North Side Story — Sun 28 May
55 miles, 2 Dance offs
The scene is set on the Upper North Side (of Combe Bottom). The sultry summer heat had brought all the gangs out on the streets. KR(upke)MCC arrived at the top of Staples in the nick of time The Dynamos and Wheelers were facing off at the top of the Downs. I’m sure I heard some finger clicking. Had we not sent them fleeing then, who knows? With the tension in the air, it could easily have turned into an elaborate dance number. And there’s always some wise-guy who thinks he’s handy with a tyre lever who‘ll cause trouble.It was a gorgeous day. Frank, Joe, Karen, Andy and Jim (note – all now in training for Ride London) joined NickR for a ride out into the Surrey Hills – and beyond. As Billy Ocean once said, “When the going gets tough, the tough get going”. At the first sign of hills, NickR turned tail and headed for home. That answers that question.
It seemed a little unfair to drag Franck up Barhatch, as he expressly said he did not want to go that far, or steep. Jim listened carefully to his concerns, and decided to go up
Barhatch anyway. Down the lovely Cranleigh Link, through Cranleigh (stopping for a De Moulin) and on to the dreaded left turn and the “21%” sign. In fairness, I didn’t hear Franck complain, and as you can see in the photo, we were all smiling at the top.
The descent into Shere is one of the great roads of the Surrey Hills, and the flapjacks and coffee in the Dabbling Duck were spot-on as ever – and so reasonable. There was no hurry to climb back up Combe Bottom, but we had our duty to keep the warring clubs at bay so made our way up. Andy led but made the rookie error of staying in his granny gear as the road levelled at the top, so Jim stole the KoM points. Back down the hill (yes, OK, not quite the route I intended) and the direct route through Cobham Estate and Hinchley Wood. A lovely ride out.