Friday, 21 January 2022

A Short Winter Holiday; Beddington Park Beginners, 15 January

The fingers and toes were already chilling, the damp leaves lying across the paths to turn the slightest skid into a painful spill, the wind biting across Beddington Park and the skies threatening rain of the coldest, dampest sort.  But there was a heartening turnout as Maggie and I coasted down to the Pavilion Cafe on a day we had said to ourselves "Why are we doing this?" as we put on your fourth layer and tried to persuade numb, ungloved fingers to stretch that stupid black rubber band that nowadays keeps your rechargeable light attached to the bike.  Isn't technology supposed to offer progress?

Colin, of course, has always been there in the wind, rain and snow and managed it again, despite domestic duties.  Anna and Roger can be relied upon so long as they remember it's the third Saturday and they need not to Go West from home, like a boy band, but to turn East like Phileas Fogg.  Ken had told us he would be there, well wrapped up; he's marched with the Guards in more miserable weather than this.  But there was Frank, a regular at Nonsuch and Easy Riders but an infrequent visitor to Beddington Park, and we had just overtaken Jackie, breaking in her new bike, and then Paul B came along to make it eight.

Weighing up the length of the day, the opportunity for more than a short pedal up to The Smallholdings, and the need for a bit of a change, and the likelihood of off road mud, we elected to go on Colin's route to Elmers End.  Colin led and I back-marked.  A decent ride it was, too, with the traffic surprisingly light and the rain, kindly but only just, holding off; Beddington Church, West Croydon, Selhurst Station, Croydon Arena, South Norwood Country Park and then a quarter of a mile of the unavoidable busy roads that take us to our destination, Branching Out, the pleasant cafe with the bestest cakes, on Eden Park Avenue.  Eight surprise customers on a darkening winter afternoon!  They must have though that Christmas had come again.


Back through The Glade and Woodmere Avenue and Shirley Oaks and Glenthorne Road and the posh bit of Addiscombe, North of Lloyd Park and then a new and very exciting route through the middle of Croydon on Market Day back to Wandle Park and Beddington Church.

Two-o-clock is a bit late to be starting at this time of year, but it is the tradition, and we also chatted a bit too much before departing.  And we had probably overestimated the likely pace.  The result was an end to the ride a bit darker and colder than we would really have liked with Beginners.  But, hey, we all got out and did some exercise, and the cakes were truly scrumptious.

Written by Paul J 


Monday, 3 January 2022

Invitation to enter the 2021 Photo Competition

We managed to pack a lot of excellent cycling into 2021 despite the complications. And I know that many of you were busy with your cameras and phones recording the antics of your lycra clad friends and snapping the scenes which motivate us to get out and ride our bikes in all weathers.

Please submit your photos before the end of January using this method:

Visit this website: "2021 Competition Dropbox" and follow the instructions to choose and deliver your photos.

N.B. When using this website to post photos to the Dropbox it is not necessary to sign up to, or log into Dropbox even if you are invited to do so.

Click on 'Add files' to select the source of your photos then select your photos (or folders), or if you already have your file list open just drag and drop photos from the list into the white box.
 
Once you have selected one or several photos fill in your name and email address then click 'Upload'.

Send an email to me, Tim, to provide this important information about each photo:

          the photo filename (e.g. P1040276.jpg)
          a caption which we will inscribe on your photo
          the competition category (see below)

The rules and categories are simple. The full 'Competition Rules' document is available under the 'Information Hub' heading on our website.

Competition Period: Photos taken during the 2021 calendar year.

Your photos must all illustrate a connection to cycling by depicting a bicycle or cyclist for example, or some obvious cycling association.

You may submit two photos in each category:

        6.1. Male      one or more male cyclists
        6.2. Female    one or more female cyclists
        6.3. Action    cyclist(s) in action
        6.4. Scenery   scenery or landscape
        6.5. Building  buildings, architecture
        6.6. Humorous  funny or amusing
        6.7. Group     any mix of male and female cyclists

Note that the award for a winning photograph in each category will be given to the photographer who took the picture, not to the model(s).

This method for submitting photos should work with any device (PC, Apple, iPad, iPhone, Tablet or Android phone) but if it doesn't work for you, please let me know so that we can address the problem. It does depend on you being able to locate the folder where you store your photos. It does not require you to install the DropBox app.

This is the best way of sending photos. Please note that some methods of transmitting photos, such as WhatsApp, shrink the photo before sending, diminishing the quality of the original photo as it is in your camera or phone.

Now I can sit back and await the cheerful tinkling sound your photos make when they land in my DropBox.

~ Tim 

Sunday, 2 January 2022

New Year's Day

Cheam and Morden did not run their traditional New Year's Day ride to the Roehampton Gate cafe in Richmond Park because it did not seem wise in the context of the huge surge of Covid cases and the large crowd that traditionally gathers there.

A few of us wanted to ride something close to the traditional ride but more safely; a half dozen or so C Group regulars had gone from Worcester Park earlier in the morning, and Ken, Roger, Anna, Maggie and I met in Sutton centre at eleven.

We picked up Sue B at Green Lane and made our way through Old Malden and New Malden, up Traps Lane and into Richmond Park through Ladderstile Ride.  The Park was full of zooming cyclists and families out walking and who should we pass almost as soon as we set out along Broomfield Hill but Chairman Dave, cheerily travelling in the opposite direction!

Down to Robin Hood Gate we cycled past Roehampton Gate (the queues there, in fact, were no worse than on a normal Saturday), then Westwards along the approach to Sawyer's Hill, but turning left up past the Ballet School (where the queue at the cafe was ridiculous) and West through the middle of the Park over the top to Ham Gate.

At the Ballet School

Down the hill to Ham and then we used the cycle path off Northweald Lane to reach the river and the Thames Cycle Path to go under Kingston Bridge and into the market place.  There, after a bit of Government-style indecision, we ended up in a sparsely populated square eating Turkish wraps (which were splendid) with our tea in a place we could watch our bikes; essential in Kingston.

Home past Berrylands Station, a decent, enjoyable, safe New Year's Day trip.

Written by Paul

 

Sunday, 19 December 2021

A Christmas card from Paul Carpenter

 Drawn and designed by Paul Carpenter 



Paul has regularly planned to cycle with beginners but hasn't made it yet. Hopefully we'll meet him in 2022.  Meanwhile he's sending us greetings this Christmas. 

Monday, 6 December 2021

Not quite ice cold in Ashtead; Beginners ride, 4 December

 A good bunch turned up at Nonsuch on Saturday, despite the cold wind, and in Nigel's absence, Paul volunteered to lead the longer ride.  Reflecting the weather, the short day and the coffee stops that would actually be open, we enjoyed a modest ride to Ashtead, Rob & Ruth on the tandem.

We stuck together through familiar roads; Ewell Village, round the back of Epsom Sainsbury's, skirting Epsom centre, passing the hospital and climbing the hill to Pleasure Pit Lane.  You'd have to be well wrapped up to enjoy any pleasure up there!

Somewhere along the way Steve caught up and joined us; he would not have had much difficulty, for we were keeping a steady, modest pace.

We went to Handley's on the High Street for our coffee and had to sit outside, which was not too bad because we were sheltered from the wind, and the company was warm!  


A pink Pearson takes centre stage in Ashtead, stealing the show from Ruth and Rob, Marie, Steve, Maggie, Roger and Anna.  Picture by Paul.

A quick picture taken by our leader, and then we made our way back through Ashtead and Epsom Commons, negotiating only a couple of mud patches, to return to Nonsuch as dusk turned to night via the worst-surfaced railway bridge this side of New Delhi, at Ewell West.

A happy band made for a really pleasant winter's ride; we all felt cheered up that we had bothered to come out, and the ride seemed the perfect length. 

Saturday, 20 November 2021

Beddington Park ride 20th November

Colin wanted a short ride and Paul was recovering from a chest infection so Blossoms cafe at Flittons was our destination.  We cycled up Demesne Road, through Mellows Park and then through the Roundshaw estate, bedecked with Christmas decorations, and stopped on the site of Croydon Airport for the view through the clouds and grey sky. 

Then on past John Fisher and Laleham Lea schools and a short detour to cross Woodcote Green and turn left to Flittons by Wallington High Girls School.


Maggie, Paul, Ken, Colin and Sharon enjoy tea and cake at Flittons

We left the tea shop to cycle through the smallholdings stopping briefly to take note of the new Naturally Thinking on Telegraph Track (lavender and other oils organically grown). Some of us are looking forward to trying their products in the future. Soon we were saying goodbye and going our separate ways home though Paul, Maggie and Sharon met the only traffic jam of the day caused by the Wallington High Street road works.

Thursday, 4 November 2021