Wednesday, September 30, 2015

A Group 30th September

A fine Indian Summer's day for Brian's ride today - not a cloud in the sky.  35.3 miles from elevenses at The Vineries to tea at Denbies;  lunch at the Mucky Duck, Tisman's Common - possibly the last alfresco lunch this season.

A ride to remember as Autumn turns to Winter.


Monday, September 28, 2015

Wednesday's A ride

Surrey lanes and hills. Lunch at the Mucky Duck, Tisman's Common. Tea probably at Denbies.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

A Group 23 September 2015

A rare sunny day sandwiched between the rainy ones saw 15 riders leave Shepperton for White Waltham, some 21 miles away. This being autumn we had the wind and as we were heading due northwest we had it blowing steadily in our faces all the way. It was only troublesome on Dorney Common, where thankfully Dave and Ralph took turns at dragging me across.
We arrived on time at 1pm at The Beehive, which like many pubs in the area, has now gone upmarket (the other ones have closed). However they were welcoming and well organised, and the baguettes were good.
Leaving around 2:30 we headed back, with some benefit from a gusty tailwind, initially along Drift Road so Neil could see what it looked like when not flooded. We escaped the heavy afternoon traffic for a while by crossing Windsor Great Park and down to Virginia Water, before a final dash through Chertsey to Squires at Upper Halliford. Several riders elected to go straight home, so we were only 5 at Squires taking tea in the autumn sun.
Many thanks to Geoff for back-marking all day, and to all who helped keep the ride moving by turn-marking.
Best wishes to Ralph who is off to university. Hopefully we will see him at Christmas.
45miles Shepperton to tea, average 11.9mph and a paltry 1,000 feet of climbing.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

B Group - 23rd October

Twenty seven of us rode out from the Greeno Centre and crossed Walton Bridge and headed down to Weybridge, some on the road and some on the river path which wasn’t in too much of a mess after the recent rain. After Addlestone, Row Town and Woodham we crossed the Basingstoke Canal into West Byfleet. With various holdups it would appear that the leader lost a few people at around this stage although with one known exception we all made it to the pub. Terry had kindly accepted the job of back marker but I omitted to tell him where we were going for lunch.

We took the Pyrford Road to Pyrford Village and rode down Newark Lane to our pub, The Seven Stars. At this point, in order to pad out the mileage into a more respectable distance we toured around a very pleasant rural circuit, down Papercourt Lane, left into Send Road then back through Send Marsh to the pub which gave us another three miles and arrival at the time the pub staff were expecting us. Some of the people who had become lost were already at the pub and others turned up fairly soon after the rest of us.

The Seven Stars had apparently fallen out of favour with us some time ago but when Helene planned this ride she was blissfully unaware of any of this bad history. Just as well too because the pub coped very efficiently with our large number, about 23 I think after Ray Dare, Don Clarke and Ian Williamson had made their excuses and gone home, to watch Scotland play Japan in Ian’s case. The food was good and, with the sun doing its best to shine, most of us ate outside.

After lunch we crossed the A3 and proceeded to Cobham where several people left us to head off to remote places like Egham and Sunbury. At Stoke D’Abernon the rest of us turned up Blundel Lane towards Oxhott, thence to Fairoak Lane. Helene had intended the ride to end in Leatherhead or Ashtead. I settled on Bike Beans. However, as we approached Epsom I started to feel that Ashtead wasn’t very convenient for several people, and that we might not arrive at Bike Beans with much time to spare before they closed. So we settled on Wetherspoons in the middle of Epsom. The coffee was good and thanks to a £2.59 deal we were obliged to have it with a piece of carrot or coffee cake, resulting in us eating all the cake they had left. We lingered a while and eventually made our ways home.

It was good to see people on the ride that we haven’t seen for a while. Bernard let himself be persuaded to come out with us, on his first B Group ride for ages I think. Julian Calder, more of an A Group person really, rode with us. Ian Williamson has been busy since we last saw him some time ago but fortunately he hadn’t forgotten us. And that pair of Canadian Geese, Robert Tolley and Margaret Wild, having completed their Autumn migration from the other side of the Atlantic, are riding with us once again. Welcome all.

The only real blot on the day was losing John Austin altogether. When he realised that he had spun right out of our intended orbit he turned his misfortune into a jolly good ride out in the general direction of Chobbam. However the lesson is that we all need to be more careful to keep an eye on people behind us and to mark corners more diligently, especially when our group is as big as it was today.

Helene planned today’s ride but was unable to come out and lead because her old cat is very unwell. Thanks to her for a good ride, with a good choice of pub, and for scheduling some very decent weather.

A big thank you to Terry whose job as back marker was more complicated than usual today.


Strade Bianchi Today

Sunday, September 20, 2015

A Group Ride 23 Sept 2015

Next Wednesday’s ride from Shepperton will be to the Beehive at White Waltham ( By a remarkable coincidence this is little more than a mile from Neil’s lunch destination last week, though the routes and hopefully the weather will be different. About 21 miles, no serious hills, no off-tarmac.
Tea at Squires Upper Halliford about 23 miles unless you want a change as I seem always to finish there.
Any volunteers for back marker will be rewarded with a free TCX/GPX Route/Track in advance, and a grateful mention in dispatches at the end.

Friday, September 18, 2015

B Group - 16th September

The weather forecast was that it was going to rain heavily during the afternoon. This turned out not to be an overstatement. We assembled at the Fairoaks Airfield at Chobham for elevenses.

Despite the forecast (and against the advice of the leader), seven riders set off. We set out for Old Windsor, going via Burrowhill, across Chobham Common on B383 to Sunningdale. Then through Windsor Great Park, past the Guards’ Polo Club (we weren’t invited in) to the Bishopsgate. By this time a light drizzle had set in. We exited the park, taking a spectacular descent to Old Windsor where we stopped at the Fox and Castle with some relief because of the weather.

The meals and service at the Fox and Castle were excellent. There was also a good choice of beers and lagers. The Wayfarers had been there before.

After lunch, it was tipping down and we went via Datchet, Sunnymeads, Wraysbury, Staines, and then to Laleham . The plan was to stop at Notcutts for afternoon tea. But by this time we were all thoroughly wet through because it hadn’t stopped raining since we left Old Windsor, and so we decided that we would forego a tea-stop, perhaps out of consideration for Notcutts’ other customers and staff.

Finally, I am very grateful to John Austin who backed-up for us and was kept very busy during the morning helping someone with his punctures. Sometimes, being the backup person can turn out to be “eventful”. But getting good back-up support is essential for a successful ride.

Peter Carpenter

Those on the ride were:
John Austin, Andrew Bowskill, Peter Carpenter, Ed Sharp, David Ward, Vic White, Robin Johnson

Thursday, September 17, 2015

16 September - A Group to Littlewick Green.

The weather forecast was grim. Very grim. I wondered how many would turn up - I wouldn't have if I hadn't been leading. Somehow I managed to get to Fairoaks Airport without getting wet but everyone there knew that things were going to get worse. Some were going to return straight home.

However, come the scheduled departure time there were seven brave souls lined up at the gate. Paula, Hans, Ken, Colin, Mick, John, and the man with the map and the worried look.

Gracious Pond Road, Burrowhill, Steep Hill and Woodlands Lane took us to Windlesham and then across the A30 and on to Ascot. Cutting into the racecourse we avoided the High Street and looped around to take the tunnel to the centre of the course. By now the rain was falling but no need for the ark quite yet.

After the main road through Winkfield Row we turned into the quieter lanes to pass through Warfield and Moss End  before a loop over the M4 and on to White Waltham. From here we headed towards Knowl Hill but before reaching there we turned right across the fields to reach our lunchtime stopover at The Cricketers, Littlewick Green.

We arrived just a little bit damp to a warm welcome and promptly served good food. We had avoided the heaviest of the rain forecast but would we be as lucky in the afternoon? The short answer was no.

After lunch we completed our circuit of the White Waltham Airfield and headed south to Drift Road. By the time we got there the rain was falling heavily and the rooster tails of water coming off the rear wheels made keeping together unpleasant. So it was that we all battled individually into the rain and wind for the five mile length of Drift Road.

We regrouped under the trees at the end on the road but the conditions were still getting worse. There were rivers flowing down the roads, and the drivers sat dryly in their tin boxes were not showing quite as much consideration as I would have liked. From here on it was more a matter of survival and getting home than anything else.

Some pushed on ahead, Sunningdale Station appealed to others while I led on towards Chobham. Gracious Pond Road had become Gracious Pond Canal with six inches of water across the full width. After Ottershaw, Addlestone, a grid-locked Weybridge, and Hersham we finally parted in Esher. Nobody had any interest in afternoon tea and I'm sure we would have been turned away from most places as we were all dripping wet.

25 miles Fairoaks to lunch
37 miles Lunch to afternoon tea (taken in my kitchen)

Sadly after all this Hans was knocked off his bike less than a mile from home and ended up in A&E. No broken bones but plenty of cuts and bruises and a broken bike. He hopes to be at Shepperton next week.

Friday, September 11, 2015

North Cheam to Caterham

Spot the difference

On Wednesday we dabated the relative merits of riding to Caterham via Banstead and Chipstead vs Banstead and Coulsdon. In summary, the Chipstead route has one more significant hill but the Coulsdon route is further, by a mile or so.

The two routes from Banstead

Take your pick!

Wednesday, September 09, 2015

B Group - 9th September

This was to be a hill and downs ride.

All 9 of us B riders headed to Reigate Hill via Chipstead on a dry but cloudy day. From Reigate Hill we passed a few historical points including the Reigate Fort, and the Memorial site of the U.S. Bomber.

On to Colley Hill where we took in more views from the Inglis Memorial, through Mogador across Walton Golf Course and arriving at the Rubbing House Pub at Epsom Downs for lunch where there was a lovely view over the race course, and we met up with Ian.

The food and the service was good.

Afternoon tea was at Squires in Long Ditton. We had an interesting ride.

25 miles T-T



Caterham to Epsom Downs
Epsom Downs - Long Ditton
M25 J8 - Reigate Hill - Mogador - Walton Heath

A Group 9th September

The plan for today's ride was to ride along the North Downs, into Kent, and to take in a number of the hills that have been used as courses during the 125 or-so years that the Catford CC Hill Climb has been running.  It goes without saying that these are the hardest hills in the area, and, being in hilly country, would be joined by other, less well-known, but still substantial hills.  

So the riding was to be part of it, but looking back at what our forebears achieved, initially on Penny Farthings on gravel roads, was another part.  And, finally, we planned to have our last tea at Fanny's, which sadly is to close on Saturday.

A dozen of us left the Douglas Brunton centre, heading though Caterham in the sunshine and down Church Lane turning immediately on to Waller's Hill, one of the very early hill-climb courses.  A perfect start, steep, straight and closed to traffic, our morning legs made short work of it.  On through the very pleasant downland scenery at Warlingham School, then up Ganger's Lane to The Ridge.  A nice surprise on the way, as John was coming down to join us, having missed us at the start.

Down Titsey Hill, dappled sunshine under the trees, being passed safely enough by a very large lorry which left a very strong smell of hot brakes and burning rubber as we turned into White Lane, our second Hill Climb.  This is now the Bec Hill Climb course, and my GPS gives it the steepest gradient of the day, at 20.7%.  Down again to the Pilgrims' Way, passing vines and then corn-fields before crossing Warlingham Hill.  We didn't climb this - it's a busy road now - but it was the first Hill Climb course.  Said to be unclimbable, twelve riders managed it on the first running of the event in August 1887.  Eight of the new-fangled Rover safety bicycles, three trikes and a penny farthing, which came fourth.  And, as you might expect, the NCU had laid down rules for the event, with a minimum weight of 35lbs for bicycles and a minimum gear of 52", presumably to avoid giving the 'Safeties' an advantage over the 'Ordinaries'.  Some things don't change ...

The next Hill Climb was Brasted Hill, enlivened by a very large tractor and trailer at the bottom, then briskly down from Knockholt to Sunridge before a steady climb up Ide Hill to lunch.

A pleasant welcome at the Cock Inn, now nicely refurbished.  It is said that the local council had initially objected to the refurbishment proposals, wishing the pub to remain as it was.  So the landlord said that he would close it.  Happily, an accommodation was reached.

We ate well, outside, but the cheerful service was rather haphazard, leading to a later departure than we would have wished.

The Queen Stage, York's Hill, was next. It has been the regular course for the Hill Climb since 1935.  It's a hard, slippery climb in a tree-covered lane, with a poor surface.  A good time is about two minutes and we were a bit over that, but a respectable performance nevertheless.

Back over Ide Hill to Toy's Hill, the last of the Hill Climb courses.  We cheated a bit here, slipping round to the top of the hill over a shoulder without losing much height.  We've climbed it before, but this time it was a descent where you can get a good speed up, but with care, as the sign warns. (As an aside, this is one of the first cycle-specific signs since the bike boom of the 1890s.  A CTC one from this period on Stede Hill, also in Kent, warns 'Caution'.)

Rolling country now to Four Elms, Tilburstow Hill and points West.  We kept the pace up, as the lunch delays meant that there was a risk that we might miss Fanny's, but in the end all was well.  We were there just after half past four and it was busy.  We were not the only ones paying their respects.  There was no more tea, as the kitchen was 'in meltdown', but we were welcome to lemonade and cake which we took in the garden.

A good, hard ride, with a strong, capable group of riders.  It's the hardest that the As have done in my time.  48.1 miles elevenses to tea, 4,473 ft of ascent, a good pace and some of the best country in the area.

We're a lucky lot, aren't we?