Saturday, August 31, 2019

Electric Dreams

Back in May, I wrote of my new Orbea e-Bike, and promised a report at the end of summer.  Well, today's the last day of summer, so here it is.

E-bikes have been around for years, but really established themselves about a decade ago, with the happy combination of a reasonable regulatory framework that set the rules for their use, and the availability of lithium-ion batteries, which made them a practical proposition.

The rules for e-bikes in the UK, and across much of Europe, are that the bike should have a motor with a maximum power of 250 watts; that the motor should be controlled by the pedals, not by a separate throttle, and that motor assistance should cease at a speed of 15.5 mph.

These rules led to the creation of the urban e-bikes that we all know, generally a hefty utility bike with a bottom-bracket motor system and a large battery.  They are hugely popular in European cities where utility cycling was already widespread, and have never been of much interest to the more sporting cyclist, despite efforts by their manufacturers to introduce 'sports' models.  The motor systems for these bikes are made, for the most part, by Bosch, Shimano and Yamaha, and are sophisticated and robust - so much so that they have been widely adopted in the parallel universe of mountain biking.  As an aside, mountain bikers have always been early adopters of bicycle technologies, and this is no different.

About two years ago 'e-road' bikes began to appear, enabled by the Ebikemotion system, invented in Spain but now bought by a German company.  The breakthrough here was the realisation that a less powerful motor, with a smaller battery, would be lighter and would enable products that would be attractive to cyclists who wanted to make some effort themselves, but had got to the stage where they appreciated a bit of help, particularly on the hills.

Bikes using this system are made by Bianchi, Colnago, Orbea, Pinarello, Ribble, Wilier  and many others, and are typically fast road or race bikes very similar to non-electric versions from the same manufacturer.  I have one of these, made by Orbea, and you need to look at least twice to see that it is motor assisted.

I have ridden this bike with the A Group all summer, and it has been a delight.  Typically, the A Group maintains a pace of between 17 and 18 mph on the flat, and between 20 and 30 mph downhill. At these speeds the motor is doing no work, but the bike is light enough to hold the pace easily.  However, when the road tilts up and the pace drops back to 16, then 15 mph, the motor smoothly begins to help and the bike climbs strongly.  It is possible to vary the amount of power assistance provided, and I have set mine at a low level, but it climbs very well with this.  Putting some numbers on it, I can (still) climb at about 200 watts; the motor will add another 100 watts to this (indeed it is capable of adding another 250 watts, if I were to let it), putting me firmly in pro-cyclist territory.  I have never been there before, and I quite like it.

Ridden in this way, in our part of the country, the bike has a range of between 100 and 120 miles.  A lot of climbing - such as in the Alps - would bring this down, but there is a 'range extender'.  It's another battery that fits in the bottle cage and doubles the range, so a long, hard Alpine day would be no problem.

But, as it's summer, I also enjoy gravel riding.  The Orbea is a bit lightweight for that, so I bought an 'e-gravel'  bike to go with it.  After all, if 'e-road' is a thing, can 'e-gravel' be far behind?  The bike is a Boardman which I got in Halfords, and it has a German 'Fazua' motor system, which is a bit more powerful and a bit heavier than the Ebikemotion.  Like all of the Boardman bikes I have had, this one is well specced, well put together and fairly priced.  Similar bikes are to be had from Cairn, Cube, Focus, KTM, Look, Pinarello, Whyte and a number of others.

I've done some good rides with it; on the South Downs, Rochester to Dover on the Pilgrims Way and a number of others.  It works very well, but e-gravel is very different from e-road, in that the speed tends to be lower and the battery use higher, as you spend much more time below the 15.5 mph cut-off speed.  Riding on the Downs I get 50 miles or less with this system, depending on the terrain.  Fifty miles is quite a decent ride on gravel, and, happily, a spare Fazua battery is small - about the size and weight of a water bottle.  Obviously, two batteries give you a hundred gravel miles, or more on the road.  Plenty for me.

Problems?  Nope.  So far, everything has worked as it should.  The bikes are straightforward modern designs, with hydraulic disc brakes, tubeless tyres and good wheels.  The Orbea is Ultegra and the Boardman is SRAM 1x, classic gravel stuff.  The Orbea weighs 11.5 kilos and the Boardman 15.5.  Neither is a heavy bike and either can easily be ridden with the motor turned off.

So, in conclusion, lightweight e-bikes are here and work well.  No doubt we will see a steady stream of improvements over the next few years, some of which work better than others.  But my experience of Ebikemotion and Fazua has been very satisfactory this summer, with most of my miles being e-assisted.

I am getting old, but it doesn't feel like it!


Friday, August 30, 2019

B Group - 28th August

It being the day of the Wayfarers Picnic at Brockham, it was of no surprise that 21 riders took to the road from the Leatherhead Fairfield Centre, we proceeded along to Denbies using the cycle track, then a well-used B route to Brockham via the path alongside the Betchworth Park Golf Club. Through the village, we took Wheelers Lane and wound our way towards Leigh.

Taking Newdigate Lane, at Parkgate we turned left and went along the path across Hammond’s Copse, turning left again this turned into a concrete road. Near Mythhurst Farm we crossed a cattle grid and eventually exited this part of the ride back onto tarmac, Smalls Hill Road.
This led us back into Leigh allowing us to return to Brockham, arriving at the pavillion at 12.55pm.

After sitting in the sun having our lunch, in the afternoon we had a more challenging route; we left at 02.00pm, climbing Tilehurst Lane, then Punch Bowl Lane and then finally Box Hill. Unfortunately, Paul James had a mechanical on the first and had to leave the ride at Box Hill but managed to limp home.

Across Headley we passed the RAC club at Woodcote Park and then Epsom Common to Manor Green Road.

Here we again turned left towards and passing another golf club, this time Horton Park, we used an often-used route passing the third and last golf club, Surbiton, under the Kingston bypass and into Surbiton by St Mary’s Road, ending our ride at The Tarte in the Park in Victoria Recreation Park.
We got to the tea stop just after 04.00pm, 21 miles from lunch.

Various riders had decided to peel off at different points on the ride from lunch leaving seven of us to enjoy the excellent tea and cakes.

Thanks to those that came along, the weather was great for riding, a very enjoyable day.

As always, thanks to those that marked corners that enabled the ride to keep moving along, and also to Jennie for back marking.

David J

Thursday, August 29, 2019

Sou'Wester Shorts - a new newsletter

We are about to launch a new format email newsletter which we hope will allow more people to see more of what we do in the Sou'Westers.

Sou'Wester Shorts is an email based digest of Sou'Wester stories - a bit like CycleClips - published every few weeks.   It's not intended to replace the paper Sou'Wester, but to complement it with the ability to have web links and colour pictures.  It's compiled by Paul James, David Vine and Simon Lambourn, and the content comes from our existing blogs - Wayfarers, Beginners and Cheam & Morden,.   So you will have seen some articles on the Wayfarers blog already, but you may not have seen the C&M or Beginners stories.  We have been piloting it with a small audience, and we think it's ready for a full launch.

Distribution is handled by Google Groups, which has a list of emails to forward the newsletter to.    When there's a new edition, it gets sent to everyone on the distribution list.   It's simple to unsubscribe (click the link at the bottom of the email) but it seems a bit complicated to enrol at first, so we decided to automatically enrol all the Sou'Westers members.  Of course you can unsubscribe at any time.

We are still learning, so we would welcome your feedback, and we hope you will like the new newsletter.

A Group - 28th August

It was picnic day and this year the weather matched the event. It also brought out the A group in strength with 19 of us setting off from Leatherhead. It was great to have Neil with us after his epic and successful PBP ride with the bike " as ridden".

The closure of the road through Headley village gave us an almost traffic free ride up Reigate Road to "Little Switzerland" and then we headed along Hurst Road to Walton on the Hill. Our two climbs of the morning over we went down Pebble Hill to Betchworth before a loop east via Dawes Green and Flanchford to approach Reigate along Park Lane. A pleasant run over Reigate Heath brought us back to the familar run through Wonham and back through Betchworth to lunch.

Not all found an afternoon run to Esher convenient, or were put off by the prospect of Bagden Hill,  so we lost a few and gained Ray Wren. Once over the hill we approached Bookham Common from the Glade and unusually rode Bookham Road towards Cobham, turning right at Downside on the tracks to Tilt Road. A fast final stretch from the Fairmile along the Portsmouth Road brought us to an early tea at Giro's.

Thanks to all the corner markers and Geoff for back marking.

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Early post for A Ride 11 Spetember

I’m leading the ride on the 11 September to Rowland’S Castle in Hampshire. 47+/- miles from Fairoaks. This is a train assisted ride. Trains from Rowlands Castle run to Clapham Junction once an hour e.g. 5.46/6.46pm. The alternative train route home is from Havant or a 10 mile ride to Chichester, which could inc a visit to Wetherspoons before rolling onto the train. Pick your train journey home, I’m going to aim for Chichester (can’t ignore a meal and a pint for not a lot) so happy to lead those who choose this route.

Monday, August 26, 2019

A Group - Weds 28th

This could be the opposite of the long and fast as I'm thinking of giving the Tricross an airing which should slow the pace down a bit. 20 miles or so to lunch including a hill or two and a few bits of road less frequently travelled - which is quite a challenge between Leatherhead and Brockham.

Return to Giro in Esher ( probably) - some offroad though nothing challenging.

Sunday, August 25, 2019

Advice for the Wayfarers Picnic, this Wednesday 28th.

Last year's Wayfarers picnic
I know, I know, most of you are familiar with this but just in case:

  • There will be normal A, B, and Easy Riders rides from Leatherhead
  • The rides will all arrive at Brockham for lunch
  • You have to provide a picnic for yourself (or share with others?).   Bring it to elevenses at Leatherhead, and it will be transported for you to Brockham, if you wish.
  • Tea, coffee, orange squash are provided at Brockham.  If you want something stronger, you are welcome to bring it.
  • After the picnic, each group will ride to a tea stop somewhere, as normal

Advice for B Group - 28th August

Wednesday’s ride we will be heading south from Leatherhead, making our way towards Newdigate then back to Brockham for the Picnic lunch.

After lunch, we climb Punch Bowl Lane and Box Hill; afternoon tea is planned for at The Tarte in the Park, Surbiton.

About 17 miles to lunch and 21 miles after lunch to tea

A mixture of surfaces, track, tarmac and some concrete

Look forward to seeing you all


Friday, August 23, 2019

Easy Riders - 21st August

What a lovely day for a gentle ride along the towpath from Kingston to Ham House across Ham Common and through Richmond Park. We then proceeded through Roehampton and along to the Green Man at the top of Putney Hill for lunch. There Frank Carter kindly raised the saddle on Bernard Power's new bike as he was riding like a constipated spider - this should have been a basic adjustment at Halfords. He went straight home after lunch and must have been much more comfortable. We rode across Wimbledon Common, into Raynes Park and along the new, smooth track into New Malden where Woodies was the obvious place to stop for an early tea and natter. It was only a short ride but quite enjoyable - Ed Sharp said that it had been the ideal ride for him.



Another very nice picture and write-up on our (and other's) TriVets in today's CUK CycleClips.

Cycling UK
Anyone waiting for a TriVets badge should receive them in early October.


Thursday, August 22, 2019

B Group - 21st August

The first dry Wednesday for three weeks saw a record breaking group of B riders gather at Caterham-on-the-Hill for our ‘three hills’ ride into the lovely open countryside of Kent.

Normally Caterham attracts only a smallish group of dedicated riders but it was wonderful to see 18 set out for the descent into Caterham and then the ascent towards Woldingham. We rode along the top of the North Downs and then along the quiet Pilgrims’ Way, went through Westerham, before ascending to Crockham Hill.

The Royal Oak landlord had warned me when booking that service would be fairly slow from their kitchen but this had not seemed to be a problem in anticipation of the size of our usual peloton from Caterham. I think this is the first time that B riders have visited the Royal Oak and for the leader it was his first visit for about 50 years (some riders will remember that there used to be a youth hostel just a few doors down the road).

We continued our ride back to Banstead (our third main hill of the day) in time for tea. About 33 miles from elevenses to tea had seen nearly 2500’ of climbing at 73’ per mile.

Well done and thank you to everyone (especially Tim G. for back marking) who took part in our ride.

Thanks to a recruitment drive by Tony Hooker we were very pleased to welcome three new people on our ride, John Cornwell and Fern Wiltshear who are in training for their upcoming London to Paris charity ride, and Bill Carman who rides with Kingston Phoenix on Saturdays.


Further detail at

Neil Crocker: Paris-Brest-Paris 2019

It looks like Neil has done it

What an extraordinary ride:

~ Tim

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

A Group ride 21 August

Eleven hardy souls committed to the A group ride from Caterham to the King Henry VIII pub in Hever. There were a couple of ups which most of us noticed; for example, Gangers Hill, but reviewing the ride at tea one had to admire Brian's 'glass half full' approach as he could only remember the descents. That said, the couple of miles descending into Westerham were glorious even with a headwind.

The pub was busy but coped extremely well and our food arrived quickly so we were off again by 2 and heading for the Reading Rooms in Brockham. I promised the route was flat after lunch, which it was apart from the odd hill such as the climb up to the windmill at Outwood.

We made tea with plenty of time to spare and enjoyed the lovely cakes on offer. On that note who did have the last piece of chocolate and orange cake?

Caterham to Brockham was 49 miles and 2,930ft elevation. A good day out and with almost perfect weather too!

A gaggle of Sou'Westers

 Scarecrow cat on a bus stop near Hever

 King Henry VIII, Hever

 Near the windmill at Outwood

 Well earned tea and cake at Brockham

A Group 21st August

Janice took us on an undulating ride today, with some of the undulations being larger than others.  A good ride, a pleasant lunch at Hever and tea at Brockham.

A very enjoyable day out in good company.  

Ah yes, Neil.  We discussed his journey several times during the day.  As I write he has c.120 miles to do in about eighteen hours.  Looking good.


Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Saturday all day ride to Harmondsworth 14 August

Thanks to our ride leader Steph W for this report, and for a lovely day out along an historic and interesting route.
Setting off after lunch...l to r Bernard, Alice, Diane, Stephanie, Sabina,
Lorraine and Sue ( just behind Lorriane)
Photo by Helen outside Five Bells, Harmondsworth

Six cyclists left Nonsuch Park on Saturday and another 3 joined us at Kingston Bridge.
We cut into Bushy Park before heading north to join the tarmac surface of the river Crane towpath. Entering Pevensey Nature Reserve we took an adventurous route through the former Feltham Marshalling Yards and through a tunnel under the railway to follow the Crane onto Hounslow Heath. Path a little muddy after heavy rain the previous day! It is hoped that rights of way will be granted over this land to enable continuity between the sparated bits of the River Crane path.
Shortly we were on a straight route west to the 14th centuryTithe Barn at Harmondsworth...passing the proposed site of the 3rd runway on our left at Sipson.
Lunch was enjoyed in the garden of the Five Bells pub. 
Returning via Osterley Park we stipped for tea, icecreams aand cake before returning through Twickenham and Richmond Park.
Thanks to all who came along, and especially back marker Helen and mechanic Godfrey.

Sunday, August 18, 2019

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Advice for B Group re: 21st August

We shall set out from Caterham-on-the-Hill and head eastwards towards Crockham Hill for lunch and then back towards Banstead (on-another-Hill) for tea. The distances are 14 miles to lunch and then 19 miles to tea.
Although the route is not specifically hilly, the names of our three locations may suggest that it is not flat!

John A.

'A' Group abandoned ride to Petworth

Sadly not much to report on our ride today, the weather was not on our side. Four A group members, Frances, Steve D, Ken and myself, had our elevenses at the Yvonne Arnaud Theatre pondering our options. Eleven o'clock arrived and we checked the weather again, but the rain showed no sign of abating, so we decided on riding home via Shalford, Albury, Shere and Coombe Bottom, followed by usual route through to Leatherhead and home.
Thanks to the intrepid souls who braved the elements to join me on such an awful day.

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

'B' Ride - Weds 14 August

This was a memorable ride but, unfortunately, for all the wrong reasons!

Six of us set off from Guildford and tackled the stiff climb up The Mount in steady rain with water gushing and gurgling downhill on either side of us!   Yet more water, in the form of giant puddles the full width of the track, awaited us on the cycle route from Compton to Puttenham.  Despite the deluge we still made it to lunch at Wetherspoons in Aldershot in good time. 

Richard had had a tyre problem en route and the natural thing to do was to lend him my spare tyre - I always have a spare with me but haven't actually used one in anger for several years.   He soon had it fitted and we set off for Guildford.   Imagine my surprise and dismay, then, when, a few miles later, my own front tyre exploded with a loud report leaving a gaping hole in the sidewall!   What are the chances of that happening!   All was not completely lost as I did still have an emergency tyre boot (a piece of toothpaste tube) with me, but the position of the hole on the sidewall was very close to the bead, and it was only possible to just about contain a new inner tube at very low pressure inside the damaged tyre.   It was that bad that the bulge struck the forks every time the wheel rotated!

After a brief deliberation I led the others towards a short distance towards Ash and pointed them towards Guildford, then turned back myself and rode very gingerly (and with no front brake) a mile or so towards Ash Vale station, from where I was able to get a train home.   What a thing to happen on what an awful day!    That's the joy of cycling!

Anyway, thanks to Tim, John, Richard and the other two Daves for your company, and I look forward to hearing about the rest of your ride, and thanks to Tim for the map.

Advance details of challenging A ride to Hever 21 August

Next Wednesday (21 August) sees this month's challenging A ride and so I'm posting details with a little notice so that you can decide if this is the ride for you.

 As we go out to Kent so infrequently I'm using the route that I led from Caterham last August but with a different lunch stop. Last year the pub in Edenbridge levied a 20% service charge and so I vowed not to darken their door step again! Finding a different pub in Edenbridge that served lunch and could accommodate our bikes proved impossible on this years reccie (I went in them all). I therefore reccie'd it again (all good training for RideLondon) and stopped at the King Henry VIII in Hever which served a very good baguette and chips, large enough to make the man himself happy.

It's 25 miles and 1,637ft elevation from Caterham to Hever and after lunch we'll head 24 miles and 1,293ft towards Brockham for tea. I'm hoping to go to the recently re-opened Reading Room and I'll check it out this weekend. Otherwise it will be a small detour to Strood Green.

Totals for the day are 49 miles and 2,930ft elevation but of course we all have to cycle to Caterham first and for almost everyone this will add a fair mileage and elevation.

I've checked my Strava for last year and it tells me that I led the ride at an average speed of 15mph, which meant perfect timing for arriving at lunch and also that we arrived before the cafe closed in Brockham (there isn't much wriggle time for this). If you coped last year then you will again this year. However, if you're not sure this challenging ride is for you hopefully there's time to make other plans.

If you would like the route for your Garmin the link is

If you prefer to take the route from Strava you'll find the ride on my Strava on 22 July this year.

An experience at Little Barford RWE Gas Fired Combined Cycle Gen Plant.

During my visit to Cambridgeshire for a week’s cycling I was intrigued by the fact that this monstrous  edifice blighted the sky-line! One of my colleagues said that the station had been shut down years ago so I went to investigate only to find that it was alive and well. It is operated by RWE in that Germanic efficient way (ha,ha!). The station was designed and built by HSPE at Wymeswold where I worked for 7 years but after I left and went to GEC Gas Turbines Whetstone where Sir Frank Whittle develop the jet engine.
Little Barford is equipped with 2 X GE Frame 9 GT’s fitted with twin waste heat boilers that then power a 100 MW steam turbine. Total output circa < 500 MW. The photo’s attached depict the site and you can see the enormous bank of electric fan cooled condensers on the RHS of the second picture.
I was delighted to tell my cycling friend that the station was still working. He could not believe it as there was no sign of an exhaust plume or NOX emissions.
I have to say that after the shutdown of power and random load shedding on Friday, I knew as I walked around that I should not have thrown that switch on that power transformer! The authorities are now looking for a Lycra clad cyclist with a helmet and Pheasant feather!
Doner und Blitzun!

Tuesday, August 13, 2019


Based at Great Kingshill Village Hall, 4th – 6th October
Organised by John Capell and his team for CTC South Bucks and of course visitors
from wherever they like to come from.

We arrange led rides (short, medium, longer) on theSaturday and Sunday, with meals and various other diversions at the hall. Provision for campervan and tent campers.

Yes, its a bit earlier in the year than usual so colours won't be quite so advanced but at  least there will be more more daylight. And hopefully warmth and sunshine!

Enquiries, and offers of help, please, to John (01494 715636)


I'm off to Paris to ride Paris-Brest-Paris

Paris-Brest-Paris is the blue riband event of the audaxing community and has a history that dates back to 1891. Every four years over five thousand cyclists from around the world gather near Paris to ride to Brest and back. It is not a race but has a rather testing time limit of 90 hours for the 1200km (750 mile) distance.

Since I started audaxing three years ago PBP has been the aim. Last year I rode my first 600km ride (see The Souwester March/April 2019) which ensured me a possible place on the ride. This year I have had to ride a series of qualifying rides at 200, 300, 400, and 600km.

I start at 1830 on Sunday 18th from Rambouillet, near Paris and need to be in Brest by Tuesday morning. Then I have until 1230 on Thursday to get back to Paris.

Details of the ride can be found here.

If you want to follow my progress there is a tracking page here.
Just add my name or number (K128) to the box top right and it should show you where I am. It will only be getting information from the controls which are around every 100km so could be estimating my position.

I will be riding in my Souwester jersey (as it already has experience of cycling in France from the Dieppe Raids) and hope to have a photo of it back in Paris next week.

Monday, August 12, 2019

Pru' 100 success

With good reason Sue was feeling really chuffed after her 100 mile ride. They had run out of medals before Sue crossed the finish line but she was able to borrow one for this photo. She has now received her own medal in the post. Well done Sue.

What will he get up to next

Paris - Brest -Paris, just a weekend ride in the French countryside what more could you want, he's done it once why not again but a different route.

Over the weekend of 18th - 22nd August young Neil will set his sights on this unassisted ride. All the details of this effort are available to view on their website.
Let's wish him all the best for this undertaking and all the mileage he has had to do to get an entry.

All the very best for your ride and come back safely.

'B' Group Ride - 14 August 2019

The planned lunch destination for  Wednesday is The Queen Hotel (aka Wetherspoon's) at Aldershot.  At about 25 miles from elevenses back to tea at Guildford Cathedral this is a fairly short ride, but the route does include a significant distance on unsurfaced tracks and paths.  It is generally not a hilly route either, the exception being the long, steep climb of The Mount onto the Hogs Back trackway immediately on leaving elevenses!

However, the weather forecast for Wednesday is currently somewhat uncongenial (!), and the route and destination will be kept under review and a final decision will be made at elevenses in light of the conditions at that time.

A tour in Northern Spain ?

Further to a very enjoyable ride in the Picos de Europa in May 2016 a group of us is planning to go again in the latter half of May next year.

The mountain roads are a challenge but our intention is to ride at a self-paced B Group sort of pace which allows for stopping to admire the scenery, taking photos, and as much as possible to stick to our usual programme of elevenses, a lunch, and an afternoon tea break. Daily distances will be kept at around 40 miles or less for most of the holiday. Our luggage will be transported between hotels for us by Iberocycle from whom we will be hiring bikes.

This is shaping up to be a fourteen day tour including the days we travel to and from Santander. We will ride most days but intend to include about three days off, on one of which we will walk along part of the spectacular Cares Gorge.

The north of Spain is wonderful for cycling with good surfaces and very little traffic. Scenically and culturally it is very different to the rest of Spain and offers a very rich experience to cyclists and walkers.

Please contact me for more detail if you are interested in this tour.


Neil and Pam

Sunday, August 11, 2019

Easy Riders - 7th August

Within half a mile we had mislaid Terry O'Brien and Helen Tovey, our stalwart back marker. It turned out that Terry had shipped his chain and Helen helped him to get going again.

Despite everybody's efforts we weren't able to meet up again until we all reached the other side of Bookham Common and from there it was a short ride to lunch at The Bell in Fetcham. The food was not quite up to the pub's usual standard but the conversations were naturally of high order.

Onwards to Leatherhead and over Ashtead / Epsom Commons to The Moat where some riders could even manage cake. I led Terry, our new rider, back to Motspur Park along the paths and back routes so familiar to the Easy Riders which made Terry constantly shake his head in disbelief and then surprise when we reached his home.

It's all good fun


Saturday, August 10, 2019

B Group - 7th August

A much depleted group of 10 left Cobham in sunshine; little did we know what the weather gods were hiding for us after lunch!

The off road and hills were dismissed with ease with even Liz enjoying them with her new found technique of going slower! Grant had things to do so, left us at Newlands Corner.

Lunch was served quickly and we all sat in the sun in the garden for the majority of the time with thunderstorms passing close by on St Martha’s Hill, when suddenly the rain hit us and we took shelter where we could. After some thunder and lightening to add to the fun there was a break in the storm so we made a dart for tea or home. Pete, Terry, John and friend decided they would make for Dorking and home, with the rest of us cycling for tea. We managed about a mile when the skies opened again and following a quick vote we made for Guildford station for a train home. Peter, Tim and Ray decided to ride the whole way home due to a break in the rain with Gill, Liz and myself catching a train to Woking where we had tea on the station while waiting for our next train, and finally home to Walton.

Thanks for everyone’s conversations along the way.

Ray Youlden

The morning ride to the Percy Arms

A group ride, 14th August

This weeks ride from Guildford to the Stonemasons Inn, Petworth is about 24 miles from Guildford + 27 miles back to Dorking. It  may be a long ride for some of you so you might like to consider some train assistance.
The route is based on Paul Kelly's original route in 2014, so a few of you will have done the outward part before.
There is a copy of Paul's original route at the link below which returns to Guidford.
My route will be different after lunch going direct towards Dorking for tea at Meadowbank or Denbies.

B Group pics August 7th

Newlands Corner
Happy eaters
Post lunch, pre rain

Photos thanks to Pete B.

Thursday, August 08, 2019

A group ride to Cranleigh

21 riders set off from Cobham in decent weather...dry and warm if a little cloudy. We made our way to Effingham and then along The Drift towards East Horsley and our first climb of the day, Sheepleas (or Shere Road...I'm never quite sure what it is actually called). At the top, we found the road to the right was closed, but that was fine as this was not our route !!....down Green Dene and then a sharp right turn straight up the rarely-ridden-by-the-A's Crocknorth, followed by an up-and-over Whitedown, a brief turn along the A25 before turning up Hollow Lane for the long steady climb up Leith Hill's easier side.....the way we usually come down. The way in fact thousand's of riders did a few days before in the Prudential Ride London 100.
At the top of Leith Hill, we turned off the main road for a descent via Tanhurst Lane.....again rarely used by our group, and when it is, usually to ascend. From the bottom of Tanhurst it was a straight-forward run through Forest Green and Ewhurst to the Three Horseshoes in Cranleigh, arriving just after 1pm.
The pub had gone to some lengths to accommodate us, moving tables in the garden so we had room for the bikes and putting on extra staff to take orders quickly. They started off well with the first food orders coming very quickly, but in the end I think the numbers took their toll, and the last few lunches were very slow in coming. By the time they did, we had the first rain of the day, which started as a light shower but became heavier and more persistent, so most of us moved inside. Still, overall a satisfactory first visit.
After lunch we set off via the very bottom end of Barhatch Lane, then turned into Amlets Lane, and then Smithwood Common Road towards Shamley Green. The rain had started again with a vengeance and by the time we made the turn into Northcote Lane we were in full-on monsoon conditions, with water ankle-deep on the main roads and as we headed uphill, we were riding through torrents coming down the lanes. We headed along Littleford Lane and up over Blackheath, and then through Albury back to meet the A25 again for the climb over Newlands Corner. By now the roads were dry and the sky clear, so the rain jackets all came off and everybody wondered at what a difference half an hour and a few miles makes !!
A fast ride along familiar roads through Clandon and Ockham quickly brought us to our tea stop and the end of the ride at the Medicine Garden in Cobham, where we were confronted by the rather unusual sight of a harp player preparing to greet the arrival of a wedding party, whilst a dozen or so lycra-clad riders looked on.....another shower and another dash inside seemed a fitting end to the day!!
Many thanks to all who came along for the ride, especially to all those who marked corners and to Mike for his back-marking skills, and to Official Wayfarers Photographer Geoff for the photo.


Tuesday, August 06, 2019

A group ride, 7th August

This week's ride will head for lunch at the Three Horseshoes in Cranleigh.
Our journey there will follow some familiar roads, some less familiar and some ridden in the opposite direction to normal. There will be some climbing to stretch the legs before lunch, and a bit less afterwards.....the more testing hills are all in the morning (please note Simon !!).
After lunch, we head back almost to where we start for tea at the Medicine Garden in Cobham. 23 miles from 11's to lunch, and 19 miles from lunch to tea.
A prompt start please...we have some hills to conquer !!

Sunday, August 04, 2019

Advice for B Group - 7th August

This week we will be going to the Percy Arms in Chilworth for lunch. On the way we will visit Great Bookham Common, Effingham, East Horsley, up Green Dene and on to Newlands Corner via the off road path; from there we descend to Chilworth. On the way back we go up Echo Point Road / Warwicks Bench Road before descending into Guildford to take the path through Stoke Park and along the A3, Send and Tea in Ripley village. The route includes around 35% off road in the morning and a little along the river bank in the afternoon, all can be done on a road bike with care.



Saturday, August 03, 2019

B Group - 31st July, maps for Peter's ride

The dotted line shows Peter's intended route

We set out from Weybridge DC and aimed for the narrow track alongside the railway station. After crossing the Wey we emerged into Brooklands. Pausing briefly at the museum to get a glimpse of Concorde, it was then on to what is left of the runway and to ride along the remains of the banked racing circuit. Through the industrial estate meant we could also ride on another part of the same circuit.

Passing through Byfleet village we got to the Wey Navigation where 2 walkers separately told us that the navigation and towpath were blocked by a fallen tree – we could hear the chainsaws. A “U” turn was inevitable. It was at this point I had to confess that the previous day I had given up on my recce and returned home in the face of horizontal rain, freezing cold. I missed seeing the fallen tree. From then on I was reliant on the saved route on my sat nav and my local knowledge.

We got back on track by riding in the opposite direction down the navigation and into West Byfleet. As the morning progressed I did get a couple of “turn around where possible” messages! Circuitously we made our through the lesser known parts of Woking to Pirbright to The Royal Oak – 16 miles or so – for the 20 who stayed the course.

After lunch we were able to look at Sir Henry Morton Stanley’s monumental grave in the Pirbright parish churchyard before cycling through Brookwood cemetery and on to the canal – a real contrast with morning’s ride – green corridor vs suburban jungle. From the canal it was a short ride to the GC at Rowtown for the 10 of us who were left.

Thanks to Tim G for back marking, to all the corner markers and to Tim C for the recording the route.

100 Women in Cycling

Did you spot anyone you know in this picture from the CycleClips email newsletter from Cycling UK?

I'll give you a clue: she's wearing Sou'Westers top...
Congratulations again, Shirley!