Thursday, April 28, 2016

B ride to Ripley - Wed 27th April

B ride to Ripley - Wed 27th April
A sunny fresh morning saw 26 B riders leave  Elleray Hall, passing Teddington Memorial Hospital, and straight into Coleshill Road and Bushy Park.  A longer circuit than intended of the park as I missed a right turn but well worth it in the sunshine and away from traffic.
The route to lunch was a mix of on road and off and proceeded without a hitch until we were passing through Addlestone.   Lesson learnt - mark EVERY corner - as the one I failed to mark caused a few to go astray but all were back on board by the time we got to Rowtown.   The Half Moon had inconveniently arranged to have their bar re-varnished so we lunched at the Talbot.  Meals were served quickly...sandwiches a little more expensive but the soup was delicious for £5 accompanied by generous slices of olive foccaccia bread.  After a longer than expected morning ride the afternoon was direct to Garsons Farm at Esher for a very pleasant afternoon tea.   I would like to thank everyone who marked a corner as all our rides are dependent on the wonderful goodwill of all, particularly Bob who marked a corner for some time in vain as the riders had detoured.  What a lovely tolerant bunch you all are.    Thanks to Tim C for backmarking and also giving me some electricity at lunchtime...the strava map is, I hope, attached.  Ockham Mill was to have been on the route but those  local will know the little Pigeon Bridge is not passable though you can still a visit via a brief tresspass to cross the well maintained golf club bridge adjacent.  The only other regret was not having had time to have a go on Don's new bike!

B Group - 27th April (maps)

The maps for Steph's route to The Talbot for lunch (20.6 miles) then Garsons Farm for Tea (8.85 miles):

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

A Group, 27 April: Teddington - Eton - Walton

Back to winter temperatures today and a fickle weather forecast may have put some off: only 13 in the A group today.  It was good to see Paul back on the bike, although he has been advised to avoid hills so he took a slightly different route to us. We left Teddington for Bushy Park, heading through Lower Sunbury towards Chertsey and then through the village of Thorpe to Egham.   Tite Hill took us to Windsor Great Park and we enjoyed good views as we descended past the Long Walk and through Windsor, where the decorations are still up for the recent birthday celebrations.

I can't remember visiting the Waterman's Arms before, although the B group has been there recently, and I believe the As have visited several years ago.   A wide selection of beers, sandwiches and pies, served promptly, seemed to satisfy everyone.   Jeff decided to 'go large', upgrading to a pint of blackcurrant and soda.  Mark and Mick joined us at lunch, and Paul was already there, his flat route being a bit quicker than ours.

We had been promised heavy showers in the afternoon, and saw a couple of nasty looking clouds, but somehow they didn't come our way as we returned via Crimp Hill and through the park again, round Virginia Water and it's namesake village, before heading through Lyne and Addlestone to Walton and the Riverhouse Café, sitting outside in unexpected sunshine!    About 41 miles 11s to tea.  I hope all got home still dry.  My thanks to Mike and Geoff for back marking.

Easy Riders - 27th April

Teddington   Laleham    Kingston

Seven left the day centre this morning to ride to Laleham for lunch in the Turks Head, via Bushy Park to Hampton Court, over the bridge to Bridge Road, Molesey Road, left at Spencer Road to Molesey Park Road, Rydens Road past Walton Railway station to Oatlands Avenue and on to Weybridge and Chertsey Bridge, along the river to Laleham and lunch.  After a very good lunch we returned to Shepperton station, Halliford Road and continued down Lower Sunbury Road into Bushy Park and on to Kingston Bridge where we partook of cakes and coffee at the Patisserie Valerie. We then took our leave and made for home.  I clocked up 43 miles and was glad to arrive home at 5.20 pm.

Thank you one and all and for Lynda being TEC. Yet again, a very enjoyable day.


Monday, April 25, 2016

A group, 27 April

Paul is recovering from a skiing injury so I plan to lead the As to the Waterman's Arms, a cosy pub in Eton.    I had an ambitious plan for a route which is (almost) entirely off-road - well it would have been different - but after studying the weather lots of times and thinking of all the hate mail I might get, I wimped out, so we will be taking the on-road route instead.   Not too hilly: about 39 miles to tea at Walton.   You can look forward to the off-road route another day!

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Easy Riders - 20th April

At Leatherhead Day Centre, we celebrated Paul's birthday, with pre-arranged scones and donuts with our tea and coffee. Thanks to Paul. Caroline from Leatherhead, and Eric from Mickleham joined us on our ride to Brockham. It was nice and sunny and we sat outside The Grumpy Mole in their suntrap. We were 10 leaving Leatherhead; some had their own sandwiches, and 6 came for pub lunch. On our way back we decided to stop at Bike Beans in Ashtead for tea. We then went through Ashtead Common back to Cheam. It was the warmest day this year!


Thursday, April 21, 2016

Club clothing

I am still here to take orders for shirts, long or short sleeve, summer or winter?  I have two requests for shirts at the moment, one of them required for the Dieppe raid!

Ideally I would like seven that the postage is PLEASE, let me know if any clothing is required.

I shall be at Teddington next Wednesday - or phone or mail me :  (I shall be away later Thursday until Monday evening).

Cheers, Pam :) )

Paul Smith OBE

Not the Paul Smith of Rapha but my paraplegic friend from Cosham who over the years has raised over £1,200,000 for various charities. I have acted as an outrider on many of his challenges in both wheelchair and recumbent.
He was awarded his OBE at Windsor Castle on Wednesday 13th April along with Sue Barker and others presented by the Queen.
Some photo's after the event outside Windsor Castle and his Hotel. On the way back I bumped into the B group at Egham.

A Group 20th April - Wisborough Green

A glorious day with, it seemed, bluebells at almost every turn. Thank you to Simon for the coffee at Tanhouse. Suitably refreshed, eighteen of us set of from Tanhouse through Rusper and Warnham to Barns Green. A couple of short busy A road sections followed to get us into Billingshurst , which we exited over the footbridge to minimise the distance on the A272. Rob punctured at the bridge and we arrived at the Cricketers in Wisborough Green. Service was prompt and friendly and we sat outside in the sun sheltered from the breeze. While there we chatted with a lady from Chichester who had ridden via Petersfield and Liss following part of a permanent Audax route. Her bike attracted much interest with its Vaaru titanium frame, Middleburn compact chainset and 11/36 cassette. We returned along Drungewick Lane and Lynwick Street to Cox Green and then Weare Street with tea at Denbies. The Weare Street resurfacing has at least removed the "terraced" sections but is partial and some rough riding remains especially at the Northern end where Ray suffered a pinch puncture. 43 miles from Tanhouse Farm to tea.

Thanks to Geoff for back marking and others who corner marked and assisted those afflicted by the puncture fairy.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

B Group 20 April

                                                        Scarlett Arms, Walliswood
                                                               Visitor at Denbies

What a marvellous day for cycling - blue sky, negligible wind and free drink at Tanhouse (thanks, Simon). Ten Bs headed south through Rusper, noting the Plough and Attic Rooms has now reopened, and forked right. Soon we turned right to Langhurst and a further right brought us to Warnham level crossing. Turning right at the far end of Warnham soon brought us briefly to the busy A281 and the even busier A29 but only for a few yards. Then the climb to Rowhook, followed by a northish route to turn right into Froggetts Lane leading to The Scarlett Arms at Walliswood where Tracey organised our meals (and us). Generous portions soon appeared and everybody was pleased. (Not sure we needed the roaring fire, though).
The return route was via Okewood Hill, Ruckmans Lane and Weare Street (which has been partly resurfaced). A playful eastish breeze made progress slightly harder than the morning run. We followed the familiar route of Capel and Newdigate to Dorking then via Pixham Lane to Denbies where about half stopped for threes. We left sufficient cake for the As who arrived as we were leaving.
A very enjoyable day, lots of bluebells to see, thanks everyone, especially John A (tec) and Peter B (not very busy corner marker).                                                           

Monday, April 18, 2016

B Group 20 April

A hilly ride to Walliswood for lunch so a prompt start is necessary, please. Tea will be in Dorking/Leatherhead area.


A ride 20th April

We'll be heading for Wisborough Green and back to Denbies ( or thereabouts ). All road, rolling country but no big hills. Mostly lanes except for a short stretch of possibly busy A road. About 40 miles to tea.

3 Day Tour - 11-13/4/2016

A Wayfarers 3 Day Tour to Streatley.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

A Group Ride from Shepperton 13th April

After passing two 'Royal Oaks' we arrived at the Royal Oak, Wood Street Village for lunch in a warm and sunny beer garden. Earlier, the promise of Spring sunshine brought out 21 'A Groupers' for our ride through Chertsey, Lyne, Longcross, Chobham Common, and Knaphill. We lost Ray Dare soon after Elevensess, with a reoccurrence of an pre-coffee puncture. (Ray skipped lunch but eventually met us later at Annie's). The Royal Oak coped admirably with the more than expected turnout, and the landlord was keen to to use our traditional Group photo on his website to promote the pub as a venue for walkers and cyclists. (Photo credit Geoff Gregory). Skirting Guildford town centre through Stoughton we tested our bike handing skills on the pedestrian/cyclists bridge over the Ladymead Parkway and exited Guildford on the A25. This road is never a pleasant ride, but soon after East Horsley we took the back roads through Effingham, Little Bookham and Fetcham arriving at Annie's in plenty of time for tea before 4 o'clock closing - 14 of us for the tea stop. It was nice to welcome non-regular A Riders, and all coped very well with the 39 miles from Elevenses to tea. Thanks to all for diligent corner marking and to Mike for back-marking - making the leaders job that much easier. Lovely sunshine - and a promise of summer!

B Group - 13th April

The Leader
On such a lovely sunny morning, it was perhaps not surprising that we still had a total of 22 riders in the B Group, despite some of our regular members being elsewhere on the Hostel Trip.  (Welcome to new rider Gareth Williams.)  We may not have set off at the proposed 11 a.m. sharp, but Jeff's exhortations on my behalf had been seen and noted, and we weren't too much later.  Our destination for lunch was Eton Wick and this report could well be entitled 'The Two Rivers' Ride'  as our route followed the Thames and the Jubilee Rivers for much of the way.  We picked up the Thames at Chertsey Bridge and cycled beside it until past Staines Bridge at Lammas Park.  Here we took to the road and passed through Wraysbury and Datchet before heading off towards Eton and the Jubilee River path.  This path requires mental as well as physical agility on a bike as one negotiates the frequent metal barriers requiring feet and pedals to be in just the right position if you wish to sail through without stopping!  I'm sure practice makes perfect.  Turning away from the river, we took a path which led us into Eton Wick by the back door and to the Greyhound Pub by 12.45 p.m.

A general idea of food orders had been taken before our departure and the pub advised of such so that they could do some preparation.  There was a little confusion when it came to ordering but overall everyone seemed happy with what they had and it was very pleasant sitting out in the sunshine, so much so that it was hard to get some people moving again!  It was  after 2.00 p.m. when we set off, heading back to the River Thames and following the Thames Path into Eton.  From here it was straight up the hill (our only hill!) into Windsor, past the Castle, and on to the cycle path which took us across The Long Walk to Old Windsor.  It was now the familiar route across Runnymede to Egham where we got caught at the level crossing and picked up Mike Morley who had been to Windsor to support a friend.  After Staines it was a straight run on the road through Laleham to Shepperton.  A few headed home at the traffic lights while the remainder went on to the Walled Garden for tea, just in time, as they are currently closing at 4.00 p.m. due to staff shortages, with last orders at 3.45 p.m. - please note.  Thanks to John Austen for being Back Marker and Tony Hooker for marking corners.

Gill Finlay

Thank you to Liz B for the photos

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

'B' ride from Shepperton 13 April - prompt 11am start

Hear Ye, Hear Ye

As Gill's  'B' ride from Shepperton tomorrow will lunch at Eton Wick, she requests a punctual 11am start. This exhortation is addressed to all and in particular to the North Cheam brigade. No dawdling please, as no prisoners will be taken. Just because the CTC is extinct, followers of CUK will receive no preferential treatment. Worship not false idols!


I may have expanded a little on Gill's original message (sorry Gill).

A Group Ride 13th April from Shepperton

We'll be heading out to the Royal Oak at Woodstreet (Guildford) and tea at Annies (Leatherhead) on a rather flat, all road ride. Spring sunshine in the offing!

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Thursday, April 07, 2016

B Group - 6th April

Many of us got quite wet riding to Elevenses at Cobham but the only other serious shower was during lunch so in that respect we got off quite lightly. About eighteen of us started out and took a direct route, including The Drift and East Lane to reach West Horsley. After a brief stretch along the A246 we rode along Blake’s Lane which would have been the original A road. At East Clandon we turned off and pedalled up Staple Lane and down the other side to Shere.

From Shere we took the long slow climb due South along Hound House Lane which, unaccountably, has rarely, if ever, been visited by B Group. The gradient is quite modest, even in comparison with Staple Lane but by persevering we ultimately attained the lofty altitude of 921 feet before zooming down Pitch Hill into Ewhurst. Despite a slightly tardy departure from Cobham we reached The Bulls Head at one o'clock.

The customary assortment of soups, sarnies and salads was served to us fairly quickly in the friendly ambience of this popular pub. We were on the road at 2:15, heading East then up Cotton Row to join the Horsham Road to Holmbury St Mary. At Sutton Abinger we turned past The Volunteer for the brief climb up Raikes Lane. At the A246, some decided to ride to Dorking on the A25, having been warned that the official route was along the muddy and otherwise fairly dreadful Route 22. But nine of us persevered with the mud and bobbled our way over protruding tree roots through to Park Farm where the route transforms into a much more respectable cycle way. The reward, apart from the lack of traffic, is the very beautiful downland scenery.
Terry's photo taken at Park Farm
We took our well-worn route along Balchins Lane through Milton Court and after debate about whether to go through or around Dorking we rode through it and on up to Leatherhead for Tea and cake at Costa. The Tonys and others, who didn’t want any mud splattered onto their posh bikes, and had taken the A25 route, were just leaving as we arrived for Tea. But of course they still get their two points.

Thank you to Tony Hooker for holding the group together and chasing everyone up the big hills and thank you to various people who marked corners and to everyone for their cheerful enjoyment of the day and for not moaning about the 2,251 feet of climbing the ride entailed.

~ Tim

Links to ride profiles:
Morning ride to Ewhurst
Afternoon ride to Leatherhead

Wednesday, April 06, 2016

A Group ride 6 April

The weather was looking rather iffy as we set out, rain jackets appeared to be the apparel of choice but it wasn't long before we arrived at Effingham for a quick regroup and route discussed and realising that a rather hot ride was soon in the offing rain jackets were put away. We soon had Beech Avenue, White Down, Abinger Common, Leith Hill under our wheels and heading for Standen Lane, Wallis Wood, Cox Green, Rudgwick and finally The Mucky Duck at Tismans Common.

We had a warm welcome, the food ordered and names taken allowed for quick delivery of food, plenty of room for the 14 of us.

Leaving the Mucky Duck, after heavy rain during lunch :-)
Lunch over with and the rain easing up off the jolly group set on another adventure in the wilderness of Surrey.

I was determined that the ride home should be as flat as possible, though there had to be one hill and that was to be Newlands Corner. The route home took us up Knowles Lane to Cranleigh where I was hoping to use the Downs Link but due to the wet weather it was thought better to stick to tarmac. We set off along the Guildford Road heading for Wonersh unfortunately this was a slightly different route from those that I had ridden when sorting the ride but with welcome help from the rest of the group we were soon on the right road, Chilworth, Albury were passed.

Newlands Corner our one climb soon out of the way we were soon gliding into Ripley for our stop at Pinnocks to make our choice of teas, coffee and cake.

Those of us who stayed on were served tea in posh cups and saucers, tea strainers etc.

Thanks to Brian for back marking, those that marked corners as well as those that offered to do the same.

I would like to say a big thank you to Simon, Brian and Dave for putting up with my emails when sorting my first group lead, not forgetting all of those I have chatted to with regards to their first lead ride.

~ Geoff

A Group 6th April

Geoff's maiden lead today, and a good one it was.  43.4 miles elevenses to tea, and some handy hills - 3,151 feet of ascent.

A very enjoyable day out at a decent pace.


Death of the CTC

CTC/CUK rebrand.

I thought it worth sharing this sad post from Helen Juden (wife of Chris) from the "Where should CTC be going" facebook page.

"Born, raised and married in the former Club I am very sad to see it's demise. I wish the charity well, but regret the destruction of everything that made the CTC special and the conversion from a membership organisation that carries out the will of the members, into a charity-business that serves only the director's interpretation of the charitable aims. We were warned by those who opposed the charity conversion, but didn't hear what they had to say because we couldn't believe anyone who knew the CTC would destroy it. We should have been fearful of those who did not know the CTC. A life lesson in active listening rather than hearing what you want to believe. I'm going to unfollow now, as this is just too painful."

No doubt those in the Cheam and Morden who were active in opposition to the Charity conversion will share Helen's angst

Paul Kelly

Tuesday, April 05, 2016

B Group - tomorrow's ride

From Cobham we have a couple of nice long hills, starting with Staple Lane to take us through Shere to Ewhurst. Some bits of climbing after lunch but the main feature will be a rough, but hopefully not muddy, path. Tea will be in Leatherhead probably.

Modest mileages. Good brakes will be essential!

~ Tim

Monday, April 04, 2016

The Tour of Flanders - De Ronde van Vlaanderen

My Spring Classic this year was the Tour of Flanders.  The format was the same as all of the others I have done - a sportive on the Saturday, taking in all or part of the pro course, to choice, and watching the pro race on the Sunday, with some of the most enthusiastic fans in the world.

The Tour of Flanders is a very big thing in Belgium.  It is said that some 90% of the population watches the race, whether at the roadside or on the television.  No UK sporting event - quite possibly no other sporting event - has anything like the penetration into the public consciousness.  You were a pretty big guy if you were riding a race bike in Flanders last weekend.

My first classic, Paris Roubaix, is well known in Britain as a cobble race, and it's all about speed on long sections of cobbles, a hard and difficult thing of itself.  Liège-Bastogne-Liège, my second Classic, is all about the hills of the Ardennes, climbing and descending all day.  The Tour of Flanders is about the 'Bergs', short, steep cobbled hills that the pros ride repeatedly.  It's a completely different technique, and it's exhausting.  To give a local point of reference, if you were to take Barhatch, and Pitch Hill, and Combe Bottom, and White Down, and a dozen others and surface them with rough cobbles, then you'd have the same sort of thing.  It's completely different from anything I've done before, and it took a bit of learning. 

I chose the short course, at 71kms, as it took in all of the famous bergs and finished down the actual race finish straight, gantry, photos and all the rest.  You could do more, and many did, but I felt that this would be enough.  The disadvantage of this approach is that you're tipped in to the hard bergs very quickly, which is fine if you're local and used to it, but it's a bit of a shock for the man from Surrey.  My first berg was the Koppenberg, one of the hard ones, with 'babies head' cobbles.  I was following a Flemish woman, and things went well at first, but she began to swear mightily in Flemish (at least, I think that's what she was doing) before she lost it all with wild wheelspin and fell.  I was going very slowly, but had no option but to stop, as I was in no position to get around.  Then I realised that it was so slippery that it was more or less impossible to stand, and that walking was very difficult.  My new friend, who was fine, was angry because she had done the climb a few days before, and she felt that the wheelspin was a beginner's mistake.  We walked to the top and I rode on on the smooth, comfortable tarmac, thinking that it wasn't going to be much of a day if the rest was like this.

Thinking it through, I decided that my best chance on the bergs would be to stay away from other riders as much as possible.  I did this by either blasting to the front of the group I was with, to get a clear run, or by following the fast men and women, who dropped me once they started on the berg, giving me a clear run.  Even if one of them fell, there was still time to change course and carry on.

This stratagem may have been a bit selfish, but it worked, and I was able to ride all of the rest of the bergs, even the very difficult Paterberg, where I think I may have made a cameo appearance on Belgian TV, in the 'Old Bloke Rides Bergs' slot.

At the finish in Oudenaarde there was the usual excellent reception, a medal and chips and beer for those who wanted them.  I skipped that part, as I needed to get back to Gent to meet Maggie for lunch, so I went to the station where I found that the next train was not for an hour.  It's 27 kms from Oudenaarde to Gent, so I thought I'd give the famous Belgian cycleways a shot.  It was brilliant.  I took the main road, the N60, a dual carriageway a bit like the A3. It was flat and arrow straight.  Alongside the carriageway is a hard shoulder, of good width, and inside that a cycle lane that was smooth, well surfaced and continuous.  At every junction, and there weren't many, there were traffic lights that gave cycle priority, and, spookily, they changed as I approached.  So I went absolutely flat out from Oudenaarde to Gent, finishing off with more cycle priority until the cobbled medieval centre, which is car free in any case.   Lunch outside in the sunny square, with my race bike leaning next to the table.  People came and took photographs of it - dream world!

On Sunday we went out to the Oude Kwaremont to watch the pro race, both live and on the big screen.  A great race, which Peter Sagan won in historic style, and a great experience in the warm Spring sunshine.  

A terrific few days away.


Sunday, April 03, 2016

A group next Weds 6th April

We shall be heading for lunch at the Mucky Duck, Tismans Common via Effingham, Beech Avenue, Abinger and Leith Hill - these will be the main climbs out.

Tea will be at Pinnocks in Ripley, the journey back will be partly off road from Cranleigh to Station Road on the Downs Link, if the weather stays dry it will give us a fairly good surface, I rode this on 23mm tyres and it was ok, if the weather has been wet we shall need to put in a climb before the final climb up to Newlands Corner.

~ Geoff

Good News

1. The Plough and Attic Rooms pub at Rusper reopened before Easter.

2. Stretches of Weare Street have been resurfaced.

3. Henfold rebuilding plans are (still) with 'the authorities'.


E-Bikesey Riders - 30th March

On our way from North Cheam, we made our way to Tolworth. At the by-pass we came to a flood at the bottom, we couldn't tell how deep, a couple of metres wide with some rubbish sticking out. We went through trying to avoid it. Unfortunately, Sandy hit something and came out at the top with a puncture. Cliff helped and they decided to go home.

The rest of the group continued to Walton Day Centre. After coffee I led to Hampton Court, through Bushy Park and Teddington to Tied End Cottage for lunch. We were 12 here.

Mark Roy came on his new updated electric bike. He was telling us it's half the weight of his other one; capacity of 30 miles. The motor sits on a front bar like a water bottle. Yes, I did have a go. I started cycling gently up the road, then whoosh! The motor kicked in and I was taken forward with ease. I think it took me faster than my usual speed. You have to try it to experience it. On Saturday I found out that Ron Weedon also had a go when he saw Mark.