Saturday 7th May, off road, Ockham Bites


Five riders turned out at Nonsuch Mansion for a perambulation on the bicycles. Adam Domaingue, Tracy Caudle, Trevor Kite, Mick Curtis and myself leading. It was reasonably warm, around 59°F, but overcast, cloudy and humid. We set off south out of the park, through the back of Ewell, along the Hogsmill River and out to Chessington South.

Climbing up past Barwell Farm (Entry Verboten!) we passed the time of day with some horse riders and then crossed over the busy A3 and dropped down to Claygate Common. The common was mercifully dry and hard; the last time of crossing a few weeks ago it was like porridge!

Soon we were heading onto Esher Common in the direction of Cobham. The village was as usual ‘Saturday busy’ with locals who can’t drive very well. We negotiated our way out of the mayhem and headed for Downside and the right hand turn by the pub into Plough Lane. The lane was lovely and dry. Some of you will recall my March report where we were riding through ten inches of floodwater in the lane.

We crossed over the M25, which was as usual a ‘car park’ and then proceeded to climb Telegraph Hill, Ockham Common. I fluffed a gear change halfway up the ascent and almost ground to a halt. Alas all part of that learning, new bike, new gears, single chainring nonsense bike manufacturers are forcing us into. With no harm done, except coming last at the top, we descended the easy way to the Ockham Bites cafe.

The usual fuel was absorbed, all washed down with a shower of rain, fully expected because we all know what the MET Office means by ‘Low chance of precipitation’. It’s gonna rain!

We retraced our steps to the top of Ockham Common and Trevor Kite lead for a while to show me a new path I wasn’t aware of. In doing so we saw an old mausoleum I never knew existed, buried deep in the woods.

‘Hammer House of Horrors’ set inspected we then headed off towards the Stoke D’Abernon area and the bridleways leading into the side of Prince’s Coverts. The land was dry and hard packed and so we used the trail that cuts across the middle that can’t normally be used in the Winter due do heavy, claggy mud.

The A24 was our final obstacle with its usual queues heading for Chessington World of blah, blah, blah. Thankfully two kind drivers did let us cross the road to get to Epsom Common before I needed to shave again. This was the final couple of miles for me as I was parked at the top end of Horton Park. I bade farewell to my fellow bicyclists and with a cheerful smile headed back to the car park.

A good ride, but definitely a chainring change to improve the gearing and cadence comfort for faster flat and steep climbs on this new steed.

27.8 miles for me.

Paul White

 

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