Friday, 29 March 2013

Easter weekend cycling – Westerham (22 miles)

Not a bad day, but a bit on the chilly side as I set off for the Green to meet Andy. We'd decided upon Westerham as our final destination and, en route, discussed The Psychopath Test, which I'd lent to Andy and, of course, One Man & His Bike by Mike Carter. I've just bought Rob Lilwall's Cycling Home from Siberia (I'm a few chapters in and it's excellent) but the conversation centred around how people like Mike Carter can afford the time to cycle around the coast of the UK. We both admitted that in our situations, ie we have commitments, it would be impossible.

Bike-friendly caff in Westerham – note bicycle pump chained to drainpipe
On The Psychopath Test we discussed David Shayler and how he was portrayed in the book and moved on, when we reached Westerham, to discuss conspiracy theories, like 'did we really go to the moon?' Not us personally, but the Americans. Oddly, perhaps, while I think we did – and so does Andy – there's quite a bit of plausibility in the notion that we didn't and, secretly, I think we'd both love it to be fake. How funny!

The ride was fairly pleasant until we reached the roundabout beyond Botley Hill and turned into Clarks Lane. An easterly wind was cold so, instead of going down the conventional hill, we detoured through the golf course road and did that downhill slice of off-road riding, which was dotted with muddy puddles. Andy went through as many of them as possible, while I kept my bike dry.

Snow from last week snagged in the hedgerow
As a result of the detour, we approached Westerham from a different route, arriving in the high street midway and making our way to the Green. It was around 0840hrs and we sat there for about 30 minutes, leaving for home around 0910hrs.

The journey back, as expected, was long and arduous as we headed towards the hill, the long hill that lasts all the way to Botley Hill. Having missed a ride last week I felt a little sluggish. We stopped prior to the hill to take a photograph of some snow snagged in the hedgerow and then continued the ride.

Andy broke away halfway along the B269 and I carried on along the road to Sanderstead, reaching home just past 1030hrs.

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