Four riders met at Cheam Station Southside at 09:00hrs, Dave Rapson, Bill Martin, Mick Curtis and myself leading the gig. The weather was damp and gloomy with a little drizzle in the air, gloomy enough to put our flashing bike lights on.
Our route took us out through the fields of East Ewell and out over Cuddington to Nork Park where we encountered the ubiquitous BMW driver parked inconsiderately across the path. We carefully struggled past without damaging the vehicle, but I bet other people trying to pass it may not have been as careful!
Our next landmark was Tattenham Corner on Epsom Downs and we then descended the back of Walton Downs to a nice muddy ascent of Sheep Walk, which for me is the first time this year. It was then via a bridleway to Headley and then picked up Pebble Lane (Roman Road) and headed for Ashtead.
It was at this point our ‘Eyes on the ground roving reporter’ got the following scoop and exclusive picture. Bill Martin admits “some mud isn’t rideable,” and Mick Curtis declared, “The conditions are so bad today I’m thinking of going home and joining the Phoenix!”
Exclusive picture below. (Cameraman D. Rapson)
Bill Martin gets stuck in the mud.
At Ashtead CoffeeActive was found to be full up with cyclists hiding from the overcast gloom and drizzle and so we headed for the Woodman Pub in Lower Ashtead. Alas we arrived at 10:45hrs and the venue doesn’t open till 11:30hrs. We decided to go for ‘Plan C,’ an untried cafe in the parade of shops just up the road in Lower Ashtead known to me from recent Google searches. Things looked good as we arrived; four road bikes outside and that was all the recommendation we needed.
After elevenses Dave Rapson took us on a little route-learning exercise: an unknown railway underpass crossing point onto Ashtead Common I was not aware of. Thank you, noted and stored for future use. We crossed the Common and dropped into Horton Park where Bill Martin found some more nice mud in some fields that was rideable (barely!) and so we enjoyed a laugh and a splosh through to Bonesgate Nature Reserve near Tolworth. Bill again found some splodge to ride across before we finally picked up the Hogsmill River and headed for Ewell and home to Cheam.
Lots of glorious mud encountered today. Not so nice when it’s been turned into soup by Jeeps, Land Rovers or similar as in the case of Pebble Lane!