Marlies van der Hurk writes

At 8am in the morning the sun was out – but so was the wind. It sounded as if it was quite strong and suddenly the idea of a day’s cycling didn’t seem hugely sensible or appealing: flooded roads, strong wind, potholes – an enticing prospect? But then there were 11 eager, keen and enthusiastic riders at the usual meeting point, so there was no longer any question or doubt about what to do.
The start of the route was slightly hilly, up and down through Rowledge to Frensham, then to Churt and across the A3 at Thursley. We then went uphill again towards Bowlhead Green. A very pretty road and quiet too – we hardly met any traffic on this section. Then it was on to Witley Station where we picked up another member of the group. The footbridge over the tracks at Witley Station is back in action so we followed the more direct but off-road path to the bridge. It was a bit muddy, unsurprisingly, but just about cyclable. From Witley it was a quick cycle to the lunch stop: the Crown Inn at Chiddingfold. A table for 8 people had been booked – February ride numbers are always difficult to predict! – and the landlord had to squeeze 13 of us around a table for 10. The pub is old and beautiful, both inside and out. We got a friendly welcome, the space around the table was perfectly comfortable and both food and service were good. Certainly a pub to recommend. On the way back via Hambledon we had to peddle through some pretty large puddles, though even larger ones were waiting for us on the approach to Milford station – no chance of keeping feet dry! Closer to Farnham the road past Elstead was either closed or completely flooded, so we went via Shackleford and the Sands. We were blessed with more sunshine in the afternoon and got back to Farnham in good time. All in all, an enjoyable ride!