Tuesday, August 09, 2022

Sunday 14 Aug - change of lunch destination

Our lunch destination on Sunday will now be the Rose and Olive Branch, Virginia Water, which gives us a shorter and shady ride, with an option of a detour into Windsor Great Park for those who would like to do that.

Elevenses is still at Shepperton, Nauticalia, as published.   I hope you can join us.

Sunday, August 07, 2022

Ride Report - Sunday 7 August (Horton Park and Putney)


Quite a few Sunday regulars weren't available today (surely there can be no connection with the challenging ride the week before), but we still mustered a respectable seven riders (Bob, Ed, Simon, Graham, Steve D and I) for elevenses.

Over-familiarity with The Sportsman at Mogador and the related golf club track decided us on a complete change of direction for lunch and we duly set off for Putney!   Bob left us at elevenses and Ed joined us for the first part of the ride only.   Graham kindly piloted us on short detour to admire Pete Mitchell's memorial seat, then we took a slightly circuitous route via Barrow Hill, Green Lane, and Cannon Hill Common towards Wimbledon Common.

The common was busy, dusty and sandy but there was some welcome shade and it made a nice change for a Cheam and Morden ride!     We the drifted down a maze of back streets eventually emerging in Putney High Street right near our destination, The Rocket.

The Rocket wasn't too busy and we were lucky to find a a shaded table with a cooling breeze.   It was difficult to drag ourselves away but from lunch Simon and Graham led a slightly longer route home via the Thames while I took a direct route across Richmond Park on a humanitarian mission to save my tomatoes!   

Many thanks to all for your company!

Sunday, July 31, 2022

Ride Report for Sunday 31 August 2022 - a Bridge Too Far?


Until now I have never been quite sure of the meaning of the phrase 'howls of execration', but after today's ride I have a much better understanding!   The morning started off peaceably enough with Bob, Simon, Lilian, Ed, Diane, Dave E, Graham, Pam, Geoff G and Ray W joining me for a very pleasant elevenses, al fresco, at Squires, Stoke d'Abernon.

We left Bob at Squires and set off over Downside Common and Wisley Airfield towards Ripley where Lilian and Ed left us.  The rest of made towards Send Church where I thought it would be a good idea to introduce the group to the delights of the footpath to Sutton Green!

The path starts off innocently enough but soon sinks into a deep rut, then nettles close in on either side, then there is a barbed wire fence on one side and the river Wey very close by on the other, but once you have crossed the narrow, awkward, steep-stepped bridge you have passed the worst...until the stile at the top of the steep bank across the meadow!    Anyway, everyone took this character-building, assault course-type route in their stride and there were no visible injuries, or more importantly, damaged bikes!    

From there it was an easy ride through Woking Park to recover in the haven that is Wetherspoons!   After a good lunch we took the usual route back to Walton Bridge via Sheerwater, West Byfleet, Addlestone and Weybridge, no off-road sections by request!

Many thanks to everyone for putting up with my dastardly outbound route, and to Geoff for very kindly back-marking all day.

Tuesday, July 26, 2022

IMPORTANT - Change to Programme for Sunday 31 July 2022

With regret, Sunday's planned train-assisted ride from Horsham is cancelled as there is national rail strike the previous day and train services early on Sunday morning will be disrupted.

Instead, elevenses will be at Squires Garden Centre, Cobham.   A possible destination is The Herbert Wells, Woking, which we have not visited for some time.   There are some interesting route possibilities!

Sunday, July 24, 2022

Ride Report - Sunday 24 July 2021 (Weybridge & Longford)


Bob, Tony, Diane, Lilian, Ed, Ray, Graham, Maureen, Pam and I met at Morrisons, Weybridge's least expensive elevenses venue, and duly regaled ourselves with the sundry delights on offer!   Bob, Ed, Graham and Maureen made their own ways home while, once baggage was safely stowed in the overhead lockers and all seatbelts fastened, the rest of us took off for Heathrow!  In a radical break with tradition, our route took us in an anti-clockwise direction!   Some thought they saw similarities to a previous route of Simon Lambourn's - pure, blind coincidence, I say!

There were one or two surprisingly picturesque corners en route to Hatton Cross, after which we weren't sure 'who was zooming who' - as we circumnavigated Heathrow we passed an army of plane spotters  watching the planes, as we, fascinated, watched them and their elaborate equipment!

Our 'refuelling stop', The White Horse, proved once again to an excellent place for lunch, with a very welcoming and helpful landlord, and delightful floral decorations.   Once replete and on the road again we kept the airport on our east side and took a fairly direct route to the end point at Shepperton.   The sky turned increasingly hazy as we travelled south, and the strong, acrid smell of smoke from a large fire on Hankley Common made it a distinctly unpleasant and stifling ride, but we survived!

Many thanks to everyone for your company!

Sunday, July 17, 2022

Hot Pursuit to Guildford - 17 July

A great turnout at The Queen Stage, Effingham despite the amber warning of hot weather (31 degrees).  And not just the ten C&M riders but a constant flow of other groups of cyclists kept the place buzzing.    Great to see Mark back on his first outing after his broken shoulder.  Bob was heading home while Pam and Tony chose to do a shorter ride in view of the heat.   Very sensible.

Missing Pam, David & Tony
There he is!

The rest of us, not so sensible, headed to Guildford after a referendum chose the higher-level route, involving more shade but starting with the climb up Green Dene.  Once ascended, the only way was Down, along the North Downs Way to be precise.  (What is it called in the other direction?  Surely it can't be Down in both directions?)  We were worried about hordes of walkers but they were strangely absent - perhaps they had heard something on the weather forecast?

Pewley Down
Keith left us after admiring the views at Newlands Corner to ride back along NCN22, and we continued to Pewley Down where more views were admired, including a pretty clear view over the whole London skyline from Wembley to Docklands, just near the semaphore tower.   The remaining six of us found a shaded table at The King's Head and had a very enjoyable lunch.  I was half expecting everyone to get the train home due to the increasing heat, but in fact it was quite pleasant in the breeze, and only Mark and David made their own way home. 

Up-market doggy bar
The return route was seeking shade, along the Wey Navigation and north where we were pleased to find that Jacob was in his usual good health - the signs saying Jacob's Well were out as usual.  Does he never have a bad day?  The temptations of Woking station came and went, so we dodged the War of the Worlds fighting machine onto the canal (towpath, that is) to make our way back to New Haw and on to Walton, where Lilian kindly bought Rachel, Graham and myself ice creams - thank you!   In the end the temperature was around 29 degrees at Walton in the shade, with a nice breeze making it bearable.  Thanks to all for coming out on a hot day and for your company.

Saturday, July 16, 2022

Ride plan Sunday 17th July

We are meeting for 11s, as advertised, at The Queen Stage, Effingham (just on the corner of the double roundabouts), which has some air conditioning.   I still plan to ride to Guildford, and we can either go across the top (off road but all under tree cover) to Merrow Downs Pewley Hill, or perhaps do a lower-level route.  Lunch destination in Guildford will be by referendum, probably somewhere shady where we can rehydrate.

It's forecast to be 26 degrees at Effingham at 11.00, and 28 in Guildford at lunch time, so please bring plenty of water.  31 degrees by tea time, so the option of returning by train might appeal to some or even all of us by then.

Monday, July 11, 2022

Way Out West (10/07/22) - The ride

The mercury was heading for the low 30s as I left home.  The slightly delayed train at Whitton was crowded. At Staines it emptied (presumably Thorpe Park visitors). I continued to Datchet to join Dave and Simon in a quiet Royal Farmshop. We waited for 30 minutes but nobody came. 

From the A308 roundabout we rode along the southern edge of Windsor. Just after the aging "Brenda and Keith" in Fifield I tossed in a minor surprise by switching to the Drift Road. Thus was Waltham St Lawrence reached from the south. At the A4 in Hare Hatch we ran into a sportive (or at least signs of). Wargrave was skirted before we started the only climb of the day so Warren Row was reached from the northwest.

The Velolife cafe was busy and hot  whereever one sat.  Its menu is brief: toasties and/or cakes which suited us. As temperatures rose visitor numbers dwindled; we were amongst the last to leave well before two. 

We now had a tailwind. I pointed out the onetime RSG6 as we descended to Knowl Hill where  NCN4 was rejoined close to The Royal Oak. We left it as it entered the Maidenhead suburbs. After Bray the cycleway beside the widened M4 Thames Bridge is still unfinished  two years after opening! Dorney and Eton came next.

The wait at Datchet station was under five minutes which proved too tempting for Dave who joined me to Ashford (Surrey). His excuse: an 80 mile ride the previous day to Hastings. I was for a final surprise at Whitton - the next train was for Kingston! New to me so I took it.

As described 32 miles (or 66 miles if ridden from home).

Thursday, July 07, 2022

Way Out West (10/07/22)

Sunday's ride starts (and notionally ends) at Windsor (Royal) Farm Shop [SL4 2RQ / SU981751 open 1000-1530]. It's 30+ miles topping out at a heady 340+feet. NCN4 is much used (lots of it tarmac). On my recces I was not ambushed by nettles, brambles and the like. 

Lunch could be Velofile [RG10 8QS/SU812807] , a cyclists' cafe. Its menu reads toasties and cakes (in my experience when available). So a mile or so further on the ride will pass the Royal Oak Knowl Hill [RG19 9YE/SU825794] which has a fuller menu according to Facebook. We'll decide on the day.

I'm no A308 fan so I may use the half hourly service to Datchet and cycle the remaining mile or so to 11s.

Sunday, July 03, 2022

Ride Report - Sunday 3 July (Clandon and Catteshall)


It is a long ride to Clandon Park Garden Centre for some of us, but Bob, Terry, Simon, Keith, Diane, Bernard, Sabina, Ray, Ed, Lilian, Graham and Sunday newbie Dave E all made the effort and had a very pleasant elevenses.   Very acceptable cheese scones were available!

Simon, Graham, Lilian, Ray, Keith, Diane, Graham and Dave E then joined me for the shortish but rather hilly ride to lunch at Catteshall, which also had a number of offroad sections.   Ed set off to make his own way to Catteshall, but, unfortunately, mechanical problems led him to end his ride at Guildford.   

At Blackheath we paused at Simon's suggestion to have a look at the rather unusual 'arts and crafts' church, St Martins, and we were very lucky to be given a brief but comprehensive guided tour by the church warden.   The church is always open in the daytime and is well worth a visit if you are passing.    

Stepping onto consecrated ground brought out my sense of Christian charity and I relented in my intention to take the group along the rather rocky bridleway from Munstead Heath to Catteshall, substituting instead another (untried) track described as 'easy'!   Well, the surface was much easier, and so was the gradient, but there was a high stinging nettle factor instead!

All I can say of Catteshall Boathouse Tearooms (aka Hector's Bistro) is that you are guaranteed a welcome!   It is rather idiosyncratic, and perhaps a remnant of England gone by, but it is in a nice setting and although the menu is simple, the food is good value. You may wait a while but you can while away the time on the bank trying to spot fish in the backwaters.

After lunch, we headed for NCN22 to sample the brand new tarmac surface.   It is a considerable improvement, but sadly we could not try it all as one section was closed for work, so it was still a case of lugging our bikes down the steps.   At Guildford, some of us headed for the station while the main group continued for tea at Ripley.

Many thanks to Simon for back-marking and suggesting the church visit, thanks all for your company, and thanks too to Graham for supplementary information.

Thursday, June 30, 2022

Plans for Sunday 3 July 2022

As published, our meeting and elevenses point will be Clandon Park Garden Centre.

Those riding to elevenses will already have covered a moderate distance, so a shortish route is planned to Catteshall Boathouse (aka Hector's Bistro), and back to Guildford (ride back or train back from there as preferred).   Some off-road sections are included but the route https://connect.garmin.com/modern/course/113611925 may be adapted to replace the final, 'technical' offroad section before lunch with something still off-tarmac but a little less fiendish!

Train-assisted is possible - the best option is to buy an Anytime return to Guildford but alight at Clandon on the outbound journey.

Sunday, June 26, 2022

Ride Report - Sunday 26 June 2022


Today's ride should have been our annual train-assisted jaunt to Kent, but the RMT put paid to that!   Never mind, I hope to find another date for the ride from Petts Wood to Cudham before the autumn.

Anyway, instead of The Sovereign of the Seas we met today at The Edmund Tylney.   A Leatherhead elevenses always gets a good turnout (even when it coincides with the Dieppe Raid, seemingly) and today I was joined by no less than Bob, Diane, Keith, Lilian, Ed, Terry (not back on his bike for a few months yet), Graham, Ann, Brian, and Ray.

Six of us (Graham, Ray, Diane, Ed and Lilian) chose to go on to lunch and the route was a straight copy of our Easter Sunday route to The Sportsman, Mogador, giving those who had missed it then a chance to sample its delights!    Today it seemed it easier somehow - the golf course track had dried out and there were no giant puddles or fallen trees to avoid.   The climbs were still as steep but somehow seemed much easier than they had in April!

The Sportsman was not too busy and remains a generally good lunch stop, especially in summer.   Everyone found what they wanted (some too much of it!).   After that it was back across the golf course before a long glide down over Epsom Downs and along Chalk Lane where I veered off homewards.

Thanks to all for your company.

Friday, June 24, 2022

Late Notice of Change to Ride - Sunday 26 June

Owing to the ongoing effects of the rail strike as well as engineering work at Raynes Park, Sunday's ride will now begin at The Edmund Tylney, Leatherhead, lunch stop to be arranged.

Apologies for short notice of this change, but I'm only returned from my holidays yesterday.    

It seems a shame to miss what is now the Cheam and Morden's only annual trip to Kent, so I hope to rearrange the Petts Wood and Cudham ride for later in July or August!

Sunday, June 19, 2022

19 June - a trek to Mont Northala

I'm proud to report the success of a brave attempt to scale Mont Northala today, possibly the icing on the Queen's Jubilee cake.

Base Camp was established at The William Webb Ellis, Twickenham, where the advance party of Bob, Tony, Lillian, Simon, Pam and Graham consumed their rations and considered the task ahead.  We were joined by a large number of rugby supporters who were perhaps just there to get C&M ride attendance points, or maybe getting hydrated ready for a different challenge, England vs the Barbarians, kick off at 3pm - vital advance preparation.

Lillian, Chris, Pam, Simon and Graham at the last C&M
attempt to scale Mont Northala, in 1924

Bob and Tony stayed at base camp, while the remainder were joined by Chris for the next stage of the expedition, a very welcome surprise addition to the team.   Crampons were fixed, and we set off into the urban jungle, navigating by following the Grand Union Canal and River Brent to the high ground of Ealing's Bunny Park, where we nearly got lost in the maze but decided not to go in, as we were all taller than the hedges.

After a long, arduous and rough trek we were at the rarefied atmosphere of the A40, where we conquered Marnham Fields and Northala Fields to reach the base of Mont Northala, a beastly, treeless conical mountain of rubble made when the old Wembley football ground was demolished.

Mont Northala
There was only one way up, well, two actually, but the other one was ridiculous.   Pam bravely volunteered to wait in case we never returned, and dreadful news had to be relayed to relatives and the waiting world.   We donned our oxygen masks and started up the spiral slope leading to the top.   We had all forgotten our ice axes, and it was tricky with only slender tyres to give us grip on the rough scree surface, but we all made it.  The views from the top were stupendous.  It was like standing on the top of the world.   Well, the top of Greenford, anyway.   Unfortunately we were all too oxygen-deprived to take any photos.   The descent was nearly as tough.   Chris decided to descend using the ridiculous route, manhandling his bike over sheer drops, but we all arrived at the bottom at the same time.

The triumphant adventurers return

Wild celebrations:  Bandits on Bicycles at the Battle of Britain Bunker

There was only one place suitable for celebrating our magnificent achievement: Uxbridge.   Well, two places.   First, we rode to the Battle of Britain Bunker, and, because we were late for lunch, we then went to the Rusty Bike Cafe, where enormous toasties were consumed by several hungry explorers.   By that time we were also going to be late for tea, so I threw caution to the wind and made up a direct route back to Shepperton, which worked out OK, and we arrived at Nutty Lane, a very appropriate place to end our expedition, just before it closed.    A grand day out in excellent company.

Tuesday, June 14, 2022

Next Sunday's ride - Twickenham to Uxbridge

Next Sunday we will meet as advertised at Twickenham Wetherspoons,  the William Webb Ellis - and follow an adventurous route to Uxbridge. Our lunch destination will now be The Rusty Bike Cafe in Uxbridge, a nice community cafe with a limited menu, so you might want to bring something with you if you don't fancy their menu.  Quite a bit of off road but much of it is tarmac - nothing too hairy.

Best bike parking at Twickenham is just opposite, outside the police station, but you may not be able to see your bike from inside the pub.

18 miles to lunch, a bit less back to tea at Shepperton.  Not to  missed!

Sunday, June 12, 2022

C&M Ride Sunday12-6-22

A small turnout at 11's, Nauticailia, as Bob and Ann had gone to The Old Moat at Horton by mistake. This had changed weeks ago, it pays to read the website rides list which is up to date on any changes, or txt, or phone the ride leader.

The cafe wasn't open I when I arrived as no Barista had appeared yet. It was soon in full swing and busy, Simon and Dave arrived shortly then Keith, Pam and Graham, much chatter and coffee imbibing departure time soon arrived, just as did Ray. Dave left us shortly afterwards, he had done a 70+ mile ride the day before.

There was a bit of a headwind as we set off, through Charlton, Ashford and onto Stanwell Moor, and Colnbrook. Just after crossing the M4, the off-road started a lovely route to Thorney and past Thorney Golf club and onto the hidden road. We were soon at Cowley and onto the last off-road section on the Colne River Trail next to Uxbridge Moor. Then onto a short section of the A4007 up to Uxbridge Moor and then a short ride to lunch at Flowerland GC. At this point Keith headed to make his won way home.


Although they were busy service was very quick and the food excellent. We had our lunch in a lovely setting outdoors shaded amongst masses of fauna. Warm and well-fed, but on we must go. Down to Iver, Thorney and across Harmondsworth Moor, Harlington and onto tea at Restaurante Saloio, where we sat in the rear courtyard drinking tea, coffee and beer for some. It again was hard to leave and the chatter was endless. Not long after we left, Graham left us at Hatton Cross and we carried onto Bedfont where Pam headed west for Ashford. 

The last 3 of us headed to Hampton where the trio said farewell, Ray about 100 metres to home, myself, about 4 hundred metres and Simon around 3 miles. Another great day on the bike with like-mind friends.


Monday, June 06, 2022

Jubilee Sunday June 6 2022

Just six (GFH, Dave, Ann, Diane, Pam, Tony) arrived at the Sunrise cafe in Upper Halliford and only the first two continued.

The outward journey took us through Charlton, Staines(party in Lammas), Wraysbury (unintended visit to station by leader) Colnbrook and Langley. North of the station we turned onto NCN61 with its hint of country. During an unscheduled stop at the (previously unused?) Langley Park Cafe a retreat was debated. So it was NCN 61 to Iver then familiar ways through Richings Park, etc, etc to Ashford where we went our separate ways.

Jubilee Sunday had started with heavy overnight rain but the ride (if not the roads) was dry. Definitely there was no repeat of  Saturday's sunshine and heavy rain returned in the evening. Under 50 miles. 

Monday, May 30, 2022

Change Of 11s June 5 2022

Sunrise Cafe (0830-1430, TW17 8SE, TQ094682) in Upper Halliford. Roughly 1/4 mile N of Squires just beyond the Goat pub/restaurant.

Who knows what other changes the 2022 Jubilee will bring so we'll decide on the day. For me the 2002 Jubilee meant four days of more or less continuous rain in SW Scotland. 2022 must be better.

May 29 2002 - Frensham and Selborne

Surbiton station was busy with bikes heading for central London. In contrast I was "no mates" until Steph arrived for her first C&M ride in three years. At Bentley two became six as Simon was on Platform 2 with Lillian, Ed and Ray unloading in the car park; Ed seemingly unaffected when a bike landed on his head. Woeful navigation added 100 yards on the busy A325 to the short mileage to Alice Holt Visitor Centre/Cafe where amongst a sea of visitors we found Dave who'd cycled from home. 

East through Millbridge and Tilford we meet head-on the London (actually Brooklands!) to Brighton Classics Rally, Rural Life being their 11s stop. Before Rushmoor we turned west to Frensham Little Pond where Dave and Steph forded. Emptier roads now led to the faster flowing Lindford ford which only Dave braved - concrete base, around six inches deep. Beyond Bordon  was a climb past Temple, not particular hard but unexpectedly steepest at top where a portaloo was put to good use. 

In Selborne Dave headed for Alton railway station. In contrast we settled on the Gilbert White cafe. It was quiet until Simon's bottle of beer became a fountain on opening; he was more than happy to accept a two for one offer - the second being almost frothless. The leisurely lunch concluded with cakes for two gourmands and a loose toilet door handle.  

With two cars to rescue we headed back through the village taking quiet roads towards Blackmoor and Binsted. We paused only briefly to admire Oakhanger MOD "Balls", The double climb to Binsted was unwelcome - all seemed lost. But the downhill was fast and furious. And under ten minutes to wait at the station.  

A contribution from Gilbert White aka Ray



Monday, May 23, 2022

Sunday May 29 2022 Train assisted to/from Bentley

Surrey and Hampshire ride of between 25 and 30 miles; exact route decided on the day. It could include easy(!) offroad sections where alternatives might be fast link roads like the A325, A287 and B3009.

If you intend to ride all/part way to 11s, let me know in advance and I'll stretch 11s to fit.

Since my initial survey a normal train service has resumed hourly  (out: 0830, 0930, 1030, etc) back (14:23, 15:23, 16:23). Fast to/from Woking so

0930   Surbiton Railway Station. Buy a Sunday Out Return to Alton (not Bentley).
           There's no difference in price; Alton has a half-hourly service from 1315.  
020   Arrive Bentley for offroad through the forest to:
1030   11s Alice Holt Cafe/Visitor Centre.
1330   Lunch  Selborne (hopefully, around 15 miles from 11s)
Back to Bentley with no teastop (but you decide) ,around 10 miles. 

Green route I'll take through forest. Tracks are "family friendly "- firm but stony!
Green cross (just off A325) is start of tar-maced route to visitor centre.

Sunday, May 22, 2022

Ride Report - Sunday 22 May 2022

A lovely day saw Bob, Tony, Simon, Diane, Sabrina, Bernard, Graham and I meet at Morrisons, Weybridge for elevenses.   Apart from a slight niggle over the huge difference in cost (but small difference in size) between large and medium coffees, this cafe is definitely the best value for elevenses in the area, and it has straightforward order-and pay-at-the-counter system unlike some local garden centres I could name!

Everyone was keen to get back out into the sunshine and we set off promptly towards Windlesham, where Ray Wren joined us.    Despite a slightly circuitous route to Windlesham we had still arrived there in plenty of time to cover the additional few miles to The Kings Arms at Bagshot.   Simon discovered this pub for us last year and it too serves capacious meals at very reasonable prices with quick, efficient service.

Bernard was all right, really, he was just resting his head!   Suitably refreshed and with plenty of time in hand we headed for tea at Great Cockcrow for the first time this year.   There have been some changes there and the friendly couple who have been serving us teas every summer since time immemorial have now departed.   The cakes aren't quite as good now, but it would still be a good place to stop even without the trains!

Thanks all for your company and thanks to Graham for back-marking all day.


Thursday, May 19, 2022

Plans for Sunday 22 May 22

Sunday's ride will begin from Morrisons, Weybridge as published.

Lunch can still be at The Claude Duvall, Camberley if wished, but  could be moved to The Sun, Windlesham, or The Kings Head, Bagshot if preferred, enabling tea at Great Cockrow Railway.

Please let me know if you any strong preferences.