Monday, April 29, 2019

Sunday 28th April

Appropriate house name on Holmbury Hill
Happy eaters at Milk Churn cafe, Rudgwick

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Next Ripley Jumble..... this Saturday 27th April.

Tuesday, April 23, 2019


Bernard visited Ian today and he has asked me to draw attention to his visit. See below.


Bernard Brindley has left a new comment on your post "Ian":

I visited Ian this afternoon. His grand-son Adam was there who told me that Ian had Cerebrovascular Disease. Google tells me that there are four different sorts. One of them is stroke. He's in a Stroke ward. Adam also told me that Ian had been falling a lot and one of the falls resulted in a brain bleed. Ian himself seemed pretty vague. No idea what the diagnosis is or what the prognosis is. Nor how long in hospital or how much support he'll need.
I took him some beer, he said he didn't drink much beer! Something's changed.
All in all it was rather a sad occasion.
Best wishes to all

Sunday, April 21, 2019

Easter Tour: Sunday ride to Sandwich and Herne Bay

Happy Easter!  At breakfast we found that the Easter Bunny had left us a present of chocolate eggs. Neil was extra lucky, as the Easter Chicken had left him an extra present on his bike.  We were delayed a few minutes while Neil cleaned it off.

Steve was our leader today and we headed east from Canterbury towards Sandwich, a lovely old town near the coast where not much happens, although we didn't actually see the sea till later.  One of the highlights is a Sandwich library, possibly the only one in the world.  There's also a Sandwich museum.  In contrast to yesterday, there was only one hill out of Canterbury before eighteen mules of (more or less) gentle downhill following the river Stour to the coast.

Elevenses was a piece of cake, at A Piece Of Cake, a tearoom in Sandwich. Neil had a sandwich in Sandwich, just for the experience.

Setting off round the coast we soon encountered the White Cliffs of Ramsgate, rather smaller than the Dover ones, before heading to lunch at The Sun Inn at St Nicholas at Wade.  We relaxed in the sun at The Sun eating Sandwiches, then set off for Herne Bay.  I don't know if there are many cars in Kent but we didn't see many all day, to our great pleasure.
The White Cliffs of Ramsgate
Outside The Sun

After a look at the sea again from a viewpoint above Herne Bay, Steve (Hillier) took over from Steve (Gordon) as leader and led us from Herne Bay to Herne, where Steve's brother runs a micro-pub, The Butcher's Arms, basically a one small room where eight people could enjoy a cosy evening.  It already had about eight  people in  it when the twenty-plus of us arrived, so it was quite intimate. Steve H organised several pitchers of beer and complimentary ice lollies were produced from somewhere.  It was a real experience: drinking outside is not allowed so we became very friendly with the locals quite quickly.
Pete outside the micro-pub

Pete inside the micro-pub

The pitchers were of the automatically refilling type, so it took quite a long while before we were able to leave for another relaxed ride back and through the centre of Canterbury and home.

Total miles: 45, with 4 hours riding and 4 hours eating and drinking.  Thank you Steve(s) for a memorable day out and a great finale to a most enjoyable Easter Tour.

Sunday 21 April - Guildford & Aldershot

Well, not quite everyone was on the Easter tour, and six of us (me, Bob, Ray Wren, Robert, Margaret & Vic) met for elevenses at Guildford on a glorious morning which turned into a very warm, cloudless day.   All six continued to lunch, Bob by his own route.   The main group struggled up The Mount and along the Hogs Back trackway, dropped down to the Watts Gallery to pick up NCN22, then rode alongside the Hogs Back through Puttenham and Seale, turning at Runfold to head for Badshot Lea and Aldershot.

Our first ever visit to The Queen Hotel at Aldershot (a more classy than usual Wetherspoons) did not disappoint,  and the Manager's Special (cod and chips at £2.49) was particularly well received!    Before setting off for home we first made a slight detour round the environs of Aldershot, where ex-barracks and other former military areas are under a massive transformation into housing, then picked up the canal towpath to Ash.   We paused briefly at Normandy to view some preserved Aldershot & District buses, then headed through Pirbright to Brookwood where we went our separate ways, suitable tea venues being difficult to find on Easter Sunday.

Many thanks to all for your company and for an enjoyable (I hope) ride!

Saturday, April 20, 2019

Easter Tour: Saturday ride to the South Coast.

Pete's ride today ticked all the boxes: interesting destinations, quiet roads, fantastic views and countryside, lots of lovely downhills, and warm sunshine. It was a journey into the unknown for most of us, including, to a certain extent, our leader, who hadn't been able to recce the ride beforehand.  Armed only with an OS map and plenty of helpful advice from twenty riders, we set off from Canterbury, almost immediately reaching a deserted lane out of town.  It must be said that there were a few serious hills - perhaps you can blame Kent for that - but otherwise a most enjoyable ride to elevenses at Elham Vinery, sitting outside in the sun.  Several more undulating lanes took us to a viewpoint high on the hill overlooking Folkestone in the distance, and the Channel Tunnel rail terminal immediately below us.  We paused for a while, taking the air (or was it gasping for air?), then enjoyed a lovely downhill into Hythe, where we joined NCN2 along the Royal Military Canal, built in the Napoleonic wars, but now transporting cyclists to West Hythe and a micro-brewery, a great find. 
The return route was even better: 80% of it must have been long gentle, scenic downhills.  Unfortunately this meant that another 10% was rather steep uphills, but we did have a most enjoyable ride, topped off by a few miles back into Canterbury on a track through fields beside the river Stour.


Look! A train!

Daniel relaxing after the hill out of West Hythe

Friday, April 19, 2019

Easter Tour, the ride to Canterbury.

The weather came up trumps for our ride to Canterbury on Thursday and Friday.  A cool breeze but warm sunshine, such a change from last weekend!  Eight of us set off from Epsom, with plenty of hills to warm us up: Epsom Downs, then up to Caterham the steep way. After elevenses at Woldingham we took a risk and cycled up the closed road, a big hill. Luckily we weren't turned back at the top, and headed east along the downs, partly on the Pilgrim's Way.
Otford for lunch in the sun, where we met the off-road riders, who were doing more of the Pilgrim's Way than we were, and then on more quiet lanes to Rochester, which we didn't see at its best - a mile or two of heavy traffic provided an unwelcome escort to our youth hostel, a converted Oast House.
Friday was promised to be flatter, but not initially. We rode along the bank of the river Medway, with views across to the isle of Sheppey (would you believe some people thought it was the north bank of the Thames?).  Elevenses at Sittingbourne, with even more traffic than Rochester, and then Steve found a nice pub for lunch, the Phoenix at Faversham, with a sunny beer garden and very generous food portions.  The lanes were especially beautiful and quiet as we got nearer to Canterbury, often bordered by apple orchards full of blossom.
The final approach to Canterbury was along the Crab & Winkle Way, a delightful off road route  that led us to an expansive view of Canterbury Cathedral in the valley below, before coasting down into the city itself, where we celebrated with tea and cake on the High Street.
Admiring the Medway


First view of Canterbury

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Easter Sunday - Guildford & Aldershot

We're likely to be a skeleton crew on Sunday's ride as most of our stalwarts will be away on the Easter Tour.   However, you're more than welcome to join us as we rattle our  bones climbing The Mount out of Guildford, then along the Hogs Back trackway and a mile or so of NCN22 before some civilised tarmac leading to lunch at The Queen Hotel (about 12 miles).

Rather less off-road on the route back but still a section of rough towpath to enjoy!  We won't actually return through Guildford but will pass within about five miles or so, and also very close to Ash, Ash Vale and Brookwood stations, no less!

Monday, April 15, 2019


1) Ian has been moved to Heathfield 1 ground floor. Private, ensuite; what more could he ask for? Well for one, a better view - mostly a brick wall and leylandii conifer.

2) He has a full-time nurse. Her lunch break is roughly two till three and you may be asked to deputize.

3) He has flu. You may be asked to wear a face mask and "apron" (don't ask me how you put it on).


April 14th - a gentle meander to Guildford

Tony with his green Ken Ryall
We like spring, but we prefer the warm variety which appeared very briefly in February.   Today was cold and windy, but at least it was dry with some sunshine.  Twelve for elevenses at Walton's Riverhouse Barn.  David Ward sent apologies as 11s was too close to home.

Maureen was heading home from Walton, and Bob made his own way to lunch, so nine set off, or nearly set off, delayed by a sticking derailleur on Tony's rather nice Ken Ryall.  Soon fixed, and we made our way along Walton Lane & up to Weybridge station, with a trip past the sewage works (well, it's becoming traditional isn't it David?) to see Concorde and plenty of gleaming Mercedes cars at Mercedes World.   We turned right at the second smaller Concorde, for a close-up view of the banked Brooklands track, now in rather poor state (the track, not the Concorde).   Unfortunately we came to a locked gate 1/4 mile along the base of the track so we had to retrace our steps.

You want us to ride on this???
After Byfleet we joined one of the Planetary cycle trails in the orbit of Woking - the Venus trail took us along the Wey Navigation before we popped out the other side and cycled around through Pyrford, then back to Old Woking and White Rose Lane before plummeting southwards towards Guildford, detouring along Robin Hood Lane at Sutton Green.  After a short section alongside very busy roads, relaxing for the last mile along the canal into Guildford and its cathedral.   Not the famous one, but the cathedral to beer - Wetherspoons at The Rodboro Buildings.   We arrived around 1.30pm and Bob was on his fourth pint*, wondering where we were.

An hour later, after enjoying excellent service, company, and beer, we re-emerged into the cold with a cunning plan to escape the Guildford one-way system by a devious route and head to Ripley.   Bob and Ed opted for the simpler option of a train home, and Niall left to explore the castle, leaving Ann, Pam,  Robert Tolley, Vic, Tony, Graham, Terry and myself to plot our exit, avoiding the High Street but still encountering a hill at Nightingale Lane before joining the London Road and the A3 cycleway.  Straightforward to Ripley, where we enjoyed tea and cake huddled round the only free table in Pinnocks.   Thank you to Terry for back-marking and to all for your company.

*Not really.  Is it too late to claim April Fool?

Tuesday, April 09, 2019

Ian Appleton

I know there are many in our club that often wonder how Ian is.  I feel honoured because yesterday I was contacted by two very special people in Ian's life...Maureen,  Ian's tandem partner, and walking buddy etc. and daughter Gill. 

Gave me quite a scare.  

The news is not good.  Ian is in hospital.  He has had a 'brain bleed' and has a small blood clot. Prior to this Ian was diagnosed with Cerebral ?? by his GP.   At the time Ian was unable to tell me the full title...and never got to mail me with it. What ever, it is the cause of his poor balance.

Gill says he cannot walk, and is a little muddled when he talks but...he still wants a good breakfast and complains about the small portion of porridge he is given!  

Gill is very happy to receive any enquiries and thinks Ian would benefit massively by having visitors...I am going Friday afternoon.

Gills e-mail   -

In ward Purley 2 - 1st floor - Orange zone at
Croydon University Hospital
530 London Road
Thornton Heath
CR7 7YE 

Gill thinks Ian will be there for another week. 


Wednesday, April 03, 2019

10 March - Attendance at Garsons Farm

Not everyone was blown away.

The blog report for 10 March 2019 tells us that this ride was cancelled due to treacherous wind conditions. HOWEVER, that does not mean that nobody was mad enough to ride to elevenses at Garsons Farm. Two members could not resist the temptation of cake and coffee. Those unrecorded nameless martyrs were: Vic and Brian Bent. Having now been released from secure detention, their exploit can finally see the light of day and be recorded on our omniscient Attendance Register.

Let it not be said that we are asleep on the job.