Thursday, 29 April 2021
Monday, 26 April 2021
The weather seemed good for a slightly longer ride than is usual on a Saturday afternoon, so the plan was to leave Sutton Library at 1.30. There was a delay at the start for Roger's bicycle repair and the leader was a little worried, for he had had to book a table for six at Squires in order to ensure coffee and cake at the only place en route with a loo on Saturday. Godfrey briefly joined us on his way to join the 2pm departures from Nonsuch, but we said farewell and skirted the park to avoid the gathering. It was the turn of Ken's electric bike to give a problem at West Ewell but the management had taken care to ensure our table booking was timed conservatively, and a good job too, because we arrived at Stoke d'Abernon on the dot of three after steady progress through Maldon Rushett and past Oxshott station.
The staff at Squires were astonishingly helpful and welcoming as if we were long lost customers they were delighted to see, but we have been using the Patisserie during lockdown; today, of course, the Stoke station toilets were not available because the waiting room was closed, and anyway, the Patisserie was closed as we cycled past it on our way through Bray Road and over the River Mole to Downside Common. The route through Bookham Road to Great Bookham Common is delightful, especially on a sunny day, and though familiar to regular B Groupers is slightly too far out for a Beginners group to get home to Nonsuch in time for tea.
The common did not disappoint, though the ground was a bit hard after the dry spell; we were surprised to see so few walkers; perhaps they had realised before we had how cold was the wind, though we were protected by the thick foliage on the common, and River Lane is fairly enclosed as we recrossed the Mole. They have filled in the worst potholes on River Lane, the ones near the football field.
It had been a beautiful ride, everyone agreed, along paths seldom taken, but the journey home is almost entirely eastwards and the wind from that quarter was neither warming up nor decreasing in power as the day was drawing to a close and we were all pretty tired as we crossed Ashtead and Epsom Commons. We got home to Wallington at six, Steve having peeled off at Nonsuch and Ken and then Anna and Roger as we went through Sutton. Maggie and I were grateful to find the cafe in Manor Park willing to serve us tea and a Bakewell tart despite being in the act of closing and the order of the evening was fish and chips because we could not be bothered to cook.
57.92 km at 14.1 km/h despite there being only 375m of climbing, the vast majority of that gentle. Yet a few weeks ago Steve and I had tried a harder version of the ride, going over Banstead and Epsom Racecourse, in inclement weather, 59.72 km with 538 m climbing, and without hurrying kept up a more respectable 15.4 km/h. So why was Saturday so tiring? We all felt it. Was it the repairs breaking our rhythm? Was it the Saturday traffic? One of us felt it was insufficient cake. Most settled on the debilitating effect of riding constantly into the East wind. But I knew the secret. For months now, the men had been increasing in strength like Samson as our hair grew long. This week we have all had our locks shorn after Lockdown, and our strength is lying on the floor of the barbers' in clumps of grey curls. You wait, Delilah. It will grow again, and then there will be no catching us. .
Monday, 19 April 2021
By Karen C
Good turnout at Nonsuch Mansion today. Our group of six set off for Home Park. Heavier road traffic than usual en route and Kingston Bridge pedestrian traffic overflowing onto cycle lane in places. Cycling in to Home Park was a delight - surprisingly deserted on such a lovely day.
We stopped adjacent to a lake just before 3 o’clock. A nesting swan swan joined us for a minute’s silence, it's calm serenity appropriate to the occasion. At one stage, Mr Swan appeared to be heading in our direction to give us a piece of his mind. However, he decided to have an afternoon nap instead. Mrs Swan seemed quite unfazed by our presence (but was probably hoping we'd be quiet for a bit longer).
We were quite taken with Mrs Swan but our reverie was rudely interrupted when our leader solemnly announced: “It closes at 4 so we'd better get going”. Panic-stricken, we quickly set off down the river for coffee and cake. Shallow? Us?
Molesey Boat Club pulled out all the stops and upgraded us to first class: proper table with all mod cons (i.e. seats) and coffee served to us in proper cups. Warmed by the sun and enjoying our new freedoms, the conversation turned to outside amenities. One of our party indicated an interest in a summer house and was trying to explain the difference between a summer house versus a shed. Liz remained unconvinced: “It's still a shed.”
When the conversation turned to caterpillar cakes, we knew it was time to leave. Does Colin know there's a caterpillar cake named after him?
We headed back to Cheam via Thames Ditton and Chessington. I experienced a couple of close passes on Chessington Road - perhaps a helmet camera would be a good idea.
Sunday, 18 April 2021
Saturday was bright and sunny, but not warm. There were some familiar faces at Beddington Park, some which were familiar eighteen months ago, and a couple less familiar, one brand new.
It was clear that we would need to split into two groups; the larger group chose the flatter ride to Merton Abbey Mills and four of us opted to go up to Caterham-on-the-Hill.
Ken, Maggie, Steve P and I made our way through Millionaire's Row and Coulsdon. We had hoped to make Chaldon Church for three-o-clock to observe the one minute's silence for the Duke of Edinburgh but we only got to the car park on Farthing Downs to pay our respects.
From there we went up Doctors Lane and along the ridge to Coffee and Creams in Caterham-on-the-Hill. The weather was mild enough for us to sit in our coats and enjoy our cake and from there we went across Kenley Aerodrome and down Old Lodge Lane to Purley Fire Station, where Steve peeled off to meet his five-o-clock business. It was good to welcome you to the club, Steve, and we hope to see you again.
Maggie's photo of Ken, Paul & Steve P at Dollypers Hill Nature Reserve on Old Lodge Lane
The three of us used Hartley Down to avoid the A23 back in to Coulsdon and climbed up to Woodcote Park Golf Club on our way home.
Friday, 16 April 2021
28 riders in five groups left Nonsuch Park and made it to Battersea Park via Richmond Park and Putney all returned by different routes.
The tea and lunch stops varied accordingly. Our group stopped at Richmond Park and the Skylark cafe on Wandsworth Common. Although cold the weather stayed dry.
Thursday, 15 April 2021
Tuesday, 13 April 2021
All-day ride No 2 will depart from Nonsuch on Sat 8th May. We will take a route up to Epsom Downs and through Walton on the Hill to the top of Box Hill for coffee. We descend and cross over to make a slow ascent of Ranmore on the very pretty route through Denbies. Noone will be left behind and the ride along the top makes the climb worthwhile. We'll descend Crocknorth to lunch at East Horsley and then downhill all the way to Cobham for tea. A return to the Ewell area will be by Stoke D'Abernon, Oxshott and Horton Country Park. We may have to carry sandwiches as I am having difficulty booking a pub in the area on a Saturday lunch time.
An online virtual AGM will be held on Tuesday 11 May, 2021 to start at 10:00 a.m.
We hope that as many people as possible will participate and we will invite everyone to connect from 09:30 onwards to be sure that we are all ready for the meeting itself to start at 10:00.
We will also hold a practice meeting at 09:30 on Tuesday 4th May, an open session to allow everyone to check that they can connect and to sort out any technical issues that may arise. Many of us will be prompted to install the 'Teams' app on our PCs or other chosen device so consider doing this before the session.
Please register your intention to attend the AGM by email to the Secretary.
Please also advise whether you will join the Practice Meeting and
advise what device you will use to connect, (e.g. Windows PC or Laptop,
Apple Mac PC or Laptop, Apple iPad, iPhone, Android Tablet, Android
To everyone who registers we will send instructions on how to set up and use Microsoft 'Teams' with an internet browser or using the 'Teams' app which will need to be installed at the time of joining the meeting or beforehand.
The meetings will be hosted on Cycling UK's 'Teams' platform and supervised by Tom Page at CUK.
For each meeting a web link will be emailed to all participants shortly before the meeting.
Hon. SecretaryCTC South west London
Tuesday, 6 April 2021
by Steve H
With the strictures of the last many months slowly and cautiously being lifted, organised cycling in small groups of up to six riders is now permitted. Transmission risks are further reduced by the fact that this activity takes place outdoors, usually in the teeth of a stiff headwind which should help to keep the virus at bay. So a merry band assembled on another cold and cloudy Saturday (semper eadem) in the car park of Sutton library for our first group outing in recent memory, ironically next to an empty virus testing centre. Paul was leading again with Maggie back-marking as we set off for Hampton Court, creaking legs and tender situpons notwithstanding, or sitting.
Paul and I had done this ride before and our previous route out through Worcester Park and Tolworth took us via the Dittons, Long and Thames, to the green opposite Hampton Court Station, much less crowded on this occasion with the lack of sunshine. We visited the small cafe that we found last time and queued up for coffee and cake although with outdoor seating being in short supply, we resorted to our not so scenic bench across the road. Subsequently it turned out that another group lead by Lynda was similarly bench hunting just upstream at Molesey lock.
Back again through Weston Green, an unexpected place with a village pond and the Italian style church of All Saints, a 20th century design by the architect of Guildford cathedral. Someone there kindly offered to take a photograph of the whole group by the pond so we duly mustered an arm's length apart, army style. This was the same spot at which the first photograph of me was taken on my return to Saturday cycling a month ago now and it makes for an interesting point of comparison.
The Famous Six
A year off the bike has definitely slowed me up, not that I was particularly rapid before but a lack of energy remains a concern. Maggie has suggested that I may need to pay more attention to nutrition, this was discussed in a pre-Covid Sou'Wester article* and it's not something that I've thought much about before. Although I do now carry a few nibbles on board it could be that pre-flight fuelling is the key, after all you wouldn't expect a car to go far with no petrol in the tank. The knee protectors seen in the previous picture turn out to be somewhat of a mixed blessing, although not called into action so far (tempting providence I know) they do cause chafing on the legs and I suspect that they are not intended for long distances. All in all though, very much a positive outcome of being back in the saddle and the social aspect of group riding has also made a welcome return.
When we reached Worcester Park the others returned towards Sutton but I elected to carry on up the High Street and back through North Cheam, past the pile of bricks that was the empty building at the crossroads. A little blue sky was in evidence towards the end but we definitely missed out on the Easter sunshine.
*Preparing for a Ride: Louise Gagnon The Sou'wester July/August 2019
Monday, 5 April 2021
by Karen C
After giving myself a good talking-to, I ventured out on my first group ride in months. Partly suffering from “lockdownitis” (is it in the dictionary yet?!), and my other, albeit lame, excuse - it was a bit parky outside.
So with a few extra layers on, I joined the short ride led by Lynda, to the “Eight on the River” cafe at Molesey Boat Club. The route took us through Surbiton and Thames Ditton, where three of our group decided that was far enough. Myself, Sharon, Sabina and Bernard continued on towards Molesey via Hampton Court, guaranteed that Lynda’s selected venue would serve quality coffee.
Once we'd secured said coffee we paused to gaze lovingly (or longingly?) at the cordoned-off seating area overlooking the river. We ducked and dodged the rowing eights coming off the river, stacking their shells with military precision, before making our way to a socially-distanced spot at the adjacent park.
One moment we were standing chatting in a non-huddle type of way (and I was saying something really interesting as usual) when several of our party, with gay abandon, raced towards an unoccupied park bench.
Unconfirmed reports of unoccupied park bench at Molesey substantiated today by Lynda's group
Unconfirmed reports of unoccupied park bench at Molesey substantiated today by Lynda's group
Overwhelmingly satiated, we set off again towards Kingston via Bushy Park. After farewells to Sabina and Bernard, we headed towards Cheam Park via the back streets of North Cheam and Fairlands Park, which made a welcome change from the usual Stoneleigh route. Well done Lynda!