Wednesday, 28 July 2010

Could justice be done?

There's heartening news that the G20 copper whose assault on newspaper vendor Ian Tomlinson resulted in Tomlinson's death, could face the sack. Yo! Way to go, Idaho! Click here for more details.

Picture credit: Banksy and

Tuesday, 27 July 2010

Greenpeace gets confrontational...

Following my post yesterday in which I argued that we need a more confrontational attitude towards society's various injustices – rogue coppers getting away with murder and, of course, BP just possibly being involved in the release of the man responsible for the Lockerbie bombing, not forgetting the way the company has ruined the environment over in the USA and given CEO Tony Hayward a £600,000 per annum pension pot for life – Greenpeace has come up trumps and immobilised 50 BP petrol stations in London. Good work! For more details, click here .

Monday, 26 July 2010

Mobile phone movie footage from April 2007...

If you turn right into The Ridge just before the Botley Hill mini roundabout and travel down towards Al Fayed's gaff, there's an off-road track on the right that leads you back on to the Slines Oak Road. This video was taken at the top of a very fast downhill stretch that shakes the bikes and the riders – not for the faint-hearted.

Old mobile phone video - on the way back from Westerham....

An old video of the road leading out of Westerham on the way towards the hill and on to Botley. We were no more than 10 minutes out of Westerham when this was taken in February 2007.

This was NoVisibleLycra's 100th post.

More archive footage...

Me pulling a silly face outside the convenience store in
Westerham, Kent, in December 2006. This pic was taken
on a mobile phone and sent to Andy who was away for the
weekend – proof that I'd gone cycling.
I found some archive footage of our cycles on one of my really old Sony Ericsson mobile phones. Here's what I found. This shot was taken early in the morning – and it was still dark, note how the lights on the shop's fascia are still on. I didn't hang around after this shot was taken and, while I can't recall the time, I did a pretty fast time to Westerham and back that morning.

My Kona Scrap, Boxing Day 2006.

Boxing Day 2006 and here's my Kona Scrap with its original saddle in place. The bike was bought new in May 2006 but, as you can see from the shot, I had already gotten rid of the Tioga tyres that came with it new. Why? Because I thought they were responsible for the many punctures I was getting.

Just past the Botley Hill pub.

This shot was taken just past the Botley Hill pub (you can just make out the pub sign on the left of the road. Why I stopped to take this shot, I don't know, but there you have it.

A trendy shot of my Kona Scrap taken after I'd replaced the original saddle with the Spongy Wonder. This shot taken at Warlingham Green in July 2008.

Images from the weekend's cycling...

Longford Lake at Chipstead Village in Kent. We were here on Saturday morning enjoying our tea and cereal bars. As avid readers will know, there's a nice pub in front of the lake called the Bricklayers Arms.

Here's a shot of Andy and I halfway along the hill coming up from Westerham, Kent. Not bad for using the self-timer!

Andy arriving at Warlingham Green at 7am in the morning on, I think, Sunday. We've changed to meeting at 7am while the sun is shining and the days are long.

In tribute to a shot taken by Andy back in November 2006, we thought we'd take an almost identical shot in 2010. Back in 2006, Andy took a shot of my Kona (scroll down for the shot in a previous post). This picture shows the same Surrey Hills totem pole with mine and Andy's bike resting on it. We are roughly half a mile from the Tatsfield Bus Stop.

Andy and I on the bench in Westerham, a retro destination if ever there was one. This shot was taken on Sunday using the faithful self-timer on my Lumix camera. Shortly after this shot was taken, we headed off home up the hill towards the Tatsfield Bus Stop where, incidentally, we saw two other cyclists. We hadn't seen anybody else use 'our bus stop' before but now there were others using it – and they looked a bit rough and ready to be honest. One was asleep in a camouflage sleeping bag and the other one looked a little unshaven. We didn't stop to say hello.

To Longford Lake and Westerham in Kent...

It was certainly a bit of a retro weekend for Andy and I as we retraced, on Sunday, our old route to Westerham. On Saturday we went to the Longford Lake in Chipstead (Kent) and our total mileage was over 50 miles (Andy clocked 51.5 miles so my distance must have been similar).

We decided to revert back to our original start time at the Green (7am as opposed to 7.30am) as the days are long and the weather's warm – so apologies to anybody who, having read the blog, decided to join us for a cycle at 7.30am, we were long gone! Andy and I were worried that the Saturdays might have read the blog and decided to join us on a cycle. We had visions of crowds on the green and disgrunted Saturdays wondering where the hell we were, but, as we returned to the green after cycling the best part of 32 miles, there was no sign of any disturbance or any straggling reporters and photographers, so we both assumed taht the Saturdays hadn't bothered. Shame as the tea was particularly good this week and so was the conversation.
Megrahi: And for murdering a plane load of innocent people – no charge!

We kicked off with current affairs and the killing of an innocent bystander by a G20 copper. This one was actually captured on film assaulting newspaper vendor Ian Tomlinson who eventually died as a result of the assault. It goes without saying, of course, that PC Simon Harwood – the man responsible for the unprovoked attack – was let off. Let's not forget the innocent Brazilian killed on Stockwell Tube Station and how the senior policewoman in charge, Cressida Dick, note that surname, was awarded a Queen's Medal – and who can forget the recent case of the Libyan terrorist, Abdel Baset al-Megrahi, a man responsible (and jailed) for murdering a whole Jumbo jet load of innocent passengers, being let off on 'compassionate grounds'. What? Click here for more details on the Tomlinson killing.

Blair: If he says that BP were not involved in the release
of Abdel Baset al-Megrahi, then surely, the company wasn't
involved. It's not as if Blair has ever mis-led the public.
In the case of al-Megrahi, Tony Blair – the man who claimed that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction – said there was no link with BP, the oil company that has ruined the environment in the name of profiteering. The Americans, quite understandably, smell a rat – who wouldn't if Blair's involved? – but either a cover-up will work (likely scenario) or we'll find out soon that the disgraced oil company was involved (result!). For more details, click here.

It all makes me wonder about law and order in the UK. I mean, if a man can be let off for murdering a plane load of people over Lockerbie in Scotland, why can't Peter Sutcliffe, the Yorkshire Ripper, be released? I mean, he only murdered 13 people; or Dennis Nielsen or Ian Brady – the maths don't add up. All I know is that if I went into Tesco's and swiped a can of beans, I'd be sent down.

Frodo: Set to resign from BP and walk away with an
estimated £12 million. I wonder if he'll give any of it to
 the Americans to help clean up their beaches?
The problem, of course, is quite simple: the British people just sit back and let these injustices happen and fail to respond aggressively enough to get things changed and bring the authorities 'to the negotiating table'.  We need a more confrontational attitude in these matters, otherwise the police and unruly companies like BP, will continue to get away with it.

But enough of this rubbish, it's all miles to depressing. Let's get back to the cycling. We went down to Longford Lake (Chipstead, Kent) and sat there drinking tea and flicking teabags and then we headed home, having discussed the BBC's Top Gear programme. We both like it, but can't stand it when they try to make out that it's all so spontaneous, when, quite clearly, it isn't. I mean, Clarkson having an ice cream while Hammond and May tip his 'motor home' over the cliff – as if it wasn't planned! They must have cleared it with the authorities and the police otherwise, well, I mean, what if somebody was on the beach below? Who cleared up the mess? In other words, Top Gear, don't treat us like imbeciles.

Saturday was a good 32-miles and then, on Sunday, we went to Westerham, which is around 22 miles there and back. We sat on our usual bench, sipping tea, trying to remember when we last visited this quaint Northern Kent village. Subjects under discussion: setting up a microbrewery in a French chateau purchased with money won on the National Lottery – nice fantasy. In the Guardian's Saturday magazine there is a great column entitled Wreck of the Week. This week it was a French manor house in 17 acres of ground in the Dordogne. Lovely! And all for just £400,000! Nice! Except that we don't have four hundred grand. Still, we have our Kona mountain bikes, our flask of tea and our cereal bars so life ain't that bad.

Wednesday, 21 July 2010

You hear a lot about the Tatsfield Bus Stop...

There's more to Tatsfield than
the Tatsfield Bus Stop on Clark's Lane
...but very little about Tatsfield Village. To be fair, we rarely cycle into the village because there's no café, but it's a quaint little place with plenty to offer. For further information, click here.

Monday, 19 July 2010

The Woodland Trek

At the top of Croham Hurst in South Croydon on the Woodland Trek
Another sweltering hot day so I took off at 1825hrs on a woodland trek, my half streets/half woods cycle that takes in some pretty hefty hills, especially one big off-road hill to the top of the woods. It took about an hour in total, including a little rest period at the top of the woods.

Sunday, 18 July 2010

To the Tatsfield Bus Stop – and I missed a soaking

The Tatsfield Bus Stop, Sunday 18 July 2010.
Well, I didn't miss a soaking, in the sense that I longed for one, but didn't get one; I was sitting at home, early in the morning, looking out of the window and, lo and behold, it was raining outside. This was just gone 8 o'clock as I was contemplating a cycle. Surely rain wouldn't stop play, I thought, but it was tipping it down.

And then it stopped and I figured it was the summer so if it started again, it would do me no harm, ie, I wouldn't be cold and wet (just wet) so off I went wondering which route to take. Woodmansterne was out and I didn't fancy retracing yesterday's route so I headed for the Tatsfield Bus Stop.

Andy was working today so I was on my own again, but pleased that I was motivated enough to get out alone, even if the bus stop was a little bit lonely. I sat there playing with my iphone – I sent Andy a pic and he later replied, asking whether I'd been flipping teabags. The answer was no as I didn't bring the tea with me – I couldn't possibly drink a whole litre of the stuff.

Watched a few 'lycra clad' racing bikes whizz down the hill towards Westerham (one bloke was on the phone, what a cock!) but then it was time to head home – the fast way.

Saturday, 17 July 2010

Down Beddlestead Lane and up Hesiers Hill

Here's a shot of me at the bottom of Hesiers Hill today.
Cycling alone today as Andy was out late with the Saturdays and Gwen Stefani. I think they all ended up in David's hot tub, but it meant a text from Andy some time around midnight saying he had a late one and wouldn't be going.

I decided it was too nice a day not to go and left the house around 0730. At one stage I considered Woodmansterne Green but remembered how boring the ride was and didn't bother. I headed towards Warlingham Green, weirdly expecting to see Andy, but, of course, he wasn't there. I headed on up the B269 towards Botley Hill (I found out during the week that the man who used to own the Botley Hill Farm pub, John Watkiss, sadly died. By chance I met one of the old barmaids from the Watkiss era when Anthony Robinson was the chef – he now runs a pub in Oxfordshire somewhere (or he did the last time I had contact with him).

I stopped off at the bottom of Hesiers Hill to take some photographs and then cycled along what I thought was Ledgers Road but turned out to be Beech Farm Road. I should have turned right down Washpond Lane and then I'd have found Ledgers Road, but it didn't matter.

Anyway, that's it for today's post.

Wednesday, 14 July 2010

The Lymestone Brewery – it brews some excellent cask ale...

I was fortunate enough recently to enjoy a pint of Stone Cutter in a Wetherspoon pub in Highbury & Islington. The beer was simply the best I've tasted in a while so I nipped up to Stone in Staffordshire where the Lymestone Brewery is based and met the founder, proprietor and brewer, Ian 'Brad' Bradford, an excellent chap.
Ian Bradford's Kona Blast.

Beer is not really a part of this website, which is all about cycling, but mention has to be made (and a plug given) to the Lymestone Brewery for just being such a great place with a good vibe selling some excellent cask ales.

If you want to check out the brewery, I suggest you click here

The photograph is of Ian's Kona Blast – he cycles around 10km to work most mornings.

Tuesday, 13 July 2010

A 'new' cycling circuit...(ish) – July 10th and 11th

Andy wasn't going cycling on Saturday and with Jon on holiday in Portugal, it was down to me to get off my sorry arse and get moving. Motivation, that's the key, and I didn't have any; instead, it was the hot weather that forced me out of bed nice and early...only to find me lounging around the house at nearly 0800hrs wondering what route to take.

Looking up Hesiers Hill from the bottom, Saturday 10 July 2010.
I decided to head out for Botley Hill, go round the mini roundabout and return home, possibly stopping off at the Village Café on Warlingham Green and then returning home. Except that, half way along, I decided to do something different. Yes, I'd go to Botley, the fast way, and head down towards the Tatsfield Bus Stop but instead of reaching our wooden shelter (very handy in the rain and snow) I took the road to Beddlestead, wherever that is, and followed the road downhill while thinking to myself – as the hill went on and on and on – that, at some point there would be payback in the shape of a huge hill.

A pleasant-looking field on Beddlestead Lane, Saturday 10 July 2010.
The weather was fantastic and when I reached the bottom of the hill I stopped and listened to a field of sheep. Baa! Baa! Baa! Or words to that effect. I took a few photographs. What was really nice was the peace and quiet; nothing but the sound of the sheep, and rolling fields on either side.

Photographs taken I headed on up the hill (not too bad, but quite tough on a hot day, it has to be said). Once at the top I turned left and then immediate right, followed the road for a few yards before turning into Church Lane and basically following that road towards Warlingham Sainsbury's.

Looking at a map of the area, the long downhill stretch was Beddlestead Lane followed by the steep Hesiers Hill and then a short stretch of Fairchildes Lane before turning right into Church Lane. Church Lane then crosses Ledgers Road and becomes Chelsham Common Road and then the Chelsham Road towards Warlingham Sainsbury's and, of course, a right turn on to the Limpsfield Road (B269) and home.

Incidentally, had I followed Fairchildes Lane a little further, I would have stumbled across the White Bear, a nice little pub offering decent food and a barbecue when its hot. I had dinner there on Sunday evening accompanied by a pint of Harvey's – very nice! Click here for more details.
Yours truly (left) and Andy at the bottom of Hesiers Hill, Sunday 11 July 2010

Actually, looking at the map, there's some interesting routes that would make decent cycling circuits and I've noticed a off-road path called Railpit Lane.

Sunday and Andy was back. I had to cut it short due to family commitment but we re-traced my route, stopped and took some photographs at the bottom of Hesiers Hill and then carried on towards home.

Tuesday, 6 July 2010

A photo from the archive....

My Kona on the hill outside of Westerham
in Kent, back in November 2006.
Andy found this rather excellent shot of my Kona Scrap from back in November 2006, the year we both started cycling regularly. Note that the original saddle is still in place and that the reflectors on both wheels are still gleaming.

The shot was taken towards the top of the hill just outside of Westerham at a time when Andy and I were cycling to Westerham on Saturdays and Sundays every weekend and probably a little earlier than we leave today, but only by half an hour. It would have been pitch black at 7am when we met along the B269 during the winter months and I know for a fact that Andy's ride through the rural lanes to meet me was a little scary.

Photo credit: Andy Smith

Sunday, 4 July 2010

Saturday and Sunday (3/4 July) – to Merstham for tea and toast, and the Tatsfield Bus Stop

Yours truly and Andy at the Tilburstow Hill car park, Saturday
Hot weather. Too hot in many ways, but who's complaining? Not me. Right now, for instance, it's 0451hrs and I've been awake since around 0400 and have decided to come downstairs and write this blogpost. There's nothing better that decent weather where cycling is concerned.

On Saturday, Andy and I set out for Merstham and Hunger's End where we enjoyed tea and toast and a general chinwag. Jon couldn't join us this weekend. There was some kind of summer fayre going on in Merstham's Quality Street – how about that, a street named after a box of chocolates! It was all very quaint and very English and there was a song playing, 'Let Your Yeah be Yeah and Your No be No'. All the way home up Markedge Lane I couldn't get it out of my mind and, when nobody was about, I sang it out loud to take my mind off the hill. But who the hell performed it? All weekend it bugged me. I thought it was Johnny Nash (he of There are more questions than answers...and the more I find out, the less I know) but I don't know; in fact I've yet to find the answer, hold on, I'll check on Google...I was right, it was Johnny Nash!

The Quality Street Fayre in Merstham on Saturday 3 July
On Sunday we did a short run to the Tatsfield bus stop as we were both feeling a little tired due to the weather.

I realised how heavy my thermos flask can be when filled up with water, but, as we sipped tea and flipped our teabags on to the grassy space in front of the bus stop – it's a game we play – I forgot about it, and besides, the more tea we drank, the lighter it became. The tea bag game is simple: the idea is to see how far we can flip a teabag using a small teaspoon. The furthest distance wins. Very sad, but teabags are biodegradable so who cares?

In the heat of the Sunday morning sun – the Tatsfield Bus Stop
What could have been a comedy moment was when a woman from Tatsfield village turned up to place a noticeboard on the grassy space advertising a display of local artists in the village hall. Had she arrived moments earlier than she did, she might well have been hit with a warm, wet, teabag.

We cycled back along the B269 and parted company at the Good Companions pub at Hamsey. A good weekend's cycling.

This is the best of rock music today – click link to watch and listen...

Plastic Beach by Gorillaz - check out Stylo, it's brilliant or
as a sticker in the rear screen of a car screamed, Gorriliant.
Gorillaz – what a great band. Check out this amazing video of the best band around at the moment. Click here and enjoy!