Wednesday, March 30, 2016

B Group - 30th March

19 brave souls left Effingham Vineries to venture into the Surrey Hills; we passed through Effingham Junction, Ockham and West Clandon en route to Shere and Peaslake to lunch at The Royal Oak, Holmbury St Mary, where Ian was waiting for us as agreed. The pub has recently been taken over by new management and the food, service and hospitality were really very good. After lunch some of the group preferred not to climb up Tanhurst Lane, where it was good to see the ‘A group’ coming down, and on up to Coldharbour.  At Dorking the two groups arrived at basically the same time and so onto tea at Denbies where tea and cake was most welcome after the exertion of the climbs. Peter turned up to tea after repairing a puncture he discovered at the pub. It was about 26 miles from elevenses to tea.

Thanks to Jennie for back marking, Tony and Alan for marking corners and Tim for all his assistance.

David J

Map and profiles for David and Jennie's ride from the Vineries:

A Group 30th March - The Octopus

Some watery sunshine at the Vineries, with a definite touch of Spring in the air, as eleven of us set off to look for the Octopus.  Crocknorth Lane, which we haven't done for a while, as a warm-up, then over the rolling road that leads to Ranmore, with the spire of St Barnabus on the horizon. Always a pretty run.  Down to Dorking, also pretty enough, but very jammed with traffic and not much fun if you were in a car.  

We wriggled through and turned on to Coldharbour Lane to start the real business of the day.

At the top we found that the newly-refurbished Plough is open, but only for drinks at the moment as the new kitchens aren't finished yet.  We also found a slightly puzzling sign warning of toads - surely should have been octopi?  Anyway, over Leith Hill in the sunshine and down through Abinger Common to Sutton Lane.  This had been partly blocked with fallen trees on Tuesday, following the storm on Sunday night, but the Highways Authorities had done a good job and the lanes were generally clear.

Along Water Lane to a warm welcome at the Volunteer, which had been closed on Tuesday due, I think, to an interruption of the electricity supply.  We sat together at a long table and were joined for lunch by Paul Kelly, dressed in civvies as he is recuperating from a skiing accident.  Good food, quickly served, with poor old Paul last served, but first to order.

Just as we were about to leave Mike M turned up.  He had a hospital appointment in the morning, but was joining us for the afternoon.  This kept the numbers steady as Keith decided to peel off at this point.

An interesting wiggle back across Abinger Common, then Friday Street and up over Broadmoor back to the top.  This is a good, quiet climb with very little traffic.  Over to the corner of Tanhurst Lane, where we were treated to the noisy and exciting spectacle of Mike M flying by shouting 'I can't stop', but he came back a few minutes later. Then down Tanhurst Lane, which may have been re-surfaced but is still very wet and mucky.  As we descended we were able to offer words of encouragement to the Bs, who were on their way up.

Leith Hill next, bigger than it used to be, I thought.  Mike elected to give it a miss and head for tea, the rest of us did rather better than some of the London 100 riders do, so we were pleased enough at that.

Over the top and back to Coldharbour, with quite decent views from the viewpoint at the Landslip.  Lancing College could quite easily be made out on the South Downs, the best part of thirty miles away.

At the turn for Anstie Lane Geoffrey decided that he would join Mike for tea, the rest of us heading down again through very different country.  Leith Hill is heavily wooded on its North side, with typical incised Surrey lanes.  The South East corner is quite different - open views and broad fields.

A nasty bit of A29 then back up again by Broomehall Road, good views again, with the tower on Leith Hill clearly visible.  A growing sense of familiarity as we entered Coldharbour, and we stopped to discuss, amongst other things, octopi.  Of the full Octopus we had completed four climbs and three descents.  We could also award ourselves a bonus climb with Crocknorth, so we had done pretty well.  The fourth descent, alas, was unavailable as Logmore Lane was closed - presumably still clearing fallen trees, but no-one seemed too worried about this.  Honour was satisfied.  Interestingly, no-one felt moved to tuck in three more ascents, or, indeed, even one.  We must be getting old ...


Back down to Dorking - still jammed with traffic - but we wiggled through again and were in Pilgrim Cycles a few minutes later, where Geoffrey and Mike were taking their tea at a table outside.  We got ours and joined them for a few minutes, before they set off over Box Hill for home.  Not enough climbing, evidently.

My thanks to Neil, for acting as back marker, to all who marked corners to keep us moving, and to the group as a whole for rising to the challenge.  Well done all.  3,911 feet of ascent in 36.7 miles, at a rolling average of 11.4 mph.

Not bad for the Surrey Hills.


Monday, March 28, 2016

B Group ride - 30th March

Wednesday's ride from the Effingham Vineries will be to the Surrey Hills, about 16 miles to lunch at The Royal Oak, Holmbury St Mary.
After lunch a climb up Tanhurst Lane to Coldharbour and on to Dorking then Afternoon tea at Denbies, about 26 miles from Elvenses to Tea.
All on tarmac although following the gales there may be some ‘crud’ on the road.
Please be ready to leave at 11.00 a.m. sharp as we have also some climbing to do before lunch.

Easy Riders - 23rd March

Quite a few at Longmead Day Centre.  They even opened the partitioning doors and gave us extra room.  So, after a leisurely coffee break about 12 came on the ride, leaving Pat M., Ron & Doreen and Ron W to continue chatting.

I went into Ewell Village; took a right turn into West Street and continued to the alley behind Sainsburys, over the lights passing Quick Fit.  Meandered through back streets of Epsom to Ashtead Park; into Leatherhead and down Gimcrack Hill; (this being a new name to me, informed by John B). And its named on the street sign.  Then on the cycle track, passed the horses, and down to the Stepping Stones, where 10 of us shared a round table for lunch.  We found the ambience and food very nice here.  I intended coming back the same way to The Olive Tree for tea; Liz & Sandy decided to do some hill climbing so met us there.   A nice day out and it stayed dry.


Saturday, March 26, 2016

The Octopus - A Group 30th March

The Octopus was established by John Leitch, of the Redhill Club, as a sort of sportive-cum-Audax for the 'more adventurous cyclist'.  It can be ridden for charity, and it also has a bit of a following on Strava (whatever that is).  John's route starts in Dorking and is 58 miles in total, going up and down Leith Hill by each of its eight routes.  That seemed a bit much for a Wednesday ride, but you know me, a sucker for a cephalopod, so I've made a bit of a softer octopus for us to do next week.  A squid, perhaps, or a cuttlefish.  Not fierce, anyway.

Starting at The Vineries we'll go over Ranmore and through Dorking to Coldharbour to challenge the beast in its lair.  38 miles elevenses to tea, with some climbing but with all of the tough climbs taken out.  A gentleman's cephalopod.  Lunch at the Volunteer and tea at Pilgrim Cycles.

Be there, or be a bivalve, as they say.


Thursday, March 24, 2016

London Ride 23 March 2016

Well that was a great ride – 20 enthusiastic riders, including newcomer Sean, on a tour of old London docklands.
Weather was cool, but crucially dry, and not windy.
Prompt starting from N Cheam we were soon following a “scenic” route through Wimbledon before descending to the quietish streets of Wandsworth and Battersea to Clapham Common. We crossed the Thames at Chelsea Bridge, chosen because of the opportunity to use the cycle path, but today the path was closed by road works. Next CS8 for a fast and easy route to Westminster before diverting past St Johns Smith Sq. to avoid Parliament Sq. currently obstructed by Cycle Superhighway works. Immaculate timing brought us to Horseguards Parade fleetingly to witness the changing of the guard, before reaching Trafalgar Sq. for 11’s in St Martins in the Field crypt, or Pret a Manger for those less impressed by its historic ambience.
On the road again at 11.30 we had a lively ride dodging the traffic down the Strand and Fleet Street, before we all executed a skilful right turn opposite the Bank. Eventually we reached quainter City streets, Crutched Friars, French Ordinary Court, and south beside Tower Bridge to St Katherine Docks. This was the beginning of a meander through old docklands, much now converted into waterside dwellings reminiscent of Bruges, but with a surprising number of open spaces.
We arrived at Wetherspoon's Ledger Building near Canary Wharf for lunch around 12.30, beating the office crowds.

After lunch we continued a slow meander down the Thames path towards Greenwich, passing the launch site of Brunel’s Great Eastern on the way. Luckily the foot tunnel lifts were working, so we were soon admiring the restored Cutty Sark, before turning ourselves to the route back on the south bank. Briefly we were delayed by a swing bridge which opens at high tide for ships to pass; in future ride leaders must check tide tables as well as everything else.
The route took us on LCN4 through Greenland Dock and Russia Dock Woodland where it was easy to forget you were in the middle of a big city; historic Rotherhithe, departure point of the Mayflower, and the ruins of one of Henry III’s manor houses. We paused briefly at the Design Museum, home of the Cycle Revolution exhibition, before making our way through increasingly busy back streets. We left the river by HMS Belfast before heading to Waterloo Station, where surprisingly (to me) nobody elected to take the train home.
Much of the Thames-side route was adapted from Bill Carnaby's London Sightseer Audax, which runs this year on 29th June and 4th Sept, and well worth doing.
We concluded rather more rapidly along LCN3 to Clapham Common, arriving around 4pm, where about half of us elected for tea, while others headed directly home.
35 miles in 7 hours at a stately rolling 8.5mph, surely a Wayfarers record low.
Biggest thanks go to Tony Hooker for patiently back marking while my route twisted and turned. Also thanks to Brain, Mark and Simon, and all the turn markers for helping to keep us all together.
Thankfully we had no mishaps, punctures or mechanicals. For me everyone’s enthusiastic participation made the ride a pleasure to lead.
For next year, with the all-new Superhighways in place, even more ambitious rides may be possible.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Spotted on Dave's London Ride, 23 March 2016

A selection of photos of some of the many highlights from Dave's excellent (but rather chilly) ride today.  I can't take credit for the photos, many of which were contributed by other people.
St John Smiths Square

Central Hall Westminster

Downing Street

Horse Guards Parade
Admiralty Arch, from The Mall

Trafalgar Square
St. Martin's in the Fields

The Crypt café at St Martins (11s stop)

St Paul's Cathedral

The Cheese Grater

The building of the same name

Bank of England

Fenchurch Street Station

Tower Bridge

St. Katharine's Dock

Greenwich Foot Tunnel

Cutty Sark

City Hall
And there were countless other views, not to mention innumerable docks and wharves for every nation and commodity as we wound our way around the old docklands both north and south of the river.  Thankyou Dave!

London Ride 23rd March

Today Dave led us on a splendid ride, right across London.  35.24 miles from Cheam to tea at Clapham Common, lunch at The Ledger Room, Canary Wharf.

A good route, good views and good company.


Monday, March 21, 2016

London Ride this Wednesday 23 March

Plans for London Ride this Wednesday.

9am prompt start North Cheam.

11's Trafalgar Sq @ St Martins in the Fields crypt or Pret-a-Manger next door.

Lunch @ Wetherspoons Ledger Building in Canary Wharf – Hartsmere Rd, E14 4Al. 

After lunch Thames Path to Greenwich Foot Tunnel (north, ie down lift probably not working Wednesday, hopefully south, ie up lift ok)  continuing on Thames Cycle Route (signed LCN4) westwards.
Hopefully we get to Waterloo before 4pm for riders who wish to continue by train. Otherwise LCN3 via Clapham Common, Wandsworth Common, to Wimbledon Park or Common for tea.

About 20 miles North Cheam to Lunch; 18 miles lunch to tea.

Quite an intricate route especially in docklands, so we will have to stick close together. A few more than normal hazards in docklands, bollards, steps, some unguarded water; quite a few cobbles, though I have tried to avoid the worst, so very skinny tyres not a good idea.

Above all watch out for pedestrians and joggers on the paths.

GPS Route available – email

Hope to see you Wednesday

07962 05 48 79