I suspect many of you will be surprised that it’s me that’s made the first ‘reported’ visit to the Domestique Cycle Café, newly opened in Bookham. But for once, I found myself with a spare few hours on a Friday morning, so I hit on the novel idea of a ‘winch & plummet’ ride around Mickleham’s ‘g’new and gnarly trails; followed by the obligatory post-ride coffee ‘n cake.
OK, removing tongue from cheek, that’s the third similar ride in five days … and I may have found time in recent months to venture out on a ride during a school day. I don’t think any recent ride reports are going to see the light of day, now; so here’s a quick reprise on the last week, followed by the café review.
Sunday saw many of us head over in glorious sunshine to Mickleham and Ranmore. As no-one had proposed a route, I dragged out a plan from a few weeks back. With no better ideas on the table, we headed over to Headley Heath via the Alsatian climb. Secret Singletrack was running sweetly, and after a sighting run, we retraced our steps and tackled it again. Back to Mickleham to tackle ‘White Honky’, where we formed two groups; with Jonesy leading the charge for the ‘all mountain’ boys, while I showed the trail to the first-timers. Reviews from the first-timers were .. err .. mixed.
With the aid of a mobile phone, we regrouped at the Mickleham end of the Downs. I lead the first-timers down the Bat Cave and Tank Slapper, while Jonesy took the AM boys down Paranoia, before hitting Bat Cave and Tank Slapper. Regrouping, we headed up Stane Street for The Snail/TNP, before heading back over to Westhumble via the edge of Norbury. Coffee & cake were taken at Pilgrim Cycles.
The ‘back of Denbies’ climb to Ranmore was next, where we tackled ‘Red White & Rose / ATTW3’ before looping back around on the same climb to tackle Golden Nugget. We bumped into ‘The Rotorist’, who’s mate was looking for a patch for a tube, with Kev duly obliging. After GN, we split again, as I took those on a longer pass back up to Ranmore for a descent of Flinty Badman, then home. 44km and 870m climbed, for me.
Wednesday saw Matt, Kev and myself tackle some of Ranmore’s finest. Well, there would have been three of us, but on the way to ‘A view to a kill’, Kev hit an innocuous loose stone on the narrow trail which resulted in his tyre catching the trail edge and twisting the front wheel to jam across the trail. Kev’s momentum took him up and over the bars, pringling his wheel as he did so. That was the end of his night, or so we thought.
Matt and I carried on, with me taking the now compulsory stack on the steep roll-in as Matt stood at the top to see which line not to take (as Jem had done several days earlier). Flinty Badman was running really sweetly, as was Golden Nugget. On our second Ranmore ‘winch’, we took a call from Kev who was now on his Spesh SS and was at Norbury. As Lord On-One so accurately summarised later, running through Kev’s mind as he wobbled home was, “This bike is broken…I’ll just pop back and pull a fresh one up from my bike cellar”.
Meeting Kev at the ruined chapel, we climbed via the back of Denbies to tackle RWR before taking the narrow footpath ‘After the vino’ back to Westhumble. This was perhaps not my best choice of trail, though that’s not the first time I’ve uttered that phrase. Despite me leading the way through the almost obscured trail, we all got stung and cut to pieces by the vegetation. Having recovered, “Why can’t you find a dock leaf when you need one?”, we headed back to The Anchor via Crabtree Lane, Norbury, and Infestation. Post-ride recovery drinks were provided by Brakspears and Sharp’s, and recovery nourishment by Nobby’s Nuts. 25km and 580m climbed.
Friday morning, and a solo ride to Mickleham for me. This time I could tackle some of Sunday’s trails at a faster pace as I wasn’t leading. After pootling around ‘Total Recall’ I cut down to ‘White Honky’ and back up ‘Cliffhanger’. After a short session on the gap jump on Paranoia, I rolled back around to post a continuous run down Paranoia and Tank Slapper, and then headed home via The Snail and Norbury. After 26km and 560m climbed, I was at the Domestique Café.
Brian lead me around the back to the secure bike storage area, easily room for about 10-12 bikes I reckon, and he even provided a heavier duty lock and chain for me (having seen the puny ‘mbr freebie’ that I carry around for these occasions). Back in the café, there was a fine selection of cakes, including some ‘cycle specific’ (I kid you not) confections provided by Blue Moon Catering of Effingham (flapjacks, cookies, etc). I went for the Chocolate and Beetroot brownie, and a large cappuccino; which came to a reasonable £4.
The coffee was excellent, and the brownie superb. Discussing the combination, we concluded that the beetroot took away the sugary sickliness that can sometimes be overpowering in such a sweet cake. It also added some ‘bulk’ to the cake, but not overly so; highly recommended. Located in Bookham, it’s unlikely to feature in our Sunday ride stops as it’s so close to home, but it will certainly provide an excellent mid-week, post ‘slack’ ride refuel.