The rain held off on Saturday, just. There were nine riders altogether and we agreed to split. Those who wanted the shorter ride, perhaps to end in time for the football, went with Colin to Oaks Park. I led a group to Streatham Common . It's an urban ride that we had not done since way before the pandemic and our intention had been to reconnoitre on Friday, but we'd got a dowsing on Thursday night before and after abandoning the Cyclism ride and I'm sad to say we didn't fancy another soaking on a miserable Friday, so I winged it.
More had happened in nineteen months than we bargained for. It started with the locked gates at Wandle Park. In West Croydon we would have turned up the traditional route of two years ago had not our leader spotted it was now a one way street, seconds before he saw the police car coming down it. We found a better route! The tree in Norbury Grove which was once charmingly stooped was now sunk so low we had to dismount to get under it. The fences at the Rookery Cafe had deteriorated so there was little point in padlocking our bikes to them.
Roger, Anna, Maggie & Ken outside the Nettlefold House at Norbury Grove.
But the biggest change was in Norbury itself, where they have built a new supermarket with a six foot wall around the car park where we used to access the path towards Norbury Station. That took some map consultation, a zebra crossing walk and a detour before we were on our way again. Exactly what a recce would have sorted. The wrong turn at the roundabout is best glossed over! Compared to all these, the locked gate on the industrial estate on Beddington Lane was a mere irritation, but you used to be able to ride through the car parks south of Asda and stay off the busy, narrow road.
Luckily we had a cheery, patient group, the rain held off and we all had a pleasant ride. But we shan't be doing something like that again without a dry run!