The Last Ride – Suzanne’s Report

31 July 2014

Sunday  27 July 2014: Redhill to (by common consent) Gatwick

The group at Spynes Mere

 At Spynes Mere Nature Reserve. L-R: Joyce, Suzanne, Anne, Jim, David, Julian, Sean, Rob, Roger, Prudence, Martin

JIM was
In change of the the
Motley group.

DSC02908

Jim (and half of Julian) at the Moors Nature Reserve

JOYCE struggled personfully to ensure that five bikes would fit into a space for three on the up line
On the return journey she decided that Godstone was the station for her.
Yes, the rest of us were very sorry to lose her from the last leg but she had
Certainly enlivened the lunch-time conversation, as
Ever. (Thanks, Joyce!)

DSC02905

Joyce (left) and others at the Moors Nature Reserve

DAVID’s
Adventures and
Vicissitudes started
In Redhill Station where he involunarily played at going up and
Down the lifts and stairs. (Yes, he caught up with us in the end)

SEAN missed the group at the station having
Exited by the wrong gate.
And, as is his wont, he too was able to catch up with us
Near Cormonger’s Lane. (Cormongers, so it seems, sold offal).

PRUDENCE
Really seemed to enjoy her first outing with Clarion
Undaunted by the ten other
Dotty Clarionettes she met up with and who
Endlessly chattered about this, that and the other.
Notwithstanding her claim to go no further than Waitrose by bike, she proved to be a great new
Clarionette and we hope she will
Enjoy many more rides with the group. (Welcome, Prudence)

DSC02921

Prudence (far left)

JULIAN’s wheels have
Undergone a transformation. The sleek
Lines of his smart new bike were
Impeccable, the hydraulic brakes
A marvel and
Nevermore will his chain jam as disastrously as on the last ride. (And thanks for all the Bird Info.)

DSC02918

Roger, Suzanne and a donkey all admired Julian’s new bike. Sean, however, appears to be mooning at it.

ANNE, as always, was
Never at a loss to share a kindly word or a sweet, but
No group leader is going to get away with refusing her an
Extended afternoon tea stop (Thank goodness that café was open in Horley).

ROB who could easily have sped off at twice the speed of most of the group
Obligingly rode as “lanterne rouge” to ensure that no one was left behind as we went through
Blechingley and Blindley Heath (Riding a superbly elegant Moulton small wheeled bike)

DSC02917

In Tilburstow Hill car park. Eight Clarionettes, only 2 bikes! L-R Roger, Jim, Julian, Martin, David, Rob, Sean, Joyce

MARTIN (London Clarion) joined the group at Redhill
After having already cycled 25 miles from Tonbridge! Another strong
Rider happy to take a “back seat” and chat about travels and cycling with
Those who could keep up with his expertise.
In Croydon Barn Lane we waited for Jim to return from escorting Joyce to Godstone and then
Next it was time for Martin to wend his 25 miles back to Tonbridge (Let’s hope we meet again soon)

ROGER,
Opted for returning via
Gatwick station rather than Horley to avoid having to change. After the Riverside Garden Park,
Emerging from the lift into the bustling departure terminal of the airport was confusing but Network
Rail have provided not only a new platform, but a new lift, so by 6pm, everyone had got their train.

Riverside Garden Park, Gatwick

Riverside Garden park

SUZANNE was daunted by the thought of all those
Undulations (due and undue) but in the end she had
Zip enough (it was not she who accused our great leader of being an “Undulation denier”)
And so managed to keep up. She loved the
New and very pretty route that had been planned for us and
Never once regretted setting off,
Even though getting out of bed had been hard

THANKS
Hats off
And congratulations to our
No nonsense and
Knowlegeable
Shepherd

JIM

Suzanne

Egyptian Goose

An Egyptian Goose at the nature reserve


The last ride: Sunday 4 September – Three Bridges circular

13 September 2011

[More photos on Flickr]

Angelika, Jim, Rob, Roger, Sue, Suzanne and Tessa met at Three Bridges. We had a staggered arrival, on trains from Brighton, Clapham Junction, Haywards Heath and Hove. A newspaper stand outside the station announced ‘Ex-Mayor in TV Auction’. At lunch Roger confessed he was tempted to add ‘No Bids Received’.

2. At the Start

The Worth Way is my kind of off-road, a smooth disused railway track. Trees protected us from a misty drizzle. At Rowfant Station (boarded up) we admired the quality of bricklaying in the bricked up door of the ticket office – it was seamless with the rest of the building – a touch of Surrealism, Rene Magritte maybe? I thought. The suburbs of Crawley Down followed, we rejoined the Worth Way, passed a 16th Century manor house [Gullege – Jim] with an interesting star-shaped chimney, too far away to really admire. Suzanne wondered if the advent of the railway so close to them had caused the owners of the manor house to protest in a 19th century version of NIMBYism.

7. Red Riding Hood

At East Grinstead station, the track ended and we headed towards our lunch stop in Lingfield on some delicious long downhill swoops. It started to rain properly as we neared The Star and during lunch we looked out on pouring rain. At lunch Jim asked us if we had noticed a road sign in the village saying ‘Free Will Counselling’, prompting Roger to confess what he nearly did at Three Bridges station. Lunch took a while to arrive, but when it did, was served altogether and was appreciated. No politics today, ‘Slimmers World’ and ‘Freecyle’ were among the subjects discussed. Jim took a photo of my empty plate for the report, another touch of Surrealism?

5. Empty Plate

We decided against visiting the church in Lingfield and headed off into Surrey where after Crowhurst we voted to take the off-road path Jim had discovered on his practice ride. It was not my kind of off-road – bumpy and fringed with massive stinging nettles, but Sue handed out dock leaves at the end.

6. Lingfield

After the Bentley half mile we passed through Blindley Heath and Smallfield, mostly on country lanes but with a short section of A22 in between.

Our tea stop was a very jolly café in Horley where a cup of tea cost only £1. We sat outside as the sun and wind had swept away the rain.

13. Warning - Do Not Drive Horse Drawn Carriages on this Footpath

Soon we were at Gatwick, passing through the delightful Riverside Garden Park, landscaped with ponds and semi-tropical plants – another surreal experience – noise from planes, motorway and trains surrounded the tranquillity, as well as the smell of aviation fuel. The route back to 3 Bridges ran through Gatwick’s concrete jungle, deserted office blocks and boarded up industrial units. We passed Gatwick’s original 1930’s terminal, ‘the Beehive’ and small roads all named after famous scientists and engineers. We stopped for Jim to fix a couple of fake ‘Route 21’ signs to posts, not to mislead, but to clarify the route for those who will follow in our footsteps.

19. Fixing the Notice

At Three Bridges station, all except Angelika took the Brighton train, tired out by a wonderful well-planned day.

Thank you again Jim!

Tessa.


The Next Ride: Sunday 4 September 2011 – Three Bridges circular

24 August 2011

Please be clear that while all are welcome to join us, we each take part in rides at our own risk.

Three Bridges – East Grinstead – Lingfield – Crowhurst – Blindley Heath – Smallfield – Horley – Gatwick – Three Bridges

(Please contact me if you are thinking of coming: j.r.grozier@btinternet.com).

The last time we did this ride, in September 2008, Leon reported that it was ‘without doubt the most enjoyable that I have been on’. Everyone else, me included, thought it was a disaster – ankle-deep mud, a herd of scary-looking bullocks, and the leader (that’s me) losing his way! However, that was just Blindley Heath; the rest of it was OK. So I’ve changed the route slightly so we don’t actually go across the heath but round it, and it also has a different ending incorporating the four miles of NCN21 between Gatwick and Three Bridges, which I don’t think we’ve done before, plugging the gap in my ‘Route 21 Trilogy’, of which it therefore becomes Part 2½.

I hope no one has grown tired of the WORTH WAY yet. I certainly haven’t – it’s so flat, quiet, and dapply when the sun is out. If you are, just shut your eyes for the first 8 miles!

LUNCH will once again be at the Star at Lingfield. The menu is slightly more restricted than last time, and pricier, but they do have soup and other ‘starters’ that are affordable, and they have a big garden, though sadly now bereft of small furry animals. I will probably book a table, so let me know if you are coming.

PICNICS. On a couple of rides recently some of us have sat in a pub garden hiding picnic food on our laps. I do not think we should be so coy about this. Owing to the English tradition of not sharing tables with strangers, non-paying customers do not actually take up space that could be occupied by paying customers; so the pub are not losing out as long as some of us buy food (and I definitely will, as I am hopeless at picnics). So bring food if you want to!

After lunch we may have another look at the fourteenth-century St Peter & Paul’s Church at Lingfield, though probably without a guided tour this time around; then there is Crowhurst (Surrey) and the BENTLEY MILE, a straight tree-lined avenue (actually only half a mile long) which originally led to Ardenrun, the country estate of ‘Babe’ Wolf Barnato, a famous and extremely rich 1920s socialite who was also a works Bentley driver and winner of many sportscar and Le Mans races. Ardenrun was razed to the ground overnight by fire, following a ‘magnificent party’.

The Red Barn is a possible alternative lunch venue, but probably even pricier (it’s probably where all the toffs go after they have raced their Bentleys), so I am inclined to stick to the Star.

After skirting round Blindley Heath we make for Smallfield, then pick up Route 21 near Horley and follow it, through the now-familiar RIVERSIDE GARDEN PARK, to Gatwick (with a possible tea stop in Horley en route). Then comes the new bit. OK it’s not all up to the standard of the garden park, but some of it is interesting – including the BEEHIVE, the airport’s original 1936 terminal building, now used as offices. It is in the centre of a new industrial/office complex known as CITY PLACE, which I found quite eerily quiet on the practice ride and will no doubt be more so on a Sunday.

Finally to Three Bridges via a maze of on-pavement and off-road cycle paths, and there will, I am afraid, be further ceremonial erections of Clarion NCN21 signs to replace the ones Sustrans didn’t quite get round to installing. (Thanks to which my journey from Gatwick to Three Bridges on the practice was 8 miles long instead of 4!) We can also amuse ourselves by counting the number of roads in that area that are named after famous scientists and engineers, of which there seem to be many.

Length: 27 miles (23 miles if returning from Gatwick).
Duration: about 6 hours including lunch and tea stops.
Terrain: Mostly country lanes; three off-road sections of which one (Worth Way) is Sustrans standard and the other two can be avoided if wet.

Meet at Three Bridges Station (by the bike racks) at 10:50 am. Suitable trains are: 10:00 or 10:15 from Brighton; 9:51 from Hove; 9:22 from Lewes; 10:02 from London Victoria; 10:14 from London Bridge.

Jim (mobile 07742 963239)


The last ride: Sunday 15 May – NCN21 Gatwick to East Croydon

17 May 2011

[Many more photos on Flickr]

Eleven Clarionistas converged from all points (well London, Lewes and Brighton) to the very “unbike” atmosphere of Gatwick airport: Angela, Eogain, Helen, Jim, Joyce, Nick, Rob, Roger, Sean, Sikka, Suzanne. After welcoming our two new recruits, Eogain and Rob, we posed for our usual photo in front of a “No Access” sign, which we ignored because it was actually NOT no access, but in fact the way out … (our first example of independent thinking!).

01 At the Airport

We were very soon in the different world of the Gatwick Country Park, amidst the riot of greenery and the lake covered in water lilies. This was in fact a preview of the whole ride where the richness of nature in an area of which, I for one, knew nothing was a complete revelation. Who could guess that a ride between Gatwick and East Croydon (hardly propitious starting points) could be so beautiful and so richly green and varied?

03 Fixing the Sign

Onwards along the NCN 21, except when the sign was wrong (our second moment of independent thinking …). Jim had picked up a mistake on his recce ride, so instead of going right we carried straight on but not until, in a commendable act of public responsibility, he had put up the new professional-looking sticker he had made. He also undertook to contact the Local Authority to inform them.

02 Modified Sign

We then sailed on through what was to characterise this ride: a varied mix of quiet roads, cycle lanes, good bridleways, stony bumpy routes, nature reserves and woodland, and, whatever Jim said, some hills … On route, and once again not conforming when we eschewed the (correct) NCN21 sign to turn left because, as informed by Jim, part had been surfaced with fragments of tile and glass! But we soon picked it up. As we rode on we passed the new housing estate built on the site of the former Parcels Concentration Depot (a site of nostalgic memories for Jim).

After about 8 miles we came to our second nature reserve “the Moors”. Amazing vistas, large expanses of water and a sensation of being totally remote from any urban area. It was here we saw a cormorant – there was some debate as to whether it was in fact a shag, but I settle confidently for cormorant after checking. It was standing on a pole, totally still, with its wings held out to dry and I hope there is a good photo, it was magic. And all this it seems is formed from an old quarry – uplifting to see how nature can re-establish itself.

05 Cormorant or Shag

After more lovely quiet paths we finally came to Inn on the Pond for what everyone now needed – lunch. I couldn’t help thinking we were rather downmarket compared to the usual Sunday clientele of this establishment, particularly when we were shown to our table and noted the napkins and the wine glasses (no hope for baked potato here!). Our first discussion was about their intention to take orders at the table and not allow us to go and order our own food from the bar. But it ended to the satisfaction of everyone when they undertook to separate the bill so that everyone’s order would be clear and we would not have the dreadful calculations as to who had what, and it did work! And the food, expensive though it was, was very good, although the hour that Jim had foreseen for lunch turned into nearer two hours.

Nevertheless it did prompt the perennial discussion about picnics. I am well known as a picnic fan. Although of course the pub in winter is a welcome sight and I am very happy to follow the general wish. But now that the summer is coming maybe we should think a bit about the option of a picnic, perhaps combining the two when possible. Maybe this is a discussion for the Google forum …

09 The Ascent

After lunch we soon discovered that the break was a prelude to our greatest challenge on the ride. Although we did reach that before our next pleasure: the Spynes Mere Nature Reserve (yes another one), this time an ex sand quarry. Then on through green lanes, bridleways (some very bumpy) to the ascent to the North Downs – up the hill that Jim had said was the “only hill on the ride” Ha! But this one was indeed of a different nature to the ones we had already experienced. Steep, very stony and long! Most of us after a desultory attempt gave up and walked, but Eogain, Rob and Roger heroically stayed on. It was all worth it of course because the view was indeed magnificent.

10 At Caterham Viewpoint

Then the run down to Caterham station where we said goodbye to Nick and Eogain who had commitments to meet. The rest of us pressed on – little realising (well me anyway) the seeming endlessness of Croydon suburbs, and there were hills here too! This was Jim’s van territory in his previous job, so it was very familiar to him, otherwise I don’t think we would ever have found our way out. After ambling through the Croydon suburbs, by now weary, I think I can speak for many if not all the others when I say that in all the years I have passed through East Croydon station I have never seen it with such relief.

11 The View

What a ride – we must have ridden just about every form of surface, seen an enormous variety of environment, it felt like a dozen rides in one; and although it was only 27 miles on my clock it most certainly felt like more to me and I don’t doubt for some others. A full and rich ride – thanks Jim.

Joyce


The next ride: Sunday 15 May 2011 – Gatwick Airport to East Croydon

3 May 2011

Please be clear that while all are welcome to join us we each take part in rides at our own risk.

Sunday 15 May 2011
Gatwick Airport to East Croydon
Gatwick – Horley – Earlswood – Redhill – Nutfield Marsh – Caterham – Purley – Croydon

“Have your fun
On Route 21 …”

This is the first of a series of special rides featuring National Cycle Network Route 21. Route 21 wends its way, in anything but a straight line, from Eastbourne to Greenwich. We are very familiar with some parts of it (e.g. the Cuckoo Trail and the Worth Way); my aim is to cover the bits we know and the bits we don’t – all of it if possible – in a series of three or four big rides, with some small gaps plugged by other rides.

With this ride we are starting off, in time-honoured tradition, in the middle. We will begin on familiar ground to anyone who has experienced my previous Gatwick rides, but continue northwards at Horley instead of turning east or west as before. In fact we will traverse, in the opposite direction, the return leg of the Gatwick–Outwood ride we did in November 2010, as far as the junction of Lake Lane and Cross Oak Lane, before we branch off onto new ground.

Route 21 beyond this point has the look of a carefully crafted cycle route which has been put there for us to enjoy, rather than (as it may seem from a glance at the map) a disjointed sequence of bits of road; in fact much of it is off-road, well-surfaced bridleway, and only a very short section (which we will avoid) has been surfaced with glass and tile shards. We will encounter no fewer than four nature reserves (if we count our old friend the Gatwick Country Park) including some that have been reclaimed from an old sand quarry at Redhill.

Lunch will be at the Inn on the Pond (www.theinnonthepondnutfield.co.uk) at Nutfield Marsh, and once again I am afraid I have had to book a table and so will need numbers – please e-mail me at j.r.grozier@btinternet.com if you are coming. (And if there are a lot of us we may need to order our food in advance!)

After lunch we will have to face up to the North Downs looming above us. But Route 21 softens the blow, and we have only 80 metres to ascend (walking!) at an average gradient of 1 in 20. Then we are on top of the world, and can admire the view before the descent into Caterham.

Anyone who wants a shorter ride can in fact travel home on the train from Caterham, but hopefully most will press on to Croydon. This will be mostly on quiet suburban streets, with one additional short off-road section.

Length: 25 miles (16 miles if taking the train from Caterham).
Terrain: See above.
Duration: About 5½ hours, including lunch.
Start time and place: Gatwick Airport at 11:00 am. Rail travellers should assemble by the lifts that come up to the airport concourse from the platforms (not the additional lifts at the north end of Platforms 1-2).

Those coming by car can meet us at Horley en route, but note that as this is not a circular ride you will have to get the train from East Croydon to Horley at the end of the ride. Alternatively you could drive to an intermediate station such as Haywards Heath, and park there.

Suggested trains: (There are plenty, so we can spread ourselves out): from Brighton to Gatwick Airport at 10:00, 10:14, 10:34; from Hove at 9:54; from Lewes at 10:16; from London Bridge at 10:12; from London Victoria at 10:17 and Clapham Junction at 10:23.

Return trains from East Croydon to Brighton at 16:52, Hove at 16:36, Lewes at 17:11, Clapham Junction and Victoria at 16:40, London Bridge at 16:33.

My mobile: 07742-963239.

Jim


The last ride: Sunday 6 March 2011 – Gatwick circular revisited

8 March 2011

Sunday 6 March 2011

Gatwick Circular Revisited – Horses, Porsches, Woods & Water

[More photos on Flickr]

I’m supposed to be helping Jim to lead the ride so hope to arrive early at Brighton station, but forgot about the building works fencing off the usual entrance, so a little late, but still caught up with Roger & Suzanne on their way in, then delighted to see Joyce & Fred, already waiting at the usual spot. We decide not to choose Groupsave in view of the trouble on the last ride, where we were split up for being “too many bikes”. Roger and Suzanne had opted to take the earlier Southern train, to prevent any delay at the Gatwick start. We remaining three went for senior returns, even though Sue arrived, since she was hoping to return earliest. Our train was First Capital Connect & thus £2 cheaper than Southern. Jim had arrived by an even earlier Preston Park train, Jenny had come from Plumpton station, & Roger and Suzanne had arrived on the Gatwick Express. An Airport Information Officer was asked by Fred to take the group snap & he duly obliged, amid the bustling airport concourse.

The start at Gatwick Airport

Eight of us now trailed towards the lifts back down to earth, making a surreal procession among those bound for the skies. Jim checked that no one from London was trying to join us. Angela was meeting us at Horley & she liaised by mobile phone, eventually waving & joining the band. But first we had the delights of the tunnels under the monorail and/or railway; much hollering & ringing of bells! Now the Riverside Water Park, with lake to the left of us and solitary coot & serpentine stream & anglers to the right, as we rode. We paused for a few photos & regretted that Angela would miss our first treat. Met Angela at a roundabout and then we were nine.

Lake

Jim led us carefully from the NCR 21 Greenwich bound to the Surrey Cycleway – Leigh bound. Neither was very well marked. When Mick and I had tried to recce the ride a month previously we’d wasted at least an hour finding our way out of Gatwick Airport. No one in or around the airport seemed to cycle, though once on the track, blue signs appear. The airport building always seems to be expanding & the M23 roars away in the background constantly, but now we were out on the open road heading north, into a 16-mph NE headwind, but not too bad. A few gentle hills took us to a ridge from which Surrey lay spread out before us, with the North Downs on our right instead of our familiar South Downs on the left. In the distance chalk cliffs & Reigate, and near us hedges, fields & wonderful selection of trees, a few farms, lots of lovely spring birdsong and I heard the tap of a woodpecker. There wasn’t much traffic but what there was, was of the fast variety & shouts of “oil” reverberated along the line of nine.

gatwick circular 011

Just before Leigh and lunch I glimpsed a glorious Gothick mansion and diverted into its drive to take a photo. My latter half of the line followed and we wondered at the bell-tower, the chain bridge over the moat, the towers, the boat, the Gothic windows with drawn curtains. Was it abandoned or inhabited, what was it called and was the bridge safe? I thought of Mariana in the moated grange in Measure for Measure and Tennyson’s poem. Onwards to Leigh. Sue was much taken by a venerable churchyard tree & another photo was called for and taken. More Tudor cottages appeared on the green at Leigh, along with the welcome sight of The Plough for lunch.

gatwick circular 013

By now, the sun was out & we were warm from the climbs, so half of us chose to sit outside, as we’d done on the previous trip here when Nick had photographed a ladybird joining us for lunch. Joyce, Angela & I had fine, green vegetable soups & Jim had substantial baked potato with vegetable trimmings. Animated discussions arose on the recent Middle Eastern uprisings & likely effects, leading onto “The Promise”, TV series about Israel now & in 1947, through eyes of a young woman visiting friend there & her grandfather, who’d served in British army there and was marked for the rest of his life by it. All agreed it was remarkably good. Angela told us of her uncle who’d bravely refused to go there after serving in the war. The other five sat inside at sunny window table & enjoyed their food, my favourite being Jenny’s goat’s cheese jacket potato. Wonder if that’s what Jim had too?

The hardy outsiders

After a few more photos – Fred took one of the village well and its Best-Kept Village award – we were off again, via cutely named Newdigate Lane. There was a stop to enjoy three pretty little brindled ponies in a hedged field. Sue said they looked like hyenas, but Jenny said they were British Spotted Ponies. On looking them up on the web they do seem quite unusual, & were rather lovely.

gatwick circular 017

At the turning for Hammond’s Copse, two other cyclists appeared from the opposite lane and we followed them into the wood onto the bridleway, after a photo-stop. There are still not many signs of spring: trees are bare, snowdrops are the only clumps of flowers, though very occasionally isolated primroses also arose. Green stalks of future bluebells, violets & wild orchids were there promising much once the weather warms. We met some more cyclists in the wood, who held open the gate for us to proceed through. Eventually we emerged onto the concrete track by another beautiful farmhouse where we posed for pictures.

Hammonds Copse

The concrete road gave peaceful views but eventually led to a real road that took us back to the A road & the Surrey Cycleway back to Horley; just time to photograph some spring buds by the wayside. Time for some tea at Planet Café. In fact Sue and I had soup again & Joyce had scrumptious baklava which she offered around. This led to discussion as to whether it was rude to ask where the café owners came from, as they were likely to say Britain, but Joyce did it anyway & I was right in guessing Turkey, as the food was so tasty.

Teatime

We had to say goodbye to Angela at Horley & then regain NCN 21 back to the airport via the waterpark & the tunnels, in which we hooted, sang & rang our bells anew! Bit of a dilemma at the station as our FCC tickets, though not cheap, still didn’t really entitle us to take the only Brighton train available. In fact the train turned out to be a Gatwick Express – 10 carriages but only two cycle spaces. Obviously Roger & Suzanne were the only two with a ticket to ride this luxurious transport, but the other four of us didn’t fancy an unlimited wait for another Brighton train. Sue had hopped onto Jenny’s train to Ore, hoping to alight at Haywards Heath & change onto a Brighton train. We remaining FCC three, comforted by Jim’s discussion with platform staff, decided to risk the Express and hope we didn’t have to pay exorbitant excess! So six of us squeezed into the luxury train & enjoyed a friendly & swift direct return to Brighton with no problems, even though there was virtually no room for bikes. It didn’t stop anywhere, let alone Haywards Heath, so I do hope Sue’s wait was not too torturous.

Down by the Riverside

Jim had led us on a ride we all agreed was delightful. He’d remembered without needing his prompts, and I’d relaxed & loved the ride rehearsed & revised & seeming to unfold swiftly, with no problems or punctures. Thanks to Jim for all his very careful preparations & expert shepherding.

Anne.


The next ride: 6 March – Surrey revisited

22 February 2011

Please be clear that while all are welcome to join us we each take part in rides at our own risk.

Sunday 6 March 2011
Surrey Revisited:  Moles, Voles and Deer
Gatwick – Horley – Meath Green – Woodhatch – Leigh – Norwood Hill – Hookwood – Horley – Gatwick

About 20 miles, mostly on tarmacked roads; some bridleway; some concrete.

The first part of this ride is along National Cycle Route 21, about which there will be more (much more) later in the year. We will once more pass through the Riverside Garden Park, and maybe we will even see the bank vole I met on the first practice ride! After departing from Route 21, we will head out along Meath Green Lane, which wanders around skirting the floodplain of the River Mole; we won’t actually see the Mole itself until much later, however. The lane turns into Lonesome Lane, surely a worthy addition to our Interesting Road Names collection.

After passing through the suburbs of Reigate at Woodhatch, and finally crossing the Mole at Flanchford Bridge, we eventually reach Leigh (not the one in Kent), where there is a nice pub called the Plough where we can have lunch.

After Leigh we take the Newdigate road, but turn off and pass briefly through the delightful Hammonds Copse Nature Reserve (if it is dry enough underwheel). Part of this copse qualifies as Ancient Semi-Natural Woodland, having been wooded for over 400 years. Here we may see deer (I spotted two on that first practice ride).

All too soon we are out into the open again, but on a nice quiet road. On the way back we re-cross the Mole between Hookwood and Horley, and we can have a cup of tea in Horley if we want.

Travel details: Catch the 10.44 (London Bridge) train from Brighton to Gatwick Airport, or the 10.32 (Brighton) train from London Victoria, which stops at Clapham Junction at 10.38. We will set off at about 11.15, via the usual route across the airport concourse and down the lift.

If you are travelling by car, don’t try and park at Gatwick Airport but head for Horley station car park and park there; we will be along around 11.30. (If you plan to do this you must let the ride leaders know as we will not be going over the bridge this time, but will be passing the car park entrance.) Return trains are frequent.

Be at Brighton by 10.15 for Groupsave.

Jim ( j.r.grozier@btinternet.com; 07742-963239)

Anne (annebarry@fastnet.co.uk)