Friday, December 31, 2021

Gently working off the Christmas Pudding; B Group along the Thames on 29 December

We always go North or West from Teddington, so I thought I would set up instead a trip to the orient; inspired by Tony's and Helen's All Day Rides during the summer, I worked out a winter's saunter down the river; Old Father Thames after old Father Christmas.  

Despite the hill warning, I had twenty-six riders split into three groups when Maggie and I left home in the dismal rain but by the time we got to The Pheasantry the weather, illness, faint heartedness and over-indulgence had taken its toll on numbers and we waved off John's group more or less as planned but decided to merge the remainder; in the end, as people did turn up, we re-split the second group for safety reasons into a five and a six.

Pleasantries at the Pheasantry

John A's report from the first group just about sums it up; 

The first group set off from a damp Bushy Park on its way to ride through numerous other parks and commons on our way through interesting parts of south west London. Considering the overcast conditions and the weather forecast we were quite fortunate with the weather, although the headwind did hold us back a bit during the afternoon. A great route with many twists and turns was enjoyed by our six riders. 

Our ride (the newly constituted middle group) went well.  We had welcome guest appearances from the A group and the C group.  The forecast from the witchy weather woman on the BBC proved substantially correct, if a little late in coming to fruition, and the weather eventually cleared up.  The river at Ham was at its wintry best, there were no undue problems with off-road terrain and in my group of five no-one moaned or dismounted as we climbed Nightingale Lane, though conversation at the top was possible only between gasps of breath.  After the climb we left Christina's sub-group trailing (they caught us up briefly when we stopped for a photo-shoot by the river in Chiswick).  

North of the river, at Chiswick.  Has Simon lent his trousers to Bob?  Does Bob need a belt?  Or is this just another  Very English Scandal?

Christina's group in sight of the Mortlake Brewery

Hammersmith Bridge still stands, drab and sad.  

Planning to get everybody home in the light precluded us trying to reach Millwall, let alone the Orient, but we coasted serenely past the handsome Archibald Leitch facade of Craven Cottage and the memorial at Fulham Palace to those who lost their lives fighting Fascism with the International Brigade.  The Chelsea Embankment was full of the usual traffic and there was a serious headwind over Chelsea Bridge but it was only when we sat safely outdoors in the Pear Tree by the lake in Battersea Park that we realised how chilly the wind was.

At the Pear Tree, pretending to be warm.  The leader looks as happy as a chap can who is 25 miles from home with a slow puncture.  Picture by David Bailey!

After Tim C had arrived with Christina's group and paid homage in the place where Antonioni filmed David Hemmings in Blow Up (Tim's pictures are a match for David Bailey's any day), we set out across the South London Commons on a journey home restricted only by the need to re-inflate my rapidly failing rear tyre and our solemn duty to rendezvous with Stephen in Kingston Market and return to him the wet weather gear he had left behind in Battersea.

Thanks to Simon for help and to Tim G and Bob for moral support while I changed my inner tube before going home, our plan to get back in the daylight ruined.  Simon is terrific at pumping tyres up; we are transferring him from the A Group in the January window and taking him as part of our tool kit in future! 

Christina's report;

Morning rain stopped 3 riders in my group joining us for the London ride via parks and along Thames.
We had a regrouping with Tim Court, Tony Hooker, Paula, Collin, Edward joining my group to follow Paul's group with a 100 yards distance, leaving Bushy Park shortly after 10.45am.

We climbed Nightingale Lane at Richmond to Richmond Park with fantastic clear City View in sight, Mortlake along the Thames to Dukes Meadow, along the Thames  towards Hammersmith Bridge, Fulham Palace, past Chelsea Bridge to Battersea Park for a delicious lunch at Pear Tree Cafe near the Boating lake. We rode back via Queenstown to Clapham Common, along the Wandle to Wimbledon Park, climbed the long and winding Princes Way. Edward had enough climbing by then and decided to follow Tim C and Tony towards Wimbledon Station, Collin too heading towards Wimbledon then home, Paula and I decided to head towards Richmond Park and then homeward bound.

Thanks for a lovely route Paul designing a route crossing many parks and numerous quiet roads. Thanks for Tim C for co-piloting and back marking at many points, Colin for back marking, Tony Hooker, Paula and Edward for company. 

Wednesday, December 29, 2021

'A' Group Ride Report - Weds 29 December 21


The day started damp and dreary start but, our meeting place, Hampton Court Station offered  shelter from the rain and proved a good alternative to Elleray Hall, with all the same services except entertainment by the choir!   We were a select group of seven (Neil W, Sue C, Ged, Gina, Patrick, Dave B and me)  and I am pleased to say that, 'A' riders being hardy creatures, there were no cancellations owing to inclement weather!

Our ride to lunch took us cunningly around Epsom, avoiding the town centre, by a route previously unknown to us all, and then by some more quiet roads to Tattenham Corner,  and from there then on the fairly familiar route up through Tadworth to Monkswell.   Our ride was punctuated by stops to adjust clothing, the weather proving to be unseasonably mild as well as wet!   We eventually emerged at the M25 roundabout at Reigate Hill which we thankfully negotiated without incident.

Our lunch stop, Junction 8, was literally in the clouds today, extremely dank and murky, with little to be seen of Reigate just down the hill.   Sue quickly realised that the only sheltered table at the cafe was free, despite the crowds, so we quickly nabbed it.   Imagine our surprise and delight when it also proved to have a heater, so we could bask in a warm glow!

All good things must come to an end and we eventually had to plunge into the gloom towards Merstham, only to begin toiling back up Markedge Lane.    When we reached High Road the contrast in weather was striking - here, only a couple of miles from our lunch stop, it was dry, fog-free and almost sunny!

The rest of the ride took us through Woodmansterne and Banstead towards Ewell.   Sue and Gina left us there and the remaining five of us headed for our tea stop at Long Ditton.

Thanks all for your company and good spirits and particular thanks to Ged for patiently back-marking all day.   Happy New Year everyone!

Tuesday, December 28, 2021

The (work off the) Christmas Pudding Ride for B Group on 29 December

 Elleray Hall is now unavailable to us with the new Covid wave, so we depart from The Pheasantry in Bushy Park, which for the few who are not familiar, has plenty of space outdoors for morning coffee and calories and nice loos.

The route is 30.9 miles long and finishes in Kingston Market.  The only testing hill is Nightingale Lane, Richmond at the 4 mile point; it is not very long, so get off and push if you need to; you won't be alone!  The afternoon climbs out of Wimbledon Park and up to the Ballet School in Richmond Park look steep on the attached profile but they are regularly ridden by Beginners.

I have not booked lunch because until yesterday I had no idea what the Covid regulations might be and because there is a Covid boldness/cautiousness range within the club.  My original plan for a pub lunch at the Windmill on Clapham Common (19 miles plus a short detour) has therefore been ditched, though if a group wants to go there, fine.  The ride plan is to lunch at the Pear Tree cafe on the lake in Battersea Park, at just over 17 miles.  It serves hot snacky type food (bacon butties and the like) and has many outdoor tables as well as indoor ones; it will suit those who choose to bring their own sandwiches, and because of the early dusk I figured we did not want to be hanging around unduly at lunch time.

It took me three hours five minutes of riding at B pace, so allowing 30 to 45 mins for lunch we should be finished to get home in daylight, especially as the weather is supposed to be clearing up in the afternoon.

We pass public loos at Fulham Palace (12.5 miles) at lunchtime, and twice in Richmond Park on the home leg (25 miles).

Groups and departure times 

The Champagne and Smoked Salmon 10.15

leader John Austin
Brenda Breen
Ken Day 
Clive Janes
Annette Hurley
Madeleine Shearer
Stephen Hickey
Geoff Gregory

The Claret and Stuffed Turkey  10.30

leader Christina Berkley
Pam Jones
Liz Bernard
Tony Hopkins
Colin Garrod
Paula Buckton 

The Port and Christmas Pudding 10.45

leader Paul James
Sue Bellamy
Tony Hooker
Tim Gibbons
Simon Lambourn
Bob Pannell
Tim Court
Maggie James

The ride (on Ride with GPS)

Risks (other than flooding and pestilence)

Crossing Wandsworth Bridge Road (14.1 miles); impatient traffic; I dismounted and used the zebra

Joining the Embankment after Lots Road; use the lights to cross the main road at the right turn

Crossing the Albert Bridge approach; get into the middle lane; the left lane turns left on a filter

Turning right on to Chelsea Bridge; the roadworks make it easy because they filter the traffic down to one lane.

Turning right into Battersea Park; can be tricky, best follow the cycle lane onto the pavement and use the pedestrian/cyclist lights  


Sunday, December 26, 2021

Invitation to Join the 'A' Group Ride on Weds 29 December 2021

At the time of writing there is uncertainty whether further Covid-related restrictions or guidance will apply by Wednesday.   Our lunch stop will therefore be outdoors at Junction 8 Cafe, Reigate Hill.   Elleray Hall, Teddington will now be closed on Wednesday, so the ride will start from outside Hampton Court station (coffee stall and toilets inside the station, other facilities nearby).   Tea (if required) will be at Squires, Long Ditton, making a round trip of about 30 miles.  The provisional route can be found at .  

The weather forecast for Wednesday does not look promising at the moment, so the route from Hampton Court may be changed or curtailed, but, if I haven't said enough yet to deter you, please e-mail me ( by 6.00 pm on Monday 27 December if you would still like to join the ride!   I haven't recruited any co-leaders because soundings suggested numbers on the ride would low - if there is an unexpected surge then I will ask for a volunteer  to lead from .gpx.

Thursday, December 23, 2021

A’s from Walton – Solstice Ride Report

Wednesday’s ride was the first for two years from Walton DC. They greeted us with a well-balanced mixture of charm and safety measures, not to mention the chance to warm up after a chilly ride from home. My temperature on entry was recorded as minus 2° which meant that I was free of covid fever even if I could hardly speak through frozen lips.

Simon’s group was the first off, so here’s his report:

On a freezing day, we had a warm welcome in Walton Day Centre, and it was lovely to be able to say hello to some of our long-lost B group friends.  We were treated to tea and cake by our chairman, ride leader, and birthday boy Dave Vine.  But too soon, we were cast out into the cold to start our ride.  Dave's ride strung together a shedload of parks, so many in fact that my Garmin categorized it as a Cyclocross ride!    This despite the fact that the gnarliest part of the ride was a few tree roots.

We left Walton via Shepperton and the curly bridge to Nutty Lane, before hitting the off-road in Hanworth Air Parks and Leitrim Park, where we detoured to see the cultural highlight, the amazing graffiti on the (thankfully disused) sewage ponds.  




Crane Park led us to a quiet route through Twickenham, gorgeous views of the river in Isleworth on the way to Syon Park, where we befriended a stray rider who looked lost.  Nice chap, called Ged; he joined us for the rest of the ride.

Then it was on to Kew where we were relieved to see the National Archives, and paid a short visit.  Gina used to work there, so luckily we were not subject to the 30-year rule.         


We were allowed to leave to brave the worst bit of the ride, 100 yards of snarling stationary traffic in Kew Retail Park, all the drivers at their pre-Christmas maximum stress levels.  By contrast, we were completely relaxed after such a lovely ride, and headed straight for more therapy in Richmond Park before the short ride to a long lunch.    Thank you to David (W) for looking after our back end.

My group left next:

We enjoyed the same scenic delights Simon has described. We stopped to admire the street art at the Sistine Chapel of settling ponds for a group photo (thanks NeilW) but not for long; once stationary the cold was insidious and we still had a long way to go. 


In Isleworth after a brief scenic pause at Lion Wharf we passed the home of Eileen Sheridan now aged 98 but famous as one of our most successful time triallists, and unbeaten holder of the London Edinburgh record (20h 11m 35s). More details here and here. Or for an excruciatingly embarrassing contemporary newsreel see here.

Neil’s group passed us in Brentford, but not so fast that I couldn’t keep them in sight. This was helpful as I had forgotten to load the route into my Garmin and I wasn’t sure I could remember the intricate Kew to Mortlake leg. Thanks Neil.

Janice left us in Richmond Park, prudently seeking the warmth of home.

Shortly after we met up with Simon’s group, and our three groups together totalling 15 riders crossed to Ham Gate in something approaching the old style.

And now Neil’s account of his “chase group”

I arrived at Walton a little later than planned so just waited outside and watched the entertainment of the (non-)sliding entrance doors. Finally all those outside waiting to get in managed to attract the attention of those inside and entered, and all those cyclists inside managed to get out.

So just a few minutes late we set off on Dave's intricately crafted route. There were plenty of calls of "I've no idea where we are" followed shortly after by "I recognise this junction but I've never arrived from this direction". There were many quiet side streets, but the courier vans seemed to be having a competition to see who could stop in the most inconvenient location. There were some world class entries but they were trumped by the van reversing down a narrow road oblivious to the approaching cyclists.

After an interesting loop around the tranquil surroundings of The National Archives we entered the Kew Retail Park. Here the car drivers were having their own competition to see who could inconvenience the cyclists the most. First prize went to a big black BMW 4X4.

Then it was back to quiet riverside paths and Richmond Park before arriving at lunch in The Swan.

Thanks Dave for a great ride and Happy Christmas to all.

To sum up. We arrived at Ye Olde Swan in Thames Ditton together, and of the meal even Patrick expressed himself “impressed with the sandwich sizes” so hopefully all appetites were satisfied. By my reckoning we spent 2 hours 20 minutes riding and 2 hours over lunch, so I think the balance was about right.    


Many thanks to Simon and Neil for so-ably co-leading, and to Simon for briefing me on the not-to-be missed sights en route. And thanks everyone for coming out on a chilly day.

A merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all.

B Group Christmas Pudding Ride, 29 December

You are invited to join the B Group ride on 29 December which will now start from the Pheasantry in Bushy Park and will go downriver to Chelsea Bridge and return through South London parks and commons to Kingston Market.  There is one shortish but sharp hill in the morning (Nightingale Lane, up to the Star and Garter Home at Richmond), and a less sharp climb out of Wimbledon Park in the afternoon.  The rest is unusually flat, being essentially a river ride.

None of can know now what the Covid rules will be at that time but we are planning to lunch at the Pear Tree cafe by the lake in Battersea Park, which has plenty of outdoor space but does basic hot food.  I have not booked a pub because of the uncertainty.

We are planning to finish before three so we can all get safely home.

Responses by Monday night, 27 December please, to

the following have already expressed an interest and do not have to respond unless things have changed;

Dave Cullen

Sue Bellamy (now doubtful)

Brenda Breen

Tony Hooker

Ken Day

John Austin

Clive James

Tim Gibbons

Christina Berkley

Helen Tovey

Annette Hurley

Simon Lambourn (maybe) 

Report for B group - 22nd December

A cold and frosty start but soon warmed by Dave Vine's birthday tea and cakes at the Walton Centre.  Thanks Dave.  I was heartened by the response to the ride on the darkest Wednesday of the year, one day after the solstice .  18 riders were ready to burn some fat before loading it all on again at the weekend.  A very straight run out and back, the prettiest bit being along the Thames from Staines to Chertsey Bridge in the afternoon.  So in the absence of any hill, puncture or injury I'll leave you with a photo of the Christmas tree on the Thames, on a section of the river where there were hundreds of beautiful white swans.

~ Steph

Many thanks and Happy Birthday to Dave Vine who treated us all to our morning tea. We appreciated being back in the Walton Day Centre; our last visit had been on the 20th of February last year.

Our second team left at 10:55, almost on time, noting that it was by now slightly less frosty, and we crossed Walton Bridge for a very straight forward ride out to Datchet via Staines and Wraysbury. Steph had saved the more scenic return along the Thames path until after lunch when the sun was low and glowing in its own feeble and wintery way along the water as we rode towards Chertsey Bridge.

The Royal Stag had set up our tables in the 'barn' and were very busy bringing our pre-ordered lunches out to us. We enjoyed efficient and cheerful service with very decent food, feeling lucky in a way that such establishments have been able to remain open. We got to sing Happy Birthday to Helen and remembered too that it was the birthday of Paul, B Group leader and Sou'Wester editor in chief. Happy Birthday Paul.


On the home run our team stopped in Shepperton to decide who wanted afternoon tea and who wanted to bolt for home. The result was that nobody continued on to Squires in Upper Halliford but several went to The Pheasantry in Bushy Park. The rest of us headed more directly home and more or less reached our homes before dark. The two seconds of extra sunlight gained by the passing of the Winter Solstice were lost on us really. But things can only get better, can't they?

Thanks to Steph for coming up with a ride that was well calibrated for the season and especially for remembering our previous experiences of having lunch at The Royal Stag and booking us in there for a decent lunch.

~ Tim

Tuesday, December 21, 2021

A Very Happy Christmas and New Year

To All Wayfarers 

                   A Very  Happy Christmas and New Year 

 Copy right Ged Lawrenson

Take care and stay safe

Geoff Gregory

Christmas greetings from Tony Ashford (in Germany)

Hi Tim,

            Just a short email to wish you a very happy Christmas and a good 2022. I hope that all is well with you despite all the worries about Covid, and that you remain in good health. For us it was a bad year for travel and in the end we didn't even make it out of Germany. We did manage though to have a two-week biking holiday on the Darss peninsula on the Baltic coast. In contrast to where we live, it's a bit flat but very atmospheric, and like Holland the wind can really give you a real work out (and then we had the child trailers). I did manage to replace the Dieppe run with a locally organised bike run but apart from that it's been a bad year for events and my all my running races were either cancelled or postponed. I just hope that Omicron doesn't wipe out next years' events too.

            Anyway here's hoping that we can all meet up again next year in Dieppe - that would be really nice. I wish you and all the other Sou'Westers all the best over the festive season and a Happy New Year.

Best wishes

Tony Ashford and family


[I had to look up the Darss Peninsula; it is here:









~ Tim]

Saturday, December 18, 2021

A Group from Walton next Wednesday - 22 December

You are invited to join me on the A’s Solstice Ride, your chance to pre-load on exercise before indulging yourself in Xmas excess later in the week.

We start from Walton Day Centre, our first visit in two years. The route is a 26 mile scenic loop round as many parks as I could muster, as far north as Kew, returning to lunch close to home at The Old Swan in Thames Ditton. It’s a lengthy morning, but as Wednesday is the shortest day, there is no afternoon ride. On your way home there should be enough daylight for last-minute Xmas shopping.

Walton Day centre tell us that they are looking forward to welcoming us next week.  In view of the current Covid situation please:

* Wear masks

* Take lateral flow tests,

* Be prepared to have your temperature taken upon arrival, as last week

I hope you will be able to join me, so please would you let me know by Monday evening if you are coming -

A Group ride to The Angel for Christmas Lunch

Eighteen of us met at the Claygate Day Centre for our ride to The Angel in Thames Ditton for our Christmas Lunch.

Dave Vine led away the first group and here is his report - 

Firstly many thanks to my group for being such excellent company today, and especially to Fluorescent Mike as ever-visible back marker.

The day started well with Claygate DC’s finest coffee & home-made bread pudding as appetiser for the lunch to come. My attempt at a prompt start was thwarted by DavidJ borrowing Mike’s e-Orbea and being so impressed he was reluctant to return with it.

Once under way we made good progress on Neil’s route which gave us a taste of everything, town, country, quiet roads, fast roads and off-road, all arranged around a cycling history lesson.

Our own contribution to the cycling history lesson was to remember the late Ray Dare as we cycled past the house in Fetcham where our good friend once lived.

Thankfully the ride was “uneventful” with only a couple of close passes to remind us that not everyone had grasped the peaceful intent of the Christmas message.

At The Angel we paused for a historic photograph, as inspired by Frank Patterson, before sitting down to an excellent lunch. Thanks Pam for organising everything, and for your infectious laughter to keep us in good spirits throughout.


Here is another historic photograph of The Angel taken in the 1890s and you can see how little the building has changed. 

The building on the right, which is no longer there, was the workshop of John Keen where he built bicycles. In the 1870s he was reputed to be the fastest cyclist in the world.


After giving Dave a ten minute start my group left and headed through Claygate before turning right into Esher Park Avenue to take the quiet rise up to Esher. Here we crossed over the Portsmouth Road and headed down the hill to West End to look for more quiet roads. After a short section of Portsmouth Road it was left into Fairmile Lane to head for Stoke d'Abernon and over the hill to Fetcham.

Then it was through the quiet residential streets and up to Lower Road. In Bookham it was right at the strange four-way stop and down to Bookham Common. The route across the common was fine and at the Isle of Wight we passed the volunteers having their Christmas Party.

Emerging onto Downside Common we saw Dave's group who were adding bonus distance. Once back in Cobham and onto the Portsmouth Road I stopped to give a short history lesson to my group and then sent them on their way - "The Angel is six miles that way, on the right."

I then waited for Dave's group to pass so I could repeat the lesson, but after a while I realised Dave had sensibly decided to claw back his bonus distance by cutting through the back streets of Cobham thus avoiding me.

So I put my brain in Victorian Sporting Gentleman mode and raced off along "The Ripley Road" towards The Angel. By the time I got to the Scilly Isles all three groups were mixed together and shortly after arrived at the pub for a fine Christmas Lunch.

More history of the Ripley Road can be found here -

Click on the first video and gain a bonus point for spotting someone you know.


And some words from Steve D who led the third group - 

We all enjoyed the exercise and had a good lunch into the bargain. 

The day was a bit of normality in an increasingly careful and dismal world. Like many others on the ride I did a lateral flow test to confirm that I was free from covid. I hope everyone stays free of it also.

Thanks to Janice for back marking and to Mark for his excellent Xmas card.


A good time was had by all at the lunch and someone even took a souvenir home.

Interested in the B Group ride on 29 December?

Ged, the Rides Secretary, tells me that the manager of Elleray Hall in Teddington, where we are due for elevenses on Wednesday 29 December, needs to know by this Wednesday 22 December, how many we think will be attending that day.

These are dreadfully uncertain times, I know, and none of us an be completely sure what will be happening on that day but please can you let me know if you are thinking about coming to elevenses on that day.

My B Group ride will be a winter ride along the Thames as far as Battersea, returning to finish at Kingston Market in good time for most people to get home in the light.

Before Omicron I had intended to lunch at the Windmill on Clapham Common and I will still be checking that out, but because of the Omicron situation I yesterday visited the Pear Tree Cafe at the lakeside in Battersea Park; it is open that day, serves hot bacon sandwich type food and has a large number of outdoor tables as well as indoor.  On my (unhurried) recce yesterday it was two hours five minutes from the start.

A link to the route is below, it may be subject to minor variations on subsequent recces. 


I will then pass on the numbers to the Rides Secretary, so that he can inform the Centre.

This will not be taken as a commitment, it is just to try to help the manager at Elleray Hall.


Thursday, December 16, 2021

Wheeling - A New and Exciting Game For Cyclists

 For twenty years or more I have known of 'Wheeling', a Victorian board game loosely based on a ride from London to the Anchor, at Ripley.  This ride was hugely popular in the late Victorian era, and the road from the Angel in Thames Ditton to the Anchor formed the basis for road time trials, still one of the cornerstones of Club cycling in this country.

Neil made this course part of his enjoyable run to our Christmas Lunch yesterday, and gave us a very good briefing at the roadside.  His invitation to the ride reminded me of 'Wheeling', and I took a quick look at the internet to see if I could find a copy.  I really didn't expect to, as it is very rare and all of my previous attempts to find one had failed. This time, quite out of the blue, I found one with an antiquarian game specialist in Chichester. Well well.

It arrived this morning, very carefully packed, and it is a very nice copy indeed.  It is, I'm pretty sure, a first edition from 1896.  It has obviously had a bit of use, but it's sound and almost complete - one of the rider pieces is missing, there are three and there should be four.  That's not a great thing, as you can easily use a button or a Monopoly piece instead, and of course finding an example of the missing piece is another little quest for me.  An interesting side-light is that all of the pieces are ladies; in copies of which I have read they have been two ladies and two gentlemen.  But it does seem that the game reflects the cycling mores of the time, which were as egalitarian as they are today.

The game is quite complicated, and I imagine it would be fun to play.  As I said, the set is perfectly useable, so perhaps one wet Wednesday we could have a 'Wheeling' session, rather than a ride.

The Anchor at Ripley might be a good place to hold it ...


For anyone who is lost for words at Christmas

Scintillate, scintillate, globule vivific
     Fain would I fathom thy nature specific
Loftily poised in the ether capacious
     Strongly resembling a gem carbonaceous!
Scintillate, scintillate, globule vivific
     Fain would I fathom thy nature specific

When torrid Phoebus removeth his presence
     Ceasing to lamp us with fierce incandescence
Then you illumine the regions supernal
     Scintillate, scintillate, semper nocturnal.
Scintillate, scintillate, globule vivific
     Fain would I fathom thy nature specific

The traveler on lusterless peregrination
     Gratefully hails your minute coruscation
He could not determine his journey’s direction
     But for your bright scintillating protection.
Scintillate, scintillate, globule vivific
     Fain would I fathom thy nature specific

(Author unknown but this is believed to date from the mid 19th century)

2021 Christmas card from Brian Bent



Report for B Group - 15th December

The ride didn't start too well for this sub-leader.  The bridleway from Malden Rushett to Claygate was terrible, and after getting stuck in some sticky mud the chain came off and jammed, despite having a chaincatcher.  After struggling for a few minutes I managed to free it and set off again, heading for the station cafĂ© at Claygate, a mistake of course.  I arrived quite early and settled down with my coffee, not too concerned to be the first there.  But after about ten minutes there was still no sign of anyone else and I started to wonder if I was in the right place.  Fortunately I had Tim G's number and sure enough found that everyone was at the Day Centre, which I didn't know about.  A quick sprint and I was there just in time for my 10:30 start, but I missed out on the cakes.

We then had an easy ride via the quiet roads in Molesey before crossing the river at Hampton Court and having a lovely ride through Bushy Park before crossing the river again at Ham and continuing through Richmond Park.  After passing through Raynes Park the route took us through an interesting area of smallholdings, very strange so close to Worcester Park.  I went slighty off course here but with the help of Fixie and Tony got back on track on 'graffiti alley'.  Then an easy route through quiet roads around Sutton before a slight sting in the tail with the climb up to Banstead.  I left my group at Woodmansterne Lane with a plan to visit C&N Bikes in Redhill to get some Bontrager GR2 gravel tyres, which hopefully will be a big help.

Martin G

Tim writes:

After so long since our last visit it was excellent to be able to meet in the Claygate Day Centre again. The refreshments were good, especially the bread and butter pudding, and served by cheerful staff.

Tim Gibbons had planned a good route for us and after a bit of an accident on Monday he reluctantly decided that he shouldn’t do the ride. However he drove over to the DC for elevenses and to see his teams off.

We headed through Esher and crossed Hampton Court Bridge to take the Chestnut Avenue through to Teddington and the lock. We traversed Ham Common and Richmond Park then Paul took over as leader for the dash along the A3 cycle path and so to Raynes Park.

Martin's team in Richmond Park

We arrived in Banstead feeling that we’d done quite a lot of climbing and then cruised along the top to The Woodman in Woodmansterne, pleased to have arrived with our good appetites after 21.6 miles. This is always a good pub to visit and service was brisk with good food for all.

Ken and Paul declined my invitation to be in this photo

Helen, Paul, Steph, Anne, Ken, Pat D, Ray Youlden, and myself comprised our Team 3. Pat left the ride, as intended, in Bushy Park; Ray made his way home from the Robin Hood Gate. We were pleased that Helen was able to take the day off from leading the Easy Riders to ride with us, a sort of busman’s holiday, I guess.

As we had been a bit late leaving Claygate, and with our ride to lunch taking about two and a half hours, riders left the ride before we reached The Old Moat and most of us would have arrived home after dark.
Tim’s route was appreciated by all, it didn’t rain and the temperature was up into double figures. A very enjoyable day out.

~ Tim C

Tuesday, December 14, 2021

The Pickwick Bicycle Club Annual Dinner

 Some of you may have heard of the Pickwick Bicycle club but most will not. It's the oldest cycling club in the world, founded in 1870 in East London and still operational. The members all have an additional club name taken from Dickens characters The majority of the members were cyclist of some standing or innovators in some way or other, old professionals, Olympians etc. My invite came from a 96 year old track cyclist from the 1952 Olympics.

The club is a members only club and membership is by invite only. Well I was lucky enough to get an invite to their annual lunch at the De Vere Grand Connaught Rooms in Holborn. A very swish do. Cocktails to start and then Buglers from the Household Cavalry played a fanfare to move us into the dinning room to sit down to lunch.

Members wore straw boaters and stripped jackets, tables of ten, 8 guests and 2 members on each table which totalled around 300 sitting down to lunch. Then one of original members bicycle was paraded round. Then 5 new members were invited into the ranks with great cheer.