Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Saturday the 27th December

  The last organised ride of 2014 saw 12 turn up at a cold Nonsuch Mansion. Two were complete newcomers without proper lights, who were taken under Shirley and Colin's wing while the remainder set off for the Telegraph Track. This is a mixture of urban, through Sutton Town Centre, suburban , by Carshalton Beeches, and rural, up onto the Downs to Woodcote Garden Centre. With a good pace and no mechanical breakdowns we made it to the Garden Centre and tea in the relocated cafe at the far end of the Centre.
 Over the years this garden Centre has expanded massively and in places is becoming more like a supermarket, but the service in the crowded cafe was good and we were soon on our way in the gathering gloom. The cold North wind had dropped by now just leaving the temperature hovering around zero and ther was even a glimpse of the setting sun as we headed east back to Cheam. As usual people peeled off to get home and five finally dispersed in Cheam Village.
I did 21 miles from home that afternoon when I probably would not have gone out in such cold weather unless I was leading the ride, but given the time of year it was not bad with great company.
Thanks to Brian for back marking. Incidentally, he rides for an hour just to get to Nonsuch and the start. That is commitment.

Tuesday, 23 December 2014

Saturday the 20th December

  Yours truly has been rather inactive blogwise for the last couple of weeks, due to seasonal inertia and clearing up after builders. I did, however, manage a visit with a friend to Roberts Cycles in Croydon and was sorely tempted to consider parting with £3k for a custom made lightweight tourer. This has been filed away for future reference but I recommend a visit for anyone as the staff are so knowledgeable and considerate. There is also a good cafe nearby in Gloucester Road which is also worth a visit if travelling in the direction of Crystal Palace.
  Returning to last weekend and, almost, the shortest day, a few souls took time out from shopping etc to ride with Lynda to Ashstead on a mild if blustery afternoon. I decided to get in some proper exercise and joined Nigel and Godfrey up to Box Hill. We took the "easy" route up through Headley and along the false flats into the wind to the NT centre, which was almost deserted, and after a freezing descent of the zigzag returned via Leatherhead in the gathering darkness.
  Despite feeling rather tired, I was glad I got out and did this ride of around 33 miles from home in total. At this time of year it is always better to use the available daylight to get exercise rather than slumping in front of the TV.

Monday, 1 December 2014

Some more photos from the ride to Richmond Park

Ride to Richmond Park on Saturday the 29th November

  Not many days recently have been as fine as it was on Saturday. Relentless gloom and rain have been our lot for most of the month, so to get a day like this with continuous sunshine and little wind was a treat not to be missed. 9 riders set off, minus Pat who, after posing for a photo with his new Roberts fast tourer discovered he had a flat rear tyre. Christine was more fortunate.
  We sped down Stoneleigh Avenue, through the bridge and Worcester Park to the A3 underpass and around the back of New Malden to the short hill up to Coombe Golf course. This has an annoying kick up where it crosses the busy road from Raynes Park to Kingston and is poorly surfaced, so counts as a minor challenge.
  The Coombe Hill estate is full of massive detached houses which are always being demolished and rebuilt even larger. Great for builders and for cyclists as the roads are virtually traffic free. We entered Richmond Park via the Ladderstile Gate, went down Broomhill and up to the Pen Ponds for the view from the Royal Ballet School. Then on down to the Roehampton Gate cafe which seemed to have a staff shortage, hence long queues and also high prices for cakes. Pat rejoined us here having fixed his flat. Nevertheless we were able to sit outside and watch the sun set.
  Lights become a necessity after 3.30pm at this time of year, so a line of twinkling stars set off for the return along the lower road to Robin Hood Gate. Mist was starting to form and the temperature plummet as it grew darker and after a short spin on the road parallel to the A3 we crossed the Golf Course and returned through New Malden to the A3 underpass and retrace our route to the start.
  I took some photos of Pat, Christine, the tea stop and the sunset. Let's hope we get some more days like this.