What, no rain and no frost? It must be spring! It is and we all know what that means – cold easterly winds; and we were not to be disappointed. Nevertheless, it wasn’t too bad, and as the day wore on, it became sunnier, but not much warmer. Certainly more riders had crawled out of their burrows than on the past two or more rides and here they all are at the bus stop on Pirbright Green – well, the thees and fours anyway; the ones and twos were allowed another half hour in bed so we didn’t see them.

The threes quickly overtook the fours – Mr Murdoch was re-named Mr Puncture for the day, although they still somehow beat us to coffee in Odiham – must have taken a shorter route. The route is only glorious for the last section; unfortunately there are things called connurbations between Pirbright and Odiham and they have to be passed through: never mind, close your eyes and think of England (or the Royal Aircraft Establishment, Farnborough, if you prefer – you see a lot of it!).

The coffee stop in Odiham, the ‘Next Door at the George’ – it looked like the Bel and the Dragon to me – with no fewer than two blue plaques on the outside, is a very pleasant place to take a mid-morning break; and it really was a mid-morning break today, since we had to cycle a lot further than usual to get to it. The place was buzzing; nevertheless, a large young man with a Scottish accent took our order before we even had time to sit down and make ourselves comfortable – now that’s service! I had a delicous cuppacino and toasted tea cake and still got change from a fiver – 30p!

After that we enjoyed a most enjoyable twelve or so miles south to Churt, along comparatively quiet country lanes – they are seldom very quiet in this part of the world. There were a few ups and downs but nothing that stopped the surge of energy being put into a multitude of cranks by the fourteen of us; oh yes, the Spring sap is beginning to rise!

Luncheon was taken at the Crossways in Churt, who told us they weren’t informed that we were coming; they didn’t seem unhappy though and served us quickly and efficiently, mainly with sandwiches. Neil and a.n.other bought baskets of chips and passed them round – how very civilized! And very good they were too! Thanks!

As always happens after lunch, it wasn’t long – well immediately on this occasion – that people start peeling off bound for home; this time Marion left first heading back to Haslemere, and not long after, once we had passed through Tilford, having done a stretch along the dreary Rushmoor straight at a speed of over 22mph, I noticed with surprise, we lost Ian and Brian who were headed for Godalming. I should have been with them but they had cycled to Pirbright and I hadn’t, so I had to see this ride through to the bitter end.

Once over the bridge at Tilford, I noticed that it’s uphill all the way to the top of the Hog’s Back, although we crossed opposite Tongham, so it didn’t involve a big climb at the end, but I, for one, was looking forward to something a bit flatter; and indeed the final stretches to Pirbright are thankfully fairly flat but we did have to fight the wind all the way.

Thanks, John, for the ride, the route, and for not getting upset with all the people who didn’t keep behind you all the time. Riders out today were: Marion Davison, John Child, Neil Eason, Brian East, Phil Gasson, Pete Hathaway, Russell Johnson, Alec MacKenzie, Ian Pickering, John Pletts, Keith Rickards, Keith Stainer, Chris Williamson and Mark Waters.

The route may be viewed below and if you want to see it in more detail, then click on this link: https://www.strava.com/activities/518600034