Drawn and designed by Paul Carpenter
Sunday, 19 December 2021
Monday, 6 December 2021
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
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
Sunday, 17 October 2021
Thursday, 14 October 2021
Report by Tony Hooker
11 riders left Nonsuch Park on a foggy morning, our first coffee stop was at the Pheasantry Cafe in Bushy Park where we met up with a long lost cyclist Edie Cornes
Saturday, 9 October 2021
Report by Ian Prince
Monday, 27 September 2021
Brian Moore has died, peacefully in hospital, following pneumonia.
Brian (right) with Ken and Roger with Beginners in Morden Hall Park in 2017
Those of you who were regulars at Beddington Park Beginners a few years back may well remember Brian Moore, Mancunian returned from many years' working in the USA, where he was an accomplished mountain biker.
During his time riding with us he sadly and slowly developed dementia and Maggie and sometimes Paul, and Roger and Anna, would go and pick him up from his home in Croydon and take him home when the ride was finished, with Maggie "minding" him during the ride.
Lovely man, good fun, good company.
He stopped riding with us when his family moved home to Morden from where it was impracticable, given his deteriorating condition, to collect and deliver him.
There will be no funeral ceremony. His wife asks us to "raise a cup of tea" to his memory.
Wednesday, 22 September 2021
It was Wandle Fortnight and Beddington Park Saturday was ridiculous; traffic jams as dozens of cars vied for limited car parking spaces. When eventually we fought through the traffic and got to the Pavilion Cafe, we found Colin fit again but nobody with any firm plans about where to go. There were eight of us, including Jackie, a newcomer, who is recovering from injury and preferred a shorter ride than some of the group wanted, so we decided to offer two rides. The Wandle Trail was to be avoided, given the likely crowds of walkers, so Colin took Jackie and Paul B to Telegraph Track in an effort to rendezvous with the short ride from Nonsuch. Paul J took Maggie, Ken, Anna and Roger on the (nearly) flat route to Crystal Palace.
Monday, 20 September 2021
Roll up, roll up!
Last All Day Ride of the year
A Picnic at Bedfont Lakes
30ish miles, flat as a (slightly lumpy) pancake
Saturday October 9th
Leaving Nonsuch at 10am, coffee at Bushy Park, picnic lunch at Bedfont Lakes (where there are toilet facilities but no cafe), afternoon tea at Walton-on-Thames
Monday, 13 September 2021
Twenty cyclists in two groups left Nonsuch Mansion House, the first led by Karen, making our way up, and I mean up, over Epsom Downs to Walton on the Hill for a well deserved coffee. it was good to have a chat to Pete Beyer. Ann & Tony left us for pre-arranged commitments and we made our way down the Pebble Coombe hill. Kasumi said she will not forget her first descent of that steep hill.
We cycled into Brockham turning left into the quiet Wheelers Lane to Leigh and eventually Parkgate for an enjoyable lunch sitting outside at the Surrey Oaks. Unfortunately a few had to wait some time for their meals to be served. We continued down Henfold and right into Red Lane, left into Roothill and the Coach Road to Leatherhead for Tea.
Just as we were leaving Colin and six cyclists arrived after the annual churches ride. We peeled off to make our separate ways home. Approaching Epsom Helen's chain came off and got caught between the frame and sprocket, Steph and Helen tried and tried to fix it, with minutes to spare before closing Helen walked to Fudges Cycles where it was fixed quickly free of charge.
A special thanks to my sub leader Karen, and Steph and Maggie our backmarkers. Thank you all for your good company and an enjoyable day out.
I clocked 40 miles.
Monday, 6 September 2021
So we headed on to Torksey, a village where the Fossdyke meets the Trent and a brief stop by the canal at Torksey Lock, before heading to the North side of the village and then leaving the road to negotiate a few inappropriately placed Sustrans metal ‘kissing’ gates which required us all to lift the bikes over (and the reason I was not on the recumbent trike), before we crossed the Trent into Nottinghamshire over a disused railway bridge. I recalled seeing this years ago with no decking in place. One side still is the same but at least the other side is now rideable.
You are invited to join Maureen on an all day 40 mile ride on Saturday 11th September starting at Nonsuch Mansion House at 9.50 & 10.00 to Newdigate.
Tuesday, 24 August 2021
After minor surgery I was not allowed a strenuous ride on Wednesday. I was all for coasting up to Caterham to at least meet the B riders, and take it from there. Maggie, declared otherwise, and with the news that Colin would be in isolation on Saturday and I would have to lead the Beddington Ride, this gave us an opportunity to try out a new route, proposed by Colin, to a new Cafe, at Elmers End.
You had to pick your weather report come Saturday, for although they all forecast heavy rain, they differed on its timing. I selected the BBC National forecast because it was the only one that said it would not be raining during ride time. Gone lunchtime, when the usual crew might be leaving their homes, the precipitation was fairly steady, the clouds a threatening blue-grey but, hey, I had science on my side. Maggie and I set out to man the Beddington Beginners station fully expecting to find no takers, and indeed there were those of faint heart who had chosen to trust the wrong weather forecast, but as we rounded Beddington Cricket Club we were delighted to spy a cyclist at the Pavilion and amazed to discover Ken "I never go out in the rain". Even better, Sharon turned up to show off her new bike. And the rain stopped.
The stay-at-homers have no idea what they were missing; Croydon after the rain is a poetic experience. It is a little known fact that it was hearing the Pigeons and Seagulls cooing and crying on Purley Way after the rainfall that inspired Beethoven to write his Pastoral Symphony. And Joy, for whom, three symphonies later the Ode to Joy was written; she lived in Queens Road. So where better to celebrate weak sunshine than around the damp multicultural stalls of Broad Green on a Saturday where modern musical masterpieces are being written?
Maggie was the one who was unwittingly to be most immersed in the Croydon experience. A friendly motorist left a gap for us in the queue so that we could turn right on the London Road, but a driver coming the other way, from our right, indicated left and then changed his mind, accelerating towards Norbury as if we were not there, and colliding with Maggie's bike.
Leading, I was unaware of the drama behind me until Maggie, a little shaken, turned up at the rendezvous spot to say her bike had been hit by a car, which had driven off. Everybody was in no doubt there had been a collision but Maggie's front wheel spun well and true (once she had taken her hand off the brake) and it took a forensic examination of the most thorough kind to spot that the paint had been taken off her front wheel hub nut. She was desolate; a scratch on her blue bicycle! She was also pretty lucky.
On with the ride, shaken but not stirred, through the handful of fans going to Selhurst Park, along the path by the Selhurt Railway Club and through Heavers Meadow, a green space I'd never even noticed. If you pretended there were no railway sidings and chose to ignore the men attending to the call of nature in the bushes, you could have felt you were deep in the idyllic English Countryside. We zig-zagged our way through North Croydon to the Croydon Arena (where Croydon Football Club were just starting their match) and over the wet cobbles to cross South Norwood Country Park, a candidate for United Nations Heritage status if ever there was one.
We were dry, and the cafe for which we were aiming, Branching Out, proved a splendid Coffee Shop with good coffee, excellent cakes and an awning to protect us from the rain. And when it stopped, we followed Colin's quiet route home, through the leafy suburbs of Shirley Oaks and Addiscombe to enter Croydon through Park Hill Park.
We were all quite cheered up after our leisurely Saturday ride as we passed the rebuilt Elizabethan brick wall along Church Path in Beddington. And somewhere in the sought-after back streets of Fort Neaf some cool dude has a scratch on his precious motor.
Tuesday, 17 August 2021
Disgraceful and upsetting scandal at the Palace; All Day ride along the Wandle and the Thames, 14 August
The Nonsuch crew
Our all day ride combined both the best and worst of luck on Saturday; the best, because we had the first sunny and completely rain-free day out for weeks, perfect for the leisurely and easy going day we were planning to enjoy.
The worst, because while we were at lunch, two petty thieves, too lazy to earn an honest living, happened by our group's locked up bikes and helped themselves to one each.
Two groups set out from Nonsuch Park, lead by Christina and Helen. At Motspur Park, Christine's group was joined by Bernard and Sabina. Within half a mile, Sabina's tyre exploded so they peeled off to have it repaired, hoping to re-join us later in the day...
Our route to coffee at Merton Abbey Mills took a little longer than planned. From Motspur Park we went over Grand Drive. crossing playing fields to Whateley Avenue and then Watery Lane into Merton Park. Looping back slightly via Poplar and Kenton Road (Christina's group went a little astray here) to the entrance of Morden Hall Park nearest to Morden; then following the new tarmacked path through the watermeadows to the tramway, past Deen City Farm, arriving about 20 past 11 for coffee. Here Christina's group followed us in; and we met Will (my son) and Gemma, new to the group and feeling a little impatient as they'd been waiting for a while. Apologies and introductions all round, we stopped for coffee and they departed with the Beddington crew.
Where Horatio and Emma once took coffee? Merton Abbey Mills
The route from Merton Abbey Mills took us up the Wandle trail, following the river all the way to the Thames at Wandsworth. This part of the ride is mainly pretty and easy. We crossed Merton High Street and meandered through quieter roads to the nature reserve at the end of North Road. Now we were back by the Wandle river, a leafy undulating and meandering path, crossing busy Plough Lane and then onward. Earlsfield demanded attention for about 200 yards under the railway bridge on busy Garrett Lane, but then we were directed through quieter streets again to King George's fields and hence to the faded glories of Wandsworth High Street. Well marked cycle lanes and actually very little traffic at the top end of Garrett Lane by Sainsbury's help our safe passage, past the old brewery and through to Armoury Way. Here we dismounted and walked across, then went left to the Crane, where we took a sharp right and followed Causeway through to the Thames.
After modern fortresses on Enterprise Way, we cut through to the Thames bank and into leafy Wandsworth Park, with its beautiful outlook across the Thames. Our destination, Putney bridge, was in sight and we headed along the Thames towpath towards it.
Fulham Palace and Bishops Park are just on the north side; after the noisy traffic across the Thames, it was a relief to enter their quiet embrace.
Briefly, we stopped by the International Brigade memorial, commemorating Fulham men who went to fight fascism in Spain in the 1930s. Then we wandered through the park, to the entrance to Fulham Palace and its gardens. Time for lunch! Some of us enjoyed our picnics on the lawns, others dined on food from the café. Will, Gemma and I took a brief wander through the walled garden and the bishop's walk through the little graveyard to the church. There was a wedding of course on this lovely summer Saturday - that explained the church bells pealing while we were having lunch!
And then we walked back, to meet Maggie with news of the theft of John's bike. Will's, it turned out, had also been stolen, and his helmet. Both bikes were locked. It was sickening to have our day spoiled by criminal theft. The palace staff were most helpful; there was a witness to their escape, the bicycle lockup area has CCTV coverage and both were able to contact the police for crime reference numbers. But they had to miss the rest of the ride, to find their own way home, and to claim insurance afterwards. If only people would keep their sticky hands to themselves.
The rest of us continued our afternoon ride through quiet roads past Fulham football ground (playing away this first game of the season) to cross Hammersmith Bridge, back to the south side of the river. The bridge has only recently reopened, and only to cyclists and pedestrians, so this was a very peaceful and enjoyable crossing.
We stopped briefly on the other side for photos and to admire the engineering of the historic iron bridge - and the very pretty view across to the Blue Anchor and lovely buildings and promenade along the north bank towards the Dove. Then we got back on our bikes to enjoy the towpath along the river, through Barnes and Mortlake, passing Chiswick bridge and skirting Kew Gardens, past Richmond Lock and under its bridge, carefully through the crowds, to arrive for tea in Terrace Gardens on the slopes of Richmond Hill. Nowhere to lock up our bikes here, (Paul's group had most of the accessible railings!) so we laid them on the grass; some of us took our tea there, others sat above on the cafe's terrace; all enjoyed chatting and relaxing in the golden afternoon sun, some of us with cake, gathering our forces for the last leg of the ride.
There was still a couple of miles to Kingston, passing by Ham House and the ferry, waving to Teddington lock as we sped by, enjoying our last views over the sun sparkling waters of the Thames. Then we were at Kingston bridge, and away through the market back onto route 75 and heading for home.
My grateful thanks to Paul and Maggie, to Christina, and to Diane and Sue for leading and backmarking. Without your support, we could not have brought 20 people together for a lovely day out. Thank you all for your pleasant company, for looking after one another, and for sharing enjoyment of our beautiful river routes along the way. Looking forward to seeing many of you again for Maureen's ride to Newdigate on 11 September!
The Beddington crew
It was not a hot day but the weather was fine in Beddington on Saturday morning and the Beddington Park group were all there, raring to go, before Maggie and I arrived; Roger & Anna, Matthew & Thomas, Thomas, not yet being two, in his dad’s trailer.
The barriers on the southern end of the Wandle Path were a good test for Matthew’s trailer but it passed with flying colours and before long we were at M.E.D, the agreed meeting place at Merton Abbey Mills.
According to the song, Matthew and Son should be taking a mere five minute break with a cup of cold coffee and a piece of cake, but the riders from Nonsuch Park were slower than we thought and we had a pleasant half hour, the coffee was lovely, and Dad’s only problem was in failing to persuade little Thomas that a yoghurt-based rice cake was as delicious as a slice of millionaire shortbread. I wouldn’t have fallen for it, either!
What with leader absence and software failure, the groups needed re-jigging and off we set, before the others, with John and Anne, and Will and Gemma on the pleasant, gentle-paced ride up the Wandle trail through Colliers Wood and Earlsfield to Wandsworth town centre. Negotiation around the one-way system there at the Ram Brewery was always going to be tricky but we made it without incident and were soon coasting through the park by the river to Putney Bridge.
After we had looped under the bridge to Bishop’s Meadow and paid a respectful visit to the memorial for the local people who had died in the heroic but futile effort to stem the rise of Fascism in Spain in the 1930s, we repaired to Fulham Palace for lunch.
Little did we know that the thieves were at work.
It seemed a pleasant day until John and then Will returned to the bike racks to discover that their bikes had been stolen. Both padlocked with combination locks, both padlocked to their partners’ bikes (which were not stolen). The security people were helpful, there is CCTV footage, we have a description (ginger beard, generally sounding suspiciously like Prince Harry to me) and all the right steps were taken to inform the police, obtain a crime number, etc., etc but our group was sadly depleted for the rest of the ride.
In almost any other circumstances the afternoon ride would have been a delight, for Helen’s was a beautiful route along the towpath all the way from Hammersmith Bridge to Kingston Bridge, and unlike the recce, which was conducted in conditions of storm and flood, we were riding through dappled sunlight in a cooling breeze as the weather improved. Tea was at the Terrace Gardens, just upriver from Richmond, and this time we all secured the bikes where we could see them. What is that you are thinking about bolting the stable doors?
Tea at the Terrace, in the sun but under a cloud
Back to Beddington via Kingston and Berrylands and little Thomas had been as good as gold, even telling his dad when we took the wrong route out of Sutton!
Thank you, Helen, for a wonderful route, and thank you all for the splendid company. If only it hadn’t been for those two thieves.
Thursday, 5 August 2021
Hi folks, just wanted to remind you of the all day ride to Fulham Palace Gardens coming up on 14 August. There will be two starting points; Beddington Park and Nonsuch Mansion House. Coffee at Merton Abbey Mills; then we will follow the Wandle trail up to the Thames, crossing Putney bridge to have our lunch in Fulham Palace Gardens.
After lunch we will follow the Thames Towpath through from recently re-opened Hammersmith Bridge to Kingston, stopping at Terrace Gardens in Richmond for tea. I reccied this route last Saturday and even in the rain, it was delightful to follow the river all the way! (There were many bridges to shelter beneath!)
look forward to sharing the pleasures of the route with you. If you
would like to join me, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
I would be most grateful for sub group leaders to support the ride, and can offer recces on Saturday 7th and/or Monday 9th if needed.~ Helen