Grinning all the way to Shoreham

The ride to Shoreham Airport is one of my favourites, some lovely lanes, I know I am going to do over 100 miles and I can’t remember too many hills of note. So the Saturday preparation routine should be simple enough. It’s going to be the Grin Machine, but I will swap out the Powertap hub for my lightest wheelset and just for fun I will put on my slickest tires. Makes it very easy to ride off the front of the group but the down hills are just amazing, climbing is pretty easy too.

With my usual Sunday morning faffing I manage to leave the house late but with the Grin Machine in speed mode I still get to Godalming early but not first. Today we are going to be joined by the technical expert – aka Chris J. But it’s the fine carbon rod alongside the waterbottle cage that catches my eye. “What’s that?” I enquire. “A bike stand.” And I am shown how it works. Seriously, it the nattiest bike stand I have ever seen. (See:

Six of us start the ride and none too soon as the sun was not out to warm us up. Fascinating to hear of the Vinsons’ bike fit experience. Hours of moving parts and tweaking and glad to hear that Heidi is convinced; looks a much more relaxed position. Coffee at Horsham – you know, we are going to have to rename it and call it tea as most of us now drink tea – always two cups in the pot and some places will give you more hot water if you ask. Hunger pangs got the better of me and additional cake was required. All this cycling is having a noticeable effect on my metabolism. Bring on the cake!

Horsham, WarningLid (wonder how it got its name), then due south to Woodmancote and on to Fulking – gorgeous lanes save for the two cars coming the other way. The sun came out and the riding was just, well, gorgeous. Quick stop for a photo of the spring (hopefully Chris J will upload) and then the road alongside Edburton Hill and Truleigh Hill. The gravel path by the River Adur has been upgraded, so no worries there for the tires. 62 miles to the airport and it wasn’t busy at all. The wind was noticeable and as the waiter brought out our food we lost half the crisps, blown off our plates (and my tea called down rather quicker than I would have liked).

Just before Steyning, on the return, we temporarily lost Clive as he went to purchase some rhubarb.IMG_20160529_153320

And then that lovely run up to Billingshurst and Wisborough Green. Am I allowed to wax lyrical about the Grin Machine? It is just so…..alright I won’t, but it is aptly named. We took a major risk at the Old Mill Café – we asked how he was going to vote in the EU referendum. He is very passionate about everything he thinks is wrong with Europe. His almond treats are expensive but at 98% almond – really lovely.

And the final leg to home with Clive and the two Chris’ peeling off at appropriate turnings. Time to put the Grin Machine through its paces once more. Home at 7:15, 109 miles at just over 14mph. Brilliant ride and I no longer collapse exhausted when I get home. That’s the life!

A few notes from Chris Juden:

As we approached the Downs on a lovely little lane I stopped for a leak and relieved of… the pressure to keep up, temporarily went into actual touring mode. Instead of the wheel in front I properly observed my surroundings. With hands now on the tops (it won’t hurt them to wait a few seconds longer) I took my time and even a photograph! For at Fulking I spotted a village pump-house, complete with apt biblical text, where water still gushes directly from the ancient spring. Apparently this source has never run dry and it was none other than the geologist and social reformer John Ruskin, who arranged for a hydraulic ram, powered by that incessant flow and sheltered by such a neat little house, to force a due proportion of life-giving water up to the adjacent village, thereby saving the villagers a good deal of labour with buckets and bowsers.
It was not far after lunch, which one might reasonably assume to be the halfway point, that I noticed with a mixture of pride and alarm, a somewhat bigger number on my kilometer-ometer than I’d seen it display at any point of any day’s ride for the past six months! The northerly wind also made itself felt much more keenly, now we were pointed that way, so I resolved to be a lot more careful not to expend unnecessary energy and went into unashamed wheel-sucker mode. As the label of Chris B’s jacket implies, he makes an excellent ‘windstopper’!
Clive wasn’t such a good windbreak however. The wind has a way of sneaking under his saddle and hitting a regular fellow full in the chest and this particular afternoon, those juicy sticks of rhubarb dancing just out of reach were quite a distraction – so red I thought they looked a bit like he was jet-propelled with an after-burner! Not so vivid in the photo however. Must have been the endorphins and the fact I was ever so slightly cream-crackered.
But I made it, safe home with 141km along and 1620m of up on the clock. Nothing special for the sporty Julian, but quite something for a hedonistic cyclist like me!


With a scheduled start of Godalming we feel that we have an early contender for the wooden crank award for our fellow rider who went to Guildford. We finally started from the roundabout where the A3100 meets Chalk Road. We doubled back on ourselves and set off for Selbourne via Elstead, Churt Arford, Bourdon and Blackwater. A distance of 34.5m, a reasonable speed of 12 mph and an average temperature of 14°C made for a lovely ride though the average temperature belied a large variation depending on the cloud and tree cover which made me alternate between being pleasantly warm and a little cold.

Selbourne is a lovely coffee stop, friendly, great cakes and you can get the teapot filled up with hot water. But where is lunch going to be? Well we can go the flat route to Kings Worthy or the hilly route to Bishops Waltham. We were informed that we were going to Kings Worthy for the simple reason, as we found out, that the Captain has moved on from bluebells and now it is wild garlic that we must admire. If my limited map reading skills work, Mill Lane just south of Empshott is the place to go for a visual and olfactory treat. The nature watching part of our rides is definitely growing in importance. Have you head a cuckoo yet? No. Have you seen a few Highland Cattle on the ride? Yes.


But flat this route was not. A few “bunnyhops” of severe gradients tested us. Heaven only knows what the lumpy route to Bishops Waltham would have been like. I recorded a total climb of 6,200 ft over the whole day. Last year we were doing 5,000 ft of climb a ride. I fear that the expedition to Corsica has led the Captain to refine his perspective on hills.

The churches we passed en route are noteworthy for their architecture, one appearing to be in the Norman style with its round arch windows and dog tooth stone work and another showing some distinctive Early English simple four-centred arch windows and buttresses. A beautiful rose window caught the eye but I couldn’t tell you which church they were. Some lovely houses observed as well.

After 24 miles, the garden centre in Kings Worthy provided excellent food. The sandwiches were of doorstopper dimensions and the cakes were good. Rain set in before we set out so jackets were donned and wishful glances made to see if it was going to be long lasting or a passing shower. Luckily it was not too heavy nor lasted too long. The ride home was 49 miles with a maximum of 40 mph just by freewheeling. The total ride was 107 miles.  The joys of long days.

Grade 4 Ride 18 May 2016

On behalf of Peter Hackman…


Hi All Group 4’s,
I was supposed to be leading tomorrow’s ride from Pirbright to Frensham GC, however, the forecast is looking decidedly wet so I have decided not to ride.

If anyone decides to go I’m sure you know the way there and please take care.

Best regards,

Peter Hackman



Kind regards


Laurie Mutch

+44 7887 650 777