Monday, September 27, 2021

Last Orders for Annual Lunch

If you haven't yet commited yourself to join us for the Annual Lunch next week, on Wednesday 6th October, please contact Jennie by email a.s.a.p.

To see the invitation with full details see this item in the blog:

~ Tim

Sunday, September 26, 2021

Ride Report - Sunday 26 September 2021 (Effingham & Guildford)

We have seemed to go from strength to strength recently, and today saw no fewer than fourteen of us (Bob, Mark, Simon, Tony, Geoff G, Keith, Terry, Graham, Pam, Gemma, Lilian, Ed, Ray and me) meet for elevenses at The Vineries.

All except Bob, Tony and Geoff continued to lunch, and we took a route with plenty of off-road sections.   With rain forecast from tomorrow onwards, this may be the last time before next spring we use some of these tracks and paths.

After lunch Graham very kindly offered to lead the main group back to Ripley, detouring for sightseeing at the castle, while another four of us made our own ways home.

Many thanks to Simon for the photos, and for back-marking, to Graham for leading after lunch, and to everyone else for your company.

Friday, September 24, 2021

Plans for Sunday 26 September 2021

Elevenses will be at Vineries Garden Centre, Effingham as published.   Provisionally, we will continue to lunch at The Kings Head, Guildford with plenty of off-road sections, but nothing we are not already familiar with!

Monday, September 20, 2021

This is a ride and a route which will not be remembered for a long time! Dull all day with patchy rain; plenty of traffic.

Improving Met Office forecasts encouraged me to brave half marathoners on Kingston Bridge and enter Bushy Park where the rut (at least for roe deer) has started. In Hampton I passed Tony on his way home (he'd reported in sick). Beside the Shepperton Studios extension drizzle started though never enough for action. In Lammas Park Simon was seated under a covered pergola later to be joined by Pam and  Ray. As the rain increased we talked vaguely of Dorney, Black Park, etc. By 1140 the vote was go west or go home.

Wraysbury roads were dry(!) and Datchet's gridlocked with closed crossings. Approaching the playing fields of Eton, drizzle turned to rain so waterproofs were donned and lunch was switched to the Cinnamon Cafe Windsor. It was packed but with prompt service. Next door Cafe Rouge was almost empty.

After lunch we voted again go west; not the best as the obvious way led only to the top of a six storey car park well to the west of the station! Down we went followed by a traverse of the coach park - no problem with Windsor still well short of visitors. Datchet (busy), Old Windsor, across the meads to Egham and Staines bridge brought us to a final vote outside Notcutts - Nauticalia for tea reached via a right turn at Shepperton's fish stop. 45+ miles door to door

Sunday, September 12, 2021

Ride Report - Sunday 12 September 2021


It was a sunny and warm Sunday morning for a change and ideal for a very pleasant elevenses on the cafe terrace at Clandon Park Garden Centre.   Simon, Mark, Terry, Graham, Keith and I found it hard to drag ourselves away, but eventually managed to struggle off towards Merrow, from where we 'roughed it' over the downs to One Tree Hill Road.   Then it was the rollercoaster Lane to Chilworth, followed by another climb up to Blackheath.   After Wonersh we headed for the 'Sewage Works Path' towards Farncombe.   This is usually a rutted and nettle-strewn obstacle course, but today it was disappointingly well kempt!   It would have been an easy ride from here to our lunch stop, but I had the bright idea, as it was still quite early, of leading us up Munstead Heath and then attempting to find the bridleway we used to use regularly, going back to the '90's, until the long-lamented Ram Cider House at Catteshall closed for business.

Well, find it we did, but time has not served it well and it was not at all as remembered!   For much of its length it is now, in effect, a dried-up steam bed.   There were sandy patches, deep ruts, and treacherous rock steps where small waterfalls must flow in times of rain.   As such, it was only partly rideable.   Never mind, as I said last week, you have to try these things, and at least this one wasn't too overgrown!

Once we regained tarmac we were not only very relieved, but also very close to our lunch stop, the somewhat eclectic 'Hector's Bistro' at Farncombe Boathouse.   The proprietor is somewhat eclectic too!   On arrival he popped out to tell us there was no room if we hadn't booked, but this proved to be just his little joke!   Anyway, all was well and there was a very varied menu.  We our enjoyed our lunches while we sat on the bank of the Wey.

By the time we left it had clouded over and turned threatening, and having been traumatised by our bridleway experience before lunch (!), Graham, Mark and I headed for Guildford station, while the rest made their own ways home.   Thanks to all, and apologies for subjecting you to yet another challenging off-road experience!

Sunday, September 05, 2021

Ride Report - Sunday 5 Sept 2021


For what seemed like the first time in many weeks, a pleasant summer day was forecast!    Simon, Bob, Tony, Terry, Ed, Lilian, Maureen and I met for elevenses at Walton Bridge.   Ed, Maureen and Bob made their own ways from there, while the rest of us set off for Callow Hill.  We managed to lose Tony before even leaving the car park, which did not augur well, but fortunately caught up with him again at the other end of the path from Walton to Weybridge via Broadwater.

We bypassed Addlestone by Coxes Lock footbridge, then I showed the group the new route off the Addlestone to Chertsey cycle path which neatly avoids the railway footbridge.   Hardwick Lane was very busy with traffic but we were soon on quieter roads again, and, from Thorpe Green, embarked on a traffic-free, off-road route of several miles all the rest of the way to lunch.  The culmination of this was Hollow Lane, a bridleway from Stroude to Callow Hill.   None of us seemed ever to have done the first section before, and it is not easily forgotten - a shady, steeply sloping track with high-banked sides which winds its way precipitously up the thickly wooded hillside.  We bravely proved it is rideable on road bikes, but only just!

The Rose and Olive Branch, our lunch stop, was conveniently near the end of the track.  We lunched in the lovely, shady garden.   Food and service were both excellent, and a full menu, including filled baguettes, is available on Sundays, a rare thing these days!

The sight of another inviting track winding downhill from the pub car park aroused our curiosity and the planned return route was duly amended.   As it goes with these things, it started off well but narrowed as it went along, and fallen trees and difficult to negotiate plank bridges began to proliferate.   What some would call a 'technical' route, I think!   By and by it became patently overgrown in places rather than 'technical', but it was gratifying that we eventually emerged, as planned, by Prune Hill level crossing, most of us bearing injuries sustained from nettles, brambles or worse!

The planned route had also included the Monks Walk track from Thorpe to Chertsey but somehow we had all had quite enough of off-roading for one Sunday, and an on-road route was quickly substituted!   Tea was at Shepperton Lock.    Thanks to all for your company and to Simon for back-marking.