Friday, February 28, 2020

Easy Riders - 26th February

The strong wind against us made the trip to Walton for elevenses hard work added to which Paul James was most put out that he was held up by a Ferrari - not once but twice - he should have rung his bell. We eventually left to go over Walton Bridge and along into Shepperton High Street. At the traffic lights we went straight over into Old Charlton Road and crossed the M25 using the spiral bridge and onto Charlton Lane to cross the M25 again and then around Upper Halliford. We took Halliford Road into Sunbury and went along the cycle track that crosses the back roads of Sunbury and onto Hampton Court Bridge. From there it was the short ride into Thames Ditton and lunch at Ye Olde Swan.

Five of us decided on Ewell Court for our tea stop and Liz Scrivens led us smoothly up the nasty little hill to Squires, Long Ditton on her new electrically assisted Orbea beauty. The grimacing strugglers behind could only imagine the grin on her face.


Thanks to Ray Wren for collecting the GPS info to make this map

Thursday, February 27, 2020

All day ride Saturday 14 March

There will be an all day ride to visit the spring flowers at Fulham Palace Gardens on Saturday 14 March. The palace and gardens have been restored over recent years, there is a café where we can stop for lunch, and we hear that their volunteers planted 25,000 bulbs last autumn, so unless the squirrels have stolen them all the gardens should be well worth a visit!
I'm planning a route through Kingston and Richmond Park, threading our way along the north side of the river from Barnes bridge via cycle paths.  Back after lunch through Putney, Putney Heath and  tea, either at Wimbledon Windmill  or Roehampton Gate.  Relatively easy going for our first Saturday all day ride of the season.
Meet up at Nonsuch Mansion House 9.45 for 10 am start; Kingston bridge 10.30.  Please arrive early if you need a morning coffee, as there will not be a coffee break en route (although I will try to find a suitable pitstop for short comfort break for those who need it).

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Trouble at Bray, or how to lose a whole ride group....

Fred Karno had a dysfunctional circus on Tagg’s Island, between Hampton and Hampton Court. The Southwesters enacted their own version of this slapstick circus act between Bray and Maidenhead where a combination of local knowledge and the rule that all corners are marked (otherwise carry straight on) conspired to leave Ged waiting at a roundabout for an hour and me losing the whole group and making my ‘billy no mates’ way to lunch at Bourne End. Now, whilst I was contemplating yet another first in my chequered career (losing a whole group) Ged staggered through the door of the  Garabaldi looking for answers. Meanwhile, the ringmaster of this comedy of errors had cycled straight past the pub, rode up Hedsor Hill and back down again after realising he was in the wrong place. I’m not naming names!

Thankfully we made our way safely and without further mishaps to our final destination at Squires in Shepperton. Joking aside, well done to all especially Alan for back marking and everyone taking responsibility for corner marking. 

I’ve heard a rumour that Ged is taking me off the ride leader list as this is the second time on my watch he has been left waiting. Anyone want the ride lead from Coulsdon?

Tuesday, February 25, 2020

A Wet and Windy Weekend on the Devon Coast to Coast

A free long-weekend was coming-up. What better than to escape London for some long-distance cycling. After all, the weather-window earlier in the week looked promising.

I chose the Devon Coast to Coast (C2C) - the 99 mile (158km) SUSTRANS route between Ilfracombe and Plymouth. It offered easy-to-navigate signed roads, paths and tracks - National Cycle Route 27, convenient rail access, varied terrain, and plenty of options to stay. It's the most popular coast to coast.

I couldn't replace a frayed shifter cable on my Galaxy tourer in time - too many hills on Steve's Redhill ride! So I took my Airnimal - a pocket-sized gravel bike with small panniers that copes well with rough stuff.

Friday night saw me in Ilfracombe, cycling the short hop from Barnstaple after catching a train there from Exeter. Alas the weather-window was becoming murky, with strong winds blowing me to the wind-swept N. Devon coast.

Chris, my B&B host, and a volunteer SUSTRANS warden, was surprised that I was attempting the C2C so early in the season. In fact the first! I reckoned it would be quiet; did he know something different? Was it ambitious doing it in two days, albeit many do - in summer, whilst others do it in 3?

I reached half-way on Saturday, picking-up the Tarka Trail at Braunton, running along the banks of the River's Taw and Torridge through Barnstaple and Bideford, and then skirting Great Torrington on quiet lanes to reach Sheepwash for a pub lunch. Hatherleigh, a small hamlet, was reached just as the rain became more persistent. I stayed in a pub called the Tally Ho!,
The Tarka Trail, on old railway lines.

Taw Bridge - asphalt replacing tracks.

Annual Lunch & Prize Giving - Weds 4 March

Next week is the Sou'Westers Annual Lunch and glitzy awards ceremony, at Ristorante Sorrento, Tolworth Broadway (the same venue as the last couple of years).   Some things you should know:
Click to enlarge
  • The price has been confirmed at £15.35 for three courses, including service.  I've collected £15 from most people already, so I will be asking each table to collect the remaining 35p per person.  If you could bring some change, it would be a great help.
  • Pay for drinks at the bar or via the serving staff when you order.
  • If you haven't yet booked a place, let me know tomorrow please.
  • On the day, there will be regular rides from Cobham (A/B group and Easy Riders), or if you don't want to spoil your tux or glittery dress, you can make your own way there.   Please try to arrive by 12.30.  The address is 379 Ewell Road, Tolworth, KT6 7DE.  Bikes should be parked at the rear, in the garden rather than on the access path.  There is a small amount of car parking at the back, off Elgar Avenue.
  • You will also be able to order the new Wayfarers 40th Anniversary badges, price £5.

Monday, February 24, 2020

A Group ride from Walton

This week the A Group will be heading out through Windsor towards Bourne End for the climb of the day up Hedsor Hill (11% average). The reward for the climb will be lunch at the Feathers* only half a mile away. A mixture of urban and country roads. Returning via Slough and Datchet. Tea at Squires in Shepperton.
I’m aiming for a ride at a good pace and to leave Walton 11am sharp. Hope to see you there.

Point of interest on our route (to lovers of jazz), the KFC at the Cranford lights is the site of the pub that was the centre of trad jazz in the 50s (according to Billy Bragg, Ch 4 last Friday). Ken Colliers ‘Crane River Jazz band’ played here. The Crane river is close by. Bet you’re all bowled over by that useless piece of local info?

Late change of lunch venue, we will now be going to the Garabaldi in Bourne End. That means Hedsor Hill straight after lunch.

Sunday, February 23, 2020

Wayfarers 40th Anniversary Pin Badges

The badge is about 20mm across
and made of gold-coloured metal
As part of our 40th birthday celebrations, we have commissioned an exclusive pin-badge featuring our CTC heritage logo, which is now available to order.

We are aiming to cover our costs, and so the price depends on how many are ordered.   The initial price is £5, with a reduction (refund) for everyone if we sell more than we expect, so please encourage your friends to buy one (or several).  The more you buy, the more you save...   Update: price now reduced to £3.

Back view
I will be collecting orders at the Annual Lunch on March 4th, and at Wednesday elevenses in the weeks after that.  I anticipate they will be available sometime in May (Coronavirus permitting).

Friday, February 21, 2020

'B' ride for the 19th February. Redhill to Headley.

Despite being a bit of a drizzly day, ten jolly individuals made the ride.
After coffee and a rather yummy scone (which I later found out to be a rock cake) we set off in a south easterly direction from Redhill (steep hill) towards Nutfield. Once through Nutfield we did a left turn up to Nutfield Ridge (another steep hill) and on to Chaldon (very steep hill) and Farthing Downs.
From Farthing Downs we dropped down and crossed the A23 just north of Hooley and climbed up to Chipstead High Rd (another steep hill) and onto the White Hart for a well deserved lunch.
Total amount of climbing to that point was very nearly 3000ft accompanied, for some reason, by lots of moaning and groaning.😂
After lunch the numbers seemed to dwindle a bit (can't think why) and three of us made our way through Kingswood, Walton and onto Headley Tea Room whereupon we all tucked into a scrumptious slice of Dorset Apple Cake with clotted cream. (just what the doctor ordered).😀

I hope you all enjoyed the ride and had lots of fun on the hills.

Pete Beyer.

B Group - 19th February (photos and maps)

"Just one more hill ..." by Pete Beyer

No time to visit the church (Pete)
In the Headley Village Store (Pete)
In The White Hart where Mike braved the elements to join us

On Farthing Down (Pete)

Thursday, February 20, 2020

Easy Riders - 19th February

We left Kingston and went round the back roads towards Thames Ditton and then further back roads to join the cycle track alongside a heavily congested Hampton Court Way. The joy of cycling came to the fore as we could spin along the cycle track and pass so many vehicles crawling along. It was then over the bridge and into Bushy Park to make our way to the Railway pub in Teddington for lunch. As there had been good reports about this venue from B group we thought that we would try it and we were all impressed. Don Elms regaled us with his cooking and baking prowess, particularly about his fruit cake, but as no samples were produced, we had to take his word. We were so comfortable there that we even stayed for tea and coffee thus avoiding the need later on.

Again it was the back roads to Broom Road and along to the bridge at Teddington Lock. The towpath alongside the Thames was closed off so it was the back roads of Kingston and New Malden to home.


Wednesday, February 19, 2020

A Group ride 19th February

24 plucky souls set off from Redhill to go to Warlingham. Having ridden the route and adjusted it three times I missed a turn within a mile, which extended our time on the A25. However noone noticed and the roads were quiet. Rain drizzled off and on, but we arrived safely at The Horseshoe pub. Ged was the back marker and only scored us 6 out of 10 for gapping. I have to take responsibility as I was the leader and did not remind everyone about the importance of leaving a sixty foot gap between smaller groups of riders. So I will say here that your footprint and position on the road is absolutely vital to keep everyone safe. The problem seems to occur because riders fail to keep to their peleton of 5 or 6 riders with a sixty foot gap between each group. The gaps disappear because riders want to catch up with the next group. This means frustrated drivers cannot overtake and they then overtake dangerously putting us at risk. We must get more disciplined in this skill. Fortunately the roads were quiet and we all got home safely.
At the pub the manageress gave us a third off the price of our meals because of a special promotion. The downside was they wanted us to pay one amount, so muggins had the task of collecting and checking the cash, hence my puzzled expression in the photo. Eleven stopped for tea at June8 cafe in Stoneleigh. Hope you all had a good day despite the hills! Thanks go to Janice for helping with the cash collection saving us a £65 in cash. Thanks go to all the intrepid corner markers and

Ged for back marking.

Monday, February 17, 2020

A Group Ride 19th February

From Redhill I have plotted a route North for a change, 16.5 miles and 1650ft of ascent to The Horseshoe pub at Warlingham, where I have booked a table in the large conservatory. There is plenty of space to park bikes there in 'the paddock'. The ride is mostly quiet lanes through Nutfield, Bletchingley,Godstone,Tatsfield and Chelsham to Warlingham, across the M25 corridor almost to Biggin Hill. The roads are mostly good apart from an awful pothole in Beddlestead Lane on a descent at approximateley the 13th mile, which I will try to find and mark for safety. There is also 1,8 miles of A25 to negotiate which crosses the M23 (nice view) on its way to Brighton, but on each recce former has been quiet at the time of day we will ride. I hope you are all in good health despite the storms, but we must ride carefully because of the fallout from trees and driving rain. The afternoon route back to June8 cafe Stoneleigh is 14.5 miles and 730 ft of ascent through Caterham, Coulsdon, Banstead and Cheam on quiet roads we don't normally travel. I will be taking lunch orders at Redhill to telephone in at 10.50am so please be on time.

B ride for the 19th

Wednesday 19th. 'B' ride from Redhill.

From Redhill we will venture out to Farthing Downs via Nutfield then over towards Chipstead for lunch (White Hart). After lunch we make our way to Kingswood, Tadworth and onto Headley Tea Rooms via Epsom Race Course.
I'll apologise now, but there are a couple of hills, and about 200yds of track. There will also be a couple of points of interest along the way. (Not Windmills)
See you all there.

Kind regards

Sunday, February 16, 2020

OS Maps

I'm always finding things that everyone else knew about, and may have done it again.  Anyway, for the last few months, since BikeHike got wobbly, I've been using an OS service to get OS Mapping online.  There are various options, the most expensive being a subscription service at £23.99 a year.  This gives you access to all maps, at all scales, for the whole country.   There are also useful overlays like the NCN, and you can use your subscription on several devices - I think the limit is five.

You can plot a route and download it to your GPS, and you can share routes, if you want.

It's a handy tool that works on phones, iPads and desktops, and you can download map segments to use off-line.

Worth a look, if you like this sort of thing.  Google 'OS Maps Online'


Thursday, February 13, 2020

Easy Riders - 12th February

We left Leatherhead Day Centre going along minor roads to join the A245 and took the A2430 at the Plough roundabout towards Oxshott. Just before the bridge over the M25 we took the single road on the left which leads to the Fire and Iron Gallery ( - a little known and fascinating place displaying various iron animals around the grounds and a gallery showing and selling a multitude of artworks and jewellery in a range of metals. It is well worth a visit.

We retraced our route to the B&Q roundabout and took the old Kingston Road up to the bridge over the M25 and went along the track beside the A243 to the opening onto Ashtead Common. This led us onto Epsom Common and the Jolly Coopers at Stamford Green for lunch. As we were not far from our homes and unsure of the weather we did not stop for tea.


Photo by Paul
Map data from Ray Wren

A Group 12th Feb

Maybe the best day of the week and a lovely day to be cycling. Eighteen of us set off from the Vineries along Orestan Lane and then the long steady pull up Green Dene to the top of Combe Lane. After Shere we looped west through Farley Green, Stroud Lane and Smithwood Common to approach Cranleigh which we bypassed along Amlets Lane. At Ewhurst it was reported that Simon had a puncture ( just a leaky patch it seems) and the rest of us pushed on to the pub at Walliswood. The Scarlett Arms service was quick and friendly and we werre away soon after two. Now the breeze was behind us and we made good progress up Mole Street to Ockley and on to Capel. A white van decided that hazard warning lights gave him a free pass to overtake towards oncoming traffic. A sign of longer days was the good turnout for tea at Denbies.

More hazardous driving on the way home when four of us were about to turn right by the church in Leatherhead we were overtaken on the wrong side of the road just as Dave F was about to turn.

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

B Group 12 Feb

After Tim's excellent ride last week when he took us past the Vineries and explored some of the routes I had earmarked for this Wednesday, we are going to go in the opposite direction to Teddington and to a pub I only discovered on the recce - The Railway.

The route provides plenty of opportunities for corner marking. There will be some off-road and in particular one stretch of 50m or so where we will walk. Worth doing as it avoids a busy stretch of road into Esher.

On the recce I saw some trees being cleared away post-Ciara, so here's hoping for a clear run.

Peter T

Monday, February 10, 2020

A Group 12 Feb

We are off to the Scarlett Arms. Just one significant hill - the gentle climb up Green Dene and rather less gentle descent to Shere. After that it is more round than over the hills. Tea at Denbies or Pilgrim Cycles depending on numbers.

No request to order in advance but lets try to get away from the Vineries promptly to give us time to get served.

My recce on Saturday was pre-Ciara so I'm hoping that most debris will have been cleared.

Saturday, February 08, 2020

Message from Patrick - Bagden Hill Adventure

Dear Bagden Hill Comrades,

Just a brief missive to convey my heartfelt gratitude to my fellow cycling enthusiasts who helped me after my foolhardy descent of Bagden Hill on Wednesday afternoon. You were so very attentive, kind and consoling at the roadside which made the wait more bearable. I also want to thank you for your patience as the blue sky and sunshine were beckoning you to meander through Surrey's delightful hills a number of you were stuck at the roadside attending to my well-being.

The net result of my inexperienced descent = fractured collarbone, 2 broken fingers and a few cuts and bruises to add to the package but acutely aware that it could have been far worse.

On the bright side I got a free lunch at the hospital and met some lovely folk.

I know how much I'm going to miss my Wednesday cycling day over the next couple of months but already looking forward to getting back on my steed again and feeling the wind through my hair(s).

Now recovering at home and reigniting my love of walking but doesn't quite build up the same appetite......

Your grateful friend Patrick.

Friday, February 07, 2020

Easy Riders in CycleClips

Lovely picture of some of the Easy Riders in Cycling UK's CycleClips weekly email today:

Thursday, February 06, 2020

B Group - 5th February

We all arrived at elevenses in various states of fogginess but by the time we headed out there were signs of it lifting with hints of a blue sky and probably a nice day emerging. Twenty one of us looped around through Church Street to Cobham High Street and took off down past the Cobham Mill (the Mill on the Mole) towards Fetcham, taking in the more scenic Tilt Road for a brief respite from the main road. Beyond the Yehudi Menuhin School we turned into Fetcham Common Lane which starts off with good intentions but soon degenerates into a muddy track, to the delight of some and the frustration of others. We bobbled along The Glade and the Commonside path to Bookham Station then meandered our way past the Effingham Vineries and up Culvert Road.

Green Dene was the great pleasure it nearly always is although while the leader was day-dreaming two young women rocketed past him and on up the hill. Fortunately they had heeded his shouted warning and were waiting for us at the turnoff into Shere Road. Ann and Jacqui rejoined the group when it finally arrived and, as far as I could tell, behaved themselves for the rest of the ride to lunch.

I had warned everyone about the steep little climb up to Hillside Farm but it still seemed to surprise us. We regrouped and enjoyed the descent to West Horsley and within minutes we were parking in the garden bar around the back of the King William IV public house.

We were warmly welcomed at the pub and our lunches were good although Sue mentioned that she could have done with a bigger portion of her very yummy soup.

Just a short ride had been planned for the afternoon but it was a very pleasant one, passing through Ockham, Martyr’s Green and Downside to reach River Lane and the Upper Cobham Tilt Cemetery. Fairmile Lane and a roller-coastery stretch of the Portsmouth Road brought us to G!ro (wonky typewriter?) Cycles. Their coffee, tea and cake is extremely good and was enjoyed by quite a number of us although I forgot to count how many.

Thanks to everyone who marked corners and especially to Dave “Mono-cog” Cullen for his diligent work as back marker, quite a tricky undertaking on a fixed-wheel bike I think. Thanks to you all for coming out to enjoy the sunshine and fresh air.

~ Tim

Easy Riders - 5th February

We left Cobham by Bridge Road and turned off into Cobham Park Road towards Downside and then took the road to Bookham Common. After traversing the Common we made our way to Fetcham and on into Leatherhead to take Epsom Road and then Garlands Road to cross the A243 and M25 into Ashtead where we settled upon the Woodman for lunch. After lunch I then took a slightly different route around Ashtead and managed to lose two of our number because of a dropped chain from one of the bikes. I made the mistake of assuming that we were all together and when we stopped at a junction further on  to gather ourselves we found that  we were two short. As I sometimes make up a route as we go along and usually we are such a small group so can keep an eye out for each other I did not set a corner marker early enough. I apologise for leaving those two riders in the lurch.

Three of us stopped for tea at Senzo café adjacent to Epsom Station.


Thanks to Don for the map data. After lunch Don took a different route home but the afternoon tea stop, Senzo, is shown.

A Group Ride Report – 5 February

A beautiful day for a ride, with dry roads and the prospect of sun later, but unfortunately not all went well.

21 of us left Cobham, taking the track across Bookham Common, thankfully reasonably dry, to avoid the long drag up to Effingham. After climbing Chapel Lane out of Bookham, Patrick had the misfortune to fall heavily when descending Bagden Hill. As he was unable to move and in pain an ambulance was called. Thanks to everyone for controlling the traffic and looking after Patrick while we waited for the ambulance. He was eventually taken to hospital where his injuries were diagnosed as a fractured collar bone and two fractured fingers, not to mention the bruising. He was discharged Wednesday evening. Special thanks to Neil Warland for accompanying Patrick, and letting us know how things were going.

Meanwhile the ride continued, with an advance party taking an adventurous route through the Denbies estate to the Royal Oak just south of Dorking, to be joined by the rest of us taking a direct route.

A good lunch was quickly served to our reduced party, but it was around 2.30 when we left. One climb remained, Ranmore Rd out of Dorking, for me the first time as a Wayfarer. After assembly at the top it was downhill almost all the way to tea at Ashtead Park Garden Centre, where we mustered 6.

We wish Patrick a speedy and pain-free recovery. Many thanks to everyone for their quick thinking and support on a difficult day, to Janice for photos, and of course to our much-appreciated back marker.

We should also thank the paramedics who arrived within 15 minutes and dealt with Patrick in such a professional and caring way.

And a footnote. This is not the first Wayfarer fall on Bagden Hill. Perhaps it’s just coincidence, but we should all remember the 20% sign at the top and take care.

Tuesday, February 04, 2020

Coast to Coast - Downs to the Severn Sea

This morning, I made an early start from Marlborough, beginning the next stage of my Coast to Coast adventure.  A good breakfast, then through the archway of the Castle and Ball car park, left along the High Street and left again at the old Town Hall, starting the climb that leads to Hackpen Hill.

The climb isn't very steep, but it is long, five miles odd to the top, which is unusual in England.  Geoffrey Shields and I rode it one spring day, and were entertained by the signs warning of ice.

The signs didn't mean much then, but they were of much greater moment early on a February morning, and I took things very carefully,  particularly on the descent.

Hackpen Hill is the highest point of the English part of my journey.  At 269m it's higher than Titsey Hill by 2m, not a lot, but things will be very different when I get in to Wales.  Anyway, it was very blowy on the top, the beginning of a strong head-wind that didn't change much for the rest of the ride.

There's a White Horse on the North side of the hill, not much of one, and quite hard to see.  It's a bit of a youngster, as these things go, apparently having been cut by a local publican to celebrate Queen Victoria's coronation.

Onwards across the plain to the West of Swindon, then following the ridge to Malmesbury.  The developing custom of this ride is to vary the route to take in Winged Wheels, and this was quite a good one - The Smoking Dog.

This may be the last of the trip, as there are very few Winged Wheels in Wales, and none reasonably near to my route.  There'll be other chances.

Steadily onward, crossing Fosse Way and heading in to the Cotswolds.  Some more climbing, still in to the wind, then, just by the Beaufort Tower, my first glimpse of Wales.  All downhill from here, then...

No, but not too difficult, either, and I rode up to the Severn Bridge Viewpoint at about half past twelve - very good going.

So there we are.  I rode back down to the waiting car, popped the bike in the back, and Maggie and I went to the White Lion in Thornbury for lunch.

Here's a cross-section of the ride across England.  250 miles, give or take, and just over half of the  journey is done.  The next stage will take me to Cardiff, where I will be properly in Wales.

A brief e-bike note on today's performance.  There was a strong head-wind, with quite a lot of steady climbing into the wind.  I was on the motor for a lot of the ride, which was fine, but it consumed a fair bit more power.  I had about 35% left after 56 miles, which is quite a contrast with the Lenham to Carshalton stage, roughly the same in terms of climbing and distance, where I had 55% left.

So, climbing fast into the wind takes a lot of power, eh?  Who knew!