Wednesday, October 31, 2018

A Group 31st October. Weybridge.

It was just a perfect day - for the hills. Sunny, dry, bright with a slight autumnal nip in the air.

Staple Lane, Pitch Hill, Leith Hill and Box Hill were on the agenda. However we didn't vouch for the road closure up from Shere, at the junction of Hound House Road and Hook Lane. No matter, Mark was able to guide us along quiet lanes via Burrows Cross into Peaslake. Whilst the planned climb up Pitch Hill would have been a gentle gradient, the ramp-up from Peaslake along Walking Bottom to rejoin the route was a bit of a shock to the system. But with a fast descent to lunch at the Bulls Head meant we hadn't lost much time.

Our route from Weybridge took 16 of us through Row Town, West Byfleet, Pyrford and Ripley, with a stop for a breather at Send Prison. Then it was up Staple Lane. Unfortunately Geoff had to scratch with a knee injury, handing over back-marking to Dave Vine. Still he enjoyed an early tea at his favourite teashop (Pinnocks) waiting for his chauffeur home!

Mike Morley made it 16 again at the Bulls Head, Ewhurst, tucking into his 'Seniors Lunch'

Then it was the third climb of the day up Leith Hill, shortly followed by Box Hill - where the fast climbers waited for the tail-enders - (one needing a sit-down!)

Eight made it to tea at Destination Bikes, where, after tea and cakes, we drooled over the bike bling on offer.

35miles, with 994m of ascent made for challenging, but enjoyable riding. Lets hope it's a foretaste of winter riding.

Thanks to the back-markers and corner makers keeping the show on the road.

Check-out our route.

B Group - 31st October (map and photo)

I know that this map is a bit more fuzzy than usual
Quite a bunch of characters

A most enjoyable ride with Terry. No sign of any rain at all although it was cool and B Group seems to have decided en masse that the long-trouser weather is very much with us now. Lovely shades of Autumn on the Basingstoke Canal.

B group, 31st October

A chilly, sunny but dry start to the day for the ride to 11s at Weybridge. After phoning through our lunch orders to The New Inn, Send, twenty of us set off through the residential area of Addlestone to Woodham, then joined the canal towpath at West Byfleet, leaving it at Hermitage bridge. That was a very pleasant, quiet, scenic five miles or so. We then turned into Blackhorse Road, shortly turning into Saunders Lane and 'following our noses' to Old Woking, when, after turning into Broadmead Road we soon arrived The New Inn. Here 'part-timers' Toni/ys D'I and Hooker were waiting for us. Food was good and served quickly.

With the changing of the clocks we had less time for an afternoon ride so I had planned/hoped for 3s at The Patisserie at Stoke D'Abernon. Despite a fairly direct route of  Potter's Lane, Vicarage Lane, Tythbarns Lane, Hungry Hill Lane and Ockham Lane we didn't arrive before closing time so some of us went to Squires Garden Centre, then headed for home.

Special thanks to not very well Tim for tec and numerous corner markers, it makes leader's job that much easier. Thanks all for company, hope you enjoyed it.


Easy Riders - Weybridge & Charlton

A nice sunny start and nine Easy Riders set off from elevenses for a gentle exploration of the byways and river banks of Chertsey and Shepperton, ending up at The Harrow, Charlton.  This proved to be a popular choice - the food prices are very reasonable, the menu has plenty of choice, and the two meals for £10 option was road-tested by most of the group!  I think the Easy Riders will be visiting here again!  The return route was through pleasant autumn sunshine to Shepperton, Sunbury, Hampton and Bushy Park to Hampton Court where we went our different ways.  25 miles for me so more for everyone else, I would think.  Thanks for your company and see you again soon!

A Group 31st October

A very enjoyable ride from Ged today, over the hills with a brilliant display of Autumn foliage in the bright sunshine.  A brisk run to tea, and a scurry to get home in the light.

Winter draws on, as they say...


Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Easy Riders - Weds 31 October 2018

The Easy Riders' lunch stop will be at The Harrow, Charlton (Middx), with tea at Hampton Court.  A mainly flat route with almost the only relief (ha ha!) being provided by several road and foot bridges.  All welcome!

Petition. Fairer funding for Surrey’s roads!

Please sign this everybody (if you haven’t already):

Monday, October 29, 2018

A Group Ride from Weybridge - 31st October.

Our winter schedule has now kicked-in, so there'll be a shorter ride after lunch: in fact just like last week! However, there are a few hills to keep us warm.
Lunch is at The Bulls Head, Ewhurst, with tea at Destination Bike, Box Hill.

You'll probably be home before dark - plenty of time for your trick-or-treat.

B group ride 31st October lunch....

....will be at the New Inn, Send.

 Please look at their on-line menu and e-mail me your choice or see me before 1100 on Wednesday - I have to phone our choices through.


Friday, October 26, 2018

B Group ride, 24/10/2018

The rides from Elleray Hall are always well attended, so it should have been no surprise that 27 of us set out in some really very pleasant weather for our trip to Mugswell. Passing through Bushy Park we had to slow and stop whilst a flock (if that’s the correct word) of geese crossed the road towards the fountain; moving on we cycled to Ewell Village via Hampton Court, Thames Ditton, Surbiton, Chessington and West Ewell.

From Ewell, the climbing started and we took the Banstead Road, which is a long, slow climb, nearly two miles, this however lead to B2217 another climb up to Banstead Village itself.  Here some of the group departed, as previously advised, leaving 17 of us to descend Holly Lane and then continue climbing up the B2032 from Chipstead to Kingswood. Rather than cycle on the A217 we used the pavement running alongside, to Chipstead Lane and onto the pub.

I had said to the pub that we aimed to arrive between 01.00 and 01.30 pm, in fact arriving 5 minutes before the latter, where we met Mike Morley who had made his own way there. The pub coped very well with the large group, we were ushered into the ‘snug’ which had been put aside for us. The food soon started arriving from the kitchen, the portions certainly being generous.

Within an hour, we were back on our way, retracing our steps until a crossing on the Brighton Road. We went from Mill Road to Walton on the Hill, down Ebbisham Lane and Hurst Road and into Ashtead Park via the Headley Road.  Passing alongside the grounds of the City of London Freeman’s School we exited the park and into Ashtead. From the village, we used the level crossing to take us towards and into Epsom Common where we took tracks that took us close to the Old Moat Garden Centre on Horton Lane. Here the 8 that stopped for tea sat outside and finished off the day with good refreshments.

An undulating ride, thanks to everyone that came along, great company and good weather.  As always, thanks to those that marked corners that enabled the ride to keep moving along, and also to Jennie for back marking.  Apologies for the group photo being in two, the best I could do to get everyone in.

~ David

PS Apologies if you couldn't see the photos before now, hopefully fixed now.  Simon.

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

A group ride to Sunninghill, 24 Oct

I was initially worried that the promised sunshine would not materialise, but after a cloudy start from Teddington the weather perked up and 16 (or so) of us had a lovely, sunny, relaxing and uneventful ride (a good word when applied to bike rides). We got to the Dog & Pheasant in Sunninghill a bit early (is this is a first?) and we were sipping tea in Walton by 3.15! Sorry if the ride was a bit too short and a bit too flat for some - more hills next time! Many thanks to David Vine for back-marking, to Janice for the pictures, and to all the excellent corner-markers. 👍🚲

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Hilly 50 Sat 8 Sept 2018

This should really go on the SWLDA Blog but no one reads it. I will put it there soon (less I forget).

We have received a nice thank you letter from St. Raphael's for the princely sum of £70 raised. See below.
For the benefit of all and our editor Paul I would like you to note that I raised a total of £1047 + notional Gift Aid of £475 for St. Raphael's Hospice in the Prudential 100. It is in my opinion a very worthy cause and I hope that the Hilly 50 in 2019 will be much better supported for the same cause.

Monday, October 22, 2018

A group, Wed 24th October, a relaxing ride to Windsor in the autumn sunshine!

From Teddington (Elleray Hall) we will head through Bushy Park, past the historic and no-longer-smelly Hampton Waterworks and along the riverside to Old Shepperton, then through Chertsey, Thorpe, and Egham. After Egham we will ascend via Tite Hill (the only real climb of the day so you can afford to go for it!) to the beautiful Windsor Great Park and on to Sunninghill for lunch at the Dog & Partridge (total 21 miles to lunch). After lunch we will head back via Windlesham, Longcross, Addlestone and Weybridge for tea at the Riverside Barn Café in Walton (just 16 relaxing miles after lunch). If anyone would like the GPX file just email me and I'll send it to you.

B Group ride, Wednesday 24th October

Wednesday’s ride will take us from Teddington to lunch at the Well House Inn pub in Mugswell. After lunch, we go along well known lanes for afternoon tea at the Old Moat, Horton lane. There is quite a bit of climbing, particularly in the morning, and some sections of tracks. About 20 miles to do before lunch, 11 miles to get to tea, so please be ready to leave promptly at 11.00.
Look forward to seeing you all.


Thursday, October 18, 2018

B Group - 17th Oct. and Freewheel Competition

Recovering in The Royal Oak
"I didn't know it could fly ..."
"Gosh, look at it!"
"Now I'll have to rewrite my letter to Santa."
"Apparently these work quite well in tubeless tyres."
The smile says it all, a great achievement
Craftsman Ed flanked by his creations
Map to show where it all happened

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

A ride and Freewheel Competition

We all had a lot of fun today, depite the drizzly rain. A treat was a rally of old MG cars running past us into the bargain. Congratulations to Jennie Jackson and Dave Bartholomew for winning the coveted hand made, bespoke, trophies produced by Ed Sharp. One day when you are older you'll look at them and remember a happy time. Congratulations also to the runners up who missed the prize by a whisker, Janice Dawes and Mike Reynell who both received valuable spare inner tubes! My spares have all got more than a few patches. Many thanks to Terry Lowe the competition master and the official 'launcher' Tony Hooker-good job. Of course Mark Gladwyn sailed 50 metres past the farthest distance on his whizzy tubeless tyres. Fortunately he's not competing anymore, but I really must get me some of those tyres!

After the prize presentation at Brockham Green, followed a brisk ride to lunch at the Surrey Oaks. Check out the real ale menu. Wow £10 a pint! Reassuringly expensive to a connoisseur I am sure. I think we were all glad to get into the warmth of the restaurant area. Despite the chef having his day off and the bacon and brie sandwiches coming with blue cheese instead, everything went well. Interestingly we met Paul and Vicky Kelly who belong to the club, but haven't been riding for a while. Both looked very well anyway. After lunch three steep hills to keep us warm and tea at Caffe Italia Banstead, by which time it stopped raining. My thanks go as usual to all the professionals marking the corners and to Simon as back marker who also came very close to winning a prize in the Freewheel Competition.

Free wheel competition

Some of you may not realise it but today's competition is thanks to Ed Sharp. Some years ago he asked the then Secretary, Steve Bott, 'Why don't we have a free wheel competition ?' Steve then organised one for several years until he left the area.

More recently with more girls competing they have had their own awards, Pam, Steph and Angie have won a few times. The boys' competition has been won by Keith Rook and the late John Mason a few times each but now Mark Gladwyn wins though he generously forgoes the award. The winners' awards are always a unique carving thanks to Ed and runners-up receive a tube (today's boys' runner-up was on tubeless !).

Having used Norwood Hill and Root Hill for a few years I decided it was time for a change. I checked out the unnamed hill in the narrow Tilehurst Lane three times and it  seemed fine - the only road users I saw were two cyclists and two deafish walkers. However, when riding up the hill with B group today we were overtaken by an MG car rally (about twenty strong) and during the competition two large tractors headed into an adjacent field. 

I set off first, followed by Jennie (the girl who went furthest). Mark passed next and disappeared round the corner at a reasonable speed. Janice was runner-up (unfortunately Pam couldn't make it today, she was busy mending a puncture in the middle of Weybridge). Dave Bartholomew won the boys' award and Mike Reynell ran up. Fortunately the only delay was suffered by Tim Court who met a car crossing the stream bridge.

Thanks to Tony Hooker and Jennie for assisting, hope you all enjoyed your day.


Monday, October 15, 2018

Secure your bike?

Image may contain: bicycle and text

Mmmm, happens a lot.

A Ride 17th October from Dorking

We will have a short ride to Tilehurst Lane for the rolling, rolling, rolling, finishing on the green at Brockham. Then we have another short section to The Surrey Oaks s for lunch. After lunch we'll be finishing at Caffe Italia in Banstead for tea and cake? There are two bike racks across the road and two on the corner in the High street, hopefully they will do.

Christmas Lunch 2018

The dates of the 2018 Christmas Lunch are:

    🎄 5 December (A Group)
    🎄 12 December (B Group).

    Pam has organised a booking at The Angel, Thames Ditton, where we were looked after very well last year.

    It does get full, so please get your bookings to Pam asap.   Put cash in an envelope with your name, menu choices and the date of your meal (5th or 12th), and hand it to 🎅 Pam.

    Sunday, October 14, 2018

    Mallorca in October

    We've been back to Mallorca, with the enthusiasm of recent converts, and we've had a good time again.  This time we drove down, which made it easy to transport the tandem, and gave the opportunity to eat a couple of fancy meals and to buy some wine on the way back.  All good, then.

    We went over from Toulon on the night boat, which was convenient and comfortable, and not long after breakfast on the day of arrival we were riding out to the lighthouse at Formentor.  Spectacular road, but far too busy, even in the off season, and after that we stuck to routes that I had made for my GPS using the 'Bike Mallorca' map that Dave Jackson had recommended.  That was much better.

    We covered a fair bit of the North of the island, sticking mostly to quiet roads where there was little traffic but quite a few bikes.  Many villages had 'cycle friendly' signs and cafes to match, so it's much better than, say, Provence, where suitable stops are few and far between.

    Given the terrible flash floods in Sant Llorenc des Cardassar people may be interested in the weather. It was pretty good.  Of our seven riding days, four were very sunny, with blue skies and temperatures in the upper twenties.  For the other three, the generally-accurate met office forecast rain or storms in the afternoon.  So we could ride every day, and took our breakfast outside in the sun every day.

    Checking the weather patterns for Mallorca I find that flash floods of this type occur every couple of years, and that fatalities sometimes result, though rarely on the scale of this year.  October is the month in which they most frequently happen, and they are very localised.  Worth knowing, though there's little to be done, other than keep an eye on the weather forecast.

    So, would we do it again?  Yes, we had a very good time, and there's a big slice of the South of the island that we haven't seen at all yet.  Always good to have something to look forward to!


    Thursday, October 11, 2018

    Down Hill Competition

    This coming Wednesday, the 17th, is the highlight of the Wayfarers year with the traditional Downhill Freewheel competition.

    So all you budding OAP, or younger, Froomes get your tyres inflated to max and your aero positions sorted and go for broke to win the Sou'Westers most prestigious trophy designed and manufactured by our own highly skilled Craftsman, none other than our own Ed Sharpe.
    Do keep it sensible, it's only a bit of fun.

    B Group - 10th October

    On the hottest October day in one hundred years (I asked Vic if he remembered it) nineteen riders left Addlestone for Camberley, the route took us through Windlesham and Bagshot. The Pennyhill Park path proved challenging but fairly dry. We stopped for a photo of the TV relay tower then onto Wetherspoons which was up to the usual standard apart from Tony’s on line order going astray .

    Tea stop was a bit later due to a detour by the back half of the group, sorry!

    Thanks to Tim for back marking, to the other corner markers and especially to Vic for his help, otherwise we would have ended up in the Midlands.



    B Group with the TV Relay Station on Bagshot Heath
    The ascent of Penny Hill, Bagshot Heath
    Tony did his recce in a car and this was the result

    Off piste, in both senses of the word
    Guess who Robert and I bumped into on the way home ?
    ~ Tim

    A Gravelly Group Ride to Ickenham - 10 Oct

    Heathrow is a big barrier to us riding northwards towards Buckinghamshire and Hertfordshire, and the roads around it are busy. My aim for this ride was to explore any off-road routes to Ickenham. To my surprise I found there were many tracks and paths, mostly cyclable, rarely signposted, and not always marked on maps. As with many cycle paths they don’t always (ever?) link up. Also there are barriers to discourage misuse by motorbikes, which are ok for a conventional bike but cause delays for a big group, and can be a struggle for anything unusual, even wide handlebars. However once on the paths they feel quite remote and are certainly preferable to heavy fast moving traffic.

    Fourteen of us set off from Addlestone on a bright sunny day, with a tailwind, almost perfect conditions for cycling. Parts of my route to Staines was borrowed from a recent Dave Bartholomew ride, and also from last week’s B ride. Past Staines we were on the old railway track alongside the M25, mostly nicely surfaced thanks to Thames Water. Near Poyle we diverted into the Heathrow Biodiversity Area with a reasonable gravel surface, and open views of planes taking off overhead.

    At the appropriately named Mad Bridge we crossed into another ecology site near Harmondsworth, this one managed by BA, eventually emerging at Thorney. Thereafter the route got more fragmented, bit still rideable thanks to Affinity Water, taking us to Yiewsley, and a mixture of on- and off-road skirting Brunel University and Uxbridge and Hillingdon Athletics Stadium to cross the A40 and join the Celandine Trail, this bit nicely surfaced, to Ickenham.

    We had passed through 9 barriers (must be a record). Unfortunately we suffered two punctures and one bent derailleur hanger, all of which delayed us, so it was a hungry peloton which wheeled into the Coach and Horses at 2pm.

    The sun was warm in the garden, and food served quickly, which helped us get back on the road just after 3.The route back was intended to be quick, using the excellent A40 cycle track, a bit of Grand Union towpath, and back roads to Osterley Park and Richmond Bridge by 4.30; the only hazard being the unusually high tide flooding the riverside. 

    Twelve stayed to soak up more sun outside for tea.

    Thanks to Ged for back marking, all the corner markers on a twisty route, and Simon for photos.

    Only 33.5 miles, though the gravel made it feel like more, 11.1 mph moving, and a massive 940ft of climbing.

    Tuesday, October 09, 2018

    QUIZ: How are your group cycling skills?

    Just for fun - we are pleased to announce an ANONYMOUS quiz about how you ride in groups.   You get to give a score for yourself, and also for the others in your group,   We don't ask for any names and don't store any info about you personally.  We will attempt to summarise the results in a future Sou'Wester.  It should take about ten minutes to answer the questions, and another two hours to discuss the results with your friends, should you choose.

    If you'd like to do the quiz, click here.  Please don't enter any names in the comments either!

    Easy Riders - 3 October 2018

    Rather belatedly here are a couple of pictures from last Wednesday's ride (Cobham - Leatherhead - Horton Park).   Thanks to all for your company, but special thanks to John Bellamy for his help.

    Monday, October 08, 2018

    A Ride from Addlestone

    On Wednesday we will be heading north from Addlestone to the Coach & Horses at Ickenham ( There are several stretches off-road, some on tarmac, some on gravel, in fact a wide selection of different types of gravel. Nothing technical; I rode the recce on 25mm tyres. No hills. Tea at Richmond Bridge Tide Tables.