Saturday, December 24, 2011
Thursday, December 22, 2011
It has been a great idea to meet at differing locations this autumn rather than at the aesthetically challenged North Cheam junction of the A24.
This Sunday I met Steve and Andy at the Oaks Park café.
We decided to have a coffee before setting off.
Although not in keeping with the spirit of the discussions at the AGM there was on this occasion good reason – as the temperature had dipped below zero during the night this would leave a little more time for the ice to melt.
With our caffeine boost we pedalled up to Woodmansterne thence to Coulsdon, across Farthing Downs to Chaldon. By and large any ice that had formed had melted but there were a few frosty patches around Spring Bottom Lane to keep us, so to speak, on our toes – we want to keep our collar bones intact for the festive period. No such concerns along the A25 and by the time we reached the Oxted turn-off the rising temperature ensured a frost-free pedal to meet up with Ian and Terry for elevenses at Morrisons.
Setting off through Oxted old town we joined Tandridge Lane. Then along Croydonbarn Lane turning off to Horne and the only hillette on this leg to take us to the windmill at Outwood and on to our lunch stop at Wasp Green.
By now the temperature was falling and the sun paling and there was some discussion as to whether to stop for tea. Generally the feeling was to go straight home. Pedalling up Markedge Lane we saw a rainbow. But this was not good news. Pausing at Fanny’s Farm for a breather we decided not to stay for tea. This was a good decision. The sky soon darkened, at first drizzle and then a short sharp hailstorm as we cycled down Hazelwood Lane.
All in all a good December ride for probably the first Sunday with an average seasonal temperature compared with the hitherto mild autumn this year. For me, from Balham, the mileage recorded was 62.
Thursday, December 15, 2011
Wednesday, December 14, 2011
Monday, December 05, 2011
We made a two pronged approach to Redhill Aerodrome, one from N.Cheam (Andy and Grant) and one from Tadworth (Stephanie and a coughing and spluttering Jeff). The Tadworth flight path was via Chipstead, Merstham and Cormongers Lane – a novelty to Steph, whose grandmother, I learned, was a customer of Fullers Earth. We converged on the aerodrome café and were joined one by one by a number of lone wolves. The mess was crowded, a magnet for the local constabulary, Epsom RC and a large party of breakfasters filling one room. The C&M contingent was: Steph, Andy, Bob, Daniel, Grant, Graham, Mike, Terry and Jeff.
With time for a bacon baguette and reflection on the next leg to lunch, all options seemed to offer an exhilarating ascent of the North Downs, to be missed by some with suddenly pressing domestic luncheon duties. Thus it was that nine became four, with Andy, Graham, Mike and Jeff heading off for them thar hills.
With Fickleshole not a million miles away there was no rush. After S. Nutfield we took two farm tracks: one licit – Henshaw Farm, and one I am advised not so licit – Cuckseys Farm, to reach South Park Lane and up to Tilburstow Hill. Past Godstone Farm we took Love Lane and Bulbeggars Lane to Church Town, where we really should have paused to admire the exquisite St Mary’s Almshouses.
Our focus, however, was to cross the A25, A22 and M25 and embrace the swelling, sensuous contours of Gangers Hill. To a man they took our breath away and left us flushed and quivering at the summit. We then had time to gather our strength along The Ridge to Clarks Lane, a northward plunge down Beddlestead Lane and the sharp reminder of the power of gravity at Hesiers Hill. From here, it was no more that a tootle to our target, the White Bear at Fickleshole, where we arrived as the bell tolled one.
The pub was full of Sunday diners, but with not a sandwich in sight. Bread and soup met our simple needs. After lunch, Graham made an early start for home as the rain began to fall. The rest set off and were briefly tempted by the beckoning N21, High Hill Road; but the mud, the incline and the wooden sign which read: ‘STEEP DESCENT. EXTREME CAUTION’ dissuaded even the most adventurous from sure disaster. Tarmac won the day, so it was Scotshall Lane to Farleigh, Croydon High and Croham Valley Rd to S. Croydon. A twist and a turn took us past Whitgift School and along Pampisford Rd to cross the Purley Way and meet Foxley Lane. It was then just a gentle rise along the A2022 to Oaks Park, still in daylight. The Tea Rooms close at 4pm, but we enjoyed our tea and cake before heading home in the drizzle and early December gloaming.
This was a first visit to these tea rooms and will not be our last. We meet there again at 9.15am on 18 December to start our ride to Oxted and Wasp Green.