who took a turn as corner markers - the performance of the group as a whole depends on this.  It's a pleasure to sweep through the English countryside with such capable riding companions.


Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Shoreham Century - Change of Elevenses

Terry Lowe has suggested a very good change to tomorrow's arrangements.  Because of the fire at Henfold, we will take our elevenses at Tanhouse Farm - about five minutes down the road, in the right direction.

And, in an act of extraordinary kindness, Terry's wife Sally has agreed to sit at Henfold and redirect those who haven't received the message.  Many thanks Sally.

So, Tanhouse Farm, leaving at 1050 to acknowledge the shorter distance.


Shoreham Century - Elevenses Warning

My thanks to Neil Guild for letting me know that the clubhouse at Henfold has burned down.  Too late to change the meeting point, but I've no idea what we shall find.  No bacon sandwiches seems pretty certain!



Monday, June 15, 2015

3 Cols Weekend

Unseasonably cool and wet weather in the Pyrenees for my 3 Cols ride over the weekend. First up was the Col d'Aspin - a relatively gentle introduction of a 779m climb to 1489m, at 6.5%, but we were caught in a heavy downpour on the way down.
Next up on Saturday was a 20km ride from our base at Bagneres De Bigorre to the foot of the Col du Tourmalet. Our morning coffee was enlivened by watching a herd of cows in the market square at Ste-Marie de Campan, and sure enough they blocked the road when we set off for la Mongie! A stiffer climb ensued, and the summit at 2115m was rather chilly, but we managed to get down to Luz-St-Sauveur and lunch before the rains came.
Sunday was "rest day", with some gentle riding in the rolling countryside around Tournay, avoiding the showers.
Finally the Col de Peyresourde beckoned, and steady climbing at an average gradient of 6.1%, saw us reach the summit of 1569m in heavy cloud.
The Tour de France will visit the Col d'Aspin and Col du Tourmalet on 15th July, and together with some minor Cols will complete in 5hours what took us two days of riding to achieve. Still I think I'll enjoy watching the Tour all the more having struggled up familiar roads!

Sunday, June 14, 2015

The Shoreham Century

Northern Section
Southern Section

Summer's here, so can the Shoreham Century be far behind?  Or maybe it's the other way round.  Anyway, next Wednesday is the Wayfarers' Century Ride, unique amongst Centuries in that mileage is calculated by honesty box.

Old Hands will know the score; for new members, this is how it works.  If you start the ride from the Wayfarers' traditional meeting place at North Cheam and end at Leatherhead you will have ridden 92 miles.  If you add on the mileage that gets you to Cheam, and the mileage that gets you home, you will likely have done 100 miles or more.  The longest we have had was 123 miles total, many do over 100.

So it's a nice personal challenge.  But you don't have to do 100 miles.  You can do far less and still have a good day out.  From elevenses at Henfold to the finish at Leatherhead is 74 miles.  If you start and finish at Dorking Station you'll take a good few miles off that.  Or if you hitch a lift on a train from tea at Horsham you're looking at around fifty.  Or enjoy your lunch at the seaside and take the (flat) cycle path to Brighton Station.  You get the drift ...

The led ride starts at Henfold Lakes promptly at 1045.  There will be a back marker and corner markers and no-one will get dropped.  It's a pleasant and not hilly ride mainly on quiet roads to the Bridge Inn, Shoreham, where we will take lunch at about 1315, on the terrace overlooking the river if it's sunny.

The ride back is less formal.  There will be a led ride, but in the past the group has divided at lunch, some wanting to be home sooner, some for trains and some wanting to set their own pace.  The led ride will take tea at the Pavilions, Horsham - not the greatest tea stop, but handy for the station and it stays open late, which is important for some.  There's a new wiggle in the route from Horsham, to avoid the busy hill on the Rusper Road, but then the usual way back to Leatherhead.  Rehydration, and supper if you want it, at Wetherspoons.  We should be there about 1800.

So, get your sunscreen on and be ready for a sunny start at Henfold - 1045.  See you there!


Friday, June 12, 2015

Classic bikes for sale

Geoff Gregory has asked me to post an advertisement for three classic bikes on behalf of friends of his. The frames were built for, and the bikes were ridden by, a man around 1.65 metres tall (5' 5").

The bikes are:

BIKE 1 - EMPEROR SPORT - made by Mick Coward (in Sutton). frame is pink, Reynolds 531 tubing, complete with wheels etc.

BIKE 2 - HOLDSWORTH, - frame is orange, Reynolds 531 tubing, complete with wheels etc, plus a small carrier over back wheel.

BIKE 3  - GEOFFREY BUTLER - frame is pink. It is a time trial frame made by Cliff Shrub. Tubing is ISHIWATA.  It is complete with racing wheels etc and is super light.

ADDITIONAL ITEMS - these were used with the above bikes:

3 front tyres

2 back tyres with blocks.

If you are interested in purchasing any of these please send an email message to stuff4uz@hotmail.co.uk or a text message to 07562 729 996

Bigger versions of these photos are at:

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Easy Riders - 10th June

After leaving Weybridge,  with Maureen as my back marker,  we went up to the High Street and turned right to the monument after the shops.  Another right turn,  on the road following the river.  Once we got to Walton we turned down to the newly resurfaced towpath and went straight to Hampton Court.  I phoned to tell Ye Olde Swan at Thames Ditton that we were 15 for lunch.  Once we had ordered Fuzz turned up, as he took his own route; and Tony Hooker, as he had a mechanical fault and joined us for lunch, making us 16.   We made our way to Ewell Court café for tea, dropping off Mike & Mary [Pontin], and being joined at tea by Sonia. 


Wednesday, June 10, 2015

A group: 10 June. Weybridge/Hambledon/West Horsley

Just a Hardcore of 9 today for the ride from Weybridge. Apparently Simon was so scared by the prospect of more Surrey hills he headed off to Scotland and Hans decided his ride over the same terrain last week was more than enough...

Due South from Weybridge then west to West Byfleet where we bid a fond farewell to the busy main roads and headed onward via Pyford and Ripley and on to the A246 and over Staple Lane. Thence via Albury and a climb through the lanes to Munstead and on to Hambledon and the  Merry Harriers, where we were pleased to meet, by prior arrangement, one Chris Juden late of CTC fame. Good to see him keeping well and good chat about things bike and cycling.

A good lunch. Decent menu and prices plus a couple of excellent ales

Post lunch, East along Vann Lane, along an idyllic bridleway through cornfields (memo to self: revisit at harvest time) then North via Hascombe to Guildford and on to Squires @ West Horsley for tea. 

It was heartening to see that all riders had read and taken to heart the recently issued Ride Guide, and that so committed to following its guidance about not passing the leader were they, that they reluctantly stayed in close formation behind the leader into the 20mph headwind all along the A25 rather than pass to share the wind! Well done guys!


Chris Juden

B Group - 10th June - Report and maps

As we are so near to the longest day I decided to make yesterday's ride a little longer than usual.  We had lunch at the Thames Hotel, Maidenhead, 22 miles from elevenses.  I was surprised to see so many on the B ride for whilst inside the day centre I had the impression there were not so many riders out - yet more than twenty cyclists followed me out of Weybridge, through Chertsey to ascend into Windsor Great Park via Prune Hill (for a change)!  We were spoken to by the Park Wardens - very nicely - reminding us that we should be in groups of six with a fair gap between us (I cannot remember the distance).  'Oh dear' - said I - I thought we were and he replied by saying that we were now a peloton!!!!

We exited via Ranger Gate and met up with the River Thames via Cycle Route four, on to Dorney and then alongside the M4 to Bray. Next stop - The Thames Hotel at 1.30.   Even though the service was fast with excellent food we still did not get away until after 2.45!!!  With an easy ride back along the Jubilee River (I looked at the Wikipedia page for more info on this river.  Too much to write here but it is man made to relieve flooding, as most know, + a few other interesting snippets)... to Datchet to the well 'cycled' route to Staines when it became obvious we would not get to Shepperton Lock as planned, (or Upper Hallifords Squires) before they closed so sixteen of us stopped for tea and cakes at Notcutt's on the Laleham Road.

Thank you Terry for back marking yet once again - what would we do without you?!  Thank's to all for making the day so enjoyable and I must say - what a pleasure having Jeff and Toni D'Italia out with us for their return to Wednesday cycling.  I trust the ride was not too hard or fast ????!!!!  Also, hello to Mike Wakely who has not been out with us for some time but I understand that he wanted an easy day's cycling as he has some hard riding to do at the weekend!

Cheers, Pam :) :)

Pam's ride out to the Thames Hotel in Maidenhead for lunch (21.9 miles), then back to Notcutts in Laleham for Tea (14.9 miles).

 ~ Tim

A Group 10th June

South to the Merry Harriers at Hambledon for Paul's ride today; sunnier as the day went on, but windier too.  NB the GPS altitude reset on falling pressure.  43 miles from elevenses at Weybridge to tea at West Horsely,  at a rolling average of 12.8mph; over the Downs gave us 2,694 ft of ascent.

Good ride to a good pub.


Tuesday, June 09, 2015

Midweek Wayfarers CTC: A Group 10 June @ Weybridge

Midweek Wayfarers CTC: A Group 10 June @ Weybridge

to PK: v useful "heads up".  I will have to miss this ride because of an early evening commitment at home but I will read comments re the pub with interest and hopefully someone will post a gpx - I am not above plagiarism.  Enjoy!

Riding the Dragon

The Dragon Ride was probably the first of the British Sportives, started in 2004 by Lou Lusardi, a Welshman of Italian extraction.  A keen cyclist, he enjoyed the Italian Grand Fondos on his visits to relatives in Italy, and eventually decided to do something of the sort here.  Living in South Wales, he was blessed with  plenty of hills and open country, so the Dragon Ride enjoyed a reputation as a pretty challenging event from the off, with big hills and the odd spot of weather.

The route has developed over the years, with longer and shorter options being added, and this year the novelty of a multi-day sportive was introduced, with three days of riding, the third day being the Dragon Ride itself.  I thought this sounded pretty good, so I got my entry in quickly, as the event has traditionally filled very fast.  This year, Wiggle and Human Race have taken over the running of the event, and their expertise has allowed larger numbers and slick organisation - 5,500 riders this year, the most ever, and they'll take more next.

The first day was a tour of Gower, very pretty, and sunny at first.  Feed stop at the Causeway Cafe, Rhosili, with Cornish Pasties on offer.  None of this gel nonsense.  Sea mist on Cefn Bryn, the biggest hill of the day, then back into town for the finish, sunny again.

Next day, off to the mountains.  Sunny at first, then some sharp showers before the sun returned.  Good enough, but very windy, especially on the tops.  But a great ride, especially the open moorland road across Bettws Mountain. 

The last day was the biggy.  You had a choice of distances from about 100 km to over 300 km, running from sea level over ridges to the centre of Wales.  I chose 157 km, thinking 100 miles or so would be about right, and it suited me well.  Some very big climbs, not quite the Alps but as big as you'll get in this country, as a riding companion from Ayr Burners confirmed.  Perfect weather, no wind and excellent organisation.  Closed or partially closed roads, attentive marshals and Police, and very supportive spectators.  I particularly enjoyed the Ystradfellte food stop, where salted potatoes and sausages were offered.  Food of long-distance champions.

Not much more to say, really.  Next year's event is already committed and expressions of interest are being taken.  If you want a big ride without getting your passport out, head West in June, and take your climbing legs with you!


Simon's Coastal Adventure

I'm heading back to Scotland to continue my ride around the coast today.   This year's exercise in hills, wind, midges and beautiful far-flung places starts in Ullapool, in the far north-west.  

If you are interested to follow my travels, visit my blog: http://simonscoastaladventure.blogspot.co.uk/.  See you all in a few weeks.

Monday, June 08, 2015

A Group 10 June @ Weybridge

It would only have been fair if Hans' ride last week had been in a downpour, after all he has stolen my thunder! A goodly portion of this week's ride will be over the same roads as we head to another true gem of a pub the Merry Harriers @ Hambledon. After lunch, there will be around half a mile on well-consolidated gravel forestry track - I rode the recce on the Yukon & 25mm rubber, and will again on the ride proper but light weight carbon bikes and racing slick are probably best avoided.

25 miles to lunch, so a prompt start at 11 please.


Sunday, June 07, 2015

B Ride Wednesday the 10th from Weybridge

The ride will need to leave at 11.00am sharp to get to lunch in good time so please be ready.


Thursday, June 04, 2015

A Group ride to Haslemere

Yesterday’s ride to Haslemere provided a challenge through pleasant country roads combined with the occasional ‘lumpy’ bit. The ride took its toll, the unusual sight of Mark with a puncture (& split tyre), a broken chain link on my bike and a broken spoke testified to the rigour of the ride. Twenty nine miles of rolling country lanes followed by a pleasant lunch in the sun at Haslemere, a quick repair by Mark to his tyre and we were off towards tea at Squires in West Horsley. Unfortunately we missed tea by ten minutes so had to settle for cold drinks. Well done to all, especially Mike who powered along on his single speed. Thanks to Jeff (the spare part man) and Simon for back marking.

Wednesday, June 03, 2015

B Group - 3rd June

B Group at the Wells House Inn, Mugswell, and later at Ed's for Tea and Cake(s):

A Group 3rd June

A bit Summery for Han's ride today; decent sunshine, but not as warm as we would have liked.  53 miles from elevenses at Cobham to refreshing drinks at Squires, East Horsley.  Lunch in the garden of The Swan, Haslemere,  posh 'Spoons.

A good day at a good pace - rolling average 13.4mph.


Monday, June 01, 2015

A Group Wednesday 3 June...

The A group ride will be heading out to Haslemere this Wednesday. Due to a week spent lounging on a beach in Greece last week and unforeseen work commitments today and tomorrow we may touring ‘by the seat of our pants.’ Lunch courtesy of Mr JD in Haslemere and tea at West Horsley, 51 miles from Cobham to tea.