As the club slowly awakens from its enforced ‘Boris slumber,’ ten enthusiastic members met at Nonsuch Mansion for the first officially sanctioned Saturday MTB ride of 2021.
Because of the number of participants Bill Martin split the group into two. The faster boys, Dave Rapson, Adam Domaingue, Trevor Kite, and Fin went with Bill Martin. The slower group went with myself (nursing a recovering sprained ankle from three weeks previous) Mick Curtis, Tracy Caudle, Dave Clarke, Gareth, and Shaun Slammon.
The weather was overcast grey and cold with a cutting 10mph North East wind which blew us along on the way out. Our route took us out the back of Ewell along the Hogsmill River, out across Horton Country Park and onto Ashtead Common.
I remarked it was nice to hear once again Mick Curtis’s motor whirring away on his electric bike behind me. Indeed it was nice once again also to hear the banter from club members after my having to ride locally ‘Billy no mates’ in Berkshire during the three months of enforced lockdown.
Soon we were in River Lane, Leatherhead, which was our crossing point from the River Mole to get to Fetcham. The two groups met and became one at this point. With a climb out of Fetcham we were soon on Bookham Common heading for Downside and Ockham. Alas a route memory brain burp by yours truly had us on an unexplored trail and slightly off course eventually coming out at Effingham Station Road.
However, serendipitously it has now been noted for future use when the cafe at The Vinery Garden Centre re-opens, whenever that will be!! The route was adjusted and we got to Ockham Common, The Bites around 11:15hrs. It was just as well we were on bikes as the car park was not unexpectedly ‘rammed’ with cars.
The route back had the groups once again splitting into two, with some opting for a longer ride back along the River Wey, Thames and Esher.
My group climbed Semaphore Hill, Ockham Common and headed for Downside, Stoke D’Abernon, Oxshott and back across Prince’s Coverts, Malden Rushett. The Coverts were thankfully relatively mud free and drying out nicely so our pace was fairly brisk despite the gusty, cutting cold headwind.
We retraced our steps over Ashtead Common to Horton Park, now with a car park full to overflowing. Our group split up somewhat at this point for various home directions with Bill, Mick Curtis and Shaun heading back towards Sutton.
Good ride everyone – good to be back.
My mileage 30.3.