Ride report: MTB ride to Los Alamos cafe*, Leatherhead.

Seven riders left Cheam Station at the usual time 0905hrs L.B.G.T (Local Bob Green Time!)

In no particular order, Mick Ayliffe, Chris Devereux, Paul White, Steve Edgar, Dave Repson, Bob Green, Roger Smith (The Surrey one, not the Bridgnorth one! Severn Valley Railway in joke : Two club cyclists; two separate clubs!)

The ride took us across Nonsuch Park  and for once no joggers. Our group were a few minutes early so had to put up with a young man running clear of the pack in his race, clearly half a lap ahead and unfortunately making  the Clarencourt riders look bad as he pulled away from our group – the young fellow running at more than 10 mph.

A brief ride along the Hogsmill River and then south into Horton Country Park and the first ‘porridge’ of the ride after last night’s heavy downpours.  We crossed the very quiet and pleasant B280, Christchurch Road for it is currently blocked at the junction of the A243, Leatherhead Road whilst the highways department improve the junction as it’s a ‘bottleneck’ traffic to Chessington World of Adventures. The older of us will know the site as Chessington Zoo where animals from around the word could be seen and looked upon with young eyes in wonder. Now it’s fast fairground rides and burgers!

Across Ashtead Common and then a minor wait  at the other end on the Leatherhead Road for riders to catch up before the ‘Iggy Wiggy’ bit into Leatherhead.

It was at this point Roger Smith reported a problem with Mr Ayliffe’s transmission. The report was that a ‘chain suck’ at the derailleur end of Mick’s bike had resulted in a parting of said gear hanger etc from said frame immobilising  Mr Ayliffe.

Both Steve Edgar and Paul White (Cycle mechanics of some years) volunteered to go back and turn Mick’s bike into a “Single Gear” bike and started to head back for the rescue. Three hundred yards or so after reversing Paul White thought it might be a good idea to find out where the “Los Amigos cafe”  actually was in Leatherhead for future reference as he’d never been there before and so ended up three minutes behind Steve Edgar in the rescue attempt.

Paul White arrived back at the B280, ChristchurchRoad to meet Steve and the distant figure of the lonely Mick walking towards lovely cups of tea and biscuits, for Trevor Hughes was at home  less than a mile away and had offered a lift and to be his rescue angel.

(MJA: I will return the favour, Tilburst/Woldingham rescue one of these days! PW)

This made both rescue riders happy that MJA was in safe hands and so to the task of catching up with the group, already into possibly on their third cups of tea and  second breakfasts for all we knew took place.

We put on a brisk turn of pace and arrived halfway through their beans on toast at the Los Amigos Cafe. Barry Gregory arrived for a chat over tea and toast etc, and there were some laments in the conversation  for those members who had inadvertently missed the London Cycle Show at the Excel in Docklands, (Myself among them, must try harder next year!)

Confusion reigned with the cafe owners as cups of tea were ordered and Steve and Paul managed to pay for the same two cups of tea twice being the “Ever Exceedingly Polite Members of the Clarencourt Cycling Club.” One just pays and doesn’t like to ask if one’s cycling companion has indeed purchased the tea on arrival instead of on departure!”

The club likes to support small cafes, so this extra purchase of non consumed tea was counted as a tip!

After this Mr Edgar took the lead on a little path he knew through a contentious, golf course building project  of Cherkley Court, leatherhead, Surrey, UK.  Purported to be owned by a rich group ‘Who are rich, know their way around planning laws,  and what can be gotten away with in the case of what can euphemistically be classed as ‘Green Belt.’

The case is with the Supreme Courts!

Thankfully, at this time the bridal way still exists through the site, albeit  ‘porridge’  and surrounded all around  by land vandalism.

We plodded our way along the  route and at the top parted company with Mr Edgar who’s route took him south to Pixham (All downhill, by the way!)

The remaining five, Chris Devereux, Paul White, Dave Repson, Bob Green, Roger Smith (Done in the order they arrived at the top) headed  north east for another three climbs towards and over Langley Vale and then onto the rear bridal ways of Epsom Racecourse.

As the intrepid group came close to the end of their climb over Epsom Downs,  of course there’s always one unlucky so & so and much to everyone’s relief, it was the most recent member to the club Dave Repson with a front wheel that just doesn’t like air in it for too long.

A speedy change of inner tube took place and after Roger Smith had managed to wrestle his bike from the tree branch that had grow up through the spokes of his wheel whilst we were waiting we were once again heading across the downs towards Cheam.

Roger Smith headed in the direction of home and the rest of the group  ‘Iggy wigged’ our way back through Nonsuch Park and home.

*Why Los Alamos in the title? (Note to ones-self, Beans on toast, hills before breakfast and not after!)

Note to Dave Repson: Panaracer Fire XC Pro. Be aware of your fork clearance dia for tyres, 1.9, 2.1 etc.



Comments 3

  1. Excellent account Paul and an excellent ride. Thanks. We did 22.6 miles at a stately 8.7 mph average, climbing 425 mete resin the process. Won’t see you all this Sat. as I am in Robin Hood’s Bay. Chris

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