Friday, July 31, 2020

Easy Riders - 29th July

We left in three groups from Walton on Thames and took the track to Weybridge where we went round the back streets to Weybridge Road, following this onto Woburn Hill. At the top we took the track to the right and followed it through to Chertsey Bridge after which we turned left along Thameside. We turned right along Ferry Lane and right again into Abbey Drive to stop outside the gates to Laleham Abbey (built 1803-6). As I was about to start on the history of the Abbey, one of the residents drove out of the gates and gave our small group the history lesson I was about to give. As we showed an interest he generously gave the code **** to open the gates for us to have a look around. "If any body questions you just say that you are friends of Mike". This worked as an oriental lady did question us. After we convinced her that we were harmless she gave us further information about the property. Don Elms questioned why anybody should want to build such a grand property so near to the noise of the M3 - fortunately she didn't hear this questionable aside. Getting out through the electronic gates proved a small problem but we managed to sort it out.

It was a brief ride along Shepperton and Laleham Roads to our lunch venue at The Goat which all the groups managed to find. After lunch we took Halliford Road to Sunbury and then the pleasant paths round the back to join the Lower Hampton Road and on into the quietness of Bushy Park. It was then onto Hampton Court, Thames Ditton and home.


Thursday, July 30, 2020

A Group ride to Puttenham - July 29

First of all my thanks to Simon, Dave Vine, Patrick and Janice for doing the reccy ride with me and giving me valuable tips for my first ride lead. 

Wayfarers A riders arrived early at Weybridge enthused by the great weather and maybe by the prospect of a scenic route without monster hills for once.  We love big hills but there’s strain and  pain with the pleasure of them. The Weybridge park planting looked lavish In the sunshine adding to our sense of well being.  

It was good to have John Bassett and Keith Rook back. Keith was hesitant about my planned 15mph (moderate not fast) pace, but decided it should be ok, and it was.

The morning section to Puttenham was all on road. The B318..A319 road surface was notably poor going out west. After Fairoaks airport with the left turn to Philpot Lane we were in idyllic rural cycling territory. Next Sandpit Hall Lane on to Chobham, then from the north of Woking how good was it to ride with those great views on such a smooth road surface?! After Pirbright was a section lined with spectacular Scotts pines. Then we switched left onto minor lanes at Ash. A residence that we formerly a railway station still has the Ash Green railway sign. From a bridge over the disused railway we saw an appealing trail – it’s the Christmas Pie Trail.  We viewed the Surrey Hills brewery, found out they are licensed for Friday and Saturday nights and they put on some entertainment,  “start with a jug of beer and settle in” was their advice.
The Surrey Hills emblem is a high point on the Hogs Back, nearby are great views to the south-west.  

Onto Seale and to my favourite part of the ride, the beautiful Puttenham Lane ‘valley’, a long fast all down hill section, with a few rises to keep the downhill going further. Then approaching Puttenham the hop vines reminded us a proper local beer at the Good Intent is in order.  The pub, the staff, food service were tops. When I got to the outside table with my Hog Star lager I wondered how long the wait would be – there was my food on the table already!

The second part of the ride had a moderate climb up Down Lane, then we took the NCR22 flat chalk track. From there we had the best views to the South Downs 30 miles away. 

To the north, Guildford Cathedral, probably the ugliest in the country, the blocks of concrete which are Woking centre, Wembley Arch (133 metres high, 26 miles away). 

And Docklands (Canary Wharf Tower 235 metres, 30 miles away), some said they spotted Blackpool Tower.

Driving through Guildford in a car is a bad experience, by bike it was easy.  Then some more speed for the lanes to Cobham to enjoy the Medicine Garden one last time. 

Patrick led a group for the first time. One of his group said it was like a stage of the Tour de France. , I last saw him as we left the Medicine Garden, he was heading south for more miles. No report from him. Is he back yet?  

Simon writes.. 
Our small but perfectly-formed group set off first at 10.20: despite being labelled the slow group, we made good time along fairly quiet roads - Ottershaw, Chobham, Brookwood - to Tongham, where we enjoyed a lengthy tour of the brewery.  It was good to have John back out with us again after some bike problems on his last ride.  Up onto the Hogs Back for a photo stop by the Surrey Hills sign, and over the other side to Seale and Puttenham, arriving much earlier than expected.  We were just starting our second pint when the second group arrived.

Lunch was excellent, with perfect weather for cycling or lazing around in the pub garden.  Much later, later "fast" groups turned up and it was time for us to go.    A quick tour of the Watts Gallery, all part of Neil's very well planned and enjoyable route, and then up so-called Down Lane to the top of the Hogs Back again.  We stopped to enjoy some lovely views south and north, pointing out the landmarks to a couple of walkers who were passing: Woking, Wembley, the city, the Eiffel Tower, Blackpool Tower, and so on.  Visibility was excellent.   Then it was through Guildford with a short diversion to visit the Castle, looking floral and beautiful, before the run home to the Medicine Garden on it's last day before closing..    We were just pipped to the post by Patrick's group, but we felt we had done well for a slow group.   A great day out.

Dave Vine sent me his appreciations for  a well planned and executed ride and writes ..
Everyone in my group returned with enthusiastic praise, especially as you organised a good pub and near perfect weather too.

I should mention that Mike Barrett was back marking but left us in Pirbright to make his own way home. He was suffering from hamstring strain so didn't want to do the whole ride. Geoff Gregory then back-marked for the rest of the day. Thanks both.

We had a brief stop at the fire engine, mainly to take on water, and a fly-by tour of the brewery, arriving at Puttenham about 20min ahead of schedule.

After a leisurely lunch we stopped to admire the South Downs view where my group were relieved to learn that you had not planned to continue offroad across the ploughed field. Admiring the northward view we discovered the memorial to the Cornish rebel march on London in 1497, see photo attached. Apparently there was a skirmish there before the Cornish force went on to be defeated at the Battle of Depford Bridge. I bet you didn't know that before today.

The panorama north, with Guildford Cathedral and Woking town centre just right of it.

Seemingly Patrick's group were less interested in history and overtook us at this point, but thankfully didn't eat all the cakes before we got to the Medicine Garden.

PS.  Patrick writes...
The happy quintet, aka Janice, Fiona, Hans, Dave B and moi, set off post-caffeine fix at 10.58 according to the Weybridge church clock. This was my first ride to lead but I was in the formidable company of well-seasoned CTC members so I had nothing to worry about. We established a "sporty" pace in order to "get to the fire" in good time :)

Lovely rolling through the lanes just after Fairoaks international airport. Tubeless tyre needed some TLC down Poyle lane but we were soon on our merry way. Arrived at the Good Intent public house  circa 12.24. Lunch was served promptly and enjoyed by all. The question was raised: to go to tubeless or not to go tubeless? (please do not send your answers on a postcard). 

Post lunch section also went well and we briefly stopped on the Hogs Back forest trail to take in the glorious views towards Woking and London. Hans thought he could see his house and we politely laughed. Safely got to the Medicine Garden for what would be our last coffee there before they transform themselves into a spa. Pleasant banter over tea and coconut flapjacks re Staples Lane x 64, democracy, non verbal communication, Japanese culture, and the perks of Australian twins, not necessarily in that order. All in all a jolly good day was had with great company and thanks to Dave B for back-marking and it would be most rude not to acknowledge Hans for contributing towards thought-provoking conversation. Merci.

~ Neil Warland

Group B3 - 29th July

As the last of the B groups scheduled for departure from Weybridge we were able to take our time over coffee and enjoy being able to stand around talking in the sunshine. Winter will bring another change to our new culture of meeting outdoors for Elevenses but we'd rather not contemplate that yet.

With Tony's route loaded into Memory-Map on my phone I followed his blue line which took us through Chertsey and Virginia Water then North to Datchet. We joined the Jubilee River trail at a place we'd never heard of called Myrke and followed the river all the way to lunch.

Though Dorney Court wasn't Tony's first choice for our lunch stop it was in every way ideal with its café/restaurant, toilets and an opportunity to browse in the garden centre.

After lunch we set sail across Dorney Common in high gears with a slight breeze behind us and after the second cattle grid soon found ourselves in Eton Wick. I looked at my phone and realised that Tony's route didn't go to Eton Wick. The leader had been day-dreaming! We pondered our options and decided to go back to Dorney and take the Boveney Road as intended. We were glad that we did this because for most, if not all of us it was a route we'd never taken before, leading onto the pleasant path down to Boveney Lock and through to Eton.

We crossed the Thames at Eton and took a conventional route through Datchet, Wraysbury and Staines to join the others from the first two groups at The Ferry Coffee Shop in Shepperton which was very busy with our custom and the usual throng of normal people stopping off for refreshment.

Thanks to Tony for devising the route for a day which was enjoyed by all. Thanks to Terry for back marking and for the happy little team who rode with me, including Martin who we could welcome back to our rides for the first time since lockdown began.

~ Tim

Wednesday, July 29, 2020

What a Day.

Arriving at Wadebridge to find only A group riders gathered in the rec. Had a lovely coffee and cake from Gok's coffee shop, (the waitresses were all fully clothed). Numbers soon began to increase as B's and A's started arriving. Nice to see a large (socially distanced) Wayfarers. Most were enjoying coffee and some sort of edible delight. Time for the off as my group of 6 were raring to go.Tim Gibbons had volunteered to be back marker and a grand job he did, Thank you Tim. The Weather was slightly chilly but soon the temperature started to climb. It was around 18 miles to Lunch at Dorney court GC. A few gentle inclines to Virginia water and then the nice little ride up Callow Hill saw the last of any height gain. All of my group enjoyed the descent of Crimp hill past Elton John's residents邏. None fancied returning via that route?

Through Old Windsor, Datchet and onto the off road route of the Jubilee river to lunch at Dorney court GC. Most sat outside to enjoy sandwiches  brought from home and then getting a coffee afterwards. Soon the second 6 arrived and eventually the third 6 arrived. Chat and banter filled the air but soon enough of sitting in the glorious sunshine, the whip was cracked and off we set.   Dorney common and close to the Chapel of Saint Mary Magdalene, a lovely very old Chapel only accessible on foot. Eton was reached and across the bridge to Windsor and  the road to Datchet We were lucky to have the wind behind us so progress was rapid. Wraysbury, with a very slight detour t and nobby lecture about the Ankerwycke Yew  Tree, a 2500 year old yew tree purported to be the actual place where the Magna Carter was signed. 

 Staines, Laleham all passed in a blur (poetic licence) and we were soon sitting in the Sun at Shepperton lock scoffing coffee and cake, well I was.

The second 6 eventually arrived and finally the third 6. It was great sitting in the sun with great company and loads of chatter, very hard to get back on the bike to head home , but.... eventually we did. We were very lucky with the weather and a great group of Wayfarers. Thank you to all the sub-leaders and back markers.
Tony (IA)

Monday, July 27, 2020

C group 29 July

Easy riders will meet at Walton bridge for coffee this Wednesday.  Please contact Helen Tovey if you wish to join our ride. Planning to have lunch at the Goat, I'm waiting for confirmation.


 Need A Loo?

Saturday, July 25, 2020

An Alternative B Ride (Or, the NorWesters Return) 23/7/20

Dorking being a tad to far after only a short return to cycling for some, an alternative ride was devised for the Norwesterners of the Wayfarers, or SouWesters ( A real mouthful) So 11's was taken at Cobham Bakery, just round the corner from the RBL And them Pam led a very interesting route to Claygate for lunch, we never got really lost but came close, I did spot a wild boar at one point. We also did our good deed for the day by searching for and finding a lost dog. We encountered some sandy tracks that were not cyclable and the walking descent through the Pinewood was interesting.

Claygate was reached and lunch was taken in the local rec, which was full of junior and very junior youngsters being coached at football.

We all had our own lunch. Onto tea at Thames Ditton and take away coffee from Nice Buns cafe (honestly it's called Nice Buns) which we enjoyed in St Nicholas Church memorial garden.

A very pleasant day out and we didn't lose anyone, well only briefly
Thank you Ed, Pam, Liz and Gill for your company and especially to Pam for such an interesting route.

Easy Riders - 22nd July

We were a little late leaving Handley's Cafe in Ashtead as the chain on my bike decided to break after a mile and I had to walk back home and get another bike out - who says that we don't need more than one bike? Unfortunately, Bernard Brindley's bike was still at the menders, so he could not make it. As we were a little late and lunch had been booked at The Woodman, Lower Ashtead, the original ride was truncated. Nine of us left Ashtead to take Ottways Lane into Grange Road and across the traffic lights into Ermyn Way. A right took us into Green Lane and across the M25 onto the Leatherhead By-Pass which we followed along to a right turn into Headley Road. We skirted Leatherhead to join Cobham Road and followed that through to a right turn into Woodlands Lane. Unfortunately, I failed to note that Helen Tovey and Ray Wren were not with us and so they gaily carried on along Cobham Road. They were, however, aware of the lunch stop and were able to turn up a little later than the rest of us.

We found ourselves a little early when we arrived into Barnett Wood Lane so took a small diversion to use the pedestrian railway crossing at the end of Green Lane and enjoyed the quietness of Links Road which took us round to Ashtead train station and on to the pub.

After lunch we traversed Ashtead Common to end up at The Old Moat Garden Centre for tea - I wonder where the original moat was - just a thought. On arriving there we had a few brief words with a group from Kingston Cycling Campaign who said that they had said hello to another group of Wayfarers in Cobham.

John B

Helen Tovey writes:

One of the Nonsuch Saturday riders, Ken Jones, joined us at North Cheam. Unfortunately the back tyre on his electric bike was in a quite dangerous state, so he wasn't able to come with us. We sent him down to Mark at Cycle Power, our local bike shop in Worcester Park. He spent an hour and a half replacing the back tyre. This was really good service, like all the local cycle repair shops he is very busy and put 8 other jobs on hold to look after Ken.  Ken  then cycled all the way to Box Hill and then home, so had a very nice day (if not quite as social as expected). He hopes to come to Walton with us next week.

This is the second electric bike back tyre issue that has suggested that roadside repairs are too time consuming to be resolved when they occur. Liz had a puncture a few weeks ago and wasn't able to get her back wheel off. She had to call for transport home.  Mark's first comment was "that's a long job" when we phoned him to let him know that Ken was on his way.

Still the benefits of electric are absolutely obvious for several of our friends in the group. 😊