Saturday 6th April, MTB Stoke D’ Abernon

Three riders met at Cheam Station at 09.00hrs: Mick Curtis, Chris Messett and myself leading today.

The weather was chilly with a breeze rather than a wind from the north east.

Our route took us out cross Nonsuch Park, with no ‘Stunt dogs’ encountered today!  We trundled through the back of Ewell following the Hogsmill River to the south west to Castle Hill.  I wanted to check out a new link through the back of the local residential area of Castle Hill, which was fruitful. It proved a useful route to remember for those winter days when you might not want to ‘plough’ through Horton Park’s mud.

We headed out across Ashtead Common towards Leatherhead Road with all in good spirits to Telegraph Hill. So far we’d avoided two dog collisions despite the less than savvy pet owners! We crossed Telegraph Hill without incident and continued to ascend the bumpy route to the gates of Prince’s Covert.

Prince’s Covert was navigated through the descent and left turn to the acsent without any trouble.  Until yet another encounter of five dogs all off their leads, all owned by the same owner, basically out of control. One narrowly escaped trying to jump, snarling under my front wheel.  In our club, safety is the priority and thanks to our skill and long experience (basically: “dogs are stupid, some owners not too dissimilar”) no cyclist or dumb animal was hurt, with the emphasis on ‘dumb animal” for dog owners reading!

We crossed over the Oxshott Road (A244) …and, by the way, south bound today the Police had hidden a camera van on the descent out of Oxshott Village left side of the road behind the wall with the vines on it. So keep the speed down and give us cyclists a chance!

Once across the Leatherhead Road we descended the bridleway into Stoke D’Abernon and had elevenses at Squires Garden Centre on the Cobham Road.  We avoided the bridleway route ‘up and over’ the transmitter hill until Bill Martin can guarantee it’s not a ‘bog of death’ and dry to use as an alternative to the road that we used today! We arrived slightly earlier than usual at 10.30hrs. This was a bonus as we missed a queue that suddenly developed  a few minutes after our orders and appeared to take ages to clear.

The return route followed back through Prince’s Covert, across the boggy but ‘non hill climb route’. This time there was more sticky stuff on the return route, alas avoiding the hill drag means flat, but through the clay boggy stuff.  From there on it was back across the west side of Horton Park and then towards Ewell.  We all parted company after the usual peramble back through Nonsuch Park around the outskirts of Cheam.

Good ride chaps.

25.9 miles @ 2h:40m.

Paul White

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