Friday, April 30, 2021

A group ride 5th May

We will be setting off from Cobham RBL to go west to Englefield Green via Ripley and then Woking with 300 metres of the Basingstoke canal and a super duper new bridge for cyclists across the canal. 19 miles and 814 ft of ascent total. The return ends in Hampton Court via Staines and Bushey Park, 15.4 miles and 234 ft of ascent. I am hoping for sunshine to show off the countryside and profusion of bluebells at their best. Lunch stop is at The Rose and Olive Branch which has new managers and has been completely refurbished. It now has six tables outside the pub under cover, in the shade of the building. In the rear garden there are twelve tables in the sun (hopefully). Ladies conveniences are inside to the left at the back and Gents are first left before you enter the entrance. Remember your masks. If you would like a tea stop there is The Pheasantry with toilets in Bushey Park and at Hampton Court there is Dish cafe or Molesey Lock cafe again with toilets.

If you would like to join the ride please let me know by Monday 3rd May with your lunch choice so I can pre - order the food for your group.

My email address is I will send you gpx routes for outward and return journeys and details of your groups and timings.

Invitation to a B Group ride on 5th May

You are invited to join us for an undulating ride in the Surrey Hills.

I'm conscious that most rides are on quiet roads and villages, at times challenging but nothing nasty at all. You are in great for a "woodlands bath" with trees, flowers, fauna, birds and animals.

We will meet up outside Cobham RBL with no more than 6 in a group for a 13 miles ride to lunch at The Drummond at Albury. We climb Shere Road from West Horsley, down Coombe Lane, across A25 to historical and beautiful Shere Village and the "back" road to our lunch venue.

It's another 17 mile undulating and quiet road ride from lunch to Tea stop at Denbies, passing picturesque places like Peaslake, Holmbury, Leith Hill, Coldhabour and mainly down to Denbies at Dorking.

Please email Christina latest 7pm Monday 3 May if you would like to join the ride, stating your preferred starting time (early or latish).




B Group Ride 28April - Bushy Park, Eton, Walton on Thames

Teddington was always a favourite elevenses venue. The Pheasantry cafe in Bushy Park was just as popular - with 30 Bs signing-up for the now familiar groups of six, with 29 reaching the starting-line on the day. Pete Barnard was there to wave us off!

Was it a typical B ride? This route map provides some answers!

Tim reported on his group - the last to leave elevenses:-

Our little group had a fairly fluid composition right up until the moment of departure, with Inder and Christina unable to come but Sue Foster joined on Tuesday and Brian Bent joined us at the Pheasantry Café. So five of us (Stephen Morris, Sue Foster, Anne Walker, Brian Bent and myself) started, as Ged had intended us to continue, on a rarely used perimeter track in Bushy Park.

A feature of the ride were the ingenious modes of crossing the major roads, especially the bridge over the A316 at Hanworth, the familar but convoluted crossing of the M25 at J14, and the foot bridge over the M4 which links the Queen Mother Reservoir to Ditton Park and the lovely new bridge which links Upton Court Park with The Myrke and its bridge over the Jubilee River, leading us through the playing fields to Eton College. However I think the archiects could make the bridges more cycle friendly with a more generous radius on the bends, as they often do in Europe. 

We were pleased to see lots of other cyclists at the Watermans Arms, all in various stages of progress through their lunches. And Tony with his team of Nor'Westers made a flypast after lunching elsewhere by the river before heading off to avoid Crimp Hill.

Despite sitting outside and enduring a bit of drizzle we enjoyed our lunch but having said goodbye to Brian we were pleased to get going again through Windsor, then Old Windsor, to climb Crimp Hill, which made us puff and pant but didn't entirely warm us up.

We arrived at the Ferry Coffee Shop (Nauticalia) by the ferry landing, Stephen took off for home while Sue, Anne and I enjoyed our hot drinks before the last leg for which we had made a spontaneous decision to catch the ferry for a more enjoyable ride along the Thames to Walton.

During the morning we had stopped at St Michael and All Angels church in Horton for a team photo. Stephen and Sue were talking about the associations in the area with John Milton which prompted me to realise that while concentrating on navigation I had cruised past Berkyn Manor. Though since rebuilt in the mid-nineteenth century the original house had been rented by Milton's family when John was a young man. The grave of his Mum is in the church. Berkyn Manor, still derelict I believe, has been the subject of many photographic expeditions with numerous collections of impressive photos to see on the web.

Thanks to Ged for a very different sort of ride and to the team for remaining cheerful in the face of some quite grotty weather after lunch.

Church stop at Horton.

Tea at Nauticalia - waiting for the ferry.

Nauticalia masked pirate.

Steph's group - wrapped-up warm for lunch.

Steph, and her 6, was first away (10.20am), from the Pheasantry, confident on following the route - having joined me for a test ride on Monday. Sure enough, her group were the first to arrive at lunch at the Watermans Arms. Afterwards they coped admirably with Crimp Hill.

The Tony Hopkins group of Nor'westerners  - Pam. Gill, Liz, Ann and John Brooks, were next away, cycling on (mainly) familiar routes,  (although Liz did admit that much of the route was new to her!). 

My group - Martin, Ken, Paula and Ray Y. was third away. An errant motorist gave some a nasty scare when riding along the cycle path on Hounslow Rd. just before Hanworth Park, but the rest of the morning flowed well. An A group peloton sped past in Bedfont Road, near Heathrow, and we caught-up with Tony's 10.30am group entering the track around Hithermoor Lake. Eton's Dutchman's playing-fields were strangely deserted - no chaps at the crease or in the scrum, and no students to be seen while we posed for photos at the King of Siam's garden. The Watermans Arms opened specially for us - sensible customers wouldn't sit outside in the wind and cold! It didn't deter Ray Wren, who joined us after a solo navigation using his various devices. A hot cup of tea was very welcome at Walton Bridge - and meeting some stragglers from the As!

Around Hithermoor Lake, Stanwell Moor

At the King of Siam's Garden, Eton College.

The 10.50 group was led by Tony Hooker, with assistant navigator Dave C. (Paul James, having now been to Eton, was expecting his applications to chair highly enumerated but sinecure QUANGOS to be more successful!). The Runnymede option was their preferred route to tea.

Tony Hooker's group at the Waterman's Arms

Crossing the newly opened M4 bridge to Eton.

Despite the dismal weather it was a pleasure to lead the Bs on some unusual tracks and trails, away from busy roads, in this part of west London. A grand turnout!

Thursday, April 29, 2021

Ride Report - 'A' Group 28 April 2021 (Hampton Court & Burnham Beeches)


It was very disappointing that after weeks of dry and sunny weather we were greeted by leaden skies, a brisk, cold wind, and threatening rain as we gathered by the river at Molesey Lock for elevenses.   There were no drop-outs and the ride was over-subscribed.   Co-leaders Hans, Mike and Frances ushered their groups away promptly and efficiently (possibly no one wanted to hang around too long as it was so cold), so many thanks are due to them, and to Simon (as sub-co-leader with a mini group of two)!

There were plenty of points of interest, especially on the outward ride, but it wasn't really sightseeing weather.   However, I hope you noticed 'the river that was moved' by Heathrow, and remarked the contrast between high speed travel today (Terminal 5) and two centuries or so ago (as witnessed by the old coaching inns we passed along the Bath Road a few miles away in Colnbrook).

My group (Alan, John B, Dave and Jennie, Stephen Foster (making his debut 'A' ride) set off last and we made good progress, only really pausing at Pinewood.

Jennie wanted us to blag our way into the studios but we carried on and arrived at lunch at 13.15.    I think it is fair to say that the group as a whole gave the Fox and Pheasant mixed reviews!   I mention in my defence that it was my third choice of pub.   Actually, I was glad it did have a bit of cover and at least the semblance of heaters (which my second choice venue wouldn't have done)!   A few side walls to the construction would have made it even better!   My experience of the app was actually very good, but it wasn't ever clear how people who didn't have the app were supposed to order.   The food was pretty standard pub fare - we've had better, we've had worse.  We've certainly had pricier!

My group were rather late setting off for home and rain was setting in, so I'm ashamed to say we cut out the scenic bit (you've seen one beech tree, you've seen 'em all), and shortened the route back from Staines.  At Staines one of our group unfortunately fell off awkwardly while riding at slow speed.   A wrist injury was suspected but they were able to bravely ride on with us to Shepperton to catch a train home.   The rest of us continued to Walton in steady rain and decided to pass on a tea stop, it being well past tea time by now!  Many thanks to all my group for their company and good spirits, and thanks to everyone else for your support!

Group Report from Simon Our mini-group, just Geoff and I, was reminiscent of the old days of riding in pairs.   We enjoyed a fast ride on little-used roads out to Burnham Beeches, with a tailwind.   The pub served good food promptly but ordering using the app caused a few furrowed brows, myself included!  A slower, cooler and damper ride back.  The forecast said 13 degrees but my Garmin said it was 6 degrees as we were riding home from tea at around 5pm!   Thank you Geoff for your company and thanks to David for an enjoyable and novel route with some lovely lanes in Bucks.

Tuesday, April 27, 2021

B group 28 April - Bushy Park, Eton, Walton on Thames. Garmin course

For those using Garmin to navigate this is the course for tomorrows ride.

Hilly 50 This Saturday 1 May


Anyone interested in riding the "Group of 6 Hilly 50" on the original course (Ryka's to Box Hill via all the other hills) on Saturday 1 May in memory of Mike Morley please let me know ( I will organise starting groups from about 10am.

All donations to St Raphael's welcome.

                                  Mike on Box Hill - KPRC Hilly 12 mile TT 2010

Sunday, April 25, 2021

Strava vs Komoot

Stephen Hickey has drawn my attention to an article by Paul Norman (dated 21st April) and featured on Pearson Cycles' website:

Strava vs Komoot

This is quite a hot topic for conversation amongst members including some who are also thinking of purchasing a Garmin or other device and several who already use the basic features of RideWithGPS and a few who subscribe to RwGPS ($50 p.a.) to use its advanced features.

Note that these are not the only products out there. My advice is to see how far you can get with the basic free feature set on any product before committing to a subscription. For navigation consider how you will attach your phone to the handlebars and how to keep it dry if it is not a waterproof model. All products require quite a commitment to learning how to use them to get the best from them.

~ Tim

Friday, April 23, 2021

Invitation to Join the B Group Ride, 28th April.

I have given myself the rare treat of leading the B Group on 28th April. You are cordially invited to join this ride. Steph, Tony Hooker and Tony Hopkins have kindly offered to be sub-leaders.

Elevenses will be at the Pheasantry cafe, Bushy Park, and lunch at the Watermans Arms, Eton. Tea, for those following the full route, will be at the Cowey Sale cafe, Walton Bridge.

The route to lunch is flat, 17miles, with a few gravel paths, and passes through Hanworth, Feltham, Stanwell Moor, Horton, and Datchet. After lunch there is one climb - from Old Windsor up Crimp Hill, (but with the descent of Tite Hill to Egham soon after). Thereafter the route passes through Staines and Laleham, following the Thames, in two stretches, to Walton on Thames. (16miles).

I'll be doing another recce of the route on Monday - with co-leaders if they wish, and will then put the route on the blog (in Garmin .gpx) or Ride with GPS if requested, for those wanting to follow the course on the day.

Unfortunately the Waterman's Arms pub doesn't take bookings for outdoor tables, but the landlady has assured me that there should be plenty of spaces from midday on Wednesday. Likely gaps in groups arriving should make it easier. We have also been requested, if possible, to use smart-phones to order food and drink from the menu. (There is also a very large beer-garden at the JD Wetherspoons, The King and Castle, just over the bridge in Windsor, should there be insufficient outdoor tables).

I'm aware that some riders may wish to avoid Crimp Hill, so if you could let me know, arrangements will be made for one group to follow a flatter route through Runnymede.

Please respond to:- if you want to join this ride. Deadline:- 6.00pm on Monday. 

Whilst Covid-19 restrictions are easing it is still vital as a club we ride in groups of six or less, keep in our groups during the day, and follow social distancing guidelines at all times. See our guidelines. There's a slight chance we may bump into the A Group around Bedfont - on their way to Burnham Beeches, so don't get caught-up with the greyhounds!

I'll email the groups and starting times on Tuesday, and look forward to riding with you on Wednesday.