Sunday Mar 30, 2008

Riding to Wisborough Green

With the clocks going forward that allows me to bring out the Summer Bike. Even when the weather when I got up was less than promising but since I 've been waiting to get back on the summer bike for some time, counting the days, nothing was going to stop me. I've not got around to fitting the GPS on this bike yet and with the Helmet Camera already mounted on the handle bars and a “traditional” bike computer it is hard to see how I will. So today I just hit the start button and put it in my pocket to get a track of where we went. I'm glad I did.

On arriving at the meeting point there was no one there but after a few minutes a single rider joined me and suggested we try and ride the South Western spring ride route in reverse, but not all of it!

With just two riders who are reasonably evenly matched this made for a really great ride. None of that hanging around waiting at the top of hills, well not much, so we ate up the miles and were really glad to find the Cafe in Wisborough Green again. On leaving Wisborough Green we found ourselves on the route of the South Western Ride again and had hopes of find the hill only to find that we were taken back to Wisbourough Green again so we decided to take the other road that went north and find our own way home. The route turned out to be really good even if it did have a sting in the tail in the form of Pitch Hill followed by Coombe Bottom.

My “traditional” bike computer claimed 82 miles and the GPS 78. Having seen how the GPS has not really kept enough points for an accurate track I'll take the 82 miles.1. 16.4mph average.

I've uploaded the route to It was really good and I would recommend it.

1I know I'm not fooling anyone as if the GPS milage had been higher I would have used that on the basis that it would have less calibration error. Clearly Garmin need to make a GPS that will store more than 3 ½ hours of data at 1 point per second.

Sunday Mar 09, 2008

Surrey Lanes and triplet repairs

A ride of two halves. Due to one rider having an injury that demands that he not over exert himself we devised a relatively flat route to Headley and then off into the Surrey lanes. The reason for the two halves was that at the bottom of Pebble Coombe our injured rider turned for home leaving just four of us to “power” around the remaining road.

Thanks to the wonders of my GPS I know that that left us with 35 miles of fast1 and furious. For the second half I have, as always, an excuse for being slow. My front tyre was not properly inflated. Yes I need to ride more need to find some hills to train up. I' counting the days until the summer bike come out.

The GPS also gives some extra information around how much climbing: max: 745ft min: 34ft ascent: 1235ft descent: 1178ft, ie it was flat.

On getting home I had to do some maintenance that I have not found the time for for a few weeks. The triplet needed new “front” chains. There are a number of things that are odd about changing the triplet “front” chains. First you need three chains to replace the two front chains. A standard chain is short by about 10 links, which is why you need three chains to replace the two at the rear. So I now have a chain with 90 links in it for next time. The second is that the chains are tensioned using eccentric bottoms brackets which are a bugger2 to get to turn so that you can tension the chains correctly. The final odd thing was that the chain I removed had a half link in it, so I bought a half links for each chain, but when I fitted the chains I did not need the half links. On the upside the chains last much longer than derailleur chains and they the replacements are very cheap (£5.99) at least compared with a 10 speed chain (£32.99) for my summer bike.

1For us.

2Technical term.

Sunday Mar 02, 2008

Short fast geeky ride to Windsor

Today being mother's day we only went for a short ride to Windsor. This being the first outing of my new GPS so I can now bore show you with the full ride map.

The ride was short and windy which did at least mean I was able float along at 30mph as we left Windsor all the way to Old Windsor.

As the uber geek on the ride today I also grabbed some video but I won't inflict that on you as well.

Sunday Feb 24, 2008

South Western Road Club's Early Spring 100km Cyclosportive

Today the Molesey BBT joined the South Western Road Club's Early Spring 100km Cyclosportive. The claimed 100km turned into 65 miles and they removed one early hill and inserted an extra one at around 32 miles. The weather could not have been more different from the last SWRC event I rode. Today it was warm and dry actually too warm for what I was wearing. The route took us over the North Downs twice over Leith hill and there was the bonus hill somewhere in Sussex. I would quite like to know exactly where the bonus hill was so I could avoid it in future. With the perfect weather the only problem was the that the roads in a number of places were damp and very slippy resulting in two fallers that I saw. I almost came a cropper on a left turn that had a man hole cover just in the wrong place however nothing more than a wobble and a comment of support from the rider I was trying to stay with.

A truly magnificent day. A well organised event, well signposted and a delightful route (except the hills). I ended up doing 92 miles by the time I had ridden to the event and ridden back all on just one banana which thankfully I was given at the halfway point.

Thank you to the SWRC.

Sunday Feb 10, 2008

A really hard ride

That hurt, my legs still hurt.

Only five people out today and we went out via Walton and Weybridge then up and over Newlands Corner. After the decent the group split in two with three heading for an early finish and two of us went on. Through Shere, Peaslake and then up to the top of Pitch hill all as fast as our legs would take us. Dropping down Pitch hill, which despite being “closed” was remarkably open. We then headed for Henfold Lakes via Forest Green, Ockley and Newdigate again all as fast as our legs would take us.

Then over breakfast my cycling buddy mentioned how disappointed he was with the average speed we had achieved so far which meant that the return journey was to be ridden flat out.

Ended up doing 64 miles at 16.4mph.

Sunday Feb 03, 2008

Coombe Bottom and Box Hill

We had eight riders out for what should have been are cold cold ride but in fact was a very pleasant, moderately hill ride over Coombe Botton via Honeysuckle Bottom. This is pretty much the route I was doing to work, before this blog, when working in Bagshot when I wanted a long ride in. It also gave two good hills, first Honeysuckle Bottom and then the climb over the Hogs Back that leads to Christmas Pie for a 35 mile ride into the office. So I know this hill quite well and for the first time in a while I actually felt quite good climbing.

Then at the bottom turned left for a blast along the A25, where I got this short bit of video of most of the riders, if you feel sad enough to watch it turn the volume down to zero first.

Then over Box hill where again I felt great climbing but the 9 minutes to do the zig sags showed that there is a big difference between feeling great and being great. Then off the the Cafe in Leatherhead.

The route home was the usual through Oxshot and Esher and the usual climb into Esher was contested, well I contested it and reached 29mph on the climb!

At least 47 miles, for parts of the ride my speedometer was reading 0 so it could have been more.

Sunday Jan 27, 2008

Not quite going to Maidenhead.

Only five riders this morning and a deceptively cold morning it was too. In one of those strange coincidences I was already thinking we had not been to Windsor for a while when someone suggested we head out that way for a flat run to Maidenhead. However somewhere after Ascot we got all competitive as there was a group of riders up the road so we missed our left turn and ended up back in Windsor. Once we arrived at the Cafe I was actually very pleased as I realised just how cold my hands were. Nothing some Tea, which in the Top Twenty, as I have mentioned before means as much as you can drink and something to eat could not cure.

Then we returned via Old Windsor, it is easy to forget what a fabulous place Windsor until you cycle through it on a clear crisp (and yes cold) Sunday morning. Then home via Datchett, Staines and Shepperton.

50 miles, very gentle. Not going to get fit enough for the planned trip to Ventoux by doing rides like this however much I engjoyed it.

Sunday Jan 20, 2008

Breaking chains

A warm, very warm for this time of year, 52 mile ride with 8 riders. We went out over White Down the descent being unpleasant thanks to the damp road with signs of oil making the hairpin after the Pill Box particularly entertaining. Then over the A25 though Holmbury St Mary, Forest Green, Ockley and round to Henfold Lakes.

The usual return trip was interrupted by a puncture, hardly newsworthy, then during the quick sprint up the hill into Leatherhead a snapped chain. Once again it was one in the eye for those who laugh about the tool kit I carry. So rather than calling for a Taxi we repaired the broken chain by taking a link out (I was on my old tourer so the spare chain links I had were for a 5-7 speed chain not an 8-9 speed chain) and continued on our way. Breaking a chain is a great excuse reason to not compete on any of the climbs.

Sunday Jan 13, 2008

Ranmore & Box Hill

Despite the forecast of miserable weather this morning we had 7 riders out and were quickly heading out of Cobham when we took an unexpected left down Cobham Park Road. I can see why we've never been down there before as it essentially just does three sides of a rectangle and if we did not turn we would have just done the forth side. However it was very picturesque and since the purpose of the ride is just cycling actually going somewhere is not important.

In that vein after we went through Effingham Junction1 and then Effingham to climb up onto Ranmore we took both lefts so we ended up going along Hogden Lane which was closer to cyclo cross than road riding. Then along Ranmore Common Road and down Ranmore Road into Dorking. Again the descent down Ranmore Road was spectacular although on a wet road you either have to take it easy or trust that you can get round the bends without braking.

By now we were obviously on for a short ride and now we had the wind behind us as we flew north on the A24 not using the bike track as 30mph on the bike track is dangerous and we were heading for the Zig Zags which is more safely done from the main road. Up the Zig Zags after the first turn I was convinced I actually was a cycling God as I flew up the hill only to be returned to reality at the second turn when I turned into the wind that had been blowing me up the hill. I managed the hill in 8 minutes dead (and I almost was).

Then a more gentle run down over Headley to the Cafe in Leatherhead. From Leatherhead it was the usual run home only faster due to the massive tail wind.

One negative thing was the Audi that Hooted us in Esher, for daring to be on the road and then when he passed “washed his windscreen” with windscreen washers that seemed to miss his windscreen altogether. I have a word for people like that but this is family blog.

The short ride was only 42 miles and an average of 15.4mph.

1 Ah there is a mystical place of my my youth. The train my Dad would get home from work, the O2 (IIRC) from Victoria, used to terminate at Effingham Junction. What small boy would not wonder what wonderful things would be at this place. I'm glad I never managed to get there as the is actually very little to report from Effingham Junction, well at least for a small boy, unless I could have blagged my way into this shed.

Sunday Jan 06, 2008

Icy ride

The first BBT ride of the year did not start well. One rider managed to fall on ice 100 yards from his home. We ended up being six, with one rider looking like he had eaten the entire Turkey himself over Christmas! When I left the roads did not seem that bad but it was clear that any untreated roads were potentially covered in black ice. Hence we decided to keep to the main roads which would have been treated. Off out to Epson, via Walton on Thames to pick up one rider (why I don't just get picked up from Walton on Thames I am not sure, I do like the warm up though) then to Esher, turn left at the lights in Oxshot so that we stay on the main road and then all the way to Epson. We even stayed on the main road, past the cemetery, up onto the downs. Then down into Langley Vale. Here things went wrong as we forked left and then climbed into Walton on the Hill, where there was plenty of black ice and a four by four with an Ambulance in attendance and air bad deployed. We pushed the bikes for a bit until the road became less icy.

Once through Walton on the Hill we descended Pebble Coombe obviously, given the ice, being careful that the road was dry before letting the bikes run so only 44mph. Then out to Henfold Lakes for breakfast. The very nice people there were good enough to tell us that they will be closed next weekend so that we are not disappointed.

Home via Dorking, Leatherhead, Oxshot and then the sprint into Esher, which this week was contested as had a number of sprints today but the Esher sprint was a lesson in what happens when you attack to soon. Either you get a good gap and demoralise the other riders such that you win or they keep on trying and pass you as you slow having burned your legs to soon. The early attacker today achieved both of these results as one of the three left at that point did not chase. I did chase.

A fantastic ride, only 50 miles with a 16mph average but a cool crisp January day.

Sunday Dec 30, 2007

Last BBT ride of 2007

The last BBT ride of 2007 saw only four riders leave Walton (three left Molesey and we picked up a forth as we passed Walton Station) and we decided to head for Henfold Lakes, not least as I had phoned them yesterday to make sure they would be open. So it was out via Polesden Lacey, up the Zig Zags, where the man on the fixed wheel bike firmly put me in my place, about 50 yards back after the climb! Then down Pebble Coombe and to Henfold. One rider turned back at Fetcham as his new bike was not comfortable enough. The views from the top of Box Hill were spectacular as the day was just lovely.

The return trip was the usual via Dorking and Leatherhead and was uneventful except for dropping a rider in Oxshot as he just ran out of puff and did not catch us until we waited in Esher. I was knackered so was happy to only have one rider to contest the sprint into Esher1.

Ended up doing 55 miles. Average speed 16.25 mph, better than I thought!

1The thing about the “sprint into Esher” is that it is an unofficial sprint and is up hill. The trick is to not lead from the A3 roundabout up the initial rises into Esher unless you are feeling really strong so stay tucked in until some point, as late as possible, after the lights at the junction to Claygate and then give it your all. Today I let the other rider lead into Esher until just before the lights (as I started to feel guilty) and the damage had already been done. No need to sprint at all.

Sunday Dec 23, 2007

Santa Ride 2007

Twenty three Santas were out for the eighth annual Molesey BBT santa ride. Although ex-professional cyclist Santa seemed to have forgotten his Santa suit. I was pleased to see that the stripy Santa Suit was more popular this year with five stripy Santas.

All in all an excellent ride where we certainly brought a smile to plenty of people in Molesey, Thames Ditton, Surbiton, Kingston, Richmond, Twickenham and Teddington.

Sunday Dec 16, 2007

Cold and Hilly

I got out today for the last ride before this year's Santa run next week (meet 9:30 Sunday outside friendly Triffids in East Molesey. All you need is a bike and to be dressed in a Santa Suit). Six hardy individuals braved the cold for what turned out to be a very hilly fifty mile ride around the Surrey hills. The hills included Newlands Corner, The hill that goes part the Mullard Space Science Laboratory and White Down plus some smaller ones that were just in the way. It was a beautiful, if cold morning and mostly the roads were free of ice. The exceptions to this were just by the Mullard Space Science Laboratory and as we went through Holmbury St Mary luckily neither patch resulted in any falls.

The ride however was unfortunately not without incident. One bike decided that a spoke was going to let go while climbing White down and then when the rider tried to get back on the bike, not an easy task on a 1 in 6 hill, he managed to fall off. By the time I had ridden back down the hill to see where he had got to he was back up but resorted to pushing the bike to the top. We keep saying he should get some new wheels, ideally attached to a frame with brakes, gears, pedals, handlebars, stem seat pin and saddle all attached. Ie a completely new bike. I do hope Santa is listening.

Sunday Dec 02, 2007

To windsor via Tite hill

Only three were out today. I was actually surprised we got three as it was dark when I left and the weather forecast was for wind and rain. We decided to head to Windsor as one of our number was going to continue on to High Wycombe. Going via Tite Hill in Egham to add a bit of a challenge. The rain held off until we were leaving the cafe, but at least we then had the wind behind us for the run home.

Ended up doing just 43 miles, the last three hurting into a gale back from Molesey to Walton.

Sunday Nov 18, 2007

Against the wind

Only a short ride today, but with wind, which made it much more tiring. 48 miles all of which felt like it was into the wind, plus I had to ride it on my commuting bike rather than my old tourer. My commuting bike has always felt hard to ride fast so keeping up with the breaks was a problem.

I'm not looking forward to tomorrow's commute, forecast is: rain, wind (against me on the way to work) and cold.

Sunday Nov 04, 2007

Nine out in November

Nine riders in November, well at least to start, even that is not quite true as one caught us up in Cobham. So as we left Cobham there were nine of us climbing up past the Yehudi Menuhin School, somewhere behind me there was a coming together and one rider was off. Given that most of the nine had helmets on it was just our luck that the rider was un-helmeted, however despite this he had no head injuries or perhaps his woolly hat saved his life, a near certainty (Just for the record I am being ironic, if you believe some it would seem that falling of a bike is invariably fatal unless helmeted where in reality they make no difference at all).

We all continued on up over Polesden Lacey where the first three to turn back left us while six, including the faller took the right up on to Ranmore and then down what is a fantastic decent, fast with bends that are easily taken with out braking into Dorking. However in Dorking we managed to loose one rider, the faller, and in finding him we ended up not following my planned route but instead up Coldharbour where at the top three more riders turned for home leaving just three to to drop down to Ockham then to Capel and Newdigate. Short stop for breakfast at Henfold Lakes.

Then home. Once I got there my speedometer showed 59 miles which I think is at odds with mapmyride. I want a GPS.

Sunday Oct 21, 2007

Last ride on my summer bike

Next week the clocks go back so today was the last outing for this year of my “summer” bike. I've already stopped riding it to work as I need lights to get home, so I did not know until I got on it this morning that the speedometer is not working, I hate riding without a speedo. Silly I know but I have just got used to it.

It was cold. Despite having proper gloves and a hat on my hands got cold (normally I find that if I keep my head warm my hands are o.k. at all but the coldest weather). I should have put my thick gloves in my pocket. We rode out to Byefleet and Pyrford and then up Newlands Corner. By the time I reached the top I was then warm and beginning to regret agreeing to a short ride but a deal is a deal. So along to Dorking and then Breakfast at Leatherhead. Two of us to a slight detour over Ranmore, via one of my least favourite hills, White Down, it has two 1 in 7 stretches and I find it really hard to get a good rhythm going on it (code for I need a smaller first gear). We still got to the Cafe first though the others suffering a broken spoke which slowed them.

Return journey was fast and uneventful until we reached Esher and I turned off with a rider who lives in Weybridge to head for home. Two proper roadies went past, did not say good morning, and then failed to get away from us. I know it is not big and it is not clever but I could not resist putting my head down and seeing if I could drop them. The other rider from BBT followed and we had dropped them when I turned off. However they were looking like reeling in my riding buddy which I felt bad about as I started it.

No idea how far or how fast.

Sunday Oct 14, 2007

Back on the bike

I've had two weeks off the bike and had to put up a US engineer telling me how wonderful a Bike Friday is when travelling allowing him to take his bike all around the world. I can see his point. However:

  1. I would need to travel more to make it worth while (ie I can't afford another bike at the moment).

  2. I'm still limited to 3 bikes by She who must be obeyed (although if the bike is in a suit case then it is not really a bike).

So that is not an option for at least a few days years. Perhaps a travelling bag for the Brompton.

Back to todays ride. I felt fat and unfit as I rode down the road and on turning onto the main road to Molesey I could see a rider ½ a mile down the road so went in pursuit. This allowed me to show that I am unfit and I only caught him as we entered Molesey making up the ½ mile in 2 miles so perhaps not that unfit after all.

We went off to Newdigate to meet one of our number who was marshalling the Redmon cycling club's Gentlemans Grand Prix (a two up time trial where one rider must be over 40 and follow the younger rider). We went over Coombe bottom and headed for Horsham where we got lost but eventually found the road to Rusper and then to Newdigate. Breakfast at Henfold Lakes then a “fast”, well not that fast (as I am unfit after all) run back to Molesey so the Marshal could be home by 12:30.

68 miles Average speed 16.25 mph

Sunday Sep 23, 2007

Where was everyone?

Only three riders out today and one of those had to be back by 9 to take his Son to rugby.

We went out to West Byfleet and then into a misty Pyrford, Ripley where we lost the early leaving rider leaving just two to go off to East Clandon and over the South Downs through Shere and over the hill to Ewhurst then around to Ockley, Capel, Newdigate and then for breakfast at Henfold Lakes.

Then home for and early finish. 60Miles, 16.5mph average

Not sure why so few turned up since it was a beautiful morning.

Sunday Sep 16, 2007

Going to Wiggonholt

Today one of our number had a plan. We were off to a Cafe at the RSPB centre at Wiggonholt in Sussex. I would map this ride but for the fact that for a large amount of the time I have no clue where we were. We went out over Coombe Bottom and then down through Albury and then some route that saw us ending up at Dunsfold. From there is all becomes much more hazy however we ended up at the Cafe not a minute or mile to soon with 55miles on the clock I was definitely ready for food.

And food we had. After the initial panic when they said they did not do breakfasts on at the weekend we managed to get them to agree beans on toast were not breakfast so were o.k. However it did not stop at the usual beans on toast. Apparently the cakes were irresistible and you can see why. One of the riders disappeared inside and came back with cakes all round. So any pretence that this ride was going to help reduce my ever spreading stomach was thrown to the wind.

The return journey was as much of an adventure as the outbound and given that we twice ended up on the A24 I think we were lost quite a lot of the time. The route became sane when we got to Capel and then we knew the way home, I think my bike could get home from there on it's own!

I'd spent most of the ride desperately trying to hold on to the wheel of the tour leader who is as on form as I am off form. Obviously when there were sprints they were contended as best we could, but any wins were hollow victories since the wheel sucking had been shameless.

Note to self, get new legs, loose the spare tyre or perhaps a new bike, yeah bound to be the bike and not the rider....

Ended up doing 99miles and was to tired to just loop around to make it a round 100, Average speed 17.45mph.


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