Thursday, September 30, 2021

'A' groups Redhill to Ashdown Forest Ride Report

A late September ride from Redhill focusses the mind on the close of the 2021 summer season. The all day rain forecast for Wednesday at the previous weekend had already come and gone, (somebody up there likes us), leaving us a bright cool day, with just a bout of cold rain at about 5pm. A few Wayfarers were missing: some falling recently to colds and other perils, and John B. who missed the ride due to a puncture on the way to Redhill. We heard later he was around to meet the A1 group for tea at Denbies. 

A2's were Dave F., Abi, Ged, Sue, Neil C. and me. 

We waited +5 mins  in case John arrived, I again had an annoying start problem on my Garmin 830, then we were off, stopping for a brief visit to the old looking C of E church on the Redhill side of Outfield. Inside is a display of its own history, and a display of local history - archaeology shows people were in the area from 4000 years ago. The outside looks several 100s years old, so why is the interior redbrick? Well, it was build in 1867 with a classic design. Not sure what that would be called, mock-17C? retro?! As we passed other old mansions some guesses were "built in 2019"! 

We rode the mix of minor roads with a few busy sections inbetween ok, passing thru Ashurst Wood village onto the small roads characteristic of Ashdown Forest. The trees were not as yellowed as I expected, the horse chestnut leaves are on their way, and the ferns were proper autumnal. 

We did see great views. At the top of the Priory Road climb we turned right onto Legsheath Lane, the long downhill section to the Wier Wood Reservoir was a  welcome change.

Next summer I hope we can do a longer ride of Ashdown Forest, with lunch at the Compass Inn Hartley, and take in the nearby AA Milne PsOI, with Kidd Hill's 23% section. The return from there is along Hindleap Lane, a high ridge with excellent views north towards London and Sevenoaks, continuing onto Legsheath Lane.

After the reservoir was a punchy climb to get to the Old Dunning Mill pub, our advance lunch orders were served with little delay, the outdoors seating area was very agreeable. 

The return was free of big hills, we had a headwind, and some legs were spent as we got to Brockham so we had tea there. At Brockham Sue said she had been apprehensive in case the ride proved too long or fast, but she did well thoughout finishing strong. Abi was super cautious downhill, I think she is in her element uphill, sprinting ahead up some hill sections.

Thanks to Dave and Ged for handling backmarking on my group. 

Thanks to Mike Reynell for leading the A1 group - Janice, Patrick, Mark G., Dave B., Dave W., Steve D.

I heard that Dave B. said somewhere on the minor forest roads 'I have absolutely no idea where we are' - sounds like appreciation for finding some good new country roads to ride 😊.  Riders said they liked the new territory we covered, the extra effort of a Redhill start was rewarded.  

Last of the summer rides? B Group to Rusper, 29 September

In a week of thunder and rain we were granted a welcome chilly but sunny window for our Redhill ride.  One or two had dropped out, but we had a couple of surprise but welcome latecomers, too, and we all got to Redhill (not the easiest part of a Redhill ride, getting there!) in good time, though chitchat and whatnot slightly delayed the departure of the Impressionists, captained by Ken upon his welcome return to leadership duty.

We took the Country Park route out of Redhill but the whiff of landfill up Cormongers Lane may mean I use Nutfield Marsh Road next time I want to go south east!  I'd gone round the route on Monday after Sunday's storm to ensure the Country Park off road was not a challenge, and it was relatively dry even after Tuesday's storm.

The concept of the ride was to loop westwards through Surrey and finish near Dorking, but to do that you have to cross the M23 and circumnavigate Gatwick Airport.  We used the Smallfield and Horley route to do this and the lanes were easy riding so that as we came to cross the M23 we, the Cubists, caught up the Impressionists.  We decided to hang back in Horley and give them plenty of time to get ahead, but the vote was against coffee, even though there was plenty of it around, so instead Steph took photos while we admired the pavement map in Horley High Street. 

Cubists admire a more figurative work

The delay ploy worked; we caught the Impressionists up again only in the pub!  The roundabout on the north east corner of the airport was our last potentially unpleasant road junction until the A25 north of Brockham, and in the current circumstances the roads immediately adjacent to Gatwick airport are not too busy; we actually saw an aeroplane taking off!

Both groups at The Star, Rusper.  Photo taken by the beer delivery man!

Thus we settled down to nearly twenty miles of pleasantly undulating Surrey lanes, through Charlwood, Rusper and round Partridge Lane to Newdigate, along Red Lane and Bushbury Lane to the Old Coach Road through Betchworth Park.  Interrupted only for a relaxed lunch at The Star in Rusper with a music conversation and a splendid haddock and leek bake, then back on the bikes, riding in the low sun, the dappled light through trees lush with late summer green, past the still ponds, the odd pothole, a mouthful of little autumn flying insects if you opened it for any distance, a big wasp caught in the helmet; what more can you ask of life?

The Impressionists stopped for tea at Ryka's in order to go on towards Cobham, the Cubists had tea at the top of Box Hill, joined by one or two of the Impressionists; no names, no pack drill, but am I alone in thinking that it is cheating to ride up Box Hill without any gears?  I wouldn't have raised it had the culprit not sailed past me half way up.  

There we sat outside the cafe, smugly pleased with ourselves at the weather window we had enjoyed only to be drenched as soon as we set off home; the world suddenly darkened, the wind blew up, the rain came down.  Oh well, it saves washing the bike!

Thanks especially to Ken for volunteering to be a co-leader, and to Dave for providing him with electronic map back-up, and to Colin for back-marking for the Cubists, and to Martin, Christina, Pete, Steph, Tim G and Clive for the company.  I had a thoroughly enjoyable day out.

And here is the report from the Impressionists

The Impressionists started late and with a reduced group of six -  Dave, Tony, Sue, Jacqui, John and Ken.
The off road section was surprisingly dry after the heavy overnight rain and it was a nice route to avoid the Redhill traffic.
At Horley we were caught by The Cubists who volunteered to stop for a coffee to give us some space.
Dave Fixie took the lead and the pace improved so much so that we were early arriving at the Star in Rusper.
Our group decided to take lunch inside as the day, although perfect for a brisk bike ride, had an autumn chill. . 
The food was good and served pretty quickly. 
Ann and Terry joined our group for the route back which was on home ground to most of us. The Partridge lane alternative route was very pleasant and traffic free.
At the Boxhill turn-off we split for our preferred route home.
Thanks to everybody for the company, and to Paul for arranging the route, and to Dave and Tony for route finding.


Map for B group ride to Rusper

Redhill - Rusper - Box Hill NT café

~ Tim

Derailleur Disaster


A hanging loose derailleur hanger!

This is what happened yesterday as I carelessly let my Enigma Etape fall over before leaving home for Wednesday's ride - a broken derailleur hanger! But, as you are probably aware, it's what a hanger is supposed to do - i.e. break, and spare damage to the frame.

A clean break.

The hanger is made of soft alloy, strong enough to anchor the derailleur to the frame, but ready to be sacrificed under impact or undue stress. (Best when you're not riding however!). I carry a spare hanger in my saddle bag. It's been there since 2014 and my trip to Colombia. (When you're on a trip or tour it's not a bike part that's too easy to find, especially as there are numerous types!). The hanger weighs 13gm - negligible compared to a spare tube weighing 83gm. And it could make the difference between getting the train home - or at worst abandoning a trip or tour. (It happened once before on a Wayfarer ride through Chiswick Park). There wasn't time to fit a hanger yesterday, so my Pearson gravel bike was pressed into service. I'll replace the spare with another from Enigma asap. A simple job!

A spare hanger - ready to be fitted.

Monday, September 27, 2021

B Group out of Redhill on 29 September

Note the altered route at the bottom of this post.  Rusper Road is closed for five days and today I could find no way through.

For Wednesday's ride we (just) fit into two comfortable groups.

The Impressionists 

Depart from Pistachios in Redhill at 10.45

They will not go up Box Hill, but will if they wish be taken to Cobham.  Afternoon tea to be decided by the leader, in the benign dictatorship that is a Wayfarers cycling group!

Ken Day
Dave Cullen
Tim Court
Sue Foster
Francis d'Silva
Jacqui Pitman
Tony Hooker
Ann Bath will join at lunch and ride the afternoon with this group.

The Cubists

Depart from Pistachios at 11.00

Afternoon tea at the top of Box Hill

Paul James
John Austin
Clive Janes
Tim Gibbons
Steph Wyatt
Martin Gandy
Christina Berkley
Colin Garrod
.....and in all likelihood, Grant.

See you there.  Do not despair on Tuesday afternoon, the weather forecast for Wednesday is dry but not too warm.

On today's recce there was one skiddy patch on each of the off road sections, but no flooding.  There were branches blown down on some of the roads; take care of these and of skiddy leaves, autumn fruits and storm-washed gravel on the country roads.  For those going to Redhill via Rocky Lane, on the downhill section of the road there was a tree blown over, blocking the opposite (uphill) traffic, some of which saw no reason to pay heed to a cyclist while swerving around it.  Take care.

Also on today's recce, I found Rusper Road, between Rusper and Newdigate (just after lunch) comprehensively blocked for resurfacing.  There was no way through the blockage.  Therefore I plotted, and tried out, Partridge Lane as an alternative.  This is a lovely road but adds a short distance and a few bumps to the original route.  

Attached below is the link to the revised route.


Last orders for Annual Lunch

If you haven't yet commited yourself to join us for the Annual Lunch next week, on Wednesday 6th October, please contact Jennie by email a.s.a.p.

To see the invitation with full details see this item in the blog:

~ Tim


Saturday, September 25, 2021

A leisurely trip to Norfolk

 Doug and I usually head to Europe for a leisurely cycling trip but this didn't seem to be the year for that so we set our sights on closer to home.

As Doug had spent far too long on the golf course and far too little on his bike it seemed sensible to head for Norfolk with its reputation of being flat. He has a gravel bike and I have a newly acquired Lynskey with gravel tyres so we decided to book a few days on the edge of Thetford Forest as the forestry commission website promised miles of cycling trails, although little actual information was given.

Day 1 Thetford Forest

After a short ride on a busy-ish main road we arrived in Thetford Forest and headed for the information boards. It turned out that most of the trails were designed for mountain bikes and were graded from green (easy), through to blue, red and black (difficult). It looked like only the green trail would be appropriate for our bikes (and off-road skill levels on them) and unfortunately that was only a 5 mile circular loop. So off we went and it was certainly beautiful and quiet, we saw only a handful of other people on bikes. 

The sun was shining and we were back at the information point and cafe so of course we stopped for coffee and cake like all proper touring cyclists! After that we felt we needed to do the loop again before cycling back to Thetford where we were staying, making it 20 miles ad 525ft for the day.

Day 2 Cromer

Before leaving for the holiday I'd plotted a few routes and uploaded them onto my garmin. It hadn't been easy to do this as the map I was copying from highlighted different features and road names to the map on ridewithgps. How much easier it would have been if I'd been able to purchase (or download for free) the NCN routes as gpx files!

Fortunately my route plotting skills managed to successfully navigate us round a circular route using NCNs 30 and 33 starting in Cromer. We headed out through the picturesque Felbrigg Hall Gardens and Estate, there was a cafe with tables on the lawn but it was too early to stop even for us.

Then we were onto mostly single track roads with rolling hills and grass growing in the middle, through Bessingham and Little Barningham after which we spotted a sign for a cafe in Itteringham so our heads were easily turned and we followed that. 

Suitably refreshed we set off back to Cromer on a route via Aldeborough and Sustead, the latter had a beautiful old church with windows and a font dating back to the 14th and 15th centuries. As it had been hilly on the way out I assured Doug it would be all downhill all the way back (I was partly right).

It had been a lovely day of cycling with friendly people in villages calling out hello. At one point with a car behind us we pulled over to let it pass and the driver stopped, wound down her window and said that we needn't have done that, she'd have been happy to wait. I can't remember that being said to me in Surrey!

25 miles for the day and a not entirely flat 1,024ft.

Day 3 Route 30

In Thetford we'd noticed signs for NCN 13 and 30 so we decided on the last day to just follow the signs on route 13 and cycle for 15 miles and then turn around. The route was very well signposted and we never felt lost at any point. 

At first we were on quiet roads flanked by Military Firing ranges, clearly marked 'Keep Out' and we were happy to oblige. It then went off-road for a good few miles where we cycled along the Peddars Way, glad of our gravel bike and tyres. 

Back on quiet roads we found ourselves in Watton with a choice of coffee shops and we chose well with a Portugese cafe with a selection of homemade Portugese cakes. 

It was time to turn around and the ride ended back in Thetford, just as torrential rain was about to start, after 30 miles and 817ft.

I'd definitely recommend Norfolk as a cycling destination. Quiet roads, well marked routes and polite drivers and villagers!

Beef and Brown Bread

 Yesterday, I went down to Wessex to ride some of the the Drove Roads.  There are a number of these, ending at Salisbury, and the ones I rode are in very decent condition.  They are artefacts of a vanished piece of agricultural history, where beasts were driven to Salisbury Market, slaughtered, salted down and the beef sold to the Royal Navy in Portsmouth, a ready buyer.

With the coming of the railways, and the development of refrigeration, this trade entirely disappeared, and I have not been able to find much about the drovers.  I understand that they were not popular - rough fellows, from the back country, confident of their ability to deal with a herd of truculent beasts, sell them, and return home with the money without fear of robbery.  The drove roads in this area are ridgeways, presumably the least valuable land, and the drovers may not have been welcome in the prosperous valleys.

I set off near Salisbury and took the Old Shaftesbury Drove, which follows the ridge to the north of the Chalke Valley.  It is metalled in parts, with small hard flints, rather like the piece of track at the Mount, in Guildford.  It is tree-lined, with hedges back from the track, to keep the beasts in place.  It is in generally good condition, looks as if it will drain well, and is an easy ride. 

Above Fifield Bavant I turned off, went down to the valley below and climbed up to the next ridge where the Ox Drove runs.  I preferred this one, it is much more open with excellent views.  The surface is much more varied, and it is obviously still in use.  Some tarmac, some flint and some chalk, damaged in parts by agricultural vehicles.  Some parts will obviously flood, they were barely dry yesterday.  It is not such an easy ride.

At Melbury Abbas I went down the Zig Zag Hill - a very apt name - across the Melbury Vale and up Gold Hill in to Shaftesbury.  This is the Hovis Hill - it's a good ride in the sunshine, but it's not a patch on some of the bergs in Flanders.

A good lunch in The Mitre, on the High Street, which has excellent views across the valley to the various ridges, then back home. The journey back was not so much fun.

It's a very good morning's ride, recommended, and the Wessex Ridgeway starts near here and goes most of the way to Lyme Regis.  I'll take a look at that, by and by.

Hovis Ad: (YouTube)


Invitation to 'A' group ride 29 September from Redhill to Ashdown Forest

 You are invited to join the Wednesday 'A' group ride from the Pistachio cafe in Redhill Memorial Park. 

We have enjoyed very good weather on our rides through the summer, this Wednesday looks to mark our transition into autumnal riding: it will be cooler, and we may have light rain. Actually over the last few days the forecast has been changing favorably for the rain to arrive earlier so it may yet be fine. For sure the woods we pass through are bearing to yellow amber and gold. 

The ride will be all on road, through Lingfield, then some good minor roads ascending Hollow Lane (7% hill) thru Ashurst Wood, Forest Row and Ashdown Forest, past Weir Wood Reservoir then a climb to lunch at the Old Dunnings Mill pub. The reservoir feeds the Medway River. It and two other parallel streams flow that eastwards have shaped the hills and valleys of this area we will ride through. There are few pubs in the area that do lunches of the kind we like, so it is 27 miles to the one pub that does fit the bill. Then we have an easy afternoon stint of 22 miles to Denbies. As we already have done a long haul to get to Redhill, the route has easy options if you want to bale out early for Horley or Redhill or Dorking rail stations. 

The full route in Komoot from which you can get a gpx. As per Komoot it is 2275 ft climbing.
Updt 27 Sep .. the main route in Garmin.
The shorter ending route in Komoot for Horley station or Redhill.  And the bale out in Garmin.

Please send your request to join to me by email - - by 6pm Monday, along with your choice of lunch from the Old Dunnings Mill Menu

Thanks,  Neil W.

Friday, September 24, 2021

Invitation to B Group ride from Redhill on 29 September

You rare invited to the B Group ride on Wednesday 29 September.

Coffee and departure will be 10.30 to 11 from Pistachios in the Memorial Park in Redhill.

Lunch will be after 18 miles at The Star Inn at Rusper.

Afternoon tea at the National Trust cafe on top of Box Hill.

31 miles through the green Surrey and Sussex countryside, beginning to turn autumnal.

It includes three climbs; one to get out of Redhill, another half mile climb but less steep to get us to lunch, and Box Hill, should you choose to do it.  Total climbing only 1000 feet without Box Hill and 1500 with it. 

Ken Day, sub-leader, intends to take a picturesque route back to Cobham for those who want to avoid Box Hill and instead head north and west for home, so if that is your preference, please let me know and we will try to put you in his group.

Please let me know by Monday night if you want to come.  I have to give numbers to The Star Inn on Tuesday so that they can get staff in if needed.

Annual Lunch 6 October

I’m sure everyone is looking forward to our Annual Lunch, the first time we have been all together in 18 months.

However, Covid is still with us and to ensure everyone is safe please do not come if you are feeling at all unwell.

Even if you are feeling well and are fully vaccinated you could still be carrying and spreading the Covid virus. So it would make good sense to carry out a lateral flow test on yourself the day before or even on the day. I will be doing the same.

If you have already paid and have to cancel we will do our best to get you a refund.

Please come and enjoy yourselves, be aware of other's social distancing preferences and keep us all safe.

Thursday, September 23, 2021

Report for B Group - 22nd September

B group Autumn Equinox ride report

Our Flight departures from Fairoaks Airport:

The first group out, 'The Highflyers' was piloted out by Stephen Hickey at 10.50am along with the crew, composed of John Austin, Richard Cranfield (Welcome back to the B rides Richard), Ann Bath, Tim G., and Terry who joined the group at the refueling stop, The Royal Oak at Pirbright.
Well done to Stephen for getting away on time.

The second flight out was 'The Dreamliners'.
This flight departure was delayed slightly, but we have become used to delayed flights at Airports. We did manage to pick up speed and take off to our flight path, without any hindrance from other flights.

Piloted out by Fixed wing Dave, crewed by Tony Hooker, Jaccqui, Ken, and we were pleased to welcome our new B group rider Francis D'Silva, on his inaugural flight. Unfortunately Carolyn wasn't able to Join us, although she came to the Airport to wave us off. Steph magnanimously took Carolyn's place among the crew.

The third flight out was 'The Gliders'.
Although the Pilot was in good time, this flight was delayed slightly, probably due to the volume of people at the Airport, as is normal at busy Airports, and due also to the delayed earlier flight.
Piloted out by Christina, crewed by Ray Youlden, Pam, Liz and Tim C. with Grant kindly taking the place of Tony Hopkins. Tony couldn't join us due to an air sickness problem I believe.

Five of us travellers recuperated in Cobham at the Fego Coffee shop.

Dave C [aka DC-1]



Captain Airfixie's flight path

'A' Group Ride Report for Weds 22 September (Fairoaks - Charvil - Shepperton)

No fewer than 22 'A' group riders, including two new faces, and John Bassett, welcomed back to the fold after several months absence, met at Fairoaks in glorious sunshine.  Hans and Frances had generously offered to help by leading groups and the ever-keen Frances had even braved a very unpromising weather forecast on Sunday to do a recce ride.

My group (initially Simon, Pete B, Dave V, John B and newbie Mirco, who usually rides with the Central London CTC) were second away and a little late leaving from elevenses, so I took advantage of the unusually light traffic on the A319 (officially closed owing to roadworks) and made loose and free with the first part of the route, feeling sure we would get ourselves ahead of Hans's group, or at least see them ahead in the distance.   Not a chance!   The rest of our ride to lunch was, fortunately, uneventful, and we arrived at the pub soon after 12.30, as planned.  Frances's group, the last on the road, was not so fortunate as us - Richard B very unfortunately suffered terminal derailleur failure near Wokingham, but, with the expert  assistance of Steve D and Brian G, was able to limp home train-assisted.

Service at the pub was very efficient indeed and it was a very pleasant place to have your lunch.   I was slightly disappointed with the food but I would go back.  The post-lunch cabaret, courtesy of Hans's group, more than made up for any minor shortcomings with the meals!   Hans decided his group would traverse the ford on leaving the pub, despite the dire warnings on the signs.   We observed their experiences from a distance.  Remarkably, they seemed to get across unscathed and  I was all for giving it a go myself, but two of Hans's group who had decided not to brave the waters, were now cut off from their leader and needed piloting round the diversionary route, so I was left with no choice but to keep my feet dry.   I was, clearly, bitterly disappointed!

(credits to Simon for the photos)

Now joined by Steve W and Abi, my group tackled the alternative route across a footbridge followed by two stiles and a path across a field, a much tougher challenge than riding through a few inches of water, I reckon!

After that we made steady progress home, not meeting much traffic until Staines, which more than evened things up!   A diversion along the banks of the Thames was the antidote.   At Shepperton my group chose the Lock Cafe for tea, others Nauticalia.

(A pity he wasn't around when Richard needed him)!

I'm definitely slating this ride as one to repeat next year so I can take the ford challenge - I must just remember to take a life jacket and a scuba mask!   Thanks again to Hans and Frances for co-leading, and to Dave V for back-marking my group, and thanks to everyone else - you all seemed to enjoy the ride which makes it worthwhile for the leader.

Saturday, September 18, 2021

Invitation to a B Group ride on 22nd September

Flight Assisted Ride:

Starting from Fairoaks Airport, GU24 8HX 

21 miles to Lunch at The Royal Oak, Aldershot Road, Pirbright 

About 16 miles back to Cobham for Tea/Coffee.

This is the route:

Route from Fairoaks Airport to Pirbright

To be included in the passenger list, Please Email =

~ Dave C