To reduce the numbers at Walton Day Centre, Wednesday's 'A' group ride will begin instead at Morrison's supermarket cafe ,Monument Hill, Weybridge, KT13 8RT. Enter the covered supermarket car park from the roundabout on Monument Hill and you will find bike racks on your left just inside the entrance. Cafe and toilets are upstairs and accessed from close by.
Friday, January 21, 2022
The As ride to lunch was hilly, rolling, undulating - and a bit lumpy!
First off was Pete Bs group - and first to the Punchbowl, (although Pete let slip that a slight short-cut was involved).
Brian led next.
My group of Janice, Andy, Patrick, Neil W, Neil C, Mike and Hans headed off soon after our allotted time for an interesting and unusual route to Okewoodhill. The climb to Ranmore is a long drag and I was happy to get onto the long rolling stretch along the top of the Downs. My group were hard on my heels most of the way but any faster progress would have been in vain as half of Pete's group were still at the bar when we arrived. Lunch was a while being served and then Mike drew the short straw of the missing order. Finally we left at about 2pm for the homeward run and five of us stopped for tea in Leatherhead. My thanks to Janice for back marking and to both Janice and Andy for some welcome drafting on the way back.
|Weare Street Wayfarers.|
My group was missing Steve W - delayed by a Wahoo glitch to elevenses, but gained John B, delayed by a rogue cashpoint, and then saw Geoffrey descent back from Ranmore. We were warmed by the ascents (lumpy), and reached the Punchbowl as the first groups were awaiting lunch. Alas Frances went without - having lost patience with her order that failed to arrive.
Weare St is always a pleasure to ride, and the pond is a favourite spot for a photo. By the time we reached Amici’s, only Brian was there to welcome us, but we had time for tea before losing daylight. Kudos to Frances for her first 50+ mile since her accident in September.
Thanks to Dave V for backmarking my group, Brian and Pete B for sub-leading, and to Steve D and Brian for photos. An enjoyable, lengthy winter’s ride.
Thursday, January 20, 2022
It was a delight to be back to the Christian Centre coffee shop in Dorking after a long break away. Thank you and well done to all those who joined the B ride from Dorking, even though you knew we would be climbing up to Coldharbour. For anyone for whom this was their first ascent of Leith Hill – well done and I hope you are looking forward to your next climb.
The first group set off with all present as arranged to ascend Leith Hill. We made good progress and then descended carefully, aware that there is often a good deal of surface water and gravel. We were fortunate that there had been no overnight frost and continued on our way across the lovely countryside to lunch in Westhumble. Our group split after lunch and in fact although a couple of riders got close to the tea stop, no one actually ventured in.
Thank you to Tim C and Clive for sub-leading and to Geoff who back marked my group. Now that groups are a more manageable size back marking is not so vital, but it is still very reassuring as a leader to be able to glance around to see the back marker wave to indicate all is well!
Ian decided to get a head start on us so had a few minutes lead before the remaining group of me, Sue and Alan set off from the church café in Dorking with a determined resolve to conquer the towering Coldharbour Lane that lay ahead. With gears accordingly set to their lowest possible ratio we began the ascent shortly after leaving Dorking. Did anyone walk up? I don’t know, I didn’t see a thing, honest. Anyhow, one way or another, everyone reached the summit where we were reunited with Ian.
It was all worth the effort, though. We were rewarded with fantastic views of the Surrey plains below us as we cycled along Coldharbour ridge, and the long fast descent towards Ockley where we stopped for a photoshoot outside St. Margaret’s Church.
|Alan, Ian and Sue at St Margaret's Church|
Having reached the plains, that we had seen from on high, we made blistering progress through Capel, Newdigate and Brockham to arrive at the Stepping Stones pub in Westhumble, with a pretty good appetite for lunch.
I had started the day with the good intention of going on to the tea stop at The Old Moat. But because that would take me almost directly past my house in Leatherhead I decided to call it a day, along with the rest of my group, and head home after lunch.
Thanks to John for devising an enjoyable route through some of the very best of what Surrey has to offer and to my group Sue, Alan and Ian.
Our little group of six mustered at the St Martin's Church Centre in good time for our departure at 11:00. Maggie had arrived with Paul but declined the invitation to ride up the hill with us. Grant's arrival wasn't a big surprise but we were also pleased that Steve Wiltshire turned up just a little too late for his A Group departure. So he and Grant both joined our team. Thus eight of us headed off up Coldharbour Lane with one or two wondering if we would make it without getting off to walk. As it had been about six months since we last ascended this monster hill we neared the summit imagining that somewhere around the next bend was one more brutally steep section but surprised ourselves with our almost premature arrival at the Anstie Lane turnoff then The Plough.
We rollercoastered along the top, passing Windy Gap and at Campfield Place took off down Leith Hill Lane to pass Ralph Vaughan Williams' old home, and once safely down proceeded through Ockley, Capel, Newdigate and Parkgate, and so to Brockham and Westhumble, our lunch destination.
We received our usual friendly welcome at The Stepping Stones and ate well. John's team was on the verge of departure when we arrived but Team Clive was still relaxing.
|Thanks to Anne for taking this photo|
Thanks to everyone in the team for your company, to Colin for back-marking and to John for his daft idea of leading us all up to Coldharbour and Leith Hill in the middle of Winter.
Monday, January 17, 2022
This week we are meeting at Coffee Active KT21 2BA in Ashstead.
The aim is to leave promptly at 1130 and weave an 11 mile ride via Epsom, W Ewell, Tolworth, Berrylands and Kingston to The Lion 27 Wick Road, Teddington TW11 9DN.
Mostly quiet roads and/or paved bridleways.
You can view the route https://ridewithgps.com/routes/38309849
Friday, January 14, 2022
We'll be riding from Dorking Christian Centre to lunch at the Punchbowl Inn, Okewoodhill, and to Leatherhead for tea. 22 lumpy miles to lunch, 17 flatter miles to tea.
Please respond by the usual deadline of 6.00pm on Mon. to:- email@example.com.
You are politely requested to take a lateral flow test before the ride.
Well, the invitation response was enthusiastic, 23 on the road plus Frances riding independently to lunch, which may be a January record for us. But did I detect a reluctance to leave Hersham? All our three groups left a little later than my optimistic early start. Was it the cold outside or the excellent coffee and bread pudding inside?
First Steve Duffin
There were eight in my group, first away at 10.35. Janice had ridden to the Day Centre with Andy Huddart from Kingston Phoenix. There was also Ged, Mike, Neil W, Patrick, Dave B and myself. It was sunny with little wind, but cold. The route cut out much of the Seven Hills road by diverting onto the pavement, turning into Convent Lane and hey presto, we were in Cobham. The quiet roads south led us up Sheepleas hill which was hard work. We took a picture in Staple Lane looking towards Woking, but the fog layer prevented us from seeing much detail.
We made good time downhill to Send and cutting along the River Wey valley, arrived at The Seven Stars at 12.20 pm. I thought £10 for a baguette was a little steep, until it arrived huge and well filled, with a pile of salad, some sauce and a sculpted lemon for garnish. We met Frances inside and it was good to have the nine of us seated at the same table chatting. Andy told us racing stories and tales of groups averaging 20 mph!! A nice pub, which we didn't want to leave.
Nevertheless, we left at 1.25 with Frances. The route took in sunny Byfleet, then Weybridge and Walton to tea at East Molesey cricket club. Janice, Frances, Mike and Andy left for home. So the remainder of us had tea. Ray from the B's turned up and after the others left, the second group arrived so I stayed for a chat. When I left for home at 4 pm it was freezing.
I think we all enjoyed the company of everyone in the group. It was a lovely route, shown at its best in the sunshine. Thanks Dave and thanks to Mike for back marking for me. Another super ride with no problems.
Next Neil C
At the appointed time there were five of us outside in the cold, and two more inside, each trying hard to be the last to arrive. After a few minutes they ended their stand-off and joined us for our ride south in search of the one big hill for the day.
We resisted all opportunities of short cuts to lunch that Dave had built into the route and rode all the way to the top of Staple Lane. On the descent we stopped to take in the view but the mist was still hanging over the capital. We could see the towers of Canary Wharf but we struggled to see the Eiffel Tower, but Simon assured us it was there.
As we passed Send Prison Simon felt a little deflated. No just because we didn't believe him about the Eiffel Tower, but because his tyre had picked up a flint. Richard and Dave W stayed to help reinflate him while the rest of us pressed on to lunch. Soon they caught us up.
The food at The Seven Stars was good, and my sausage and mash was the most artistic interpretation I've seen in a long while.
After the warmth of the pub it felt quite cold outside but we still stood and shivered as Simon took the customary group photo.
We soon warmed up again on the ride and five of us stopped for tea at the Molesey Cricket Club where we met Steve's group.
Thanks to my group for a fine day out, Dave W for back-marking, and Dave V for a route with just the right amount of climbing for a cold January day.
Finally my group of David & Jennie, Sue C & Sue F, Gina, John B and Dave F were on the road just around 10.55. Sue F qualified for the day’s climbing award having also done Sheepleas last week with the B’s and on a recent recce. We stopped for the view on Staple Lane to debate whether the hazy layer over London was in fact smoke pollution trapped in an atmospheric temperature inversion. A great pity as the view from there can be spectacular.
We arrived in the pub about 1.10 to be united with the earlier groups. Having 23 bikes in the garden from which they are normally banned was another sort of record. Service was friendly and generally speedy and nobody complained about the portions. David J left us before lunch. Few things are more important than cycling, but supporting Spurs is one.
Leaving the pub a little behind my 2pm schedule we made steady progress as far as Walton, where Dave F, Gina and Sue C left us to ride home direct. It was getting late to finish the ride in Molesey before they closed, so four of us took tea (in proper China cups) at the Riverhouse Barn.
Jennie led us homewards through Molesey where the aggressive driving was even more noticeable than usual for the time of day.
We had a couple of dropped chains during the day, but cometh the hour, cometh the man with a Rehook, a cunning device for reattaching the chain with clean hands. Thanks Dave F.
Thanks to everyone who came on the ride, and in my group to David & Jennie for back marking. Photos courtesy of Neil W Simon and Ged. And big thanks to Steve and Neil C for co-leading.
PS Are the evenings getting noticeably lighter?
We shall meet at St Martin's Church cafe in Dorking (just off the north side of the High Street, via a footpath next to Boots) and then head off southwards (climbing), then turn eastwards towards Newdigate, before returning northwards via Brockham to lunch at the Stepping Stones in Westhumble.
This is the route:
The tea stop will be at the Old Moat in Horton, although riders may like to make their own way home from Westhumble.
If you would like to join this ride please email me by Monday evening, letting me know any preferences for time or fellow riders, on: firstname.lastname@example.org
Thursday, January 13, 2022
Sadly 3 of the Bs efforts to make it to the start line were thwarted, it’s a shame they couldn’t join us. So 22 set off in 3 groups led by John Austin (Jam Roly Polys), Dave Cullen (Sticky Toffee Puddings) and yours truly (Spotted Dicks).
The first part of the route took us past Walton and Weybridge stations and then on down to the old Brooklands racetrack where we stopped to admire Concorde at the Brooklands Museum. Then to Byfleet, where we cut through the appropriately named Muddy Lane to emerge out into the countryside of Wisley and Pyrford. Going over the bridge at Pyrford lock we came across a ‘Road Closed Ahead’ sign, but we were able to proceed with the approval of the BT engineers working there and luckily everyone managed to avoid the low hanging and barely visible telegraph wire. At least there were no cars.
An hour in and as we approached Ripley we caught up with the Sticky Toffee Puddings. So, to use up some time and to restore a bit of a gap we stopped to take a photo. I’m not sure what this building is. It looks like the gate house or lodge for a bigger house, but I can’t see anything there on Google Maps.
|The Spotted Dicks|
You may notice a rosemary bush in the right of the photo. Paul informed us that a rosemary bush in the garden is said to represent the dominance of the lady of the household.
We set off again towards Ripley and Ockham, the scenery particularly appealing in the winter sunshine. We were held up for a few minutes in Guileshill Lane waiting for cars to pass. For such a narrow and out of the way lane there seems to be a lot of traffic. We carried on through Downside village and in to Bookham Common where we caught up with the Sticky Toffee Puddings again. This time we endeavoured to maintain a polite distance until we arrived at The Running Horse where Madeleine would join the rest of us for lunch.
|The Running Horse, then...|
The pub arranged for us to all sit together in one area of the pub where we ate and quenched our thirsts very well, enjoying the chance to rest and chat.
|Tea and cake at the Old Moat|
Dave Cullen, leading the Sticky Toffee Puddings, reports as follows:
Tuesday, January 11, 2022
If you have an old light which works well enough, but could be brighter, or if you are refurbishing lights on a classic bike, these little things may be just what you need.
'Nicelite' make a range of LED bulbs which are a direct replacement for the old screw-in or push-in types. There are dynamo versions, battery versions, white ones for front lights and red ones for rear lights. They seem to take a wide range of voltages, promise a long life and low battery consumption.
Saturday, January 08, 2022
Wednesday’s ride from Hersham Day Centre, last visited in November, is to Ripley, 23 miles to lunch, one big hill (Shere Road) and all on-road. Lunch is booked at the Seven Stars, Newark Road.
Return is 10 flat miles to tea at “Miss Polly”, at East Molesey Cricket Club, hopefully close enough to home for everyone.
Please practice pre-ride testing. I will let you know if there are any specific instructions from Hersham DC. On the ride I will try to arrange the groups and times so we do not overlap too much at lunch. It’s not in the club’s ethos not to socialise, but for the present we should be careful.
Please book your place by emailing me, email@example.com by Monday evening.
I look forward to seeing you on Wednesday.
Friday, January 07, 2022
For next week’s ride we will gather for elevenses at the Day Centre in Hersham. The route will take us, via Ripley and Ockham, to lunch at The Running Horse pub in Leatherhead. The ride is 20 miles, pretty flat and there are no hills to speak of.
Here is a link to the pub’s web site if you want to have a look at the menu. There is no need to order food in advance and we can put our bikes in the garden at the back of the pub.
There is nothing fixed for the afternoon, so people can make their own way home after lunch or optionally take a meandering route through the mean back streets of Leatherhead and Ashtead towards Epsom for tea at The Old Moat, or somewhere else in the vicinity.
Please let me know by email as soon as you can and preferably before Monday evening if you want to come along so that I can inform the pub about numbers.
Here’s a link to the route:
Thursday, January 06, 2022
What a wonderful, sunny, if cold winter's day for a ride. So thought almost all the regular A riders and we ended up with 22 on the ride to be joined by Mark and Maggie at lunch.
Steve Duffin's group was away first and reported: