Sunday, 19 October 2014

Finding the source of the B269...on another solo ride to Botley Hill

You know, it's odd how anybody can be SO boring, but here I am being just that: boring. I mean, who in their right mind would be interested in finding the source of a B-Road? As if 'the source' of a B-Road even exists! They simply start and finish. They're not rivers, like the Nile or the Amazon, they're simply tarmac roads that, most of the time, go to boring places – just like the writer of this post.
The Red Deer, South Croydon, marks the start of the 269.

The B269 goes to Edenbridge. It starts in South Croydon next to a pub called the Red Deer, except that the pub in question doesn't exist anymore; it's now a Morrison's Local (a small supermarket) that has cashed in on the fact that pubs all over the UK are closing at a rate of knots, thanks to a number of reasons. One reason is the amount of duty the Government puts on beer. The brewers simply pass it on to the customers and now a pint of bitter will set you back almost £4. In some parts of London, a pint is even more expensive than that!

Another reason for the pubs closing down is home entertainment. Rather than go out, a lot of people stew in front of their flatscreen televisions with cheap beer they purchased from the supermarket. In fact, there's a kind of irony in the fact that a former pub has been transformed into a supermarket, but there you have it; the Red Deer isn't the first and it won't be the last. In fact, there's a pub in Sutton (or there was a pub in Sutton) called the Woodman and it is now a Tesco Express. What a sorry state of affairs.

So the B269 starts by a former pub. The Red Deer used to be a live band venue 'back in the day.

Further along the 269 – Sanderstead Church and pond
I was on my way to mum's this morning. I'd left later than usual as it was raining heavily when I was originally due to leave the house and meet Andy at Warlingham Green. We agreed to abort, but then, as the sun rose, the rain stopped. I sent Andy a text saying I was going out, but he didn't reply until later in the day (Andy rode out locally). It was around 0800hrs when I found myself on the bike and decided to head for mum's, but then I changed my mind. I didn't fancy the suburban ride. I didn't change my mind, however, until I reached the Brighton Road and saw, in the distance, the Red Deer.

I decided to ride the length of the B269 from beginning to end (wrongly thinking that it ended just past Botley Hill. Why I thought that, I don't know, but when I reached Botley, my heart sank as I saw a road sign stating that Edenbridge – not Botley Hill – was the end of the line for the 269.

Reaching familiar territory – Warlingham Green
The ride from the Red Deer to Sanderstead (the only bit of the 269 that I haven't riden along with any purpose) is basically one long suburban hill flanked by residential property. It levels out when it reaches Sanderstead High Street and remains relatively flat until it passes Ledgers Road, where things get a little more rural and, for a short while, a little steeper. But I ride this section of the road virtually every weekend and I've probably told you about it many times before; I've even riden the bit beyond Botley, down Titsey Hill and around the corner into Limpsfield, but I've yet to ride to Edenbridge, although that's likely to be next on the agenda.

The 269 soon leaves suburbia behind it...
Today I rode all the way to Botley Hill (I say 'all the way' as if it's miles and miles when, in reality, it's our shortest default ride) from the Red Deer in South Croydon and then, because I was riding alone, there was no tea or biscuits. And when there's nothing to eat or drink, there's nothing else to do other than get home, so off I went, getting soaked in the process, but not from the rain. It was the puddles left behind from the rain and the spray that caused the problems. The rain had stopped ages ago – around 0700hrs to be sort of precise – but it had left behind wet roads and puddles. My bike has no mudguards – it's never had mudguards as it's not that sort of bike – but when it rains, well, put it this way, it's a bit of a hassle keeping dry. When I reach home under such circumstances I'm not allowed to sit down (understandably) so I take everything off, change and then have a much-needed cup of tea.

Imagine my disappointment when I discovered that the 
B269 continues to Edenbridge. And there was me thinking
it came to an end just past the Botley Hill Farmhouse.
I might ride down Titsey Hill again one of these days and follow the 269 to the end, to Edenbridge, let's see, but today I was happy with simply taking a ride as the rain had threatened to keep me indoors. Fortunately, it stopped.

I like this shot of the old Scrap, taken Sunday on the 269.

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