Extreme social distancing between groups evident as seen in the first picture!
Nine riders met at Cheam Station south side and were promptly split into two ‘Government authorised social distancing groups.’ Mick Curtis, Dave Rapson, Adam Domaingue, Sean Slammon were led by me, and Tracy Caudle, Trevor Kite and Dave Clarke were led by Bill Martin.
The two groups set off a few minutes apart and never saw each other again until we reached the elevenses target at East Molesey. My route took us the fastest possible way to the venue knowing that an early arrival time is the key to all these outdoor venues. We battled with gusty winds throughout the ride, which took us along the Hogsmill River all the way to Kingston. After crossing Kingston Bridge the tow path was followed all the way to East Molesey.
The clouds were racing across the sky as I looked towards Hampton Court Bridge and I knew we had a tight opportunity ‘weather wise’ to complete the ride before the expected storm was to arrive around 3pm. We had been drizzled on at the start and things were a little murky for the trip out. However whilst waiting for our food and drinks the sun poked a tiny hole through the cloud and we made the decision that the return trip would be a little longer via Esher and Claygate.
Bill’s group arrived around fifteen minutes after us. I do not know their route, probably similar to ours. I can report that Bill did some ‘horizontal mud riding’ by the river just outside Ewell and Dave Clarke’s chain came off as usual!
Our band of merry men headed west after re-fueling towards Walton on Thames and around a mile before turned east towards Thames Ditton crossing the River Mole and ploughing our way across a muddy Arbrook Common, Claygate area. It got more murky soon after and so I decided to leave out climbing back through Prince’s Coverts, Malden Rushett for a more direct route in the drizzle to Chessington South. The weather was closing in and becoming very windy, the storm was almost upon us! After Chessington South we entered Horton Country Park where I left the group to ride back to Cheam by themselves as once again my car was parked in the Country Park to avoid road works in the Ewell area.
Good ride chaps – 33.35 miles