Sunday, 22 December 2019

Invitation to enter the 2019 Photographic Competition

Further to the great popularity of our photo competitions since we went digital we invite you to take part again this year.

Please submit your photos before the end of January.

Please use this method for sending photos to us:

Visit this website: "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.

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 information about each photo:

  •          the photographic category
  •          the photo filename (e.g. P1040276.jpg)
  •          a caption which we will inscribe on your photo
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 2019 calendar year.

Your photos must all illustrate a connection to cycling by depicting a bicycle 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 your photos are stored. It doesn't require you to install the DropBox app.

~ Tim

Saturday, 23 November 2019

Roy's funeral

For those not familiar with the Clandon Wood Nature Reserve and Burial Site, where Roy's funeral will be held at midday on Monday.

Maggie and I recced the journey and decided to go by car rather than to ride, because of the likely dark and rain coming home.  However you do it, however, beware that our Google Maps erroneously showed the burial ground as south of the A246, and it in fact to the north of that road; this matters because at that point the road is dual carriageway and you can't see the entrance from the other, westbound carriageway.

If, like us, you are driving from the Leatherhead/Great Bookham direction towards Guildford on the A246, you will need to carry on along the short dual carriageway part of that road until it joins (and then becomes) the A25.  At those lights you must do a U turn so that you are going East and back towards Leatherhead along the A246 and the entrance is three hundred yard or so from the turning on that side of the road.  The signposting is not huge until you are actually upon the entrance itself.  It's pretty simple once you know, but it took us at least fifteen minutes of driving, Googling and map-reading to work it out.

Monday, 18 November 2019

Beddington Park ride 16 November

A cold, sad Saturday

The weather was not quite bad enough on Saturday to justify staying in and watching the television, but only Maggie and Paul, Roger and Anna and John turned up at the Pavilion Cafe to meet Colin. Ray and Chris arrived on foot, disappointed at not being well enough to cycle safely. We had thought we might go a bit further afield but Colin tempted us with his offer to lead us to same-old Morden Hall Park by a new route, and that he most certainly did!

Mathematically there is an infinite number of ways to get from one to the other, and the one Colin picked had us finding ways through the car park gates along the industrial estate east of Beddington Lane, crossing the tram tracks to the Mitcham Road, cycling across Mitcham Common almost to Mitcham village at the end, then working our way through back alleys over the Cricket Green, past Mitcham Parish Church, which looks jaundiced with its yellow stone in the winter afternoon, and into Morden Hall Park by recrossing the tramlines at Phipps Bridge.

The National Trust Cafe at Morden Hall Park has changed its modus operandi, in keeping with much of modern life the change is not necessarily an improvement.  We went back along the Wandle Trail, though John chose to do his own thing, and finally split up at Butter Hill.

In memory of Roy, whom we all missed.

Saturday, 16 November 2019

Funeral details - Roy Flowers

Roy's funeral will be at 12 noon on Monday 25 November,
at Clandon Wood Natural Burial Ground, Epsom Road, West Clandon, Guildford GU4 7FN.  RSVP - see details below.

As well as being a burial ground, Clandon Wood is a nature reserve with thirty-one acres of wildflower traditional meadowland, lakes, wetland, young woodland and an abundance of fauna. You will not see any vertical headstones, vases with wilting floral tributes or much evidence of other recent burials.  In fact, if you hadn’t come to attend a funeral you would probably not even know you were in a cemetery.

Bearing in mind the naturalness of this special place and the fact that it is November, please come prepared.  Wear flat shoes or boots, bring an umbrella and prepare to take some mud home with you if the weather is inclement. A motorised buggy is available for anyone with mobility issues.

Roy specially mentioned in his will that no one is to wear black at his funeral, so please come in your brightest colours.  He was a happy person and we want to make his funeral a happy tribute to his memory.

If you wish to bring a floral tribute, we ask that you bring one single flower and nothing else – no oasis, no cellophane, no ribbons, no wires, no cards.  Flowers are put into or on top of the grave and those on top are later removed at an appropriate time in order not to interfere with the natural flora of the site.

Can you please let Roger know if you are coming so that we can cater appropriately, but if you say you are not coming and then change your mind, we will still be very pleased to see you.  Please pass these details to anyone who might be interested.  (Click to email Roger,)

We hope to see you there – 12 noon, Monday 25 November, Clandon Wood. 


Roger and Anna

Monday, 11 November 2019

2018/2019 Annual Report - a sneak preview

Despite the committee's best efforts to keep a lid on all our secrets a copy of the Annual Report has been leaked and slid out under the radar and has popped up in our Information Hub which is accessible via a link from our front page.

Spys tell me that the report can be found hidden in 'Reports and Minutes'\'Annual Reports'.

We regret the leak but the truth is that it probably would be a good idea to read it before the AGM this Wednesday. Otherwise we will have to have a fifteen minute silence while everyone catches up. It is a great summary of our year's activities, a very good read thanks to eleven people who have written contributions for it.

As if that isn't exciting enough you can also read a draft copy of the minutes from last year's AGM: 'Information Hub'\'Reports and Minutes'\'AGM Minutes'.

~ Tim

Tuesday, 5 November 2019

Notice of Annual General Meeting

CTC South West London will hold its AGM at 11:00 am, after Elevenses, on Wednesday 13th November.

Please be on time.

The venue is the same as last year, just a short walk from the Queens Road exit from the Day Centre.

All Saints Hall
All Saints Roman Catholic Church
13 Queens Road
KT12 5LU

The hall is located at the back of the premises. There are two halls with a shared entrance. Our meeting is in the Small Hall.

There are no bike racks but there is plenty of space to park bikes against the buildings near the hall entrance. Please bring your bikes to the hall rather than leave them at the Day Centre.

There are normally plenty of spaces on the premises in front of the church for anyone arriving by motor vehicle, with access from Queens Road.

Hon. Secretary

Friday, 1 November 2019

Roy Flowers

More than four years ago we all welcomed three super people into the Beginners: Roy Flowers and Roger and Anna Parsley. All have contributed generously to our activities. This morning we learnt that Roy had been taken to St. George's hospital yesterday with an infection.

Roger explained that Roy had a leaking aneurysm. His daughter was with him and he was lucid and chatty. Very sadly, Roger has contacted us again to tell us: “Roy passed away very peacefully in St Georges at ten to three this afternoon - all his family were with him and we are heartbroken”.

We send our deepest sympathies to Roger, Anna and Roy's family. He will be greatly missed.

~ Colin and Shirley

Sunday, 27 October 2019

Cheam & Morden Easter Tour 2020, 10-13 April

If you have enjoyed the Beginners all-day rides this year, you might be interested in joining other Sou'Westers for the Cheam and Morden Easter Tour, organised by Ann Bath.   Beginners most welcome!

We have a hotel booked for next Easter. Staying for 3 nights starting Good Friday 10th till Easter Monday 13th April at the Red Lion Hotel, Milford Street, Salisbury, Wiltshire, SP1 2AN

Organised rides on Saturday and Sunday, around Wayfarers B group pace.

The price is £65 pppn db&b sharing a twin or a double room. £12.50 supplement pppn single.  The inclusive evening meal is a 3 course set menu with options.

There is indoor bike storage. Being in central Salisbury, the hotel has limited, chargeable parking (only 6 spaces at £15 per night). There is a public car park nearby at £10/24 hours (Sundays free)

Contact Ann via Simon Lambourn for further information, or talk to any of the many other Wayfarers and Cheam & Morden riders who've attended previously, if you’re interested.


Thursday, 10 October 2019

All day ride to Godstone - Saturday 5th October

On this ride 13 cyclists started off from Nonsuch Park on an overcast but dry day.

We made our way to Godstone via Wallington, Redham and up to Kenley. On the way one of our cyclists had a problem with her rear mudguard which had broken off, but up stepped Ed to carry out a repair (thanks Ed).

We stopped at Kenley Aerodrome to visit the memorial to WW1/WW2 fighter pilots, service men and women and then we continued to the Rendezvous Cafe on the A22 for our tea stop. I would give this cafe 5 stars for their coffee and all round service.

Ed was debating whether to do a bit of shopping in the Ann Summers Shop!

Enough of that. Onto the N21 cycle route turning off to go through Church Town, where we found our way blocked by a white Roll Royce where a Father and Bride were about to enter the Church.

The lunch stop at Godstone was cancelled as we decided to carry on to Wetherspoons in Redhill. After lunch some of our party left to take the train home. The remainder made their way to Banstead ( nobody wanted to stop for tea) then we all went our separate ways home.

Thanks to Will for back marking and everyone who turned up. That is the last of the all day Beginners Saturday rides for this year. I look forward to next year



Friday, 4 October 2019

Coffee the decider; to Leatherhead on 28 September

Saturday offered a weather window perfect for cycling for those who believed the forecast and ignored the early morning rain.  We had a good crowd at Nonsuch (the usual suspects) and Nigel led the long ride out like a German railway train, rolling slowly away at the precise time with no whistles, no announcement.  Fifteen others spotted the manoeuvre and followed on a ride which was destined for Brockett’s Farm and we took the familiar route through Ewell and the industrial estate in North Epsom, and up the hill behind Epsom Hospital to Ashtead .

Showing decisive leadership (Nigel says), because a couple of the group were coming slowly up the hills, he adjusted our destination.  It might also have had something to do with someone telling him that there was a pleasant coffee stop  in Leatherhead, familiar to Tim and the B Group but unsullied as yet by a visit from Beginners.  So our destination became Charlie & Ginger, in Leatherhead.  Nigel was rewarded for his initiative by some light hearted complaints and by the sign on the pavement blowing over in the stiffening breeze and damaging his front hub.

We broke with tradition after the break by taking a more circuitous route home, past Leatherhead Station and over Ashtead Common the long way round, passing as many dog walkers as possible and taking Roger's lead up a track which offered a long, slow incline rather than the short, steep hill on the north easterly route.  We circumnavigated two roundabouts, twice, so those delayed at the lights could catch up in our search for a flatter, more traffic-free experience and, because the ride was less ambitious than some long rides in recent weeks, returned to Nonsuch within the advertised time limits, though obviously not in time for a coffee at the Pantry, since so to do would require a very short ride.

It was a pleasant afternoon out; thank you, Nigel.

Thursday, 3 October 2019

Sou'Wester Shorts,

The club's new online magazine

Dear all,  

as you may have seen on the Wayfarers blog, we are launching a new online newsletter, Sou'Wester Shorts, a digest of news from our various blogs.  It is not intended to replace the paper Sou'Wester but perhaps it will give you access to stories that you might have missed from the other groups, and we also hope to reach some cyclists who don't ride regularly with the Sou'Westers.

After a pilot, we decided to add all Beginners members directly to the mailing list, as it's a bit fiddly to sign up directly.  However you can easily unsubscribe if you don't want to receive it - just click the unsubscribe link at the bottom of the email.  You should receive an email with the latest edition of Sou'Wester Shorts every few weeks, edited by one of the team of Paul James, Dave Vine and Simon Lambourn.   We hope you enjoy reading it, and we would welcome your comments and suggestions.

Sunday, 22 September 2019

The Right Gear

Beddington Park Ride 21 September

Ray, Alison, Paul, Colin, Jim, Roger, John, Anna & Ken at Morden Hall Park cafe

Saturday's ride was a fixture on the Wandle Fortnight calendar and coincided with the Bike Fest at Beddington Park. Our regular cyclists had to be steered away from the static smoothie-making bike! However, Maggie and Ray encouraged John, who had previously cycled with the Wayfarers, to join us on our afternoon jaunt. We also welcomed Alison and Jim, who arrived separately with little or no experience of how to use gears.

We therefore decided on the Wandle Trail for the ''changing gear' beginner's ride. Roger ably supported Ali and Jim was given advice by the rest of the group. So 10 of us left Beddington Park and made our way through Mr Funari's garden at The Hack Bridge, now in use as a playground. As the confidence of our newcomers increased we noticed that Ali's saddle appeared rather low and after our tea stop at Morden Hall Park, Roger set to raising this.

We left the Park and the Wandle trail to ride on quiet roads and test our newcomers on some short hills. The benefit of changing gear was generally quickly learnt and before long Colin was leading us through Morden Park. Ali and back marker Anna were out of sight for a short time but Roger returned to find them readjusting the saddle and to lead them back to the group. We crossed Reigate Avenue and went our separate ways at the other side of the park. Ali and Jim returned to Wallington having successfully cycled 21k. We hope to welcome John, Jim and Ali on future rides.

Written by Maggie

Tuesday, 10 September 2019

Stretch targets; following Nigel to Cobham, 7 September

The morning mini-shower past, the wind not too bad, good cycling weather saw a healthy gathering at Nonsuch Park on Saturday.  The short ride was to Oaks Park, which is one of our shorter ones, so to make up for this Nigel led the longer ride to Cobham, which is just about the furthest we can hope to travel at Beginners' pace while leaving at two and meeting the target for returning in time to get home, have a shower, get an Indian takeaway and watch Strictly.  Especially allowing for all the talking; some people seem to think that Saturday rides are for socializing and enjoyment!

There were some fourteen of us and we used the route past Ewell West and through the path beyond Bakers Field Close.  A few times round the roundabout at Southfield Park so that we could regroup but when we hit Christ Church Road the leader took a cue from some of the group and we went at a fair lick.  Loraine's chain problem was swiftly sorted and we took a traffic-friendly route around Oxshott, up Broomfield Ride past the posh houses and down Steels Lane, and came into Cobham along Stoke Road, arriving for coffee in The Medicine Garden just before they closed.  Sadly, Steve W's message did not get through to the leader quickly enough; he had mistimed his usual last-gasp arrival at Nonsuch and was trying to meet up with us!

Back past Squires at Stoke D'Abernon, along Randalls Road into Leatherhead and home through Ashtead, down the hill behind Epsom Hospital and past Epsom Sainsbury's.

The pace was a little hot for a Beginners ride (my Strava did not break for coffee so I can't be exact) but it was fun and the speed had the advantage of stringing us out along the road so there was room for the traffic to overtake.  Corner-marking was generally good.  There being a considerable difference in pace between the front and the back, especially on hills, Godfrey did brilliantly as the self-appointed back-marker and caused us to think that perhaps one of the rest of us should have volunteered for that task on the way home.

There have been a couple of longer longer rides in recent weeks and at door-to-door 56.6 Km this outdid by a couple of hundred metres Godfrey's own splendid ride to Pilgrims on 6 July, which was conducted at 17.5 kph.  We got back to Nonsuch just before six.

Sunday, 8 September 2019

Sou'Westers Shorts - a new newsletter

We are about to launch a new format email newsletter which we hope will allow more people to see more of what we do in the Sou'Westers.

Sou'Wester Shorts is an email based digest of Sou'Wester stories - a bit like CycleClips - published every few weeks.   It's not intended to replace the paper Sou'Wester, but to complement it with the ability to have web links and colour pictures.  It's compiled by Paul James, David Vine and Simon Lambourn, and the content comes from our existing blogs - Wayfarers, Beginners and Cheam & Morden,.   So you will have seen some articles on the Beginners blog already, but you may not have seen the C&M or Wayfarers stories.  We have been piloting it with a small audience, and we think it's ready for a full launch.

Distribution is handled by Google Groups, which has a list of emails to forward the newsletter to.    When there's a new edition, it gets sent to everyone on the distribution list.   It's simple to unsubscribe (click the link at the bottom of the email) but it seems a bit complicated to enrol at first, so we decided to automatically enrol all the Sou'Westers members.  Of course you can unsubscribe at any time.

We are still learning, so we would welcome your feedback, and we hope you will like the new newsletter; Beginners who are not Wayfarers members should receive their first edition in two or three weeks' time.

Saturday, 24 August 2019

The Special One Hundred

Shirley Quemby (one third from the left, in the smartest kit!) with most of the other ninety-nine Cycling UK Women of the Year.

Friday, 23 August 2019

Mystery tour from Beddington Park, 17 August

Leader Colin is out of shot, doubling up as photographer on Sutton Green.

There were no beginners as such when we met at Beddington Park on Saturday, merely those who wanted a gentle ride.  The all day rides have recently clashed with Beddington Park Saturday, so those who might have preferred to be on a more adventurous ride proposed Streatham Rookery, with Norbury Hill and Gibsons Hill en route, but the counter-proposal won the day.

It was only as we were on our way along the Wandle to Wimbledon Park that some, who had not been paying attention, started muttering like Muttley about the primitive toilet facilities at our proposed tea and cake venue and leader Colin, diplomatic to the core, offered an early cake at Morden Hall Park.

One was looking forward to the climb up to Wimbledon Common on the way home because one was unaware that the ride had been diverted.  There followed a magical mystery tour of paths once cycled, though not necessarily in that order or that direction, mostly tarmac or hard surface but off road.  Through Prince George's Playing Field, past the Raynes Park Tennis Club, along the edge of Morden Cemetery, alongside Pyl Brook to the Tesco car park at the A217.

As evidenced in the photo, Maggie and Paul rode, with Roger and Anna, Roy, Ray, Sharon and Anne.  We split up at Sutton Green, the Cheamers turning west, the Suttoners staying put, the Wallies going east.  26Km door to door but always nice to be led up only vaguely familiar ways by someone who knows where they are going.

Thank you, Colin.

Tuesday, 20 August 2019

All day ride to Harmondsworth - 17th August

Thanks to our ride leader Steph W for this report, and for a lovely day out along an historic and interesting route.

Setting off after lunch...l to r Bernard, Alice, Diane, Stephanie, Sabina,
Lorraine and Sue ( just behind Lorriane)
Photo by Helen outside Five Bells, Harmondsworth

Six cyclists left Nonsuch Park on Saturday and another 3 joined us at Kingston Bridge. We cut into Bushy Park before heading north to join the tarmac surface of the river Crane towpath. Entering Pevensey Nature Reserve we took an adventurous route through the former Feltham Marshalling Yards and through a tunnel under the railway to follow the Crane onto Hounslow Heath. The path was a little muddy after heavy rain the previous day! It is hoped that rights of way will be granted over this land to enable continuity between the separated bits of the River Crane path.

Shortly we were on a straight route west to the 14th century Tithe Barn at Harmondsworth, passing the proposed site of the 3rd runway on our left at Sipson.

Lunch was enjoyed in the garden of the Five Bells pub. Returning via Osterley Park we stopped for tea, ice creams and cake before returning through Twickenham and Richmond Park.

Thanks to all who came along, and especially back marker Helen and mechanic Godfrey.

~ Steph

Thursday, 1 August 2019

Brownies on bikes round Nonsuch Park...1 July 2019

  Shirley asked for helpers with an evening ride for a local brownie group...We met at Sparrow Farm gate at about 5.30, some of us did bike checks and then we accompanied small groups of the girls on free rides in different directions all over the park. Each of the groups had two adult helpers, one of our volunteers to lead the ride and the other supporting (these were parent helpers). After the first ten minutes, the brownies took turns to lead the group rides under the watchful eyes of adult helpers. They rose to the challenge and enjoyed deciding for themselves where to take us all. 
We all gathered together at Mansion House and then rode back to Sparrow Farm gate to meet the parents and finish around 7 pm. Beautifully organised and great fun for all.

Last of the summer evening rides...

l to r: Helen,Roy,Ken,Steve,Anna,Colin and Shirley

On  Monday, eight of us met for the last Cyclism evening ride of the season.  These leisurely rides are a great way to make the most of the longer evenings from mid-May to the end of July, with friendly company! Many thanks to Shirley (far right) and Colin (2nd right, at the back) who have planned this annual local programme for over 30 years, and to the volunteer ride leaders who make it possible.

We met at Manor Park Sutton on a gloriously sunny evening. Our photo was taken at the top of Cheam recreation ground by a charming lady who longs to join our group, but needs to learn to ride a bicycle soon!  Perhaps we'll see her husband on one of our Saturday rides...

We swung by Mansion House and headed through lovely Nonsuch Park to Sparrow Farm gate.  Steeply downhill through Cuddington Park, we crossed Central Avenue and entered Green Lane just before Worcester Park station.  We turned left after the primary school to take quite a rough path through to Joseph Hood memorial park, waving hello to Saturday regulars Sabina and Bernard on the way through...and took a little footpath on the other side of the field to find our way back through to Green Lane stables .  Here the puncture fairy made herself felt as my back tyre deflated...
Thanks to Colin and Steve, we were soon on our way again! Though we had to turn on our lights at about 8.45 as the evening drew in...we made our way back to Sutton via Lower Morden Lane, following the cycle route through under the railway line and right into Glastonbury Rd, crossing the Reigate Road into Rosehill Rec and past the Tennis Academy without further incident.

Thanks all for your company, and for all the lovely summer evenings when we've been able to enjoy our local excursions together.

New Date! Saturday 17 August All day ride

Stephanie will lead an all day ride along the River Crane path to Harmondsworth.  Leaving Nonsuch Park Mansion House cafĂ© at 9.30, with pickup at Kingston Bridge at 10 am.

Bring snacks, water and dress appropriately for the weather!  We can hope for a sunny and pleasurable day out...

Monday, 22 July 2019

All day ride to Brighton - Saturday 20th July

Despite the dire weather forecast 3 cyclists left Nonsuch Park on a dry morning, meeting up with Rob and Ruth on their tandem at Banstead. We stopped for elevenses at Tanhurst Farm. By now the sun was breaking through the clouds, and despite a strong south westerly wind we made it to Partridge Green for lunch, sitting outside in the sunshine!!!

We continued our ride to Shoreham. After Steyning we left the road for the new Downs Link cycle track which we found very smooth and wide. On reaching the end of the Downs Link we stopped for a photo call at the new sculpture.

From Shoreham the wind blew us along the seafront to Brighton where we stopped for tea, (no swimming though). The sea was far too rough as seen by the red flag. After tea we all went to the Train station for our journeys home.

Thanks to all who accompanied me.

Don't always believe the weather forecast 😎

Regards Tony

Saturday, 20 July 2019

July Beddington Park ride

Torrential rain overnight and intermittent showers this morning were enough to deplete our numbers this afternoon. But Trevor joined us with his 4 week old bike having been encouraged to take up cycling when he acted as support to a charity fund raiser London to Paris cycle ride.

We couldn’t compete with Avenue Verte and Croydon was our destination, not generally twinned with Paris! However, Colin, Ken, Maggie & Paul set out with Trevor through the South London roads. We left Beddington Park by the church and took the paths by the Wandle to Croydon. One driver in a hurry decided to weave between our bicycles and get in front of Colin only for us to be directly behind him at the next two sets of lights. We turned right up to East Croydon and left our smoking, inconsiderate driver to face central Croydon traffic. We passed Croydon Court and crossed to Park Hill Park leaving by the water tower. We then cycled through the quiet roads to Lloyd Park where we stopped briefly to orientate Trevor. It's then across the park, downhill and a short ride to Coombe Wood for tea and cake and a robin flying between the tables and selecting the best crumbs.

We turned left out of Coombe Wood through the undergrowth to descend to Croham Road. Making our way through South Croydon we can't complete a ride without a hill so up Haling Park Road we go. Recovering our breath we cross Purley Way and return to Wallington where we separate to make our way home. We hope to see Trevor again at future rides.

Tuesday, 16 July 2019

Wimbledon tradition

It was my turn on the second week of Wimbledon to lead the traditional Cyclism ride from Garth Road to the tennis championships.  Our grandsons Rufus and Felix came with Maggie, Stephen, Sue, Tracey, Anna, Roy and Steve W and Daniel joined us having cycled from work in Canary Wharf; eleven in all.

It was a fine evening for a ride and luckily Maggie and I had recced the whole thing on Friday, because since the route was created Cannon Hill Common has become entirely no cycling.  It was no problem to carry on up Cannon Hill Lane to the footpath after the river bridge, but best practised beforehand!

I reckon The Downs is probably the steepest route up Wimbledon Hill, but that is the tradition, so we did it and the ride to the windmill was pleasant across a dry common sprinkled with after-work runners.  The conveniences at the cafe up there are just what they say; open when the cafe was closed!  Down Somerset Road to the tennis, we arrived just in time to catch the big crowd going home after one of the fourth round matches and had to push our bikes up Church Road, not because it was steep but because it was a traffic jam with hundreds of tired spectators on foot making it impossible to mount.

The traditional view of the gleaming spires of Croydon from Denmark Road (earth has not anything to show more fair!) and a pleasant, mainly downhill cycle home.  34 Km door to door at a pleasant summers evening 14 kph. 

Monday, 8 July 2019

Congratulations, Shirley

Shirley Quemby has been chosen by Cycling UK to be on their 100 Women in Cycling list 2019 for actively encouraging and assisting people to cycle for over 50 years.  For those who would like to read a little more, the Cycling UK article on her is at: 

Shirley Quemby
Shirley Quemby

Tuesday, 18 June 2019


Roger, Martina & Maggie at Claudio Funari's Community Garden on the Wandle

For the first time in the history of the Beddington Beginners we ran two rides out of Beddington Park on Saturday.

We had a newcomer, Martina, from Bologna and then Durban, who is determined to learn to ride a bike.  She had only been practising in the park until she answered our leaflet and came to see if we could make Maggie’s old bike fit her on the Friday, so Maggie and Colin took her on the Wandle Path towards Morden Hall Park, which has only short stretches of road.  Roger joined them because he could not face the prospect of riding to Banstead, one of his least favourites.

Ken, who lives near Morden Hall Park, and the other electric bikers who refuse to offer us the prospect of entertainment by falling into the river off the narrow path, wanted to go somewhere else, so we did the traditional thing and weighed up the alternatives until the drizzle started, then set off.  I led Ken, Roy, Anna, Ray and Sharon up Demesne Road and through the back streets to Wallington Sainsbury’s, where the drizzle increased to scale two and we changed under the tree cover into our wet weather gear before continuing South of Stafford Road and then across and West of Woodcote Road to Dingwall Road.  Ray left us to go home; whether because of the rain or the beginners’ pace he was too polite to say.  It meant that only Sharon and I noticed the gentle but persistent incline, since the other three were on electrically powered machines.

The drizzle was light and of the refreshing variety as we went down the hill to Woodmansterne Road and then up the Warren and Pine Walk East, the first section of which is probably the steepest of our Sutton hills.  From there it is a brief respite past the Royal Marsden and then a longer climb up Sutton Lane past the prisons, ending with the awkward and fairly steep and busy roundabout across Croydon Lane.  Only one or two more of those carefully engineered London Borough of Sutton drain-potholes to avoid, including the Borough Engineer’s piece de resistance, the one on the apex of the blind bend where the road is at its narrowest, until tea at Pistachio’s, where I took advantage of having less raingear than anybody else except Sharon and moved in early for the last piece of lemon drizzle cake.  There have to be some privileges of leadership.

The rain had stopped when we re-emerged for what, in the days before potholes, was my favourite local stretch, the almost flat, lightly used Woodmansterne Lane along the tops to the Woodman.  Down the steep Carshalton Road, avoiding the metal drain covers strategically placed a couple of yards out from the gutter, re-crossing Croydon lane into Oaks Park where Anna and Roy left the three of us to cross the smallholdings and come back into Wallington on that enjoyable cruise downhill on Boundary Road.  At home the other group returned, Martina rightly pleased with herself for having done something like ten miles on her maiden voyage.

A short ride in the rain; 21.2 Km door to door at 10.6 K/h, but with 239m of ascent it afforded me a bit of sneaky practice for the TriVets on Wednesday and Sharon enjoyed the hills.  For the others, of course, hill practice was a mere flick of the switch.

Tuesday, 4 June 2019

Hazards on le Col du Sandown; the longer ride on 1st June

On a beautiful Saturday we took Maggie’s cousin Pip, hardly unpacked from her twenty four hour flight from the Land of the Long White Cloud, to Nonsuch.  The only obstacles to a splendid day’s riding were a deceptively stiff breeze and a blank space on the rides list for the longer ride.  The numbers clearly called for a split, so with Epsom Downs and anywhere near it ruled out because of  Derby Day, we rejected Caterham on the Hill for the flatter ride to Garson’s Farm, largely to accommodate Rob and Ruth, whose tandem was built by Boeing and exhibiting symptoms of failure.

Thus while Maggie and the jet-lagged Pip on a borrowed bike stayed to ride with Carolyn, who led the shorter ride as per the schedule along the Wandle, Nigel volunteered to lead us to (ever so slightly) more exotic places.  Godfrey rode tail gunner.  Steve, Yasmin, Brian, Ray and Noel joined me and the tandem and the ten of us set out.  Noel had been riding innocently through Merton last week when he was set upon by the group of passing Sou’Westers who made him an offer he could not refuse and here he was again.  We must press gang more.

Either through design or indecision, Nigel led us the zig-zag route out through familiar landmarks; the bridge under the railway at Stoneleigh where the lady of a certain age has been known to enforce the no cycling sign with a swing of her bag; up what in Stravaspeak is the Seaforth Climb to cross under the A3 near Tolworth.  Our only adventure on the way arose because the tandem, like the pretender to the mayorship of Peckham, was sporting a dodgy chain, but when we negotiated the Col du Ditton descent and crossed the Hampton Court Road we could pretend we were having a little adventure away from the peaceful and familiar byways of the Shire. 

The Col du Sandown was freshly coated with gravel; piles of the stuff which might be irrelevant to the well-heeled occupants of a Chelsea Tractor but were anything but to a cyclist, and clouds of granite dust.  Zinging through the Lammas Lane downhill and the Garsons Sprint to the eponymous garden centre where the bike parking makes it difficult to secure the wheels as well as the frames; one’s security is in knowing that people thereabouts would not know how to remove a quick release wheel, but would have to send a man to do it for them.

At tea a friendly chap introduced himself as a former rider with the South West London Club, based at Tolworth, but we never found out his name and, uninformed, we made our way back home, the Lammas Lane climb, the Col du Claygate, Red Lane, the Woodstock Lane dash.  On Hook Lane the crowds had come out to see us (no kidding!) as if we were Le Tour.  What they were there for, we did not know.  After Cox Lane, Rob and Ruth paid the tandem toll for having chosen the flatter route, the gates getting increasingly difficult until we all had to lift the machine high above our heads like the natives in Werner Herzog's Fitzcarraldo manhandling the boat through the Amazon forest.

Then it was the Hogsmill riverside and out of the Surrey marchlands to the Ewell by-pass at Stoneleigh and double jeopardy of that eccentric lady at the railway bridge.  After the much travelled Nonsuch Park going East we said our goodbyes and made for home, leaving me alone to break my personal best on the Westmead Road Sprint.

In all, for me, 52km door to door, 320m climbing and an average of 14.8km/h, which is quite nifty for a Beginners ride.  Thanks, Nigel.

Monday, 20 May 2019

Old Friends and new; Beddington Park Beginners ride to the Rookery, 18 May 2019

Saturday was one of those days you could not be sure of the weather; rain covers or not? Extra layer or not?  Eight of us met for the Beddington Park Ride and though a few familiar faces were missing, like Sharon and Ken, we had a rider new to the club, Stephen.

With no real beginners on the ride we elected to go for a familiar ride up to Streatham Common.

We have all experienced being led through unfamiliar streets, discovering new places we did not know and suddenly emerging and thinking “so THAT’S where we are”, and it is fun to take a new member like Stephen through it.

We took him past Beddington Church and Waddon Ponds, through Waddon Park and the slightly less pleasant bit negotiating West Croydon, through the back streets of Thornton Heath, past St Andrew’s church and the bowling club towards Norbury to cross the London to Brighton railway at Manor Farm Road.  Up the narrow path by Norbury Manor College to Green Lane.

Then for most it was down Green Lane a little and up Gibson’s Hill (one show-off chose to ride up Norbury Hill and back down Covington Way).  The rendezvous was at the foot of the upper part of Gibson’s Hill, which is a bit of a challenge no matter how you look at it; the first part a rough, stony, unmetalled private road on an incline and the second part a narrow tarmac path short (300 yards?) but as steep as almost anything in the Surrey Hills.

The reward is the panoramic view of Croydon and the Shirley Hills from Norwood Grove, which is mentioned in one of Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes stories and which was once owned by one of the founders of the P&O shipping line.  The blue plaque tells you that Mr Nettlefold (of Guest, Keen and Nettlefold) also made it his home in between running steelworks and making the fixings to screw a nation together.

From there it is only a short roller coaster through the woods to coffee and cake at the Rookery Café, where Ray could take Stephen to see The Rookery itself, charming and quaint Victorian gardens and rockery (once a part of the Norwood Grove estate), while the rest of us got on with sampling the impressive array of cakes.

The return trip was downhill in more ways than one, introducing Ray and Stephen to the less than quaint glass, graffiti and litter under the railway bridge in Norbury, to the Saturday driving of all those folks in such a hurry to get back to their homes in suburbia that they overtake on the wrong side of the bollards and suddenly slow to below cycling speed to negotiate the sleeping policemen.  Through Streatham Vale across Northborough Road, where Derek Bentley once lived.  He was infamously hanged at the age of 19 for the murder in Croydon that his accomplice, too young to be hanged, actually committed.  A dark tale from South London's Hobbiton.

From there we went to Mitcham Common, which we crossed on the lane where an Asian man was taking photographs of what we think of as weeds but what in fact are quite delicate blue flowers and where was strolling a large, handsome fox; exactly the same one, I’ll wager, as met me last Saturday around that time in the same spot as I made my way back from the all day Greenwich ride.  Perhaps we’re striking up a relationship, Foxy and I.

The path across Hackbridge Marshes is closed again so we enjoyed a further experience in working class social history, through the architectural and cultural desert that is the Beddington Lane industrial estate on a Saturday afternoon.  I showed Colin the new way through Asda Car Park and the gap in the fence to the car park next door, thus avoiding much of cycle-unfriendly Beddington Lane before the labyrinthine journey past the filling station into the “back door” of Beddington Park, a convoluted route negotiable only with Colin as your guide or if you left a ball of string to mark it on your way out.  A pleasant way to spend the hours before the Cup Final; and the rain held off and the sun blessed us occasionally.

Paul and Maggie, Roger, Anna and Roy are the riders I have not mentioned yet, and we very much hope Stephen comes again.

Wednesday, 15 May 2019

Ride to Greenwich, Saturday 11th May

  Last year we rode via Dulwich and returned via Crystal Palace in cold rain, so I determined to ride the other way via Croydon and avoid any hills. The weather, unfortunately, was beyond control and we had showers from midday onwards with warm sunshine in the intervals. Light wind from the north.
  We proceeded via Beddington Park where we picked up Paul James. Through Croydon to South Norwood country park, unknown territory to most, and stopped at Kent House station for a break in warm sunshine. When we left through the station underpass we managed to leave Tony, John and Margaret behind and being instantly out of sight they promptly headed off in the wrong direction. Fortunately, due to modern technology carried by two of the remainder (but not the leader)and a wait under Catford Railway bridge by the S.Circular road out of a prolonged rain shower, we were reunited and by popular vote headed through Blackheath and onto the famous view in Greenwich Park.
  Lunch was taken by the statue in a sunny interval at picnic tables and the Observatory cafe, and we left in a heavy rain shower and marked drop in temperature. We briefly stopped by the statue of Peter the Great and a monstrous cruise ship before heading to Deptford.
  Return was via Nunhead, Peckham Rye and a tea stop in Dulwich Park with another heavy rain shower to the end in Morden Hall Park in bright sunshine.
  10 riders turned out and the distance was 34 miles. No punctures or mechanicals. Thanks to Tony for back marking.

Harry Cole

Tuesday, 7 May 2019

Ride to Greenwich on Saturday 11th May

  Starting from the cafe in Morden Hall Park, I plan to ride the Waterlink Way to Greenwich. This means negotiating Croydon to South Norwood Country Park via Beddington Park.
  Thence to Greenwich via Blackheath. Last year was wet and cold but we still had a picnic on Greenwich Hill, so let's hope the weather will be better this time around.
  We will return via Deptford, Brockley and Nunhead to Dulwich Park for a further stop. Thence to Tooting Common via the back of Brixton and the ride ends in Morden Hall Park.
  No big hills, but as it is a largely urban ride expect glass and various shards so bring a spare inner tube. Should be around 25-30 miles.

Monday, 6 May 2019

Rain, hail, sun, repeat

or, I need a beer in a warm pub

Around twenty five keen cyclists turned up on Saturday at Nonsuch and after some debate a sporting Godfrey generously volunteered to lead a longer ride to Wimbledon Park.  Thirteen joined him, including Ruth and Rob on the tandem, and Maggie, Paul, Steve Hobbs, Sharon, Tom, Alice, Helen, Yasmin, Ray Ward and Dee set out in the cold wind.

Our ride was punctuated with rain showers and hail showers, each one calculated to last just as long as it takes for everyone to put on their rainproof, and then the sun would emerge and make it too warm to wear all that clobber!

We nevertheless had a a really enjoyable ride, past Scallywags to the Brook at Worcester Park, up Green Lane and along the path with horses on either side, around Motspur Park Football Club, tantalisingly close to the Earl Beatty.  Up Seaforth Avenue, over the level crossing, through the Raynes Park one way system, up the hill at Durham Road and Cottenham Park Road to the Crooked Billet.

From there along the Common South Side to the Rose and Crown, past the Dog and Fox, left at The Ivy and our reward for that climb, down Church Road, Arthur Road and Home Park Road (wheeee...) to the Wimbledon Park Cafeteria.  Families were pretending to enjoy their day in the park between the hail showers while I had the best Bakewell Tart this side of Matlock (yum) and sampled the worst toilets this side of Afghanistan.  Well, nearly; some of the ladies chose to wait until the temporary cabins at Richmond Park.  

The price of downhill and cake was the short, steep climb up Woodspring Road and Princes Way, then under the Tibbet's Corner roundabout to the Telegraph.  Down over Putney Heath to Roehampton, up Danebury Avenue to Roehampton Gate and through Richmond Park, out of Robin Hood Gate and down Robin Hood Way.  Under the A3, past Colliers Wood United Football Club and more or less retracing our tyre tracks from Coombe Lane back to Nonsuch.

Home from there past Ye Olde Red Lion (which isn't old at all), The Moon on the Hill, the Little Windsor, just avoiding the Lord Nelson and passing The May Tree and how I longed to call in The Hope for a pint of its very fine finest.  The place seemed so cosy and welcoming but we were showing Sharon the way home and the clouds were turning indigo again and the temperature falling and she had to go all the way to Purley.  Sigh.  

Onward past The Sun, the derelict Fox and Hounds, and The Star (used to be the Lord Melbourne) and home to warmth at last and a bottle of craft ale.

Thanks to Godfrey for stepping in as leader.  Thirty miles all told, our door to door.

Saturday, 20 April 2019

Easter Saturday ride from Beddington Park 20th April

It was Easter Saturday and the sun was shining. Beddington Park was full of families and people trying to park their cars. Colin, Roger, Anna, Roy, Maggie and Paul set off to see the flowers in Coombe Wood Gardens, perhaps some bluebells and rhododendrons. 

We left the Park as soon as we could, north of the bridge by the abandoned animal rescue building. This meant three of the group were now in unknown territory though in fact we were on the opposite side of the Wandle only a few feet away from our more familiar route.  We rejoined the usual path to cycle to Mill Lane and across the Purley Way towards Croydon Parish Church. Once through the back streets of central Croydon we cycled through Park Hill Park and out onto  quieter roads eventually stopping in Lloyd Park to enjoy the sunshine. A brief encounter with tree roots which we all managed to stay upright through and we were out of the park.  Then we made our way up Oaks Road to cross briefly onto Coombe Lane before entering Coombe Wood Gardens, where we stopped for refreshments in the Coach House Cafe. Beautiful tulips, fritillary and cowslips adorned the garden beds and a quick reconnoitre in the gardens showed that we were too early for the rhododendrons but a stunning pieris japonica caught our attention. 

Making our way back we turned left out of the Gardens to cycle along Conduit Lane and entered a wooded area before dropping down Ballards Farm Road to join Croham Road. We cycled through South Croydon and climbed our only steep hill of the day on Haling Park Road. Passing the Purley Way playing fields we crossed Purley Way and made our way through the old Croydon Airport roads. Back now in Wallington we separated on Tharp Road to make our way home.

Steve Cook, Mayor of Sutton, and his wife Pauline conduct the Spring launch of CTC Sou'Westers Beginners' 2019 season at Nonsuch Park on 13 April.

Event goes exactly as planned!

Steve Cook, the Mayor of Sutton, and his wife Pauline rolled up to Nonsuch Park in the mayoral car for the Spring launch.  Thirty riders, no less, turned up for the event on a day on which the temperatures plummeted to 8 degrees, and the Mayor's intention had been to ride with us on the short ride through Horton Park.  Steve was charm itself but Pauline told us he was not very well.  He said he was willing to come out on the bikes of suitable size that Shirley Quemby had found for him and Pauline but was feeling a little dizzy and queasy.  We advised him that riding while dizzy was probably not such a good idea, so after the photos and the launch he went in his car to meet us at tea, planned for the Moat House Garden Centre on Horton Lane.  Pauline said she would ride with us, though she had not ridden for a long time.

The long ride went off to Richmond Park, leaving Colin, Shirley, Nigel, Maggie, me (Paul), Carolyn, Chris, Ron and Ken to escort the lady mayoress on a ride led by Steve Hobbs.  I was at the back and it became evident as we rode along the cracked, badger-undermined path through Nonsuch Park that Pauline was indeed rusty on a bike.  She tried gamely, but her nerve went when two little uncontrolled yapping dogs ran at her, and she confessed at the gate that she would rather go no further.  

So we sent the main group off to enjoy their ride while Nigel, Maggie (who had invited the Mayor), Colin and I stayed behind to await the return of the mayoral car.  Bike returned to Colin's safe keeping, Pauline back with her husband in the car, we set off to catch the group.  We had to check a few times on the pre-planned route but as we rode a huge biblical ink black cloud appeared on the horizon and rolled across the sky, in complete opposition to the wind it seemed, and just as we were at the muddy bit in Horton Park where the path turns onto a little hill of slippery gravel, the temperature plummeted another four or five degrees, the cloud came to rest directly above us and we were assailed by a plague of hailstones.

We imagined aloud as we cycled our cheery way through the downpour that the others would be having their tea, listening to the rattle of the hail on the roof, while we were getting stung about the face, but no, another curse had befallen; we caught the main group up because Shirley had fallen off her bike.  Gently, we were assured, almost elegantly (the laws of gravity no longer apply to Shirley!) and she was unhurt.  And we all rode together to tea, where the weather had improved to the point that Colin had his out in the open air.

The Mayor was too poorly to make it to tea, the ride home was relatively comfortable and trouble free, and against all that the fates had to throw at us, Spring had been launched for the Beginners and things must improve!.

Tuesday, 9 April 2019

Saturday 6th April - all-day ride to Osterley Park

Fifteen riders left Nonsuch Park on a cool and cloudy morning. Our first tea stop was at Squires in Twickenham, and after tea we joined the river Crane at Kneller Gardens then onto a photo stop at the Shot Tower.

The plan was to follow the river as much as possible but some parts were inaccessible or too muddy. Leaving the source of the river we picked up the Grand Union Canal and carried on to Norwood Bridge where we turned off and made for Osterley Park for lunch.

After lunch we took a route to Twickenham then onto the Y.M.C.A. at Ham for tea. Nine riders then left us to make their own way home. Unfortunately there was a private function at the Y.M.C.A. so we carried onto the café at Canbury Gardens. Originally it was a W.C.(!!!) but the café is now run by an Italian family making very good coffee and cakes.

A good day's ride, no problems. Thanks to Helen for back marking.

34 miles.

Regards, Tony

Wednesday, 27 March 2019

Tony's All Day Ride on 6th April

The ride will be leaving from Nonsuch Pantry Café (Nonsuch Mansion) at 10.00am on Saturday the 6th of April.

The ride will follow the River Crane to The Grand Union Canal and on to Osterley Park for Lunch.



Sunday, 24 March 2019

24th March - Old Moat, Horton Country Park

A beautiful sunny afternoon for us, following a very cloudy and overcast week, so we were very pleased to be out on our bikes this afternoon.
Godfrey lead out the beginners short ride.  We headed across Nonsuch Park to gather at Sparrow Farm gate, all managed to get through the traffic lights and headed down towards Stoneleigh.  We were soon in Ewell, heading along the Hogsmill river to follow the route through the conservation park, then left across the bridge to follow the Bonesgate river along to William IV pub.  Here we crossed the busy road and entered the path through to Horton Country Park.  It was really pleasant, very few muddy patches along the path and that glorious sunshine lighting our way through the lovely woodlands and fields.
The Old Moat always gives us a nice welcome and we love their proper cycle park, which keeps our bikes dry in less clement weather.  Delicious cakes and tea enjoyed by all and a good chat while we rested.
We had a much shorter ride home, arriving back at about 4.30 pm.  Thank you Godfrey for a very pleasant ride, and all for your good company.

16th March - Wind assisted to Morden Hall Park

Strong gusty winds today, and just nine of us turned out to meet at Mansion House. Sue lead seven of us to tea at Morden Hall Park via Motspur, Raynes and Merton Park, a very enjoyable route with many signs of spring emerging despite the recent very cold spell, which followed our unusually mild and sunny January and February. 

Beautiful spring flowers by the entrance to Mansion House gardens; many daffodils nodding at us as we passed through Motspur Park; and we were delighted to see a little family with five goslings on our way through Wandle Park after tea.  Magnolia trees were starting to blossom, and we spotted a particularly lovely one nestled between buildings as we approached the church in Merton Park.

On our way home, we were more aware of the strength of the wind as we crossed St Helier open space and followed the path alongside the hospital car park down towards Sutton.  Just past Sutton Green and as we passed by the football ground Ron and I heard a great cheer go up as the local team now we were the only ones returning towards Nonsuch, with the headwind all the way, but having has such an easy trip out to tea, plus cake, still with enough energy in our legs to keep pushing on. 

Thanks Sue for leading us, and all for a very enjoyable ride on an unusually windy afternoon.

CTC Tri-Vets Event - 19 June 2019

You are cordially invited to join CTC South West London on Wednesday 19 June for the 2019 Tri-Vets ride, with three choices of ride length from 50 km to 100 miles.  We know that not all "Beginners" are beginners to cycling!   If you are used to riding with a group and can ride 50km / 31 miles with a stop for lunch, then you might enjoy this - ask some others who have done it before.  The entry cost of £5 includes refreshments at lunch and at the end of the ride.

The Triennial Veterans ride is a CTC challenge ride organised by various CTC member groups around the country.  To quote the CTC:
“This is a fun challenge which CTC groups have taken part in since 1928, our Golden Jubilee year and to encourage those aged 50 and over to have a go at riding 100 miles within a 12-hour time limit.

The rides are also a great sociable occasion, with many groups choosing to include a sit-down lunch stop and refreshments along the way. For members, it's a chance to catch up with old friends, make new ones and discover new routes to ride.”

2019 event

2016 event
CTC South West London is running a Tri-Vets ride in 2019, following our first Tri-Vets in 2016, which was well received despite unhelpful weather. It will follow a similar format, starting and ending (and stopping for lunch) at Brockham Cricket Pavilion, with options of 100 miles, 100km or 50km. You don’t have to be a veteran (defined by the CTC as aged 50+) to ride, although badges are available to veterans completing 100 miles within 12 hours.

Most people choose to ride in a led group, with groups starting between 8am and 11am. The routes are rolling rides based on the Surrey Cycleway: scenic, with little technical difficulty. Lunch and tea at the Pavilion, and pubs and cafes on the routes for those who need a little more.

Entry costs £5, payable in advance and the event is limited to 80 riders, so please email Simon Lambourn first to secure a place, then send the entry form and payment.

More info: