Thursday, January 31, 2019

Newsletter from Hôtel de la Plage, Dieppe

Pam has received this newsletter from la Plage. Make of it what you will. It is a reminder to think about this year's Dieppe Raid and those lovely scenic descents into the Three Valleys.

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

A Group Ride from Weybridge 30th January.

There were seven As when I took the attendance register at elevenses, with five of us eventually setting out for Wraysbury. Along the way at Addlestone Pete said hello to a cat sunning itself on a warm car-bonnet - a wise position judging by the departure temperature!
Pete and warm cat.
The blog's precautions on the downhills was heeded as we made our way to Englefield Green, where we stopped at the recently completed War Memorial in St. Judes churchyard. This Memorial was promoted by the local Residents Association to commemorate Village sons who died in combat during the First and Second World Wars - and subsequent wars thereafter. It's the newest in the UK. Details of the project can be found at
Sitting amongst the seven granite columns of the Memorial.
We arrived at The George, Wraysbury via Old Windsor and Datchet, and had plenty of time for lunch before departing at 1.30pm.

Midday sunshine at the George.

Bisecting Staines Reservoir.

An unfamiliar route across Staines Reservoir, on a good gravel path, aroused lots on interest from the quartet, not least because it afforded some unusual long-distance views of Heathrow airport, with the tail-fins of BA jets alongside T5. (The path is normally a venue for bird-watchers looking-out for water-fowl, but doesn't seem to restrict cyclists. Thanks to Tony Hopkins for sharing this route).

An early tea beckoned at the Riverhouse Barn cafe, Walton - which we had all to ourselves. Delicious cakes, but alas no kiddies prices.

Thanks to the hardy souls (foolhardy?) who joined me for this end of January ride. And to Pete - who had an easy ride back-marking 3 others.

The weather was sunny all day. For those staying at home it was probably a sensible decision; the worst of the icy surfaces, we agreed, were on the early-start way out to elevenses.

Why so many photos? With less than half a peloton, the boys were happy to pose at every opportunity.

'B's' Ride - Wednesday 30 January 2019

It was a sunny but very cold and icy start, just as promised, and many Easy Riders took the wise decision to stay indoors!    Just six hardy 'B' riders (Vic, Tony, Pam, Gill, and Ray W) assembled at Weybridge for my ride and David Vine joined us from the 'A's'.    In view of the conditions I abandoned the planned trip to Windlesham and we settled instead for a shorter ride to Staines.  Even leaving Weybridge we came across some very nasty ice and I was glad we had decided not to venture into more rural climes.   Vic abandoned us at Addlestone having had irreconcilable differences with his front tyre!   That left six of us to soldier on to lunch.   Although they did not say so, I think the group were impressed by the diverse landmarks we passed en route (viz Shepperton Studios and Bronzefield Prison)!   Our entry into Staines, by the Shortwood Common footpath, was a bit different anyway.  Thanks to Pam for showing us the back way from Knowle Green into town.   Lunch at The George was probably slightly below the usual Wetherspoons standard, but one of us (not me, I hasten to add) enjoyed two glasses of wine for the price of one so wasn't complaining!    Dave V left us at lunch and the rest of us followed the river to Shepperton for tea.   Thanks to all for your company.

Good Morning "A" & "B" riders.

Greetings from Walton on the Hill. It's a very beautiful sunny morning with blue sky, just the sort of day for a walk in the mountains or skiing! I wish all riders a safe journey but sadly I will not be venturing out on the bike this morning we have quite a lot of snow and although I have not ventured out onto the main road yet the side roads here are very dangerous!
Have a good day I look forward to ride reports.

Update - 'B' Ride Wednesday 30 January 2019

Well, it could have turned out much worse!   However, my two tests for pretty cold weather (frozen bird bath and frozen dustbin lids) have both been met in full for the first time this winter!  Final decision is reserved until I have ridden to elevenses but the plan is now for a relatively short but quirky ride from Weybridge to The George at Staines, as I am not a great fan of either cold temperatures or ice!

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

A Group Ride and Weather.

The latest (9.00pm) BBC weather for Windsor indicates sleet overnight, freezing up to 9am,  2 degrees by 11am - and sunshine thereafter.

I plan to run the ride as planned as set out below. However I am providing this information so that you can make your own decision. (I'm a believer in 'see what the day brings').

Overall the planned ride is relatively flat, certainly after lunch. It is also mainly on trafficked roads that local councils could reasonably be expected to have gritted. However for those concerned with possible dangerous road conditions the main worry is obviously on descents.

There are four main descents to lunch. Most descents have gentle gradients: depending on the road condition riders will nevertheless wish to proceed with extra caution. I have therefore listed these descents to give you some advanced warning before the day. In addition I have added my two Garmin routes of the planned ride - from Weybridge to lunch at Wraysbury, and Wraysbury to Walton-on-Thames.

1. B386 Longcross Road - (Trys Hill) : left hand bend towards Chertsey Common.

2. Thrumpsgreen Road and Wellington Road - (Knowle Hill), towards Virginia Water.

3. Bakeham Lane - (Callow Hill) - gentle descent towards Englefield Green.

4. A328 - (Priest Hill) - a straight potentially fast descent with a sharp left on the B3021 to Old Windsor.

Garmin route:- Weybridge to Wraysbury

Garmin route:- Wraysbury to Walton-on-Thames

In all, I doubt if the conditions for this ride will be any worse than some previous wintry Wayfarer rides. My mob. if needed 07986 254073

Take care - and safe cycling.

'B' Ride Wednesday 30 Jan 2019

The weather forecasts  keep changing, and snow now seems less of a threat in this area tonight (please don't blame me if they're wrong!), but minor roads and paths are still likely to be icy tomorrow morning following overnight rain.   Tomorrow will also be a very cold day, just for a change!   I was planning a 'B' ride to Windlesham but the reserve destination is  The George at Staines if we need to keep it safer and shorter!

Sorry for the uncertainty but I will post an update by 8.00 am tomorrow.

Monday, January 28, 2019

A Group Ride from Weybridge - 30th January

Our ride is north-west for lunch at The George, Wraysbury, with the planned tea stop at the Riverhouse Barn cafe, Walton-on-Thames.

We have a room booked at the pub, and if needed, internet addicts can log-on: - The George 1, Password: wraysbury1.

19 miles to lunch and a bit less to tea. Only a short section of an elevated path of firm, dry gravel, the rest on road. Wrap-up well!

Friday, January 25, 2019

Wednesday B Ride

7 riders including some A riders who joined us (as their A ride was cancelled) the weather was dry and cold but not frosty

We cycled to Horley via Leigh and stopped for lunch at the Jack Fairman. Wetherspoons was up to the usual standard and some ordered the Robert Burns  meal which was on special, Mark also joined us for lunch.

5 of us continued to the tea stop at Pistachios in Banstead, our route to tea took us through Merstram and passed the now de-funct Fannys Farm

Thanks to everyone who braved the weather and to the two back markers David and Ged.

Tony Hooker

C&M New Year Lunch - 10 February

C and M Annual Lunch - 10 February

See link below for details

For those last minute dot commers who have not yet signed up for lunch at the Angel, Pam will be available to collect your menu choices and cash on Wednesday, 30 January. She will also be at the C and M elevenses on Sunday 27 Jan and Sunday 3 Feb. Please do not leave it to the last minute.


Thursday, January 24, 2019

Invitation to enter the 2018 Photo Competition

Further to the great popularity of our photo competitions since we went digital we invite you to take part again this year.

Please submit your photos before the end of January.

Please use this method for sending photos to us:

Visit this website: "Competition Dropbox" and follow the instructions to choose and deliver your photos.

N.B. When using this website to post photos to the Dropbox it is not necessary to sign up to or log into Dropbox even if you are invited to do so.

For each photo, where it asks for your name please supply these two pieces of information (instead of your name):
  1.      a word to specify the category, from the list below, e.g. 'Action'
  2.      your CUK membership number 
 Send an email to me, Tim, to provide information about each photo:
  1.      the photo filename (e.g. P1040276.jpg)
  2.      a caption which we will inscribe on your photo
The rules and categories are simple. The full 'Competition Rules' document is available under the 'Information Hub' heading on our website.

Competition Period: Photos taken during the 2018 calendar year.

Your photos must all illustrate a connection to cycling by depicting a bicycle for example, or some obvious cycling association.

You may submit two photos in each category:

  •     6.1. Male      one or more male cyclists
  •     6.2. Female    one or more female cyclists
  •     6.3. Action    cyclist(s) in action
  •     6.4. Scenery   scenery or landscape
  •     6.5. Building  buildings, architecture
  •     6.6. Humorous  funny or amusing
  •     6.7. Group     any mix of male and female cyclists
Note that the award for a winning photograph in each category will be given to the photographer who took the picture, not to the model(s).

This method for submitting photos should work with any device (PC, Apple, iPad, iPhone, Tablet or Android phone) but if it doesn't  work for you, or if you don't use a digital camera, please let me know so that we can address the problem.

~ Tim

Postcards from Vietnam

You may have wondered if we all perished in Vietnam but not only did we survive the trip, most of us are home now after spending a few more days in Hanoi for some, Singapore for others, and New Zealand for two special people. Our Dear Leader is Lam:

Lam introducing us to Dragon Fruit
Evening arrival in Mui Né
Wayfaring women
Maureen keeping the piggies out of the restaurant
Butterflies on Hon Ong (Whale Island)

Gill having a laugh on the way up the Hải Vân Pass
L'Équipe at the top (496m)
Another one for Vic, near the Temple of Literature in Hanoi
We didn't ride our bikes in Hanoi!
We all feel apologetic about not providing any sort of blog during our holiday but we were on the go the whole time and are still in recovery.

~ Tim

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Easy riders at Molesey 23.1.19

Liz lead a group of eight from North Cheam to Molesey.  Some thought had gone into her route taking us through backroads of Tolworth past the croquet lawns and a varied route through the Dittons to the Mole Centre.  Here a couple more were waiting.  After elevenses we took Burwood Road for an interesting trip
into Whiteley Village.  Straight through and out onto the Seven Hills Road where we rode the pavement for a bit before dropping through Convent Lane to Cobham.  We then looped round Cobham Park Road into The Old Plough on Station Rd.  It was packed but very cosy and helpful staff found us a comfy window table where food was served quickly.  Most returned via Oxshott and Malden Rushett.  A very good day out.  Thanks to Liz for leading us.

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

B Group Ride from Dorking 23rd January

The B Group Ride will have the lunch stop at the Jack Fairman pub in Horley, and pm tea stop in Banstead, weather permitting.

Ged Lawrenson - on behalf of Tony Hooker

(In the light of Mike Reynell's comments about unsafe weather conditions posted below I will leave it to B riders discretion as to whether they still wish to meet at elevenses, and if so, whether, in consultation with Tony, they would wish to ride).


This is to warn everybody that the A group ride tomorrow is very likely to be cancelled due to unsafe weather conditions. As of Tuesday 7.30pm there is rain/sleet/snow on the roads with freezing temperatures forecast through the night and up until 11am tomorrow. The route goes through the heart of the Surrey hills with steep ascents/descents, and unfortunately I don’t have time to plan/recce another route. I will turn up at elevenses in Dorking anyway just to tell anybody who still shows up. If the B-ride is still going ahead maybe those who still want to ride can join that group.

Winter Punctures.

This time of year with the rain and winds a lot of small particles of grave, glass get picked up by wet, muddy tyres and often embed themselves in your tyres. These can be punctures waiting to happen.

After a wet, windy ride last week I gave my bike a clean and minor service. One thing I include is to go round the tyre tread and dig out all the small embedded particles. It's surprising how many you find, I found 7 in one tyre. As the old saying goes, “prevention is better than cure”.


Monday, January 21, 2019

A group ride from Dorking Wed 23 Jan

I (MikeR) have taken over leading this ride from DaveB who is recovering from a nasty pelvic fracture after coming off at the bottom of Chapel Lane 10 days ago. Dave had already created a route so I am sticking to it. Unusually, we will head due west on the A25 for a few miles (GAPS PLEASE!) before turning south into Hollow Lane, Abinger Common, skirting Leith hill and Holmbury hill and on through Albury (nice new road surface now) to the Percy Arms at Chilworth (18 miles to lunch). The LUNCH MENU IS HERE and the
SANDWICH MENU IS PICTURED HERE. I will take food orders at elevenses so please be ready with your choice if possible. After lunch we will head north via Martha's hill, then a stint on the cycle path beside the A3, and on via Ripley and Ockham to tea at the "Medicine Garden" in Cobham (15 miles after lunch, total 33 miles, total ascent ~2,000ft). The weather forecast is dry but COLD (max 2degC)! :)

Sunday, January 20, 2019

Bright Lights for Dull Days

I know that the dark afternoons/nights are just beginning to recede but bike lights still play a part on dismal days. Some friends have gone onto dynamos and these even auto switch on when cycling on very shaded lanes. Modern lighting system for dynamos are far cry from the old dynamo that rubbed on the tyre and only ever gave a dim light and went off when you stopped, even if you got a brighter battery powered light the batteries never lasted long. Battery's were not cheap.

 The old dynamo

Modern battery powered lights are excellent, bright and batteries last a lot longer with the advent of LED's, also rechargeable from USB sockets make life simpler.

The big drawback with battery powered lights, even the rechargeable, is that you never know when the battery's will run out. So you don't run with them on until needed. Lots of cyclist now use lights on all rides dark or not.

So why not use a modern dynamo? Yes you need a wheel with a dynamo hub but they are now not expensive and provide plenty of power for modern LED lights. I have a bike with a modern dynamo and led lights (just given it to my daughter) and the output is more than sufficient to cycle down country lanes in the pitch black. Plus you can have your lights on all day without worrying about batteries going flat and modern dynamo lights can have a “stand light” function, which means the lights stays on even when you stop. This is due to the lights having a 1 farad capacitor inbuilt which charges as you cycling and will keep the lights on when stopped for around 5 minutes.

A Modern dynamo hub

Another benefit is that on modern system can also have the facility to charge you mobile phone or GPS.

According to research the drag with modern dynamos is around an extra 5 metres effort per kilometre which is not even worth thinking about.

So Easter, Birthdays or any other occasion that someone wants to buy you a prezzie, keep a dynamo and lights in mind.


Saturday, January 19, 2019

Dieppe Raid 29 June - 1st July 2019

Hello all, anyone interested in sharing a twin room at the La Plage or the Windsor for Friday night 28 June to Sunday night 30 June? Most travel by ferry from New Haven which I have never done though may give it a try this year. Alternatively I am happy to take my car and four bikes on a roof rack if anyone would find it helpful via Dover/ Calais, out early Friday morning returning late afternoon on Monday 1st July.

Friday, January 18, 2019

A Group Heat Map 2018

Sorry to be a bit late - the Heat Map isn't rigorous, as I've missed out some of the overlapping rides closer to home.  It is representative, though, and shows another good season for the Wayfarers.


Thursday, January 17, 2019

A Group Ride 15 Jan - Map

Keith, Thanks for nice ride on Wednesday. I particularly liked the route across Bookham Common, which was new to me, lunch in the dry, and the tailwind home. Map below. 24.5 miles to Headley Common where we split up, 1,800ft of climbing, Bikehike says max gradient 25% though I think that was falling out of the pub.

Quiz results! - Group Riding Skills

A while back, we offered the chance to join an exciting quiz on Group Riding Skills.

The results have been carefully analysed and tabulated by our independent scrutineer, Mr Google, and they make interesting reading.  Click here to see them.

A taster of the results
Here are the Group Ride Guidelines...

B Group 16 January - Sutton Abinger

30 miles with 1900 ft of climbing
Was it the weather or the North Downs that reduced B group size to 8 riders?

We left Hersham in slight drizzle and were soon left in the wake of the A group as they whizzed by also bound for Bookham Common.  We took the exclusive route through the gated Icklingham Road and Oxshott Way Estates and made our way over the River Mole via the Tilt wooden bridge through Downside and across Bookham Common to Effingham. In hindsight we made a good choice to do the off-road route in the relatively dry morning conditions.

We took the High Barn Road option as Dave 'Fixie' said he wanted to increase his heart rate, and then up and over Whitedown to the Volunteer at Sutton Abinger. The food service was prompt and portions were generous so we were not in a hurry to leave as the rain had settled in.

Four of us headed home via Cobham, the others went via the Dorking route. Rain had eased so we had a pleasant wind assisted ride through Shere and up and over Combe Bottom - another chance for the Fixie to build up strength.

The Magnificent Six at The Volunteer
Just as I reached home it rained hard so my wife took pity and provided tea and cakes to four bedraggled cyclists. I almost felt guilty as three cyclists set off in the gloom and the rain.

Thank you to John Austin for back-marking.  An enjoyable ride in good company.


A Group ride to Westcott

On a grey and drizzly morning, ten of us set off from Hersham towards West End Common then on to Bookham Common via Downside Common. From there we continued on to Effingham up to Ranmore and the descent of White Down. The drizzle had become a little heavier by then so we made a beeline towards Westcott along the A25 with a short detour via Balchins Lane into Westcott. We met Mark here, who had driven out as he was recovering from a tumble on Saturday, thankfully not too serious. The pub provided us with a good lunch. It was raining more heavily on our departure so we decided to skip tea. We set off via route 22 to Dorking and usual route towards Box Hill.
As the weather improved before we reached West Humble several of us decided to return via Box Hill and Headley or Walton on the Hill, fortunately I arrived home before the heavier rain set in, I hope the others were as lucky!
Thanks to Janice for backmarking and the rest for corner marking and good company.
Apologies for lack of route map or ride stats due to Garmin (or operator) malfunction.

Sheltering from the rain outside the Prince of Wales ready to depart.

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Eleven easy riders take the Thames towpath 16th January

At Sunbury Lock this morning on our way along the Thames towards Kingston.  Left to right: Young Bernard, tall Bernard, Dee (out for her first Wednesday ride with us), John B, Paul, Don, Liz, George, Frank and Sandie

Eight of us met at North Cheam this morning, with Liz having a lie-in and joining us a bit later at coffee; where we were also joined by George, young Bernard, Don and John B (while Godfrey headed home after coffee, having assisted Dee en route with adjustments to her back wheel, which was not moving freely and was making the first part of the ride very hard going).
We set off at 11.30 from Hersham, making our way north east to join the Thames towpath at Sunbury Lane, passing the QE11 reservoir.
Weather was quite mild, but a little drizzle accompanied us along the river. We crossed at Hampton Bridge, where John B developed a puncture with a loud bang.  Paul very kindly stopped to assist him; sadly they didn't make it to join us for  lunch at the Wych Elm pub in Kingston.
The welcome was warm at the pub with blazing fire, great service and delicious food.
We all went our separate ways afterwards, with Liz leading Helen, Sandie and Dee home to Stoneleigh.
Many thanks all for a pleasant ride, and to Godfrey, John B and Sandie for back marking.

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Easy riders 16 January

😊😊Planning to take a slightly wavy route from Hersham to the Wych Elm, Elm Road, Kingston for lunch tomorrow.
We've generally not been stopping off for tea in recent weeks, so everyone can get home before dark. Not much winter left now though, all the bulbs are coming up in my garden so I know spring and the longer days are on their way

Monday, January 14, 2019

A Group 16th Jan

It looks like I have planned a similar route to Ken's B group ride. Our destination is the Prince of Wales in Wescott for lunch, with tea at Walton on the Hill if anyone fancies a bit more climbing after lunch (option to return via Leatherhead and Ashtead if not). There will be some gravel through Bookham Common and route 22 to Dorking, but conditions were very good on my recce providing the tracks stay dry.

Sunday, January 13, 2019

Dave Bartholomew's mishap - Mike Reynell to lead A Group on 23rd Jan.

Dave Bartholomew had a nasty fall whilst out on a ride with Hans and Trevor on Saturday. He came off descending Chapel Lane, Westhumble, and sustained a fractured pelvis. He was taken to Redhill Hospital, and though not requiring surgery, is likely to be kept in for a few days.

Dave was due to lead the A Group from Dorking on 23rd January and obviously in no fit state to do so. (He texted me his apologies today!).

Mike Reynell has kindly offered to lead this ride at short notice.

We wish Dave a speedy recovery and hope he's back on two wheels in the not-to-distant future.

B Group - Weds 16th

A note from Ken Day

The B group ride will be going to the Volunteer Pub at Sutton Abinger for lunch. The proposed route is via Bookham Common, Effingham, and down Whitedown to the pub and then return via Shere and Clandon to either Ripley or Cobham for a tea stop; we can decide on the day.
30 miles round trip but we do have a few undulations so a prompt departure at 11 am from Hersham please.
The Volunteer Pub has requested that we advise numbers and food selection by 11 am so I will take your orders before departure. The menu is on under Lunch Menu option

Friday, January 11, 2019

Dieppe Raid - 29th June - 1st July

Entries are open - I've just found an email from Caroline Street in my spam filter.

(Various women write to me in this way, but not usually about cycling.)


Thursday, January 10, 2019

Tri-Vets - 19th June

Yes, time flies when you are enjoying yourself... three years have passed, and it's Tri-Vets time again.

Simon has booked the hall, I've been fiddling with routes, Liz and Maggie have agreed to do the catering, so there's only the weather to arrange, now.

Date for your diary:  first start  0800 19th June, Brockham Cricket Pavilion.

Old hands will know the score, for new members the 'Tri-Vets' is a CTC competition for the more experienced rider, run every three years since 1928.  A 'Vet' is a person over 50; the distance is 100 miles, which need to be completed within twelve hours.  If you succeed, you can purchase a badge, or a bar for your badge, if you've already got one.

The Wayfarers have slightly extended the concept; we do the CTC 100 mile ride, but we add on a 100km ride for those who just fancy a day out and a 50km ride for those who just want a Wednesday ride.  So there's something for everyone - even for those who just want to sit outside the pavilion in the sun.

Much more detail to come, this is just a warning order.  But, brace yourselves, Tri-Vets is coming, to a cricket pavilion near you.

Mark & Simon

Wednesday, January 09, 2019

C and M Lunch - 10 February

For details, please scroll down (it is there somewhere) or see link on the right. Sorry to impose! This post will self-destruct on 9 February.

A Group ride to Greenford and beyond....

A good sized group left Teddington for lunch at the Black Horse, canal side in Greenford. Getting there via Kingston Bridge, Richmond Park, Barnes, Kew, South Ealing and Perivale at a reasonable pace meant we arrived early and enjoyed a relaxed lunch, albeit from a limited menu due to kitchen problems. There was some frantic last minute downloading of 20% off codes before paying.
Home via the excellent tow path down the canal to Beaconsfield Ave, over Southall train bridge, through Osterley park and along Ducks Walk to the foot of Richmond Bridge. A varied ride with eagle eyed lovers of nature spotting deer, Herons, Moor Hens, lots of swans, ponies and, I’m reliably informed and I quote “ lovely Charolais cows.”
Many thanks to the corner markers and to Ged for back marking.

B Group 9th January

Not a bad start to the day, cold, but with some sunshine, and eighteen of us set off through Bushy Park, past the Diana Fountain and along the towpath to Kingston Bridge.  A serpentine passage of the town, which tested our corner-marking skills, then a short run through the back streets up to Richmond Park.  

Here we took the Tamsin Trail, rather than the road, and very pleasant it was.  A decent surface, not too busy and a ray of sunshine to cheer us on our way.  We stopped on King Henry's Mound, where Mike showed us the marker post that indicates the sight-line to St Paul's, ten miles distant, then back on the trail to Roehampton Gate.

Up through the estate to Roehampton High Street, then a mile or so further to the pub.

We fitted in nicely...

They had set a room aside for us, which was good, and, after a short delay, we were all served and well fed. 

Back on the road before two, we crossed Wimbledon Common by the Ladies' Mile, turning down past the Fox and Grapes heading back to Richmond Park.  We had a few issues here, with Simon, our trusty back marker, having a mechanical problem which was not a roadside fix.  With a bit of to-ing and fro-ing some set off  for home, and some got colder than they would like - the sun had gone.  

So, back into the Park and a bit warmer climbing to the top of the hill above Ham Gate, where we had a Referendum.  Enthusiasm for tea was low, and a brisk return directly to Kingston carried the vote.  The Ayes have it, the Ayes have it.   (Ray was keen to emphasise that it was not the result of the Referendum that mattered, but the deal which could subsequently be negotiated, but no-one took much notice of that.)

So, briskly down it was, and just by Kingston Station, we declared victory, and people made their respective ways home.

My thanks to my fellow riders for a very enjoyable day out, at least partly in January sunshine.  Particular thanks to the back markers and the corner markers - they make the ride flow.  And, while I'm at it, I'll touch my cap to our friends currently in Viet-Nam.  I hope that they are enjoying themselves, as we did.


Monday, January 07, 2019

B Group 9th January

B Group at Bushy Park

A short and easy ride on Wednesday, as befits the season.  Lunch at the Green Man, Putney Heath, and tea at the Pheasantry, Bushy Park.

Plenty of tracks and parks, and I plan to finish in time for everyone to have at least a chance of getting home before dark.


Cheam & Morden New Year Lunch - February 10

Lunch Details
In the midst of a bleak mid-winter, C and M seeks to cheer everybody up with a New Year lunch. This year, once again, it will be at that historic cycling venue: The Angel, Angel Road, Thames Ditton, KT70AU. Invitations are invited from members of C and M as well as from members of MWW and Beginners.
Menu choices for the 2 course lunch @ £11.50 are:
Roast Lamb
Roast Turkey
Angel fish Pie
Cottage Pie
Nut Roast (Vegetarian)
Caramel Apple Pie
Raspberry Cheesecake
Ice Cream Sundae
If you are game to join in, menu choices and a cheque or cash should be provided to:
Ann Bath: Telephone: 07751 308105 or on a C and M ride. Ann hopes to be out on 13th and 20th Jan and Feb 3rd.
That is not either/or. Both are required. Do NOT leave it too late.
As you will have seen from the Rides Programme, elevenses on the ride on 10 February will be provided by Ann at: 52, Whitehouse Drive, Epsom, KT18 7LY. Even if you are not on the ride, you may care to drop by on the way to lunch. TUE's will be required.
We look forward to seeing you there.
(Pam's Little Helper)

A Group, Wednesday 09/01/19

This week's ride starting from Teddington escapes to the wilds of the Grand Union via Richmond Park. A good tow path ride to lunch at the Black Horse Click onto this link to register for 20% off food and drink.
More tow path after lunch (all familiar territory) to Richmond via Osterley Park & Syon Park. Tea at the Tideways Cafe. A little over 29 miles, flat (ish), roads and pathways so road bike will be fine.

Friday, January 04, 2019

Bikes for Snowy Roads (continued...)

We've been in Switzerland for a couple of weeks, for our family winter holiday, and as ever, I've kept a sharp eye on bicycle developments.  Zermatt, where we stay, is a good place to see what's going on, as it's a car-free town, with the shops at the bottom of the hill and the houses at the top.  Since mountain bikes came along they have been regular transport for many people, with racks to carry skis and shopping.

When I last wrote on this topic in 2015, I observed that electric bikes were at a point of technical stability, and were widely used.  That is even more the case today, to the extent that, if you see a bike in Zermatt, it's pretty certain to be electric.  The design has now stabilised to knobbly stud tyres, usually Schwalbe or Vittoria, run tubeless; hydraulic disc brakes, usually Shimano or Magura; and usually a Bosch motor system.  In 2015 KTM was the favourite; now there are bikes to this design from many manufacturers.  The latest models have a slightly fatter down-tube, with the battery inside, giving a sleek look.

Seeing how well they went, I thought it was time to give one a try, so I went to the bike shop near the ice-rink to hire one.  Kristian, the owner, asked what I wanted to do with it and where I lived, and made a rather surprising suggestion.  As my purpose was to carry the groceries up to the house, he suggested this:

a very hefty mountain bike, with the addition of a large trailer.

I took the bike for a spin around the block without the trailer, just to see how it went, and was surprised at how nimble and quick it felt - it certainly doesn't look it.  But the Fantic motor system, which I think is more powerful than can be used in the UK, made the whole thing very easy.  It works in the same way as all the others - a sensor in the bottom bracket measures the rider's power input, and you can choose how much work the motor does.  A button on the handlebars does this, the options being for the motor to give the same power as the rider, or double the power, or three times the power.  Most people seem to use the lowest setting, which is what I did.  Once you've set the power, you need never touch it again, the machine just rides like a bike, there's no throttle or anything.  Kristian told me that the bike would do about 200kms on a charge at this setting, so it's charged every couple of weeks.

On the road, the whole setup was amazing.  From the supermarket to where we were staying is, at a guess, about the same as climbing Box Hill.  The town roads are ploughed, giving fairly smooth snow; the last quarter mile to the chalet is just country road, with the snow left as it falls.  With the groceries on the trailer, and a case of beer, I could easily hold 21kph up the hill, and the rough snow and ice at the end were completely inconsequential.

So, thinking of Box Hill, this thing, with the trailer and a couple of cases of beer on it, could have a fair crack at the KoM.  In the snow...

For the 2019 model year all of the majors are doing 'sports' e-bikes, with drop bars, concealed motors and batteries.  We may be on the verge of one of those changes in cycling that come along every century or so, and this sort of machine may become interesting to the more mature rider.

Happy New Year!


Thursday, January 03, 2019

Easy Riders 2 January

from right; Dave, young Bernard, John B, Gillian

John Bellamy lead 10 of us out from coffee at Cobham to Bookham Common, where there was rich birdsong(and many robins all along our route). Everywhere much less muddy than before Christmas, thanks to the lovely mild dry weather we've enjoyed over the holiday season.  From there we swooped down through Fetcham and Leatherhead  (pausing by the ponds for our pictures) and up the path to Leatherhead rail station, where we stopped briefly again. Then we continued on to Lower Ashtead for lunch at the Woodman, a favourite pub.  

The temperature seemed to have dropped several degrees when we emerged after lunch, so when we were stopped by the level crossing gates at Ashtead station , Gillian and I whizzed round under the railway bridge to keep warm...we then had to speed up to try and catch up with the others all across Ashtead and Epsom Commons. We gave up at the Stew Ponds, heading for the road where we met young Bernard on his way home.  No tea stop today and I was glad to get home in the warm for the afternoon, by about 2.30.

Many thanks John for pleasant ride and everyone for good company.  Looking forward to seeing you all again next week!
Gillian, Frank, Sandie and Ken

Tall Bernard and Liz

Mike and Helen

Outside Leatherhead rail station.  Mike was ahead of us on his own route, so we caught up with him at the pub...