Monday, 26 October 2009

Sunday October 25th – to Redhill

Yes, once again, it's very sad. This is my new flask, full of hot water. on the far left is a little Tupperware container with teabags in it and there in the middle is a decent porcelain mug from the cup tree in the kitchen. Andy took this shot on his mobile phone. We were in Redhill and I had little in the way of change to visit Café de Paris and I didn't want to waste all that hot water!

The clocks had gone back, which meant that I got up an hour earlier than necessary. It happens every year although this time I was up anyway and when I woke up I knew that the digital clock was displaying 4:33 but that really it was only 3:33. I resolved to try and get back to sleep, but I knew that the alarm had not been set and that if I did fall back to sleep I'd probably then oversleep and miss the cycle. But then I did fall asleep and when I awoke it was 6:10, or 5:10 as I hadn't put the clocks back. This time I bounded out of bed and spent an hour messing around on the computer, drinking tea and eating cereal.

Met Andy at Purley today and we resolved to go to Redhill – that's roughly a 30-mile round trip from where we are located. Jon thought we were just meeting at Woodmansterne Green so we surprised him by saying we were off to Redhill and soon we were on our way up Hazelwood Lane in Chipstead, a killer hill, then turning right and cycling past Chipstead FC and then Chipstead RFC, past Elmore Pond and eventually turning left into Markedge Lane, past Fanny's Farm, under the M25 and then left past Reigate Hill Golf Club, back under the M25 and up towards the A23 at Merstham. From there it's all A23, past Redhill College and straight into Redhill.

It was Sunday but fortunately Café de Paris was open, a nice caff run by a couple of Eastern European women. I hadn't expected this and had bought my flask of tea, but I still ordered a Millionaire's shortbread and we all sat and chatted about this and that, resolving to set up our own brewery and produce Frank's Bitter after Frank Moggridge, one of the ancestors, who used to make pianos. He liked drink, apparently, and soon there was no business. "Frank's Bitter because, unlike the Murphy's, we're bitter."

Redhill is a good run and soon we were ready to head home back along the A23 where Jon and I say goodbye to Andy. We head back roughly the way we came and Andy rides along the A23 to a turning just past an Indian restaurant on the right and then heads for Caterham.

I got home at 10:44, and that was the real time as my mobile phone hadn't forgotten to put its clock back.

Wednesday, 21 October 2009

Ten miler to Warlingham Sainsbury's and just beyond!

Don't you hate the way that 'they' – whoever 'they' are – sneak things like urbanisation in on the quiet. I mean, take the old Chelsham Bus Garage, which is now a Sainsbury's; the buses, as you can see from the top shot, used to be green. They are now red. Why? It simply means that Warlingham has now lost its rural status, which is normally why the buses are green, and is part of the urban sprawl that is London and Croydon. Yuk!

Drizzling rain didn't put me off, which is rare. I headed off at lunch time to do a quick ten-miler out beyond Warlingham Green, past Warlingham Sainsbury's (which used to be a bus garage but was demolished in August 1990 to make way for a Sainsbury's superstore) and on to Ledgers Road on the way to Botley Hill. Yes, I could have gone the extra three miles to Botley Hill Farm, but I was in my lunch break so I turned round, stopping off at Sainsbury's to buy a couple of light bulbs. 

Tuesday, 20 October 2009

20 October 2009 – a suburban cycle

Our house, in the middle of our street, our house...[repeat and fade]

Left the house around 0750hrs for a 45-minute cycle around the burbs. Quite tough as there were plenty of hills, but I was never that far from home. An ideal 'before work' sort of thing.

Sunday, 18 October 2009

A better cup of tea...

New flask means a new order – proper tea made from water, teabags and fresh milk. Bring it on!

After a particularly poor cup of tea the other week, it was time to buy a new flask. I found a decent one in Black's in Richmond and bought it along with a container to carry fresh milk. I figured it would be better not to make up the tea in the flask but to carry hot water, milk and teabags so we could make up our own tea. And what a difference it made! Twining's English Breakfast tea, piping hot water and fresh milk. Pictured above is the new flask and milk container. Yes, I know, it's all very sad.

Nice slippers!

Sensible footwear for cycling – he bought the 'slippers' in New York, but that doesn't make them any cooler.

No Visible Lycra is all about not wearing Lycra cycling gear and this is, perhaps, taking things too far. We both thought that Jon had forgotten to take his slippers off but no, he hadn't! What can we say other than can you get us some too?

October 17 and 18 2009 – Woodmansterne Green

Picture shows Andy Smith, Jon Moggridge and me, Matt Moggridge standing by our Fire Mountain, Blast and Scrap Kona mountain bikes. Andy owns the Blast, mine's the Scrap and Jon's is the Fire Mountain. Pic taken on Sunday 18 October 2009.

Went nowhere on the 17th but up and out of the house earlyish on Sunday for a trip down to Woodmansterne Green where we met my brother Jon. We've all got Kona mountain bikes as you can see from the group shot above.

Quite cold out this morning, especially going down Purley Oaks Road. The cold breeze made me wish I'd put on my balaclava, but I couldn't turn back as I was already too far from home and, well, after a while you get used to the cold. Besides, we'd been out in worse conditions than today's weather. It was clear and bright but cold basically, nothing to moan about.

I'd had a bit of a week in terms of beer drinking and judging by the photo above, I need a little bit more exercise.

October 10 and 11 2009

No excuse bar laziness. We didn't go cycling this weekend. Shame on us!

Tuesday, 6 October 2009

Flat tyre? It's those pesky thorn bushes...

Thorn bushes that line the A233 outside Westerham and, indeed, all around the area. If you're a cyclist, watch out and be prepared.

When Andy and I first started cycling back in the summer of 2006, we never bothered with back-up; and by back-up I mean a puncture repair kit, a bicycle pump, that sort of thing. We would set off, in a sense, 'naked', a bit like walking a tight rope without a safety net.

The early days involved a lot of trips down to Westerham on the B269, a route we re-traced on October 4th (see blogpost below by scrolling down). The road is fine, but a much safer stretch of off-road pavement is littered with danger of another sort – thorns!

Without any back-up, of course, getting a puncture used to put both Andy and I in a very difficult position: stranded 10 miles from home, we would have to walk home, which would take the best part of three hours, with a bike and an irritating noise caused by the deflated rubber of the tyres. We had a rule in place: if one of us got a puncture, the other would have to walk too and not simply cycle off smugly.

We've had to walk from Botley Hill all the way home as there's no option: buses won't allow bikes on board and there's no station nearby. Getting stranded in Westerham was different as we were three miles from Oxted where there is a train station. There were numerous occasions when Andy and I trudged our way along the A25 into Oxted to wait for a train home.

The big question, of course, was why? Why did we do this when we could simply fix our punctures on the roadside? There was no answer, of course, so we started buying and stashing a brand new inner tube (price roughly £5) in our rucksacks and simply replacing the punctured tube with the new one. Not a problem, although it was always pretty horrible when it was raining or just plain cold.

Inner tubes at a fiver a time was a problem as we found that punctures were quite common on that route. Suddenly one of us would notice that the ride had got a little wobbly and then discover it was a puncture. It was then a case of stopping, taking the wheel off – a real hassle if it was the rear wheel – and then inserting the new inner tube.

Punctures became so frequent that we started keeping score. I seemed to get the most for some reason and took it upon myself to blame the bike: not so much a Kona Scrap, I wrote to the guys at Kona in Canada, but Kona CRAP!!! Of course, it wasn't the bike's fault, it was purely a fact that a thorn, often a very large thorn, had decided to puncture my bike and not Andy's.

But I was getting a reputation as the Puncture King, although was never that far behind. The latest score, I think, is 4-3 to me, meaning I've had four to Andy's three punctures. Andy has Kevlar-reinforced tyres and it has made a difference, we've taken to riding on the road along the B269 to avoid the thorns.

What gets me about all this – and again it's not the bike's fault – is that we now both own top-of-the-range off road bikes but can't risk going off road for fear of getting an inevitable puncture.

We've wised up to the inner tube thing and have started buying Leeches, small, circular black discs that simply stick onto the puncture and mend in seconds. We've become dab hands at it, to be honest, but still have our moments. If I can I'll post some video of Andy fixing a puncture on his old bike (they're on my mobile phone and I don't know how to transfer them to my Mac).

Needless to say, I always have a pack or two of Leeches in my rucksack, and a pump!

Coming out of Westerham on Sunday along the A233 (Beggar's Lane) we both spotted the offending thorn bushes that have caused us so much grief. You can see a photograph of them above. It goes without saying that we kept our distance!

Monday, 5 October 2009

Should have gone in here for a cup of tea!

Andy outside the Tudor Rose Tearooms in Westerham wishing he'd had a decent cup of tea for a change.

We shall never surrender!

Good old Winston Churchill, who lived at Chartwell, just a short drive from where this shot was taken on the green at Westerham.

A dodgy cup of tea at Westerham

Perhaps I need a new flask. Either that or the milk was just off. The first cup was fine, but the second cup was full of tea-coloured bits – not very appetising. Fortunately I spotted it otherwise I would have swallowed a mouth full of, er, bits. Yuk!

Andy's Kona Blast

Andy's new Kona Blast resting against the Warlingham Green war memorial just prior to our cycle to Westerham on Sunday 4 October.

Sunday, 4 October 2009

Sunday 4 October 2009 – to Westerham!

I can't remember when we last rode our bikes to Westerham, but it's got to be a month or two ago. We met at the green at just gone 0730hrs, where I took a few shots of Andy's new Kona Blast (of which, more later). Around 0845hrs we were on our way, up past Warlingham Sainsbury's, past Knight's Garden Centre and into the wilds en route to Botley Hill on the A269, hanging a left at the top of Titsey Hill and virtually freewheeling all the way down the hill to Westerham, past our beloved bus stop.

The tea was disappointing today. Why, I don't know, but I guess it was the milk going off. Anyway, enough of that! Andy wanted to do a bit of off-roading so we headed out of Westerham on the A233 and then hung a left into The Avenue, a nice bit of off-road that bypasses the boredom of the hill out of Westerham if you go back the other way.

It was here that I made a movie – not just any movie, mind, No Visible Lycra – The Movie to be precise. Check it out below!

Saturday, 3 October 2009

Saturday 3 October 2009

I always feel a little ashamed when I wake up on a reasonably good day, the sun's out and there's no sign of rain and I should be jumping up out of bed and racing off into the country – but I decide instead to loll around doing nothing. Admittedly I have an excuse, well, two excuses: one is that my cycling pal Andy isn't going today; and two is that I have to take my daughter to a local school to sit one of those entrance exams.

So, here I am, at 0821hrs, writing this blogpost. Rain permitting, of course, I'll up with the lark tomorrow morning to meet Andy, at Warlingham Green, for a cycle to the bus stop – or possibly out towards Woodmansterne Green, we haven't made up our minds yet.

If I can drum up the enthusiasm, I'll go on a local cycle later.