Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Times to come

As I look out of the window during the sunny days we are having it seems strange that we are not meeting up tomorrow ( I think Simon may still be getting to Cobham in the morning as he got there a week early and was surprised it was closed, though I did remind him on his blog entry to get their early this week, 1st April)
If  Trump is right we should all be riding again by Easter, not sure what year. Following on from Tony's entry as well as getting our bikes in order we could also spruce up our kit, hope to see you well turned out when we next meet.

Geoff G

Coronavirus – Advice on Riding Alone

Government advice to everyone (I am sure you are aware, but quoted below for clarity) is that you should “stay at home”.

Going away from home is an exception. “You should only leave the house for very limited purposes” which includes “one form of exercise a day, for example a run, walk, or cycle - alone or with members of your household”. 

And “even when doing these activities, you should be minimising time spent outside of the home and ensuring you are 2 metres apart from anyone outside of your household”.

Following this CUK has updated its advice to members which can be read here.

Cyclists riding alone are more vulnerable than in a group should problems arise (punctures, mechanicals, falls).  And potentially they may have to call on others to help, including the NHS. Accordingly, CUK have emailed further advice which is quoted below.

“Our advice is to go out for long enough to keep yourself in good shape physically and emotionally, but avoid doing very long rides. We suggest people ride a loop close to home rather than a long out-and-back route, so that in case of a mechanical they can walk home unaided. Try to avoid areas you know are likely to be busy, to make it easier to maintain social distancing of at least two metres from other people. Ride within your limits to reduce the risk of requiring anyone to come to your aid and impacting on stretched resources.”

I can see from the blogs that a number of us have done some lovely rides. But please remember that there has been a lot of negative comment, not necessarily directed at cyclists, and not necessarily well informed, about people abusing the restrictions. So be mindful of how your actions may be interpreted by others, not least in blog posts which can be seen (and possibly misunderstood) by others.

Above all, remember the advice is intended to protect us all and the NHS, and hopefully shorten the time before we are able to go out without restriction. 

Stay Well.

May/June issue of The Sou'Wester

The latest issue of The Sou'Wester is available on the website here.  Thanks to Colin, there is a printed version and over the next week or so, Colin and helpers are using their daily exercise to try to deliver to those who are likely not to get to see a digital version.

Monday, March 30, 2020

Exercise Yards

The advice on 'exercise' seems to have settled on 'about an hour, and not too far from home', which is what I had been doing anyway.  I'm lucky enough to have quite a range of tracks and bridleways on my doorstep, which I know pretty well.  Over the next couple of months it's likely that my knowledge  will become not only extensive, but detailed.  Hey ho.

This morning, up over Woodmansterne to Banstead, down Holly Lane then meandering over bridleways towards Kingswood.  Over the top to Out Wood, past the Surrey Downs Golf Club, which is closed, and on up on to High Road.

Not many people about, those I did see I gave a smile, a wave and a wide berth, which seemed to satisfy everyone.

Down to Chipstead, and back home through Woodmansterne, getting in just as it started to pick with rain.  Good timing.


Sunday, March 29, 2020

Local solo ride

Reward for the climb
After reading the updated advice from Cycling UK, with some regret, I decided to stay local for today's ride.    There are only a few hills near home, so I found several variations of ascending Richmond hill, which gave me 300m of climbing in less than ten miles.

On the gate to Richmond Park
I felt that I had done my hill-climbing so wandered off towards Ham, where the road was closed for invisible toads, and then via Kingston Gate of Richmond Park (with nobody stopping cyclists entering as far as I could see, unlike Richmond gate where there was a policewoman).  I was trying to circle around home without getting too far away, so ended up going past Tim's house (I waved to you Tim), through Berrylands,  Surbiton, Hinchley Wood and along the track from the bottom of Sandown Park to Hersham station.   All of this was very pleasant, but I hadn't realised how much the wind had been helping me until I turned for home, and struggled back via Hampton Court and Bushy Park, still open to cyclists and fairly quiet.    I saw no toads, but did see a lot of ambulances on the road.   Stay safe, everyone!

Where in the World of? Isolation

It's amazing what you come across when Isolating. Where in the world are the above situated? The black sheep you will recognise as one of my family!

Surrey Ramblings

Again - all before Dave's post and apparently Michael Gove has weighed into the "appropriate length of excercise" debate this morning.

So my last almost normal ride was on Weds 18th. Social distancing advice at that point especially for the over 70s but no firm rules. I went over Green Dene, Shere and Peaslake to the Milk Churn which I hoped would be quiet. Pity about the dozen bikers but they were all together,. Impeccable distancing arrangements with service only through the hatch, a table outside it to keep the distance and only contactless payment. Those days seem a long time ago. Back via Weare St and Newdigate.

Sunday 22nd: Out to Cobham. Avoided the Tilt to Downside path as too many walkers and went through the town. Then out to Ockham and met Vic in Guileshill Lane. Continued to Jury's Lane and back via W Horsley and Effingham.

Weds 25th: Only a short ride but unexpectedly social ( suitably distanced!). Headed towards Epsom and met Janice coming the other way. Then up Chalk Lane, round the racecourse to Tadworth and back to Headley Heath where I stopped for a minute and Frances came along.  Down Juniper Bottom to add a few more miles on the way home.

Yesterday: Knowing from Janice's post that Headley village was open I went that way and across Walton golf course to Mogador, Margery Wood and the track along the downs above Reigate past the rotunda. Took the Tricross this time as better offroad. Also more excercise as it's heavier.

Then down Reigate Hill and out past the windmill on Reigate Heath to Leigh and Norwood Hill. Back via Newdigate. I tried to keep off the cycle path as much a possible along the A24 and came along the road from Burford Bridge to Mickleham. Too many groups of 4+ cyclists near the bottom of Box Hill. Otherwise almost all solo cyclists or couples. One or two seen driving to cycle - surely that's as bad as driving to walk?

Saturday, March 28, 2020

Time on your hands.

I hope you are all keeping well and coping with isolation. We do have the option, at present, of cycling solo, not sure how long this will last, so make the most of it

Even a few short rides are better than none, if you can cycle short distance at a higher intensity it is more beneficial.

While we cannot fulfil our cycling norm then perhaps it is a good opportunity to go over your bike and give it a spring clean and service.

  • Check Brakes for proper operation/alignment adjust and replace brake pad/cables where necessary.
  • Tune Up gears front and rear for proper operation and check alignment, adjust if necessary.
  • Clean chain and lubricate, check for wear. See Marks blog.
  • Clean Wheel brake surface, check for wear. Check for loose or broken spokes.
  • Frame and forks check nuts and bolts for correct tightness, tighten where necessary, check for any visual signs of damage or cracks.
  • Check tyres for wear and damage, pump to correct pressure.
  • Check cranks, Bottom Bracket, headset, steering for any play or movement.
If you are not confident at giving this a go then most bike shops will be happy to oblige for around £50 plus parts.
These are really essentials to keep your bike in good cycling condition.
Hopefully it won't be too long before you can test your prowess at servicing.

Take care and stay safe.


Another quiet Surrey ride

Before Dave's blog (Tuesday March 31 ?) I enjoyed another quiet Surrey ride. Leaving route N22 at Westcott I climbed Logmore Lane - still barely rideable in places but well worth the effort for the views. It is being closed 1-9 April for waterworks.
Looking north from Logmore Lane (left of tree Ranmore, right of tree Boxhill)

Notice warns of toads crossing roads - don't they read the Highway Toad ?
Passing through Coldharbour I saw this notice. Forking left onto Broome Hall Road I enjoyed the freewheel past Broome Hall - a rather large, imposing building, well back from the road. The Canadian Army headquarters were here during the second World War. One of the subsequent owners was actor Oliver Reed. Apparently he was banned from the local pub for an uncensored act one Christmas.

Soon I briefly joined the A29 before turning off to Capel, Newdigate and North Holmwood before turning right into Punchbowl Lane and a view of fields of almost ripe oilseed rape. Crossing the A25 then shortly the A24 was accomplished effortlessly.

Another wonderful ride in ideal conditions.

Keep well.


Want Some Climbs - Inspired by Geoff Gregory

My take on Geoff's Raynes Park Grimpeur

Return is just a steep

Morley Park Cycleway

Want some climbs

If you live in the Wimbledon and surrounding boroughs and want some short sharp hills to have a go at look no further than those from the top of Wimbledon Hill, turn past Tescos at the top onto the Ridgeway, turn left and drop down to Worple Road a right turn and you can soon turn right again to climb then at the top onto the Ridgeway, so up and down the hills until you come to the end of the Ridgeway where you encounter a small roundabout, straight across into Copse Hill (time for a good breath as you drop to Coombe Lane. Turn left to go into Raynes Park and you can do the whole thing in reverse starting at Durham Road that leads up to the small roundabout you crossed a little earlier, then up and down again and end back at Wimbledon Hill, top or bottom.
This can go on for as long as you want or can keep going, check out your mapping system or A-Z to see the way the roads run, it will certainly give you a good sharp or slow workout.
All the best.

Geoff G.

Friday, March 27, 2020

Yet another solo ride

Not as scenic as the previous two from Terry and Ged but it was getting out and the sun was shining, was intending to copy Hans Windsor ride but thought may be not a good idea with regards to the advise given.
Easiest thing was my 'Sunday Loop' out from Wimbledon to Kingston, Esher, Hersham, Walton, Hampton Court, Richmond, East Sheen, Putney and back into Wimbledon, 34 miles easy riding apart from the head wind from Walton to Putney.
Traffic seemed a bit heave today but only in patches, I hope others are well and managing to get out, would like to hear about your rides on the blog.
Stay safe and hope you are well.
Geoff G.

Exploring Chobham Common

I set off with the wind at my back towards Chobham today.   Had a nose around the Longcross Estate, but the only interesting point was the number of security guards there!   They were very helpful in telling me where I could/could not go, but most of the bridlepaths were a bit too lumpy from horse traffic.   As I approached the M3 along Longcross Road, I decided to turn into Chobham Common, somewhere I'd never explored before.   It's vast!   Plenty of paths and bridleways to explore, a few mild hills or level routes if you choose, and all pretty dry and rideable.   Hardly any people around (probably because the car parks are closed).   Rather unexpectedly, I emerged on Gracious Pond Road.   Went up Steep Hill, just for the hill of it, and had a very nice meal in the sun at Windlesham.   Not in The Sun, just outside it, as it was closed, but still very pleasant place to idle away a few munches of lunch.

Returned along the Basingstoke Canal, which was empty of water and mostly empty of people too.   Those that I did pass were extremely courteous, I just went up behind them and coughed politely to let them know I was there - they couldn't get out of my way quickly enough!

Richmond Park Closed to Cyclists

Neil alerted me to this news, just out today.
Richmond Park is now closed to cyclists until further notice.
Sad but understandable given the crowds likely this weekend.
Bushy Park remains open.

Stay well!