Saturday, September 30, 2017

A Group Wednesday 4th October

A simple ride next Wednesday - over to lunch at the Royal Oak, Holmbury St Mary and back to Pinnocks in Ripley for tea.

Some Autumn leaves, and a couple of hills.


Friday, September 29, 2017

Henfold Lake

I heard a rumour that Henfold Lake cafe may at last be open, so I called in today.

Unfortunately it's still work in progress; the guy at the refreshment stall said it may be open by Xmas.

Fortunately the refreshmant stall is very welcoming, and they say they are staying open until 4 -5 pm weather permitting (except Wednesdays when it's 1pm!), This afternoon the tea and fruit cake were just what I needed on a damp ride.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

B Group - 27th September

Wednesday 27th September was a beautiful autumnal day.
Eight of us set out from Redhill for a splendid ride due south towards Staplefield (near Handcross, just off the A23). The ride was slightly longer than usual but took us further south than the B riders usually venture. 
After lunch and an unusual photo opportunity we made our way back towards Reigate and the foot of the North Downs scarp slope. This is a hill that we often try to avoid but on this occasion we rode briskly to the top only to find that the tea hut had not remained open to welcome us. 
Thank you to other B group riders who made this a very pleasant day out.
~ John A.

At the Jolly Tanners
Pondering the route home from Reigate Hill

20.8 miles to Lunch, 19.4 miles to 'Tea'
To see the elevation profile (where the hills are) and other metrics visit RideWithGPS at:

Redhill to Staplefield

Staplefield to Reigate Hill

~ Tim

A Group 27th September

Fourteen of us set out from Redhill hoping that the cloud would break as promised. No such luck for the first hour and a brief stop at the top of Tilburstow revealed nothing but a grey haze over the Weald. From here we followed a long succession of lanes eastwards, the rural feel broken briefly by Hurst Green before we continued along Swaynesland Road to Four Elms and Hever. Having circumnavigated Edenbridge we approached from the south to lunch at the Old Eden. By now there was some warm sunshine and we enjoyed lunch in the garden. One the way back we stopped at Crowhurst for those who had not previously seen the yew tree and then over Tilburstow where the view was only marginally clearer. At Banstead we found Pistachio's closed so enjoyed tea at Edibles instead. 42 very enjoyable miles. Well I lie, the last bit up Park Lane seemed a bit more than I needed after a couple of weeks off the bike.
Thanks to Mike for back marking and Geoff, Hans and Mark for photos, map and stats.

Clive Oxx

Greetings from Clive Oxx. For those that do not know him he was for many years a CTC Councillor and editor of the Wayfarer for many years. I took the opportunity of visiting Clive at his sheltered accommodation in Reigate. Sadly he no longer cycles but has retained his Brompton for old time sake! While visiting him I noticed a framed picture on his wall and took a photograph, see below. It is a fabricated London Evening Standard article by the locals in Carshalton lamenting his departure to Reigate. Clive was very much involved in creating the Wandle trail and instrumental in getting the industrial pollution cleared from the river. On his departure a party was held at the local pub.
While visiting Clive his son Johnathon called to say that he was running late so I was not able to meet him. He is the brother of Sonia.
Clive is very proud of the fact that Johnathon has created a new scheme for training young cyclist which has taken off in a big way and he actually makes a living out of it. I will try and get hold of the website and publish.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Easy riders 27th September

(l to r) Bernard, Elizabeth, Ray, Liz, Lynda, Eric, John and Gillian

Another lovely easy ride for our happy group today; from North Cheam Lynda lead us to Molesey Community Centre for coffee, then John took us via a pleasant and circuitous route through quiet roads and green ways to Hampton Court bridge.  Here Lynda took back control; over the river, through Bushy Park (only one little female deer in sight today, but lots of large black birds, probably crows, perched on Diana as we passed her) then Teddington and through to Kingston.  Some of our number stopped there for lunch or went home. The intrepid band above (including Eric, who joined us for the first time today, and Frank, not in this pic) continued to Woodies in New Malden, where suddenly the sun broke through the clouds and we enjoyed a bright and cheery lunch al fresco. No tea today as we were all quite close to home.  Good times, everyone, thank you.

Easy riders 20 September 2017

Maureen, Sue, Caroline and Sandie
Frank and John

Bernard, Ray, Bernard and Lynda

Liz and Ian
Easy riders all met for coffee at Chessington King's Centre,  with Ron and Clifford being the first to arrive (though Clifford declared lugubriously that he'd had to set off about 8.30 to achieve this...) It was lovely to see them as they haven't joined us often this summer.

Lynda lead us all via Bushy Park.  It was a beautiful day, we passed close by a fine stag resting in the warm sunshine on our way to the Jolly Coopers at Hampton. We haven't been there for a while, must visit again soon as the welcome,  food and service was really good.  Our group filled one half of the bar, our pictures were taken just after lunch as we were about to set off to tea. 

Easy riders lunch 23 August 2017

Relaxing lunch by the Thames at the London Apprentice, Old Isleworth. Thanks Sandie for taking this photo.

Monday, September 25, 2017

A Group 27th Sept

East of Eden(bridge) is the morning theme with lunch in Edenbridge. Probably Banstead for tea - we can discuss alternatives at lunch. About 21 miles each way. The bad news is that in order to avoid an extra few miles and the busy B road west of Lingfield we will be doing Tilburstow both ways!

B Group - advice for ride from Redhill

The B ride will head due south for about 20 miles (slightly longer than average) to have lunch in Staplefield and then ride back for tea in Reigate.

~ John A

Thursday, September 21, 2017

B Group - 20th September

Seventeen B Group riders met to mingle with the ‘A’s’ at Fairoaks and 15 continued to lunch.   We made steady progress westward to Frimley Green via Chobham, Bisley and Deepcut, then used the cycle routes through The Hatches and Prospect Park to deliver us to the Tilly Shilling at Farnborough in good time. By a happy coincidence Wetherspoons had reduced all their prices by 7.5% just for this one day, so the food and drink tasted even sweeter than usual!

The sun still hadn’t put in an appearance by the time we set off for home, but we had a good ride back up Tunnel Hill to Mytchett and Knaphill, then made a detour to the Pennypot ford where, disappointingly, only two took the challenge of the icy waters!   From there it was on through Gracious Pond and  Stonehill to the outskirts of Chertsey where those stopping for tea elected to try the newly-refurbished Squires.  This might have been a better bet for those of us who decided to press on because we were met by severe traffic congestion in Addlestone, then a very long wait at the level crossing eventually relieved by the anti-climactic passage of just one locomotive and two wagons!   Many thanks to all for your company, for keeping up well,  and for a seamless ride with no punctures or ‘mechanicals’ (barring one twig in the spokes with no harm done), and sorry the 'spiral footbridge' didn't feature as billed (another time)!

~ Dave W

Terry couldn't be with us but has contributed this little history:

"Tilly Shilling was a scientist at RAE Farnborough during the Second World War. One of many projects she worked on was a modification to the carburettor fitted to the Rolls Royce Merlin aero engine (as used on Spitfire, Lancaster and many others). She also lapped Brooklands on a motorcycle at100mph+ for which she earned a Gold Star. She wouldn't marry her fiancé until he did likewise. He did."

~ Tim
Thanks to Steph for this photo
I know where I was but where was Vic?

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

A Group ride from Fairoaks 20th September

A dry Wednesday - for a change, saw 12  'A' Wayfarers setting off from Fairoaks Aerodrome to the Pineapple pub in Dorney. There's only a limited number of minor roads going north around Chobham, so inevitably there was some doubling-up with last week's ride to Jealott's Hill. Still, we managed to find a way onto Ascot Heath under - and across the Racecourse, rather than around it!

From North Ascot we skirted Winkfield Row and via Fifield reached the picturesque Monkey Island bridge on the Thames: ideal to linger for photo-opportunities.

The complexities of the Pineapple's menu probably meant a longer wait than normal so despite an early arrival, it was way past 2.00pm by the time we departed the pub garden. With gathering clouds we were glad to get going again. (But blue skies miraculously appeared for the group photo!).

Tea was at the Pheasantry Cafe in Bushy Park, and by that time (4.00pm) we had shed over half the group to points North and South.

Thanks to Geoff for forsaking the ride merely to capture the 'Grand Depart' from Fairoaks, and to Dave V. for assiduous back marking. Lets hope there's more dry Wednesdays as the leaves start turning.   

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

A Group ride from Fairoaks Aerodrome

We're heading north-west to Dorney for lunch at the Pineapple - for those with hearty appetites. (Observant ones may notice some similarity with Neil's outward route last week).

Tea maybe in Sunbury if swift progress after lunch, but more likely the Pheasantry, Bushy Park.


B Group ride from Fairoaks Aerodrome

We will be riding to Farnborough for lunch at the Tilly Shilling, a Wetherspoons pub where we will be able to take advantage of their 7.5% discount.

Two climbs of any significance, one before and one after lunch, one spiral footbridge and one short off road section (downhill but well drained with some surfacing but no significant tree root issues).

Tea will probably be at Addlestone.

~ Dave Ward

Saturday, September 16, 2017

New orders for club kit

If you would like to order some new Sou'Wester club kit please get in touch with Pam. Get yourself a new outfit and ride out proudly with our elite squads of riders, smug in the knowlege that no other cyclists out there look quite like we do.

For a guide on prices have a look at the Gear Club website and remember to add VAT to the prices quoted, and allow a bit more for postage. Pam will need at least 7 orders to cover the postage at a reasonable rate, and remember that the cost of postage for returns will need to be met by the customer.

The Gear Club site is at:
It is easiest for Pam if we stick to the selection of designs currently worn by us but do ask her about other options if you see something you fancy on the website.
Once Pam has placed the order, delivery time is around 6 weeks.

13 September - A Group from Walton to Jealott's Hill

On a dry but windy morning eleven of us set off from Walton. The wind was against us as we headed west through Weybridge, Addlestone, Burrowhill and on to Windlesham. From here we headed northwest through Ascot and Winkfield Row to arrive at The New Leathern Bottle in Jealott's Hill just after one o'clock.

We sat outside in the sunshine and soon the food arrived. After lunch everyone was more drawn by the adventure playground than their bikes, so the obligatory group photo was taken there by Geoff.

As we set off for the return trip some light rain started but within fifty yards it turned very much heavier. So a quick U-turn was undertaken and we returned to the pub garden to shelter under a marquee for ten minutes while the shower passed over.

Underway again, now with the wind behind, we headed for Windsor Great Park, Egham, Staines and Laleham before a couple of riverside roads brought us back to Walton for tea at The Riverhouse Theatre.

Thanks to all for a smooth ride, especially Geoff our waving back marker.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

B Group - 13th September

First a big Happy Birthday to Brian, our Rides Secretary who, although he couldn't be present with us, had laid on the full morning tea and coffee for us, complete with cake.

It was a lovely sunny morning and after doing a short test-ride along the Towpath, I decided that it was worth risking taking B Group that way despite the overnight rain. There were 21 of us, some enticed to come along because I was heading downstream to Mortlake for lunch and this was close to home for them.

It was a pleasure to be cycling by the river on such a glorious morning and although there were some puddles beyond Sunbury Lock, it wasn't that bad, also the wind was behind us!  Mick & Christina, being on road-bikes, opted to take the road to Hampton Court where they joined the group as we crossed over on to the second part of the Towpath to Kingston.  Here we left the river and headed up to the Kingston Gate into Richmond Park.  Again, after the initial 'hill', we had the wind behind us and a very easy ride across on the traffic-free section before turning left and heading to East Sheen Gate.  Back on to roads, it was downhill all the way to the riverside pub, The Ship, at Mortlake for lunch.  The conservatory was set aside for us, with just enough tables to seat the 20 having lunch - several being cosy two-seater tables!  The lone chef did his best with feeding us, though some poor souls did have to wait rather a long time for their pies!

It was 2.30 p.m. by the time we set off, having had the obligatory group photo (thanks, Tim) with our backs to the river, though being low-tide there was no way it could be seen.  The dark clouds we had seen during lunch had disappeared and we set off along the towpath towards Kew, initially in sunshine and slightly fewer in number as one or two had opted out by then.  We crossed the river at Kew Bridge but found out later that we had lost Terry and Vic at this point - we later caught up with Vic at the teastop, Terry had had to go on.  As we pedalled through Brentwood, the clouds had massed again and we caught the first spots of rain.  It continued to rain lightly as we went through Syon Park, to Isleworth, Richmond and then along the alternative river path to Twickenham which offered some shelter due to the overhanging trees.  The rain was now getting heavier as we hurried on to Teddington Lock, across the bridge and dived into Hawker YMCA cafe for tea.  Albeit rather noisy with young children coming for dancing classes, it filled the bill and by the time we all set off for our respective homes, the sun was out again.  Thanks to Terry for back-marking (apologies for losing you!) and to the occasional 'corner' people.  Not a long ride, but, until the rain came, I hope an enjoyable, low key, river & park ride.

~ Gill Finlay

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Easy Riders - 13th September

Walton D.C. -  The Angel, Thames Ditton

Coming out of the D.C. we made for the bridge turning left to ride down Cowey Sale to Weybridge, through Church lane to Princes Road, Oatlands Avenue into Burwood Park.

Left to A244 Esher Road, Lammas Lane and into Esher Park Estate, Hare Lane and onto Hinchley Wood, straight over to Angel Road, where 5  took lunch.  Thank you to Bernard Power, Frank Carter, Sandie, and Don Clarke. Hope you all got home without getting wet.


Sunday, September 10, 2017

Update on Mike Morley

I spoke to Mike over the weekend. His is out of hospital since Wednesday, and recovering at home from lacerations and severe bruising. The hospital say that the intra-cranial bleeding will dissipate over time.

He was hit from behind by a coach; reportedly the driver said that Mike was “in his blind spot”.

Given the state of his bike I think Mike is lucky to be alive. CTC have been informed and hopefully can provide Mike with the legal support he needs.

 We wish Mike a speedy recovery.

Saturday, September 09, 2017

The Famous Five in Brittany

(A cycling Update on the traditional Novel and
Quips about French life.... as seen by a French cyclist,
who still writes in franglais after living for 46 years in the UK.
Apologies for that!)

DAY 1 – Arrival at Saint-Malo, cycling to Pléherel-Plage and visit of Fort-la-Latte
Pam, Liz and Terry (to be known thereafter as The Terrific Trio) arrived on Saturday 26 August at St-Malo after a long night crossing having managed somehow to sleep a little... but probably not enough to face the challenges ahead. F&F met The Trio at the harbour. Whilst Frank led the way to Frehel, accompanied by Gerald, a French friend, Françoise picked up the panniers and went off by car. The 45 km ride from St-Malo to Frehel is not long, but present enough bumps on the way to make it challenging mostly after a bad night's sleep. However there is a reward... the beautiful sea views and this first contact with colourful Brittany, particularly on a sunny day, with its welcoming villages of pink granite cottages and contrasting slate roofs and the blooming geraniums, hydrangeas, agapanthus that thrive in this part of the world. After a non-eventful ride, lunch became an unexpected challenge, as it was only served after a whole hour's waiting and service proved harder than the hills climbed so far. A certain unpleasant aspect of French life is that restaurateurs believe they are so right, so much better than anybody else that they do not need to apologize, even in these days of Trip-advisor reviews - very frustrating. A “cultural” afternoon was spent visiting Fort-la-Latte, a fort erected on rocks just by the sea to ward off the English.... this was in the pre-EU days... An approach which might prove useful in the post-Brexit days???

DAY 2 – Sunday - Saint-Cast-le-Guildo
After Saturday challenges, it was decided to have an easy short ride. So we went to St-Cast-le-Guildo, a sea-side resort with 7 beaches which guarantees that even the main beach never gets crowded on the sunniest of days. It was a trip down "memory lane" for P and T who had participated in F&F's first cycling tour in 2009. The Five and Gerald set off by a Voie Verte which in part was an old railway track some 100 years ago. It is hardly used by motorists but one is in danger sometimes of meeting with gigantic tractors... this is when we make sure that we hide in the ditch for fear of getting squashed to pulp. Getting to St-Cast by the flattish cycle track was no hassle and we were soon at “Le Maryland's Pub” for aperitif, followed by a picnic lunch facing the Grande Plage. The local ice cream parlour obliged with dessert. Seeing us in our cycling uniforms, they certainly were generous with the portions. Perfectly refuelled, we set off home by the "pretty" route for which there is a price to pay... it is far more hilly and the short inclines with high gradients seem to appear rather often on this stretch of the coastal road. Nonetheless everyone coped well. Bikes were out again to go to dinner at La Potiniere in Sables d'Or-les-Pins with a return journey in the glowing light of sunset after a farewell to Gerald who was off to Chartres to work the next day.

DAY 3 – Monday - Jugon-les-Lacs
Frank thought that The Five should go to Jugon-les-Lacs whilst everyone was still in good form at the beginning of the week. The route to Jugon is reasonably easy with a fair amount of descent... which of course turns into ascent on the home journey.... First stop was at Le Neptune Bar in Henanbihen, the only bar in the area which has survived the fatal epidemic of bar closures because of the Drink & Drive legislation and also, because for today's young French people, it is not cool enough to go to the bars like their parents, grand-parents did... instead, they fill their car boots with cheap supermarkets booze and loudspeakers and go off to make their parties anywhere in the open-air... with dire results for the local bars. The Five travelled across the large Forest of St-Aubin, enjoying the cool shadow of the oak trees which also make perfect sound insulation. No noise could be heard except for the swishing of the wheels on the tarmac and the odd pigeons calling for its mate. The Five soon reached Jugon, a small Cite de caractere, famous for its very old Breton style stone houses and its location near a huge lake. Over the latter years, it has become a magnet for British Expats. There is now "Le Charity Shop" in the middle of the main street, a concept previously unknown to the French. Picnic lunch was taken by the lake, colourfully decorated with its pedalos and kayaks. The cloud cover of the early morning had disappeared by then and had been replaced by blue skies and a hot sun reaching 28 degrees.... bad news for the return journey! It was going to be a hot and muggy 25 miles ascending course..... additional watering-holes were necessary. Combining refreshment and culture is not always easy in the countryside, but we found La Ferme du Chateau, a small auberge by Chateau de la Hunaudaye, a magnificent ruin of a medieval castle. However the cool shadowy front garden of the Auberge won the day and the Château visit was postponed indefinitely. The rest of the journey was hard and painful mostly as to shorten the route, Frank lead the way up the Vaurouault climb, a kind of wall on which F&F can test their fitness... the ladies walked up pushing their bikes whilst the boys managed to continue riding with the odd zigzag. Too tired to cycle the 2 miles to dinner, Frank swapped cap and became “chauffeur” to drive everyone to Ty-Faitaud, a friendly Breton Creperie.
Photos Day 3

DAY 4 – Tuesday - La Costarmoricaine.
This is the name of a cycle ride from Erquy, a small fishing town, organised by the Erquy Cycling Club annually on the May Day weekend. When they participated a couple of years ago, F&F joined some 500 cyclists with different level of fitness. Frank always enjoys this ride and thought it would be good to show sections of it to Pam, Liz and Terry. Starting from home, there is no time to warm up as within 500 yards, it starts climbing going up Pleherel-Plage village main street which was a bustling High Street 100 years ago with 27 shops, now down to 2: a baker and a mussels restaurant, which are opened only in the summer... so up went the Five, passing the beautiful beach of Frehel unusually shrouded in a veil of mist on that day, up through the moors, full of yellow gorse with a few speckles of purple of heather. The seascapes are outstanding at this level mostly if there are the odd white sailing boats in the distance on the deep blue of the sea, sometimes turning to emerald, hence the coast is known as the “Cote d'Emeraude”. After a photo stop at Cap Frehel lighthouse, the Five continued their journey on flattish roads.... at times with big open country views dotted with church spires in the distance, sometimes through the cosiness of the woods with the aroma of freshly cut timber. Picnic lunch was to be in the very well kept and flowered village square of Pleven. On the return journey, passing by one of these egg laying factories, so common in central Brittany, Françoise stopped to take photos of happy hens... they may have to share their bedroom with another thousand sisters but at least, they are allowed outdoors and can pick at the ground and scratch the soil and do what hens like to do before laying their eggs. The uneventful journey home was broken by a tea stop at La Bouillie where The Five were the only customers that afternoon ... like most afternoons. Tea breaks of course do not exist in this part of the world. French cyclists do not need tea breaks as their rides are more likely to start early morning and finish by lunchtime for which they go home. Meanwhile, for the Five, dinner arrangements almost turned into a disaster... the local mussels restaurant decided suddenly to add an extra weekly day off without warning and was closed. It is true that most of the French holidaymakers are back home preparing for La Rentrée (return to school for pupils and students). Yearly big reports are made on TV about this event as if it was the highlight of the calendar. I remember the fear that all this fuss created in me when I was a school girl, with new books and stationery to purchase which must conform to the edicts of teachers and schools. The worry it instilled in my peers and me in case we would be punished because Mothers had bought the wrong pencil, the wrong colour notebook, etc...!! It is also a costly business as it is estimated that French parents spend every year €450 per child to kit their offsprings out. Low income families are given grants to cope with this expense. The Five then drove to another restaurant also unexpectedly closed to end up at the casino restaurant... with a frosty welcome as they are not gamblers... Still the food was good and reasonably priced since it is subsidised by the gamblers obliviously losing their money. "Le malheur des uns fait le bonheur des autres".

DAY 5 - Wednesday - Does French Gastronomy still exist? That is the question...
In a region where most eateries are Creperies serving buckwheat galettes as staple food, in a country where from north to south one is more likely to find pizzerias, Turkish kebabs or hamburger joints... (McDonald had the biggest growth in the number of its restaurants in France for many years) and where it is now fashionable to have "Fish & Chips" on the menu, followed by “Fruit Crumble”... (F even saw "Trifle" on a restaurant menu last week and Shhhh..., the French do not know that these desserts have been served for years in the UK before reaching their plates!), it is increasingly hard to find “fine dining” restaurants... To come back to "The Five"... The Trio had been cycling for 5 days in a row since leaving their homes. F&F thought that perhaps it was time to have a day off the saddle, mostly as the weather forecast religiously read by Liz each morning, was promising rain by 11 am. Decision to go to the restaurant by car or cycle was put on the breakfast table. By 11 am the rain had not turned up... intrepid Pam said "Let's cycle!". And it was a mad scrum to the bikes to get to the reserved table at Auberge du Manoir for 1 o'clock.... With a distance of only 10-12 miles, it was not going to be a big challenge. However, the wind decided to be part of the show and... two miles down the road, the rain joined in... too late to turn back and go by car... only one thing to do was to stop and put waterproofs on... of course F&F waterproofs trousers are in England and it would have to be wet legs for them. Still rain water is said to be good for the skin. The Five arrived at the Auberge at 12:45 with time to get changed, freshened up and looking more like humans than the drowned ducks they had become... The cycle journey had opened The Five's appetite and a delicious meal of traditional French cuisine was enjoyed by all. Auberge du Manoir is certainly the best restaurant in the area with a discreet but attentive service, consistently offering a great experience in fine dining for the princely sum of 15.80 euros for a 3-course meal. Yet 10 mls away in the coastal touristy resorts, one has to part with 12 euros for a very thin galette and surly waiters... Meanwhile the rain had settled in outside and no matter how long The Five made their meal lasts... all the other diners having left, the Five had to face it.... and return to Frehel in pouring rain. Unfortunately the home journey is always more trying because of the hills.... still after a warm shower and a cup of tea, The Five were soon back to their chatter reminiscing over "this and that" with some alcoholic concoctions in their right hand... and hot soup for dinner.

DAY 6 – Thursday - Lamballe - Pleneuf.
A fair weather forecast was announced for Thursday and Frank took the lead for F&F's prettiest ride in the area. The morning ride to Lamballe was easy, mostly downwards with a stop at St-Aaron where the only Cafe/Bar/Tobacconist/Newsagent/Bread-seller/etc... had re-opened after its 3-weeks' break. Seeing it closed on each of their reccies, F&F had misgivings that they would ever count it as a coffee stop and thought it was another casualty of the Drink and Drive law... After a coffee break and a chat with the St-Aaron Club Cyclists enjoying their Pastis for aperitif, Françoise turned down an offer to join their club in the knowledge that she would never make the average speed of this “muscly” and hardened bunch... Lamballe was soon reached and The Five visited the small sleepy town on bike after their picnic by a man-made lake which protects the town from flooding. Lamballe is still the proud owner of 91 "lavoirs" (wash-houses) built along the river, the sight of which led the ladies to chat about laundry duties in times by-gone. Françoise reminisced about the hard washing days on the farm... as all the implements of the pre-automatic washing machine were on display in the old lavoirs... today's youngsters would not have a clue how to use these... the one element missing was the chatter that must have been heard all down the stream as the Lavandieres gossiped and laughed and shouted at each others to be heard above their bashing noises of the clothes to wring the water out of them. French country ladies never had a clothes wringers or spinners like their English counterparts just a kind of wooden bat... The Five then continued into the town looking at the medieval houses. For the return journey, Frank had chosen to go via the traffic-free coastal road. One of the prettiest roads along the Emerald Coast which starts with a beautiful view over the Baie of St-Brieuc. Before this, some very big lumps had to be climbed on a busy road with pesky lorries menacingly rumbling along about their business. Tea stop was at the charming leisure harbour of Dahouet with its many sailing and motor boats seemingly permanently moored there, waiting for their owners to come back at weekends or perhaps only during the next holiday if they live afar. So far it had been an ideal warm sunny cycling day. However a few rain drops were soon felt on the Five's bare limbs and they had to press on to move faster than the dark grey clouds. Their enemy, the wind, was far more efficient and speedier at pushing the clouds above their heads than the Five's legs at pushing the pedals; so by Pleneuf, the battle was lost and the Five were soon drenched to the bones mostly F&F who had totally failed to bring any waterproofs whatsoever, not even their jackets.... as if they did not know the area! Many hills remained on the way home and the beautiful sea views of St-Pabu Beach and Erquy Harbour had to be ignored in the rush back to Pleherel. Dinner that night was at La Himbert, whose waiter had the audacity of saying that their “Fish & Chips” was better than in the UK... when what they actually served was a triangular shape flat piece of supposedly cod more likely to be found in Iceland freezers than in any self-respecting Fish & Chips shops. Tripadvisor readers have been notified accordingly.
Photos Day 6

Day 7 - Friday – No cycling
By now, Liz had taken control of the weather forecasts and was checking several times daily ... so far Liz's predictions had been pretty accurate... and whilst Pam, the ever-optimist, would rather cycle whatever the weather, followed by Terry, a very hardened cyclo-tourist, the other three were not so keen in getting soaked for a third time... Liz's announcement at breakfast that it would rain heavily by 11 am was taken seriously as 11 am was the necessary departure time for Thursday's activities. 11 o'clock came without rain... what to do? To cycle or not to cycle... by 11:10, it was raining... that was going to be an enforced day off the bike. Frank offered to drive to a restaurant with a Menu "ouvriers" (workers menu) and The Five drove to The Guildony Restaurant at Notre-Dame-le-Guildo which F&F visit now and again and where they always receive a warm welcome by the French patronne, who has learned English and worked in Jersey. The Terrific Trio were expecting some canteen decor and tasteless nosh when in fact the large dinning room is smart and regularly modernised whilst the 3-course menu proved to be tasty with freshly cooked offerings. The menu of the day - which changes daily - was "Paupiettes de Veau" or "Supreme de Volaille aux Champignons". After a self-service first-course of crudités, salad, melon and charcuterie, the chosen main course is served promptly, so is dessert and coffee as the workers the restaurant mainly caters for at lunchtime, have to be back at their occupation within the hour. With drinks included and a bottomless basket of bread, the cost is just 11.80 euros, which is paid with luncheon vouchers by the workers and with poor value euros for the British tourists such as the Five, as the £/€ exchange rate is currently at its lowest. Still even at parity, these menus remain good value if one compares with what £10 or £11 buys in London eateries. With the drop in temperatures at night, the barbecue was rendered useless to cook dinner and cooking operations had to be transferred back to the kitchen!

Day 8 - Friday - Frank's "A" training ride and last cycling day for The Five.
Sandwiches were packed, weather forecast was to be good for all the day... Frank took the lead, first for a stage of flat roads to warm up the weary leg muscles and continued to Erquy and its fishing harbour. Scallop fishing is particularly important in the Baie of St-Brieuc and in season, the fans of the big shells can purchase them at the local Erquy supermarkets for a couple of euros per kg, yet served in a restaurant, it will set you back €25 for a few scallops swimming in creamy sauce... The road for the Five increased in difficulty as a series of big hills followed but the panoramas we
re worth the calves pain resulting from the hard pushing on the pedals. A few photo stops were de rigueur so was the picnic lunch facing Plage de Saint-Pabu, now deserted and completely emptied of its holidaymakers, yet it was only 1st September. The Five continued up and down to Pleneuf and its pretty flower arrangements, then onto flattish but windy roads towards St-Aaron, passing by the gigantic wind turbines and their continuous humming, dwarfing any humans. Soon the Five were back in Frehel for a well-deserved cuppa ... having completed the course on which F&F like to practice whenever they arrive in Brittany. The last dinner was taken at Le Petit Bouchot, originally a mussels eatery, which now also serves Fish & Chips, but this time, prepared as it should be. It is probably too late now in Pre-Brexit days, for French chefs to train in Britain's best fish & chips shops... so if you see Fish & Chips on a French restaurant menu, be ware before ordering!  

DAY 9 - Sunday - The Terrific Trio return to Portsmouth.
Sunday started as a very miserable and rainy day which would have prohibited any cycling should The Trio had stayed longer. Under the rain, The Terrific Trio joined the Brittany Ferries' queue at St-Malo to board the Bretagne Ferry for their day-long journey back to England.

During the week 24/8 to 2/9, The Five cycled:
- 423 km
- with 4239 m elevation
- and burned approx. 7000 calories each (based on Francoise's measurements). 
- Sorry but we have no record of calories input even less of beverages drunk during the same period. Let us just say that both were high enough...
- during their reccies in July and until 26 August, F&F rode 1,315 kms on the traffic-free Breton roads.

F&F 🚴🚴 thank The Terrific Trio 🚴🚴🚴 for their visit and the motivation it gave them to get seriously back on their bikes....🚴🚴🚴🚴🚴


Thursday, September 07, 2017

Cobham to Beaconsfield with a well deserved cup of tea at Shepperton

Ten A riders set off from Cobham on Wednesday with the promise of a swift ride to 
Beaconsfield for lunch. A tall order given that lunch was over 30 miles away. The route took us through New Haw, Windsor Park, Dorney and on towards Beaconsfield past Clivedon Hall and final climb up a narrow lane to lunch at The Royal Standard of England, where British history was rearranged and ‘comforting’ jokes were told. Mike set off early for home whilst the rest of the group did a back double to Beaconsfield and tea at Shepperton via Fulmer and Iver. Tea at 4.20 pm, which was good going. Well done to the group for sticking together and riding at a good pace. Thanks to Dave for backmarking and Simon for the map and stats.


59 miles, 2020 feet of ascent from 11s to tea.