The ride to Kenley was planned in the fine weather when it seemed possible that Covid restrictions might be relaxing. We were going to have a picnic on Kenley Common! It turned out, however, to be a day with temperatures more fitting of November than September, and the second Saturday under the new Rule of Six. Nevertheless we got six riders for what the Advertising Standards Board had insisted I called a hilly ride.
There might have been an east wind but the sun was bright and in the shelter of buildings or trees it was quite warm in the morning. We made our way through the undulations of Purley and Woodcote, giving the leader an exciting chase down a long straight Valley Road when we suffered a slight corner-marking failure. You would have thought that everybody knows the first rule of cycling; if in doubt at a junction, your route is bound to go up the steepest choice.
Lodge Lane was the route the Bathmophobics had dictated to climb to Kenley and though we did not all enjoy it as much as the leader, the back marker commented that we had a group of pretty decent hill-climbers, even Ian, who you would have thought was handicapped on a two-gear Brompton. I reckon this group would have fared well up the original, hillier route through Netherne, but the management did not agree.
The airfield memorials have been spruced up and made much more interesting in recent years, rightly so, and we spent a little time in the autumn sun, the few reflecting upon The Few.
Lunch at Coffee and Creams at Caterham-on-the-Hill was very pleasant but while we were in there winter arrived, the wind fiercer and colder and spits of rain threatening to turn into something worse when we emerged. Along the switchback of the B2031, we went down Doctor’s Lane to Chaldon Church, which was open for those who had not been before to see the twelfth century wall painting.
Despite the decreasing temperature and the increasing wind the guide halted the party to enjoy the view of the City of London from Farthing Down and, at the bottom of the hill, the historic plaques describing the prize fights and hangings of old on Coulsdon Green. We used relatively traffic-free Grove Lane to regain our altitude, going through Clock House and then the woods for one last short climb up the top few yards of Rectory Lane, where we picked up Woodmansterne Lane to take tea at Pistachios in Banstead.
Thanks to Tony for back marking and everybody else for splendid company on a pleasant, if wintry excursion.