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5th December 2015
Riders: Richard, Howard, Avi, Joe & Tony
Holmbury Hill
12 degrees

A late Winter afternoon ride with a couple of workmates and their riding buddies from Bigfoot CC over Bromley way to show them around the Surrey Hills. Tony is on a loan bike; a nice looking Giant Reign but he's forgotten to bring his riding legs and we have to leave him to recover his breath a few times so I stick to Holmbury Hill and the numerous singletrack trails rather than dropping us down to Peaslake as planned and then him struggling to get back over the hill.

There's a bit of bike swapping and repeat trail riding going on as Tony and Howard want to try the loan bkes versus what Tony is currently riding back to back on the same trail but that's not a problem although we end up riding Yoghurt Pots three times which is enough for any man and even bumping into the 'other' Nick Jones at the end of the 'Pots.

We don't start the ride until 14:00 and at this time of the year in Northern Europe you can feel the darkness encroaching after every trail section.

As I don't want to go too far from the cars there's lots of repeat trail riding as I head up and down the beginning of Reservoir Dogs three or four times to access various other trailheads that are in that small maze of trails.

We exit the trail opposite the start of Reservoir Dogs and Tony manages to dig his front wheel into a patch of mud and exits front and centre over the bars as the bike comes to a full stop. He's lying on the ground but he's learning the ways of DoMTB and as soon as he sees me pulling the camera out he's up and on his feet again.

With official sunset at 15:55 it's soon dark but most of us have lights with us and that just enhances the experience as we make the final descent from the Trig point at the top of Holmbury Hill back to the YHA carpark via Yoghurt Pots for the third time and Telegraph Road.

A nice little ride with plenty of singletrack thrown in.

For those of you viewing on Apple/IOS devices there's a whole load of pictures in the blank box below that you are missing out on


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all photos and content copyright of Richard Sear 1999 to 2015

19th December 2015
Riders: Richard, Greg & Marco
Road ride: Reigate Rouleur part route
16 degrees

It's unseasonably warm as Greg and I rock up to the Bletchingley Arms car park with the road bikes on the back. We would usually have ridden here from my gaff but with an unknown route in mind and the short Northern European daylight hours at this time of year I didn't want to get stuck anywhere out on the road so the car it is.

We are meeting Marco, an Italian rider who has just recently started working in my office to show him the joys of the Surrey and Kent roads. I'm using part of the Reigate Rouleur route, a local sportive that I haven't ridden myself. I've also shortened the official route as I've not ridden many of these roads before and don't know what to expect.

We set out at 10-15 and head up to Cooper's Hill Road. This part of the route is at least familiar to me as it's on the official London to Brighton route and consists of a nice 8km descent that allows us to warm up and settle into the ride.

Marco has forgotten his lid and takes these fast descents carefully. It's dry today but many of the roads that are in the shade are damp and many have wet leaves on them in strategic places.

The Garmin 500 is picking up the route nicely and it's a straightforward route to follow with just a few hard rights and hard lefts where it feels as if you are going back on yourself. The first 40km fly by until we hit the first serious climb, Ide hill. It's a couple of k's and a reasonable gradient and Marco and I set a steady pace. But hold on, where's Greg? He's normally so strong but he's struggling as we climb and drops off the pace.

We reconvene at the top after Marco has shown his Italian climbing legs and given chase to another guy who passes us three-quarters of the way up.

A lightning fast descent to the A25 at Brasted and after a quick power bar it's a left turn up Toys hill, another well known climb that I've never tackled before. And with the same result as Marco and I make the steady climb but Greg struggles. Seriously, I've never seen him like this.

The sun is out and it's very mild, I'm sweating and roll down my arm-warmers as we push on. The route rolls in and around the North Downs. Sometimes you are in the valley with the hills behind you and sometimes you are up the top looking at the great views.

The descent off Toys hill is fast and dangerous with a terrible road surface but we make it safely and then it's straight into another climb up past Chartwell, home of the greatest ever Briton and I give Winston a salute as we pass.

A puncture for Marco doesn't take long to fix then there's one more climb and we are back on the A25 and pulling into the pub car park and after racking up the bikes we drop in for a quick beer and/or coffee.

We are sitting there quietly when in strolls Cas and his mate Takis. They have been doing a ride in a similar area but Takis has taken a fall and somehow managed to smash his front fork. Apparently Cas had ridden the bike 2.5k to get to the pub before removing the broken fork leg and calling his wife for a lift home. But I'm happy to oblige instead and after more drinks and chat the four of us squeeze into my car and head for home.

A nice 80 km ride in great weather for this late in the year.

For those of you viewing on Apple/IOS devices there's a whole load of pictures in the blank box below that you are missing out on


Untitled Document

all photos and content copyright of Richard Sear 1999 to 2015

31st December 2015
Riders: Richard & Greg
Road ride: London to Windsor & back
14 degrees

“You guys are living my husband’s dream” drawled the American tourist as she took a photo of us with her husband and son outside Windsor Castle. (No, it wasn't the same American tourist that had queried why anyone would build such a beautiful castle under the flight path of Heathrow the last time Greg was in this area).

But it hadn't felt like that 90 minutes earlier as we were making an illegal move along the side of the A3 towards the Wisley turn-off.

Greg and I had set off from my house at 9 am on a crisp but sunny and most importantly dry New Year’s Eve; the last ride of the year and we're following Adam’s ‘Windsor’ route (which proved to be a bit knotty). It took the long but pretty route passing canals and quiet fields to just shy of Wisley and this was where we had the first issue. I was following the route on my Garmin 500. Not the best way to follow a route as all you get is the black line on a blank screen but having rounded the Ripley roundabout it seemed to be directing us straight up the A3, a busy dual carriageway with a clear ‘No Cycling’ sign.

A quick call to Adam who was sitting at home playing with himself reassured us that it was only 500 metres and then we could take the Wisley turn-off. But I’m law abiding and it felt uncomfortable as we scooted along inside the solid white line. It also seemed further than 500 metres with the heavy traffic ploughing past us just a metre away at 70mph.

But we were soon off the A3 and onto quiet back roads again. The route took us through a private housing estate, the exclusive Knowle Hill , and Wentworth golf course home of The Open and Windsor Great park, past the Guards Polo Club before we rocked up in Windsor looking for the Cinnamon Café which was ‘right next to the station’ (according to Adam’s instructions). But it would have helped if we were at the correct train station and after asking the local shop owners and cabbies, none of whom had heard of the café we eventually called Adam’s online ride support services again and found not only the right station but the café and had a great flat white and massive lump of cake. Yes, I had a coffee, dunno why as I don’t do caffeine but I just really fancied one.

Following the aforementioned incident with the American family, the husband of which was a big fan of Bianchi and Garmins we headed back for home and another shock awaited us.

After spending the first few hours on quiet backwaters (A3 excepted) we were thrown into a busy A-road return which was fast, furious and very windy. I started to get a twinge in the back of my right knee but I get this every now and then (last time I felt it was on the Paris trip) and I was feeling good and strong and I ignored it.

Greg and I were working together well. Greg is usually so much stronger than me that I let him lead 90% of the time but we were sharing the workload evenly as we headed back through the flat, open but busy Runnymede. Another strong solo rider overtook us and seemed content to let us both draft him for five miles or so until we turned off at the junction haviog just crossed over the M3 and he headed a different way.

But what’s this? The roads are still busy and my right hamstring is starting to cramp up. I must be making a minute adjustment to my riding position due to my knee. It hurts, much worse than the knee but as I’m still feeling strong (the coffee?) and we still have 40km I push on through the pain.

In fact for the second ride in a row I’m actually dropping Greg as we hit the long climb up from the superbly named Effingham to Great Bookham. This really is unknown territory for me (and Greg) as Greg is normally so strong but I can see him struggling.

Through Leatherhead and back to Epsom and Ewell. The last ride of the year and a fast 122 km covered. But hey! It’s New Years Eve and a couple of hours later I’m out for a celebration. But my hamstring is cramping up, it’s really killing me and not even an excessive amount of alcohol is dulling the pain. Not sure what’s going on here. (to be continued)..

For those of you viewing on Apple/IOS devices there's a whole load of pictures in the blank box below that you are missing out on


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

April 2015
March 2015

February 2015

January 2015

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all photos and content copyright of Richard Sear 1999 to 2015


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'