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Date: 4th October 2009
Riders: Richard, Davebus, Felix, Gazza, Nick and Ted
LOMAC to Ranmore Common and back
Weather: 17°C

I learned a number of things this weekend

- It always rains on a weekend when one of those 24 hour events thingies is on
- If you never try new things you never know if you can do them or not
- Not all roadies are climbing Gods

Re the first point see a great report from our fellow Surrey Hills, North Downs and Mole Valley riders over at muddymoles. No more to say about that except thanks for the invite/challenge guys and whilst it sounds like fun so does naked bungee jumping but I think I will stick to getting my fun the normal way for the time being…

For the second point, this was about ‘Numbskull’, one of the challenging steep roll-ins on Ranmore Common. You know the one; Abba Zabba leads into Blind Terror then turn left at the bottom and up onto another steep roll-in that crosses a bridleway right by the roadside and has the opportunity to roll high onto the bank on the opposing side of the bridleway.

It’s called numbskull cos there’s a massive tree branch that hangs low across the roll-in, so low in fact that it looks as though you are going to crack your skull on it.

There are two lines to this roll-in, the easy one on the right (which I always take) and the harder line which takes in the overhanging branch and a large root which is dug out on the slope side which I always avoid. I have been thinking for months that I ought to give this one a go but hadn’t managed to motivate myself enough, until today.

Anyway, Mr Ted S Preston had already been proving himself a most excellent rider (Bogus. Heinous. Most non-triumphant) having thrown himself down the previous challenges and he took one look at the gnarlier line and said ‘I fancy a crack at that’.

Felix and I were at the top with him and after the standard "don’t do it unless you are really confident" advice and getting him to sign a copy of my disclaimer (not really, my lawyers confirm that he had already entered into a binding contract when he agreed to ride with us) off he went cleaning it with ease.

Ah! I thought, I’m really going to have to try this one. Felix and I looked at each other and Felix said “Well as he’s just ridden that on a hard tail I should really be able to do it on a full-suss” and climbed onto his Ellsworth Truth and after a brief pause cleaned it as well.

Double-ah! from me as I peered over the edge again then pushed back a few wheel-lengths to allow me to clip in.

“On my way!” I shouted so that the accompanying camera team could get in position and down I went. Over the root and my right foot slipped out of the cleat although I managed to hold it together for a rather ungainly descent.

Not satisfied with that I pushed back up and this time cleaned it successfully, so that’s another one in the bag although I need to clean it twice more before I ‘own’ it and time to think about the next challenge.

And finally, whilst all this messing around was going on a piss-poor attempt was being made by a bunch of roadies to climb the Raikes Lane ascent. It's admittedly very steep but me n Felix have cleaned it on our road bikes and well, whilst Felix is a pretty good climber I'm very average.

Other than that, a great ride that started in Ashtead and took in the highlights of Ranmore Common before heading form home via Polesden Lacey and Bockett’s Farm with a brief pause outside the recently ram-raided Cycleworks in Leatherhead. Keep an eye out for those 2010 demo models folks, I'm sure Dave Farmer would love to hear from you.

An off-road ride of 28 miles plus 10 miles getting to and from the start point makes a decent mornings work although Felix will no doubt disagree with the mileage. Suffice to say that my ten-year old Halfords odometer is absolutely correct versus his Garmin GPS (give or take 10%)!

Gazza at the bottom of Little Switzerland Davebus at the bottom of Little Switzerland Ted loves Badgers Best  Bitter Richard on Little Switzerland

Ted falls on Little Switzerland Felix on Little Switzerland Nick on Little Switzerland Ted on the steps of King William IV

Nick looks disinterested as Davebus rides the steps of King William IV Gazza Ted gets some air Felix

Gazza and Richard on the long drag up Pilgrim's Way Ted Gazza Davebus

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all photos and content copyright of Richard Sear 1999 to 2015


Date: 11th October 2009
Riders: Richard, Davebus, Terry, David, Debbie, Bruce, Simon and Kelton
3 Hills (Pitch Hill, Holmbury Hill, Leith Hill and back again)
Weather: 15°C

This morning was the first morning this year when I have felt like sacking off the ride before I had even started but instead it turned out to be a great day in the saddle.

I was getting ready at home and looking forward to wearing my new riding kit, a rather fetching Fox Livewire jersey in burnt orange colour plus the ubiquitous Fox High Frequency shorts in standard black. Full review to follow in due course.

A quick glance out the window (usually more reliable than checking the weather reports) showed it to be an overcast but seemingly dry day. However as I wandered into the conservatory to get some piece of kit I heard the disappointing patter of heavy rain on the glass roof.

Damn and blast and because I didn't want to ruin my new shorts I even changed out of them back into the old Decathlon shorts that have served me well over the years.

But I forced myself to get ready and into the car and set off for Peaslake which was luckily outside of the cloud cover and nice and dry for the start of the ride.

There we met some of the usual riders plus Bruce who has ridden with the group (minus me) over the summer and Sheffield Simon who we bumped into out on the trails a few weeks back and has decided to hook up with us again to learn some new trails.

Debbie and David had also bought Kelton with them. It's Roy Orbison's middle name apparently but unfortunately Kelton turned out to be a bloke rather than a 'Pretty Woman'. Sorry mate, I'm sure you have heard that more times than you care to recall.

However by the end of the ride it's safe to say Kelton was 'Crying' with cramp and 'Only the lonely' as he trailed far off the back of the pack.

The trails were holding up surprisingly well helped in part by the guy with long travel full-susser and full facer hanging off his bars who was lovingly raking a nice bermed corner on Trail 1. Chers my friend, we salute ya!.

We also spotted Ivan who I rode with last June as well as Ant who rode with us in March this year and was mincing down Barry Knows Best with a friend in tow .

It started to rain part of the way through the ride but it was only a mild shower and a mild day ands didnt affect the ride quality or the trails.

After splitting the group into two I led the faster group round the rest of the trails and we had some fun barrelling down the Upfolds Farm descent and meeting four riders coming up the hill just as the trail starts to narrow.

But we survived with just a flat for Bruce and after fixing that it was non-stop back to Peaslake via my favourite Holmbury 'village hall' climb whilst Dave, David and Debbie nursed Kelton back to Peaslake for a recuperative cup of tea and a cheese straw or two.

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Untitled Document

all photos and content copyright of Richard Sear 1999 to 2015


Date: 17th October 2009
Riders: Richard and Cas
Road Ride: Surrey lanes and byways
Weather: 11°C

With me needing to be out on Sunday I fancied a quick spin on the road bike on a Saturday morning and as usual Cas was up for the challenge.

He led me on a wild goose chase around the Surrey lanes and even reaching as far as West Sussex.

We covered 63 miles including the Box Hill challenge which saw me set a disappointing time for the zig-zag road climb which was just 4 seconds faster than the time I setback in April despite having covered 2,800 commuting miles during the interim.

Something tells me I need to look elsewhere other than pure mileage to improve my climbing ability.

A few pics below but road ride pics never seem to be as exciting as MTB pics (well at this amateur level anyway, of course you see some great pics of the grand tours during the Summer).

However, a major new advancement for the site this week as I have finally figured out how to have a decent viewer for you to see my pictures through. Many thanks to Steve and Matt who both gave me some tips on how to set this up.

Check out the latest videos we have uploaded

 

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Tip of the week

MTB in Canada

external bearing replacement

Goodridge hose replacement

dialled bikes rough ride

7 Stanes riding in Scotland

Single speeding
Swinley

Buy some night lights
South Downs MBR killer loop
Buy an MTB DVD
Chainsuck
Buy some night lights
Buy an MTB DVD
kit reviews

Untitled Document

all photos and content copyright of Richard Sear 1999 to 2015


Date: 22nd October 2009
Riders: Richard
Cycle Commute: Evening commute; Canary Wharf to Ewell
Weather: 11°C

"Sorry mate I didn't see you" or SMIDSY as its known throughout cycling forums is a phrase that 99.999% of cycle commuters hear at some stage of their commuting experience.

And so it came to pass that it was my turn to hear this particular phrase as I picked myself up off the tarmac of the quaintly named "Newington Butts" heading toward Stockwell Road.

I had just successfully negotiated the lottery that is a busy Elephant and Castle roundabout in rush hour traffic only to be caught out by a BMW series 5 door being flung open in front of me as I filtered down the inside of a stationery row of vehicles. There was about 6 foot of space betwen the cars and the kerb so I felt comfortable and it was no different from the thousands of times I have carried out similar manouevres this year.

Everything had happened in slow motion as the adrenaline kicked in the milliseconds that I had to realise that the door was opening. Then I hit the edge of it hard with my right shoulder and was thrown off to the left only for my fall to be broken by a road sign indicating roadworks ahead which ironically had no doubt subconsciously forced me further right than I was planning.

I wasn't particularly angry about it, just warned the youth being dropped off by his mum to be more careful in the future. I was lucky to get away with a sore red patch on top of my shoulder where I connected with the car and an egg sized and shaped bruise on my shin which is where I landed on said sign.

I checked over the bike before I set off although I knew it hadn't even been touched as it was my muscle, skin and bones which bore the brunt of the impact.

Thanks also to the unknown rider behind me who stopped for a few minutes to make sure I was OK.

The second irony of the evening was that this homeward leg saw me clock up 3,000 commuting miles this year.

Ho hum!

bruised leg bruised leg


Date: 2nd November 2009
Riders: Richard

No cycling for me this week apart form being back on the commute again this morning (Monday 2nd November).

I was on holiday last week up in the North East of England. Despite being very close to Hamsterley Forest I didn't take my bike as I had intended. Following my SMIDSY incident on the Thursday, my right shoulder was very sore and although I commuted again on the Friday I didn't feel up to the different stresses that a mountain bike would put on my shoulder so left it at home.

That reminds me, on Friday's commute I saw a bunch of chavs on their Halfords bikes and as I was flying along shouted 'C'mon lads, can't you go any faster?' as I flew past. Unfortunately a traffic light stop (I'm no RLJ'er) meant they caught up and they made me laugh when the most feral looking one in the ubiquitous hoodie sneered 'betcha can't even wheelie'.

That's probably correct my dear fellow but at least I can construct a sentence properly.

As part of the North East trip we vistied Beamish Open Air museum and I spotted a few cycle related opportunities and took a few photos which are added onto the end of the selection of photos below.

Finally, I was planning an MTB ride on Sunday but the weather was shocking, the kind that would have had Noah putting his boots back in the cupboard and thinking to himself it's a bit wet out there so I reluctantly called off the ride. Sorry Ted, I know you were already on the train. I had at least got up and ready and was in my garage preparing the bike when the weather got even worse and a quick phone call with Terry decided the matter. Oh well, there's always the commuting miles and next weekend to think about.

Check out the latest videos we have uploaded

 

READ MORE:
watch my mtb videos
Tip of the week

MTB in Canada

external bearing replacement

Goodridge hose replacement

dialled bikes rough ride

7 Stanes riding in Scotland

Single speeding
Swinley

Buy some night lights
South Downs MBR killer loop
Buy an MTB DVD
Chainsuck
Buy some night lights
Buy an MTB DVD
kit reviews

Untitled Document

all photos and content copyright of Richard Sear 1999 to 2015


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