Friday, April 30, 2021

C&M ride 2nd of May

Sunday the 2nd of May. 11's is Cowey sale, depart from there at 11.00 on the dot. Lunch will be at Windsor, lots of options, Wetherspoons, Cinnamon cafe etc. Around 21 miles to lunch, with around 14 miles to tea at Shepperton lock, there is some off road and no real hills.

Sunday, April 25, 2021

Off-road to Uxbridge, 25 April

Trouble is brewing at the Heathrow Biodiversity Site.  Human activity has endangered yet another species on the site.  The entire species of Cyclists is now Critically Endangered due to habitat loss.  Specifically, someone has placed six foot high concrete blocks across the southern entrance to the site, leaving a gap only suitable for a slimline person to squeeze through sideways, or perhaps a superhuman carrying their bike above their head.  This awful act of eco-sabotage was discovered by the Roving Raasay Warden on his travels on Wednesday, just in time for Sunday's ride to be diverted, avoiding an unnecessary mile or two of off-road.

Mr Whippy (with friends)

But I digress.  The five eco-warriors, David, Ann, Pam, Graham and myself, gathered at the rather chilly Pleasure Grounds in Runnymede, with weak sunshine overpowered by a cold easterly wind.  Nobody was keen to hang around so we donned our pith helmets and set off promptly to Datchet for the first bit of off-road, through Ditton Park and north through Langley on the cycle track.  We continued to follow NCN route 61 on quiet lanes to Iver before a short stretch on the towpath bought us to Uxbridge and the Rusty Bike Cafe.   We found a nice sheltered spot by the bandstand (is this becoming a tradition?), the sun came properly out, and from that point the day seemed to warm up.

Rusty Bike Cafe (with rusty bike)

Bandstand (with happy eaters)

Return was through the centre of Uxbridge, a trip down memory lane for Pam but a bit of a hash by me in my effort to get away from the main road, but we found a legal way out of the town centre and took the cycleway out of town before going off road again beside the River Pinn.  All very rural and pleasant until we were dumped at a ginormous junction on the A408 coming into Yiewley.  Four lanes turned swiftly into one lane and it was 'normal' town traffic through West Drayton, after which we turned onto Harmondsworth Moor, riding alongside the River Colne and the Wraysbury River, following a route pioneered by Dave Vine a few years ago with the Wayfarers, but with a few alterations, some of them intentional.   

David W left us at this point for a shorter (or possibly longer?) ride home.  Ahead was the Heathrow Biodiversity site and its direct route through to Stanwell Moor, but inhospitable to the genus Cyclist, so we went through Poyle instead.  Graham headed home from Stanwell Moor, and the remaining three of us headed down the bridleway and Moor Lane into Staines, and on to tea at Shepperton.  32 miles from elevenses to tea.   Ann will have ridden nearly 70 miles by the time she returns home.

For a normal rides, this would be the end of the story, but there's more.   As we relaxed in the sunshine at Nauticalia, a bedraggled figure emerged, bloodied and exhausted, from the jungle.   "Doctor Livingstone, I presume?" said Pam.   But the weary rider was none other than Ray Wren, who had arrived at Runnymede maybe ten minutes after we left, and had spent the day searching for us, armed only with a line plot of the route backed by a dodgy map, and a single chocolate bar for sustenance.   He'd been to places as far afield as Fulmer, travelled to Uxbridge but unfortunately not found the cafe.  Returning along the river Pinn and, heroically, he had traversed the Heathrow Biodiversity site, carrying his bike over the massive concrete barriers, before returning to Shepperton.

Heathrow Biodiversity Site (with barriers)

In a slightly related story, Cap'n Tony  'Birdseye' Hopkins took it one step further.  He didn't just stop at off-road but went off-land, travelling to Shepperton by boat for lunch with his family.

Watch out for that iceberg!

Monday, April 19, 2021

Woking (revisited)

 A surprising eleven showed at Cobham though it soon became clear that the attraction for four (Carolyn, Ed, Maureen, Helen) was the latest newsletter. Shall we say the planned route was conceptual so unexpectedly I found myself leading through Downside. At the Isle of Wight we turned to starboard and Keith turned I know not where. The Effingham track was drying, still a challenge to the nerves but popular with cyclists, walkers, the odd delivery van and at the bus stop Fixie Dave.

We inched past an unfinished gas main on Drift Road having ignored the almost accurate Road Closed signs. From Ockham the pubs and cafes were packed. And the Saddlers Arms was open  (but perhaps only to 3 drinkers?) In Send Terry headed home. After Old Woking the final puzzle was finding Woking Park bandstand, toilets and lunch.

It had been all too familiar so I decided on a detour. OS suggested a route just to the west of Morrisons. It was named Stepbridge Path and featured a steep footbridge! To prevent an insurrection  I continued alone on the towpath whereas the rest opted for the tarmac of Horsell Moor. The newish spiral bridge in Woking town centre and a shortish section on the towpath to Monument Bridge came next. There we reversed last week's ride through Sheerwater to West Byfleet and coffee at Bell' Amico. Left standing were: Ann, Dave, Pam, Ray and me. A final and unplanned split occurred when Ann was trapped on the wrong side of  Addlestone's level crossing.

40+ miles door to door in warm Spring sunshine

Photos from Sunday 19 April


Thursday, April 15, 2021

Sunday 17 April - Change From Published Programme

Sunday's ride will now start from Leg O'Mutton Playing Fields, Cobham, instead of Denbies.    Lunch stop to be arranged, so bringing sandwiches would be a wise precaution!

Monday, April 12, 2021

Sunday Aprl 11 2021 The Reality

 If one could see the sun one stayed warm but more likely one didn't and just six (G, Dave, Pam, Simon, Terry and Tony) made the West Byfleet start. Googling had uncovered ten or more public toilets on or near possible routes through Woking so which way to go?

The much used and recently refilled canal was soon discarded. Empty streets was excuse enough for a minor planetary (Ceres and Pluto)  ride through "have not" Sheerness, the town centre, and  "have" St Johns where Terry left for home. We continued on Neptune down steep Beechwood into Knaphill. Then came the east end of Bisley before we crossed and recrossed the A322 on Ford Road (no ford) before skirting the east end of West End. Ignoring traffic noise on nearby major roads the meandering rural ride led to Windlesham from the west along Pound Lane. Our lunch stop was the Recreation Ground and its recently opened cafe. No surprise was a shortage of seats and loos so we had to settle for a sheltered if not always sunny spot behind the cafe.

The return was quickly decided: down and up Updown Hill,Steep Hill, Burrowhill, and St Peters (major housing development). At the bottom of Holloway Hill Pam headed north to Chertsey and the rest towards Addlestone where Simon and Tony stopped for coffee.

48 miles door to door.

Final thoughts :

None of the few en route pubs looked as if they would be opening on the morrow (12/04).

Why are we restricted to six when the Ramblers limit is thirty; similar numbers for football pitches. And I was passed by two groups of at least a dozen riders?

Tuesday, April 06, 2021

Sunday April 11 2021 Ride

The weatherman says cold so it's a modest 20+ miles! This could be shortened at any time (after Knaphill). The Basingstoke has been refilled so may take the Ceres/Saturn/Pluto routes through Woking (surprisingly lumpy).

Start : Outside Costa West Byfleet railway station (all facilities except shelter (bus stop) within 150 yeards)

Lunch : Windlesham (newish cafe in Rec) or Chobham (slightly more)

Finish : Addlestone or Chertsey (or whereever)

Sunday, April 04, 2021

Sunday 4 April 2021 - Ride Report


It has been four months since we were last able to meet, so it was with some relish that Simon, Pam, Tony, Terry, Graham, Ed, Lilian, Maureen, Brian B and I assembled in glorious sunshine at Walton Bridge.  There was a lot of catching up to do and it was difficult to get going after elevenses, but all of us except Tony and Maureen eventually set off towards Ripley, taking advantage of both the new Weybridge to Brooklands cycle path and Muddy Lane, Byfleet, recently designated a bridleway.

Because of numbers, two separate groups were needed and each took a different, final route into Ripley, producing the almost inevitable outcome that the first group arrived last!   For hot drinks we shared our custom between Pinnocks coffee shop and a new venture on the other side of the road,  and ate our sandwiches on Ripley Green.

After lunch riders set off homeward in different directions.   I rode back to Walton with Simon and Pam and we went our separate ways from there.

Today's ride was very much a communal effort, so thanks to all for making it a very enjoyable first ride of what we all hope will be an uninterrupted programme from now on!