Alison, Mariana, Steve, Jim, Dan, Ben, Nick, Franck (what can I say?) Karen; Penny, Andy and Mike were up for the ride out to the Surrey loop on a warm but overcast morning. We’re now getting into the swing of things – a steady ride out to Ripley and onto the Surrey lanes before hitting the climb up Newlands. There was a bit of competition at the front, but most were sensible and took the hill (the first of three on the route) up to the RideLondon halfway point (and feed station) easy. We actually met Dan at the cafe at the top – he’d had to travel to join us and we agreed on Newlands as a sensible place to meet as it is a short ride from Guildford station. It all worked out well and after coffees we took the long downhill to Abinger Hammer and the turn off to Leith Hill. Those who had ridden it in previous weeks had worked out their strategies for getting to the top, though it still remains a challenge. Mike unfortunately had gear problems and found the hill a bit steep for the gears he had.
Learning from last week, we took the descent easy – those pothole are menacing. Then a quick ride into Dorking and on to Box Hill and a bit more jostling for KoM honours. Steve, Penny and Dan stopped for coffee and sent the rest on ahead to complete the route back to Richmond Park.
There were quite a few other cyclists out, many trying out the route. Experience tells that the numbers will increase in the coming weeks.