Simon, Terry, Pam, Tony, Lilian, Graham, Ray, Ann, Ed, newcomer Mark (back for his second ride) and I gathered for elevenses at Cobham in very pleasant sunshine. For only about the second time this year it actually felt a bit warm, although a stiff breeze never let it get too hot.
All but Ed joined me for the ride to Guildford. As ever, I was completely unprepared for the need for more than one group, but Simon very kindly offered to lead a second one and Graham assisted him. I think it would be true to say the two groups took broadly similar routes to lunch, but not completely identical ones! Although my group set off first, we kept rounding corners to find the second group patiently awaiting our arrival, yet they hadn't overtaken us. They'd wait for us to pass, then later they'd be waiting for us again. How did they do that? Anyway, the route took in four long off-road sections amounting to several miles (Bookham Common, Orestan Lane to East Horsley, East to West Horsley railway path, and the Ryde Farm estate road) before the more mundane approach to Guildford.
Lilian left us at Guildford, but the rest of us had lunch at Stoke Park. The kiosk was popular and seemed to have something even for those who hadn't brought sandwiches (and I'm not just talking about the duck food either)!
After lunch I persuaded Graham to pilot us out of Guildford along the national cycle route from the Spectrum leisure centre to Clay Lane, a path which passes through an interesting nature reserve with lakes and wetlands. It is a very nice route and well worth a try, but parts of it must get very boggy in any normal winter, and I struggle to understand how it could provide any form of strategic transport link! Anyway, that was our fifth off-road section of the ride!
After that it was then a straight road to Ripley for tea, where I left the others to enjoy the sunshine. Many thanks to Graham and Simon for your help, and to everyone else for your company.