Seven riders braved the biting cold North Westerly winds to join Trevor’s MTB ride from cheam, with an eighth Bill Martin joining us in our outward bound traverse of Morden Hall Park and the rest of our exciting route.
The longest serving member probably on the ride was my good self, followed by Dave Jellytot, Trevor Hughes, Bob Green and then the ‘Young uns’ in the probable order they joined the mighty Clarencourt, Andrew Adams, Andy Huddard and the lastly our youngest Big Dave Repson.
If the joining order is wrong, please email me and I will endeavour to do absolutely nothing to correct it!
Our ride took us on a detour through the lower roads of Sutton, due to (I found out later) a big hole created in the centre of town due to a major gas leak. Sutton was still there as we passed so I guess the locals of the town are sticking to their New Year’s Resolutions and have indeed continued to quit smoking!
Soon we were enjoying the peaceful meanderings of the River Wandle and the lack of people about due to the gusty biting wind.
A small exploratory diversion in our usual route was suggested by my good self, which on the whole would’ve proved useful had it not have been for the two ‘kissing gates’ designed by “Mad Max” clearly installed to prevent any form of entry by anything on wheels, wheelchairs, prams etc. At the end of this small diversion I decided that it was of no use to cyclist’s or anyone who was remotely disabled!
Well, you don’t know a new route until you try!
We passed on a foot path a person walking dogs on the designated cycle path, something that has always puzzled me, the ‘If you don’t want to be surprised by cyclist why walk in a designated cycle path? question’ We avoided the situation being the “Ever exceedingly polite members of the Clarencourt Cycle Club.”
We perambulated our way through a very cold and muddy Morden Hall Park, and at Merton Abbey to the shock and surprise of the group I was handed command of the platoon by Mr Hughes.
Within minutes our ‘Junior member’ Big Dave Repson had one of his first punctures with our club at South Wimbledon and had to show us all his tube changing skills. Within hours we were on our way! Only kidding, Dave 😉
The next challenge was the tough terrain and ascent of the ‘South West face of Wimbledon Common’ via “The Downs” road.
Andy H put on a good sprint and got to the top first, because nobody else was trying, alas all still arrived at the top less than fifteen seconds behind him anyway!
Across the common and past The Windmill, being careful to avoid running over any Wombles that may be out clearing up the Saturday night’s McDonald’s rubbish. The mud was thick, and at time on this ride so were some of the pedestrians, but we made it to Roehampton and the “It’s all down hill after this” I’d promised the platoon of the Clarencourt.
A leisurely decent down to the river via the best kept cycling secret in the area, Putney Park Lane, a straight run to the Upper Richmond Road, a couple of hops across major roads, and then down onto the side of the Thames and within minutes our elevenses stop at “The Rocket,” a Wetherspoons on the riverside.
After thawing out with breakfast, coffee etc we headed in reverse to our usual arrival east along the Thames to Wandsworth to pick up the River Wandle and retrace to Sutton and Cheam. All went well until Merton Abbey Mills when we encountered our one and only grumpy old fellow who couldn’t understand the concept of the “Pass on the right” but being the “Ever exceedingly polite members of the Clarencourt Cycle Club,” we did not attempt to correct him with an early bath in the Wandle!
The rest of the ride from here was a reversal of the ride out with various members peeling off to more direct routes to their abodes and the last three getting to Cheam before Andy H left Bob Green and Myself for the Worcester Park area and home.
I must mention Andrew Adams at this point, who after the elevenses stop, headed in the opposite direction to us along the Thames via Kew, Richmond and Kingston for home. This was straight into the 18mph, gusting 27mph winds from the NNW. I hope you’ve thawed out by now.
The feedback from the rest of the platoon heading in the opposite direction to Andrew, was that the change in route and the ‘Chuff wind behind’ most of the way back was greatly received.
The picture of “The Windmill, Wimbledon Common” is a shot from earlier on this year and no pictures were taken today as nobody was brave enough to take their gloves off and try to take a picture!
My thanks to the Trevor and the group for allowing my look at the “Exploratory alternative route” at Mill Green and for letting me reroute the ride over “Wombledon Common” instead of our normal route. “Variety is the spice of life!”
I’d encourage other members’ of the Clarencourt to write ride reports and post for activity on our pages.
If you need it posted, but don’t have access to our blog yet post it to me our other members to post to this page.