Three riders met at Cheam Station south side at 09.00hrs: Dave Repson, Bill Martin and myself leading the ride.
It again was blowing a gale with winds gusting 42mph plus from the south west. We rode out through Nonsuch Park taking shelter from the wind amongst the creaking trees as we headed for Ewell and the Hogsmill River. After following the Hogsmill out to Castle Hill and Chessington South Station we crossed the Leatherhead Road and traversed Barwell Lane through to the farm to negotiate the ‘ever flooded access road’ to the bridge over the A3.
The ‘Flood of Doom’ was handled expertly by all riders following me through the shallow right hand side of the road. Two weeks ago I had learned by experience not to ride through the middle as there’s a large hole that makes the flood considerably deeper (axle deep!) to ford resulting in ‘certain members’ ending up with wet socks! (Myself, you gotta love Seal Skin socks!) We descended to the outskirts of the southern corner of Claygate Common before heading back over the A3 to Prince’s Covert woods and Mick Curtis’s ‘favourite climb’ (Seriously he hates it!) to Telegraph Hill just outside Leatherhead. The wind was now behind us and so the climb was a little easier than usual. (Sorry Mick, you missed out on the ‘wind assist’ today up your favourite hill!)
We dropped into Leatherhead avoiding the main road by using various alleyways between the residential houses just for a change and somewhere along the route, due to my chatting away to Dave and Bill, we ended up riding through a primary school playground in error. Luckily the gates at each end of the playground were open and I corrected our route.
In the park alongside the railway in central Leatherhead the cycle path was blocked by a fallen tree from the railway embankment. We skirted around it and soon after arrived at the cafe via an ‘iggy, wiggy’ route I’d researched to the north-side of the old town bridge, along a brief stretch of the River Mole leading on to the roadway up to the cafe.
Our route back with the wind behind us was led by Bill Martin using some bridleways unbeknownst to me just north of the Leatherhead M25. I’d just yesterday looked at the OS map for alternative routes and found two that I either had never cycled along, or had totally forgotten their routes over the years.
Anyway Bill’s route back and my two routes I’d just studied were serendipitously the same thing and so everyone was happy — explore and learn!
We crossed the railway line by way of a pedestrian crossing just south of Ashtead Station that took us onto Ashtead common. From there we started to slither and climb up and over to the other side of said common. The descent was no easier as the mud is clay laden and with all the rain recently it is like riding on oil. Upon reaching the other side of the Common we crossed into Horton Park, where Bill and Dave decided to play in as much mud as possible in the last few miles before home. (It’s like riding with two Labradors!) Today was no different and so we found more gloopy, boggy mud routes down through the park and back to Ewell.
Upon crossing the Ewell Bypass Dave found some more gloop in the back corner of Nonsuch Park on a trail I’d not ridden on for many years, and so more mud was added to my bike just before it had to be cleaned and put in the car!
Dave suggested we stop for tea/coffee at the cafe in the park and so we did. More conversations about future rides, tea, coffee and ‘ride availability’ ensued before we parted company in the ‘Cheam Massive’.