Saturday 28th January, off road West End Cricket Club

Seven riders for the off today: Dave Rapson, Trevor Hughes, Tracy Caudle, Trevor Kite, Bill Kent, Mick Curtis and myself leading.

Muddy, cold and overcast was the order of the day. Our route would take us out via Horton Park, Epsom Common, Prince’s Coverts, Esher Common and West End Common. On Esher Common Trevor Kite took us up and over a short, but steep hillock to add to my route knowledge. To my surprise I was second to the top! After this we undulated our way over to the Old Portsmouth Road onto West End Common and another short, steep climb and descent.

It was at this point just around four hundred meters from the tea stop that Mick Curtis made the club’s  historical annals of  ‘Unofficial Amphibious Award Winners,’ the listings of individuals who have used their cycling gear for swimming. For alas, a missed footing had him wallowing in the shallows of the pond next to him. (No ducks, geese or other fowl were harmed during this incident!) After Mick returned safely to dry land supported by Tracy, Trevor K, and co, we continued to the tea stop, luckily close by, for a drying out session.

The tea stop was nice and warm. Mick’s gloves ended up on the top of the hot coffee-making machine behind the counter and for Mick, fortunately, Lycra does tend to drain and dry quickly. However you will have to ask Mick how many pints of pond water were in his boots on the ride home! Unfortunately this tea venue was sadly bereft of hot food, not for the first time recently! So various muffins, flapjacks etc were consumed with our hot beverages.

The ride back was through Thames Ditton, where Bill Kent diverted for home in Twickenham, Littleworth Common and I had some new experimental trails to explore through the back of Claygate. I’d found these with the aid of OS Maps and Google Earth’s ‘Street View.’ The new trail route exploration was successful ‘access wise’ for future cycling, and will be used again in the future, probably to avoid the boggy Arbrook Common area in Winter!

The new route joined up with one of the bridleway routes using an underpass of the A3 I’d found a few years ago. Fortunately this infamous underpass wasn’t flooded three feet deep this time and so the retracing of our steps wasn’t required. Soon we were in Chessington South and heading back to Horton Country Park. Once in Horton most of the group headed east for Sutton whilst Trevor Hughes, who lives locally, headed back with me towards the car park to carry on his short journey to home.

26 miles for me, just about right for a January ride.




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