Sunday, 15 August 2010

Reverse Cycology and losing our bearings

Corn field near the Tatsfield bus stop, 15 August 2010.
When I woke up around 5am this morning and looked out of the window, I felt considerably disheartened by the heavy mist hanging over the woods. In fact, the woods were invisible, completely concealed by mist and everything outside had that damp appearance. It had been raining, obviously, and judging by the colour of the sky – a menacing dark grey – it was about to rain again.

Andy outside Tatsfield Village, 15 August 2010.

Forever the optimist, I went back to bed, but with only around half an hour before the alarm on my mobile would ring out, I figured it might be best to simply get up, go downstairs, make some tea and watch the bird bath for signs of droplets of rain. That, of course, would then prompt me to text Andy with one word: abort! It wasn't something I wanted to do as Andy hadn't been cycling for a while (well, he didn't go last week or yesterday and I hadn't exactly been that self-motivated, especially if there was a likelihood of getting soaked).

Norheads Lane where it joins Beddlestead Lane – an off-road
route to Biggin Hill.
Anyway, as the clock moved around towards 7am, the weather seemed roughly the same and Andy and I had decided to go for it, meeting on the Green at the old time of 0730hrs. The plan was to ride to the Tatsfield bus stop, the fast way, on the basis that a quick cycle was best in these conditions if a soaking was going to be avoided.
Where Beddlestead Lane and Tatsfield Approach Rd join 
Clarks Lane. The famous Tatsfield Bus Stop is on the right at
the top of TatsfieldApproach Road, diagonally across from
White Lane on the other side of the road.

Fortunately, there was no rain and we decided to go to the Tatsfield bus stop by reversing the route and going the other way down Hesiers Hill, up Beddlestead Lane and then hanging a left on Clarks Lane towards the bus stop. This proved to be quite a work-out, especially coming up Beddlestead Lane, which is a long climb towards Clark's Lane, but we reached the bus stop, knackered but fine and looking forward to our tea and cereal bar.

The route was good: we rode up the Limpsfield Road as usual, then up past Knight's Garden Centre, but turned left into Ledgers Road and then right into Washpond Lane, left on to a stretch of Chelsham Court Road and then right into Hesiers Hill where we picked up considerable speed as the road turned into Beddlestead Lane. We turned left on to Clarks Lane and stopped at the bus stop on the corner of the Tatsfield Approach Road.

For our return journey we decided to go into Tatsfield to investigate a series of 'café' signs we'd seen on earlier rides; we figured the caff was somewhere in the village. It turned out to be inside Reptile World – on my map it's called Beaver Water World (see post above this one), although they could be different places altogether. Either way, it was open early on a Sunday morning and might well be a reason not to carry a flask on a future ride this way.

Going into Tatsfield and finding a way back home has been a problem in the past, long before I started this blog, and it proved to be one this time too, although, as Andy pointed out, we'd found yet another new route so our pioneering days were far from over!

We followed Lusted Hall Lane into Biggin Hill, turning left into Sunningvale Avenue and then left again into Norheads Lane, which proved to be a pig of a hill surrounded by suburban housing. However, Norheads Lane proved to be an interesting place as it opened out into cornfields and gave us a nice bit of off-road riding until we found ourselves back on the Beddlestead Lane and confused as to which way to go. After faffing around with our SatNav on the iphones, we decided to turn right, went up Hesiers Hill the other way and then home the via Church Lane, emerging at the roundabout just beyond Warlingham Sainsbury's.

We escaped a soaking too. In fact, the weather turned out to be nice and pleasant and fairly hot. The bikes were both fine too, although I remarked to Andy that I'd found an amazing bike shop near Penrith during the week (Penrith is in the Lake District in Cumbria). The shop was in Cockermouth (where they had the floods last November) and it sold Ghost bikes, which are amazing-looking machines made in Germany. There were no prices on display, but I reckon they were on the expensive side. Mind you, the Lake District is a good place for mountain biking and I'd imagine that is why such a top-of-the-range bike shop resides in a remote place like Cockermouth. Put it this way, Penrith is the nearest railway station and that was £70 taxi ride away. Was I ripped off? Possibly, but I don't think so as the journey was metered.

Cockermouth's a great place, actually; right in the middle of the Lake District for a start, but also home to Jenning's Brewery where they brew some excellent cask ales. Click here for more details.

For more details on Cockermouth, click here.

For information on the Cockermouth floods, click here .

The Allerdale Court Hotel in Cockermouth is excellent. Click here for more details .


  1. w a greta post and brings back memeries of the laeks district for me too.

    Whats funny is- my bike shop is in Penrith, NSW, and there is a new lakes system that has been developed....

    Anyway- its over a week since I dropped my bike off for a new front shimano xtr caliper...;o/

    I am off to google Ghost bikes...

  2. I had little joy when I Googled them. Nice bikes, though. When you come to England, don't you visit the Lakes?

  3. sure do mate- sorry re the typos.. the work key board is dicky...

  4. I figured it was either a dodgy keyboard or you'd been on the ale.