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6th December 2014
Riders: Richard, Garry, Nick, Steve, Rich, Rob, Cas, Matt, & Bright
Pitch Hill & Holmbury Hill
Weather: 2.5°C

A meet-up in Hurtwood Carpark 10 on Pitch Hill with some of the Southern-based riders from the Singletrackworld forum to lead Bright (sorry, I forget his real name) around the Surrey Hills as he's down from South Wales for the weekend for a Christening and has managed to get a day off for riding.

Russell Brand, Maggie Thatcher, what tyre, Anne Frank's drumkit, Enduro, 650b, 29'er, Tony Blair, mince, carbon, fattie, on-one, all-mountain, brings the trails alive, lycra etc. were all words that were not spoken during some great riding in perfect Winter conditions that only got cold once we had made the pilgrimage to the Peaslake Stores for tea and cake and cooled off as the sun dropped behind Holmbury Hill.

Back to the warmth of the cars and home in time for tea.

The ride was led by a lycra-clad Nick with a succession of other previously unknown (to me anyway) riders following in his wake including Steve on his superb Jones with Mary bars and monster-truck tyre up front. It was interesting standing by the trail-side to take the photos to hear the grumbling/whooshing sound it made as it ploughed downhill.

It was strange to meet another rider called Cas too, hailing from a similar background to our own dear Cas.

I was wearing my latest purchase, the Urge All-Mountain lid, a bargain at just £34-99 from those folk at CRC. Having a rather outsize noggin I went for the L/XL sizing and it only just fitted once I had swapped out the thicker set of pads that come pre-fitted for the thinner set that come as spares as there's no other way of adjusting the fit. But it was comfortable during the ride even if I was pouring with sweat from my head on a day that was just above freezing. Perhaps I was just wearing too many layers today.

It's also the third ride that I've gone 'one-up' on the chainset and I had my first dropped chain. Just one occasion as I pushed it through the re-modelled Yoghurt Pots trail. But I managed to keep rolling/pumping to get to the end and it was fine from thereonin but let's hope it's not a sign of things to come.

 

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all photos and content copyright of Richard Sear 1999 to 2015

 


21st December 2014
Riders: Richard, Gaz and Andy
Holmbury Hill & Pitch Hill
Weather: 7.5°C

It's the Winter Solstice, a time which may have been a special moment of the annual cycle for some cultures even during neolithic times. Thankfully my cycling is on a much more regular basis and I take the opportunity of a dry couple of days to get out on the hills on the shortest day of the year. Things can only get better from now on; can't they?

Andy is a new member of the forum and having mainly ridden around Swinley forest and the Isle of Man is keen to learn some of the trials on the Surrey Hills although from the way he tackles the trails on his big Canyon and with tales of the Trans-Savoie ride earlier on this year he rides like an old hand. Gaz has ridden with me a number of times but only on local rides from the LOMAC so a lot of this is new to him too but he gamely takes over the mantle of Surrey's gnarliest acountant from Batters who is Tom Dick at the moment with a dodgy sack (or is it back?).

We rock up to the Holmbury YHA car-park early on a Sunday morning. Lots of alcohol at some good friends house last night, a 1 a.m. finish and a cold dark morning weren't conducive to me getting out of bed but I made it and loaded my bike onto my new towbar mounted bike rack. A top of the range Thule G6 929 Euroclassic which I treated myself to finally after all these years back in October following my 50th birthday. However I've struggled to get the right connector for it to link to my towbar mount and I finally picked up the right connector yesterday afternoon in Halfords Sutton of all places.

We set off up the usual trails and tackle some sloppy trails on Holmbury Hill before descending via BKB and then climbing up Pitch Hill where we spot an alternative DoMTB ride which must have been posted on the DoMTB dark web site by Si as I never got wind of it. Here's Stevo welcoming all-comers to join him whilst Northern monkey Paul clearly thinks it's the middle of Summer not the exact mid-Winter.

The trails were riding much better here and we bumped into another group of riders well-known to us featuring Ian on his Fatbike and some of the other guys who came along to TrailAddicition with us a few years ago.

Finally there was just time to spot Andy Cyclewizards car in the Pitch Hill car park and I left him a little note that I had dropped by. Happy Christmas mate.

Gaz and Andy were flagging by this stage; no surprise given the weight of the bike that Andy was lugging around and we wound our way up Holmbury Hill to finish with the Yoghurt Pots and Telegraph Row.

Here's to longer days, warmer weather and more dry trails for 2015.


 

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all photos and content copyright of Richard Sear 1999 to 2015

 


29th December 2014
Riders: Richard, Terry, Lee and Keith
local trails to Box Hill and beyond
Weather: 2°C

It's the fag-end of the year but with the weather cold, dry and bright it's perfect for riding. A later start than normal sees me leave home at 10-30 a.m for a ride over to LOMAC. The roads are coated in frost and I'm cautious over the few spots in the shade where there's potential for black ice. I came off on one of these a few years ago and I really don't want to do that again.

But as soon as we get off-road the trails are firm and dry with that lovely crackling sound underneath as we ripple across the frozen mud. Keith has made a special guest appearance on a lovely looking Cotic Soul (Keith does build a great looking bike) to replace his cracked titanium frame (quelle surprise) and Lee is on a Frankenbike looking On-One 456 with superstar lime green rims and matching brake hose.

It's clearly new bike time as Terry is riding his latest acquisition, a Stanton Switchback that looks lovely in the flesh and seems to ride very well too although with a big ride yesterday Terry has lost some of his pace as I beat him to the top of most climbs.

After a few hours in the saddle and almost 1,000 metres of climbing, the bright winter sun has melted some of the frost and the trails become a bit more unpredictable but they are still firm underneath and we return via the road to the LOMAC to complete another good day out; possibly the last ride of the year for me.


 

Untitled Document

all photos and content copyright of Richard Sear 1999 to 2015

 


Ride Archive

December 2015
November 2015

October 2015

September 2015

August 2015

July 2015

June 2015

May 2015

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March 2015

February 2015

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all photos and content copyright of Richard Sear 1999 to 2015

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click to view click to view click to view Steve Neill Big Trev Orange Dave dialled bikes pewter headtube badge Dave and Dave outside LOMAC Dave on Summer Lightning A grinning Trevor Steve (again) Davebus and Neill on Stane Street Jason next to Denbie's vineyard Trevor struggles up the climb Dave followed by Jason on Stane Street Banstead Downs singletrack It was getting dark by the time I got back Richard (that's me!) Surrey Hills logo at the top of Coombe hill Gary dicing with the cars through New Malden Stag party Gary's Giant SCR 2008 model  A cheerful looking Gary part way round Richmond Park speed limits for cyclists! Kingston Gate, Richmond Park view off the side of Headley Heath Bianchi K-Vid carbon forks self-portrait whilst climbing between second and third hairpin on the Zig Zag Road, Box Hill Dave and Mat, the folly, Reigate Hill urban riding, Richard in Ashtead High Street a bit underexposed but a nice shot of the view from the North Downs Way Richard dropping in on Colley Hill No, not the Mediterranean, this is outside LOMAC, Ashtead High Street Richard showing off for the camera Mat and Richard, Stane Street Richard, Headley Heath Mat on Headley Heath Gary with our 'rabbit' in the distance Gary in the dusk Richard Gary chasing the yellow 'rabbit' in the distance Cas Cas Richard 'self-portrait'