cycling in Surrey, Sussex, Hampshire and beyond…..

Of Bluebells and Practisers

A good turn out for the Captain’s bike inspection at Guildford, both nothing quite to match Ann’s new bike of the previous week with pink go faster stripes.  Heidi you need a new bike – new wheels aren’t sufficient to compete in this game!

It seems everyone is out practising for something. Martin to Majorca for a training camp, Heidi taking the more leisurely option but realising that she needs to get in a bit of practice before tackling Mont Ventoux. Peter spotted on a Saturday getting a practice ride in for Corsica. At least two lots of students doing practise DOE expeditions and either shouting their way up Leith Hill or blocking the way down. And the weather was practising for summer but making a very poor job of it; it needs much more practice and the forecast for this week is not good.  Today’s ride was cold and on the hard work end of the spectrum. I almost feel as though I should be practising for something but I don’t know what – maybe practicing before I get out the grin machine. Summer bikes are definitely appearing and I will admit I have borrowed the wheels of the grin machine for fun. They pick up speed so quickly on the descents it can be almost scary but it is a heck of a rush. (How do the pro’s cope at some of the speeds they get up to on their descents? I think I would be scared witless.) Anyway, I just enjoyed a really delightful route: Guildford, Leith Hill Newdigate (coffee), a circumnavigation of Horsham, Barnes Green, Wisborough Green (lunch) and Hambledon and Shalford. 84 miles in total for me. Thank you

Tanhouse Farm has become a honeypot for cyclists. Timing is becoming everything for turning up at our stops. Last week we arrived at Wiston Team rooms just before 2pm for lunch – terribly late I know – but it was full to the brim. 10 minutes later we were the only ones – the lull before the afternoon tea crowd. Today we had made good time to Tanhouse and easily got a table. Don was in the queue and Nick joined us soon after. Thank goodness they have built some more loos. The place must be making serious money given the numbers but they make seriously good cakes. (Move over Mr Kipling.)

Last week’s ride saw the Captain as Spotter in Chief for Bluebells as we rode along but this week lots of people took up spotting – we know how to follow a leader (some of the time).   Still a few daffodils hanging in there after first appearing in December, primroses going strong, tulips staring to show but the star attraction is the bluebells giving rise to discussion of the differences between Spanish and English varieties. The most amazing display was in Vale Wood, just southwest of Barns Green – a true carpet of them, spectacular. We had to stop and be amazed. Clive even had a book on  flowers that had to be consulted at lunch.

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All this extra stuff he carries seems to be slowing him down.  I now have to race Neil up Leith Hill, not Clive.  Also pleased to report that Clive arrived closer to his usual time as opposed to being early as per last week – leading to accusations that I was late by turning up at 2 minutes past nine.  Can’t win them all.

2 Comments
  1. A good read as ever, Julian. Sorry to have stayed away for so long – am missing you guys and gals but thespian duties etc etc. Currently in Lincs with yet another cold, so not been venturing out. It’s freezing up here as you can imagine. Off to King’s Lynn today to stay with a friend so hopefully might see some wild flowers. Recovering slowly and hope to be up for a slow ride round the IOW next Sunday. Obviously won’t be able to keep up with you guys.

  2. Thank you, Julian and Neil, for taking the lead and giving me a break from that strong cold wind.

    Regards, Peter