Saturday, 27 February 2021

Why are viewpoints on the tops of hills?


Last week Ken pointed in the direction of a viewpoint down a flat, straight road in Caterham. The trouble is you have to climb before you reach the flat road.  So on this beautiful Spring afternoon we set off to find said viewpoint. Retracing our steps and turning right from Rook Lane onto Chaldon Common Road our attention was drawn to two carved owls on a tree stump.

This was rather a sobering find and we were saddened to read the story of Lily.

We continued on our way and very soon this flat road was undulating and we were experiencing the Surrey Hills at their best but one of us had electric power and one of us just leg power! We climbed and descended Roffes Lane, then War Coppice Road then Gravelly Hill, and all the time I tried not to worry too much about the return journey.  We reached the Caterham Viewpoint and sat and enjoyed the sunshine and view while a bird of prey circled overhead. A splendid afternoon and we retraced our tracks, stopping for tea and cake in Caterham on the Hill before returning home.

Saturday, 20 February 2021

The South Wind doth blow and we shall have...

.......standstill on Farthing Downs! 

Ken and I decided that the warmer weather and longer afternoon sun meant we could venture further this afternoon.  So Caterham-on the Hill was our destination. Cycling up through Wallington,  saying 'hi' to Ray, then to Sharon on her way to Beddington Park  we can now do this route blindfold (almost).  But I wasn't finding this easy , I just wasn't moving at a comfortable speed. Not sure if it was the bike or my legs I wondered if Ken might be put off the ride when we felt raindrops. But no, on we cycled to the bottom of Farthing Downs where Ken overtook me on his electric bike.  The problem was the wind and here on Ditches Lane it was determined that I would make my way very slowly.  Recovering at the top , then struggling to get back on the bike we continued passed Chaldon Church and turned left up Doctors Lane. At least when the road was sheltered it wasn't quite the struggle. 

We were now turning left on Rook Lane towards Caterham-on-the-Hill and Ken pointed out the road to a view point - for another week.  We needed coffee and cake! We were doing alright on the switchback when we came to traffic lights at the bottom of the hill! Very frustrating but it wasn't long before we crossed the mini roundabout and found Coffee and Creams for our well earnt break.

  Not too much lace on show!

Sitting having our refreshments we realised it was actually quite cold so we didn't delay and took the very pleasant route back to  Old Coulsdon, mostly downhill via Tollers Lane but with potholes galore. Now back on familiar territory we made our way back to Wallington, very pleased that we'd succeeded against the wind.

Thanks Ken, I was close to turning round at the top of Farthing Down. 

Friday, 19 February 2021

The 2021 Hilly Fifty challenge

 The 2021 Local Hilly Fifty Challenge

in memory of Mike Morley


Despite everything the Covid virus throws at us we are determined to maintain the long tradition of the Hilly Fifty event, this year especially because we lost Mike Morley, who did so much in recent years to keep it going, when he died in Epsom Hospital on 19 January.

Therefore we are proposing a DIY Hilly Fifty over a local course to meet the Lockdown requirements, but we are conscious that this is local only to some of our club.  Those who cannot get to our suggested course are invited to work out a similar course of their own and report their adventures on the Blog, preferably with pictures for the rest of us to enjoy.

The route we have designed starts at Carshalton Park and takes you over the North Downs around Banstead, Chipstead, Merstham and Caterham, finishing at the Woodman in Woodmansterne.  It is almost exactly 40 miles with over 3,000 feet of climbing.


The challenge

The challenge is simply to attempt the course within the Covid restrictions (currently, therefore, alone or in pairs) and then make a donation in memory of Mike Morley to St Raphael’s Hospice through the Hilly 50 Just Giving page ( here.).

Many will want to do it in one go, but you don’t have to.  We have designed the course so that the first half in particular is zigzag and very local, and it would be easy to break off at any of several points and come back another day to finish.

For those who want to record and compare times, that’s fine, but time is not of the essence.  Just as a guide, the recce took a B Group rider trying to keep a steady pace and old enough to have his Covid jab in the first week of February four and a half hours of riding.  (Last year the same rider took four hours over the “real” Hilly Fifty).

The course can be found here (  It is a challenging ride and you ride at your own risk, so please carefully read the risk analysis (which is on the Wayfarers' blog here) and recommendations for lockdown toilets and refreshments along the way.

It would be good to hear from club members about their rides, on the blog or to the editor of Sou’Wester.

The single most important thing, whether or not you finish the course, please, is to make a donation in memory of Mike ( here.).


Why St Raphael’s?

In the words of Samantha Bourne, events fundraiser at the Hospice,

Mike and his wife, Barbara, have supported the Hospice for many years and we were and are so grateful to them for their unwavering support, they really have made a difference to our patients and their families with the amazing amount of money they raised over the years. Mike in particular continued to support us through his love of cycling and continued to do so despite the devastating news he received early last year about his health.

Mike was the consummate gentleman with a wonderful sense of nobility. We loved to see him when he popped in having cycled through whatever weather to get here and when he did arrive, soaked or sweaty, his friendly and infectious smile lit up the room. He was ever the optimist and his grit and determination to finish each course he set out on, no matter how challenging, served him well over this last year as he battled his illness. His zest for life would not be dimmed. Mike will be greatly missed by so many people. We will be eternally grateful for all has done for the Hospice.

He will forever be our cycling champion and, owing to his uniquely decorated cycling helmet, will always be known affectionately as ‘Mike with the feathers in his cap’ to us here in the fundraising office.


Mike Morley

Mike Morley was a member of the Kingston Phoenix Road Club and the South West London section of the CTC, riding most weeks with the Midweek Wayfarers section on a Wednesday.  He was at one time the editor of our magazine and rides list, the Sou’Wester.  Many people will remember him from recent years as the man whom Jeff Tollerman, of the Cheam and Morden Club, so touchingly and succinctly described.

Mike was like Marmite. I cannot remember when I first met him, but he was always a challenge. We were like chalk and cheese, but enjoyed a pint and a good argument, always without ill-will.

On a club ride, he was an iconoclast. You needed to give him a wide berth, if you could. You never knew where he was next going to appear – on your shoulder or recklessly overtaking the leader to disappear in a cloud of dust down a hill, like Toad of Toad Hall, oblivious of where the ride might turn off, only to appear late at lunch, if he was lucky. He never understood traffic lights. He has, alas, gone through one red light too many.

For me, the death of Mike is the death of a friend. That is a loss that comes as a great shock.  He was disarmingly open about sharing the details of his successive medical mishaps and tribulations. I could never understand how his instinct for survival enabled him to survive so many close scrapes on the bike. In the end Covid caught him out.

Mike was not always an eccentric fellow with a feather in his cap; these words from Brian Powney of Kingston Phoenix touch on the cycling prowess of “the mad hatter”

Mike rode most Phoenix club events, targeting the Handicap Points Trophy, which he won a few times and supported the club’s annual attempt to win the Southern Counties Cycling Union’s Rawson Shield.  He used many of the events he was involved in to support and fundraise for St Raphael’s Hospice.

Before Mike came to the Phoenix, he started cycling and time trial racing as a member of the Long Eaton Paragon CC. 

He had many racing achievements.  One of them being his first win in a 100 Mile Open TT at the age of 23.  Winning the Burton 100 with a time of 4-18-and a few seconds, Cycling Weekly carried a full-page article on the event, with the heading, MORLEY WINS BURTON 100!  He went on to finish 5th in his first 12 Hour TT with a distance of 243 miles.

In the 1963 100 Mile National Championship, which was won by Derek Woodings in 4-02-38, Mike clocked a short 4-13 which was a Long Eaton Paragon club record at the time.

Also in 1963, with the Long Eaton Paragon being a member club of the Burton and District Cycling Alliance, he won the BDCA Senior Best All Rounder Competition with the following times and an average speed of 24.068 mph.

25 miles = 1-0-41, 50 miles = 2-3-08, 100 miles = 4-19-28

With these times and his 12 hour distance Mike could have been Phoenix Club Champion through many years of the 1960’s!

To this day, Mike still holds the Long Eaton Paragon CC Club Record for the Hill Climb up Holly Bank, Ambergate, off the A6 road near Matlock, Derbyshire.


Monday, 8 February 2021

Cane Hill revisited and a close encounter for one young cyclist

Rain was forecast and Ken and I wanted to be near enough to turn back for home at the first drop.  So we decided  to cycle up to Cane Hill and then discuss  whether to continue to Farthing Down or turn for home. 

A strange sight greeted us as we cycled through Wallington.  A cyclist was pedalling very hard in his drive on a static bike!  We stopped to chat briefly - Ray still can't cycle with us but wasn't going to miss out on his Saturday afternoon ride!

Our next stop was at the traffic lights at the junction of the A237 and B2032. Waiting so long to turn right behind two cars that began edging through red lights we dismounted ready to use the pavement. At this moment the lights of course went green and we rapidly remounted and took the Chipstead Valley Road.  We turned left to climb up Portnalls Road. And climb we did. Very aware that Ken was on his electric bike and could (should) overtake I did my best to cycle up this never ending hill at a reasonable speed.

Ken above the pond on the Cane Hill Estate 

We turned left onto Sir James Moody Way and followed this deserted road to the pond and old hospital water tower  at the centre of the estate. We stopped to contemplate.  The old hospital chapel was boarded up and looked as if it was next for demolition. One family passed us but on this cold, grey day it lacked life and character and the houses could have been mini blocks of flats - three stories and fairly narrow. They must have great views from the top though.  We were happy to cycle on down Cane Hill Drive to the roundabout in Coulsdon and continue to Farthing Down. Happy to be cycling on familiar territory today we turned round in the car park. Happy to be on bicycles too as drivers now have to pay to park their cars. 

Then it was back to DD's for tea. A teenage cyclist giving us a fright by demonstrating his wheely skills  while we were waiting,  Unfortunately he hadn't noticed the parked car and swerved at the last minute right across  the oncoming traffic. However, he survived to continue with his wheelies down the road and we were happy to turn for home with no more excitement.

The rain started as we arrived back in Wallington and I hope Ken wasn't too wet when he got home.

Tuesday, 2 February 2021

2020 Photo Competition

Come and share your experiences

To everyone who hasn't yet responded to the original invitation please dig out all your best photos from 2020 and pop them into my DropBox. The full details can be found at this link:

Invitation to participate in the Photo Competition

~ Tim