Sunday, 22 January 2017

A cold ride to Tatsfield Village (the slow way)...

Another cold day. Arguably not as cold as yesterday, but cold nonetheless. I left the house at 0716hrs and reached the green at 0740hrs. Andy was there and he was sporting some complicated-looking, luminous gloves. Yesterday, Andy's hands had been adversely affected by the cold yesterday and he wanted to get some gloves that might solve the problem. After tweeting his local bike shop, Ross Cycles in Caterham, he ambled down there and was sold a pair of gloves with a kind of over-glove that freed up his index finger (presumably so he could still use the brakes); and they seemed to have solved Andy's problem with the cold weather. He said the ride from home to the green was much more bearable than on Saturday and later, as we rode purposefully along Beddlestead Lane, he sympathised with Phil's cold weather predicament, that of numbness and discomfort that ultimately means he doesn't ride when it's cold (and hence silly joke of cardboard box with Phil's name on it).

Snow as we approached Tatsfield Village...
Fortunately, it wasn't as cold as yesterday – but not far off – as we retraced our tyre tracks and followed once again the slow route to Tatsfield village via the challenging (at times) Beddlestead Lane. We both agreed that yesterday and today it was alright, mainly because we put our heads down and got on with it. The roads were just as icy as on Saturday so we exhibited caution as we progressed around the quiet country lanes, past St Leonard's church and on towards Hesier's Hill.

There was a burning, orange orb of a sun rising in the east and visible behind the bare trees and we considered trying to catch it on film, but lost it as we descended into the valley at the bottom of the hill. When we finally caught up with the sun it had lost its fieryness and was no longer worth capturing on film.

We haven't seen that many Lycra monkeys these past two days, certainly not on the outward ride. Today, we saw two on Beddlestead Lane, but no more, and it wasn't until we made our way home from the village that we started to see more of them, notably at the top of Beddlestead Lane.

The temperature had gone up considerably as we made our way towards Botley Hill and then home. For the first time I noticed that there was a hill going out of the village. I hadn't really thought about it before, but now I found myself remarking to Andy that the ride out of Tatsfield wasn't as smooth as the ride in, which was understandable considering the fact that from the Tatsfield Bus Stop on Approach Road it's virtually a freewheeling ride into the village. It should, therefore, go without saying that riding out of town would be an effort, but today was the first time I vocalised it.

At Botley Hill the sun was out and we pressed on past the pub and down towards Warlingham Sainsbury's. It was smooth going, although I exhibited caution as we reached the fast downhill stretch of the 269 as the roads were still fairly icy and I remembered my calamity back in October and Andy's recent fall along Beddlestead Lane.

Andy's off to Jamaica soon. Next week he won't be riding because he'll have suitcases to pack and this will mean a few 'urban rides' to mum's for tea and cake – or, better still, breakfast.

When we reached the green we said our goodbyes and soon I was gliding along the Limpsfield Road and through Sanderstead High Street, past the pond and into the churchyard prior to crossing the Addington Road and sailing nonchalantly down Church Way, over the speed bumps. Like yesterday I turned left on to Morley, right into Elmfield, left on to Southcote and then right into Ellenbridge. I reached home at roughly the same time and relaxed, temporarily, with a mug of tea and some baked beans on toast – part two of my breakfast, which started earlier this morning with a bowl of cold Weetabix, blueberries, raspberries and sliced banana.

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