Muddymoles mountain biking in the Surrey Hills and Mole Valley

Here comes summer (fingers crossed)

Posted by Dandy | July 1, 2013 | 17 comments so far

The promise of a glorious morning lured many a recalcitrant mole from his burrow yesterday, with what could be the largest number of riders this year gathering at Bocketts for the 0830, sorry, 0855 start.

Summer moles at the Tower

An incorrectly fitted o-ring seal on the rear hub bearing saw Matt instigating the lengthy pre-ride faffage.  We were all happy to bask in the sunshine and exchange banter, while DaveC got on with the serious task of remedying the situation.   Jez, then JamesS arrived to swell the numbers to 13 riders, grateful for the delayed departure.  Joining the late arrivals from Dorking were Dave-Dub, Andrew-Akak (both having ridden over from afar), new rider Nick (aka Jonesy), Kev, Tony, Karl, Lloyd, Gordo and the aforementioned Matt & DaveC, and myself.


Having applied liberal quantities of sunscreen, we headed over to Leith Hill via Ranmore and ‘Coldharbour Lane way’.  Skirting ‘Wiggly Wood’ (night rides only), we headed down to Chapel Lane and up to Ranmore using the bridlepath that runs to the west of ‘Dearly Beloved’.  This had the advantage of an easier slope at the start, but as it steepened towards Ranmore Church there was much muttering about my choice of route.  Some residual mud from Friday’s downpour also caused a few problems (especially for me).  However, for the first time this year I was aware of the cooling shade provided by the tree cover, shame we’ve had to wait until the end of June for a decently hot day.

Karl with his bitch

The group split slightly for the descent down to the railway line, with the gnarr-shredders opting for Grievous Angel, and the rest the Macpherson’s Descent.  We had our first puncture of the day near the Unum buildings at Milton Court, when Akak’s rear tyre sprung a leak.  We ignored the helpful suggestion of the elderly gent to stuff the tyre with handfuls of grass, and opted for the replacement inner tube instead.

Using some road sections to get the climbing done, our first attempt at a serious trail (Pedal Death) ended when we ran into the effects of some recent logging activity.  We quickly diverted to Karl’s favourite, Foot & Mouth.  This proved a rude awakening for some, with much carnage back up the trail behind me.  I’m sure some follow-up comments can clarify the detail, but this pic of Dave illustrates the ‘comedy of errors’ that took place.

Spot the missing transport item

At this point, the DOAMB Boys, who were having a final warm-up before heading to the Alps next week-end, caught up with us.  Have fun, guys, gutted I can’t be with you as we had a great time last year in Les Arcs.  ‘Slaag’ was negotiated a little more successfully, I believe, and after that we headed off to the play area and Slidewinder, with Jez departing (unnoticed by me) to head back home to Dorking.  Our route to the tower was via Wolvens Lane,  then the Bomb Holes and Bow to the Wow (for some).  After the punishing climb we all enjoyed some excellent cake and coffee at the tower, before heading back home via Personal Hygiene, Chicken Wings and Deliverance.

Happiness is a Moles tea brake

Akak suffered puncture number two on Summer Lightning, where James helped him out before he too headed back home to Dorking.  Back together again, we quickly despatched Wolvens Lane to Westcott, though I was interrupted with the news that my daughter had injured her knee and was on her way to Northampton General Hospital.  Further strengthening the belief that The Family Dandy are single-handedly keeping vast numbers of NHS A&E staff in employment.

We took the High Med route back up to Ranmore, with the heat and the distance covered causing a ‘stringing out’ of the group on the climb.  I had an excellent view of this from my position at the back.  On the final road section of the hill up from Dorking, Tony set off like one of his Border Terriers after a London Dynamo rider who had the misfortune to pass us just as we exited the trail onto the road.  With great restraint, Tony avoided pulling past although the roadie was out of the saddle and pushing a decent gear as he tried to pull away.

Beautiful day

Those under time pressure headed off to take the Yew Trees descent back home, whilst those with a little more time to spare headed off for Golden Nugget and Polesden Lacey.  On GN, Dave had yet another nap in the undergrowth, as the camber  proved to be just a little too ‘off’ for his tastes.

Ride stats were approximately 42 km distance, 1,000 metres elevation.

Filed under Rides in July 2013


About the author

Having been mountain biking since 1996, you might have expected Dandy to have learnt to ride a bike by now. Several broken bones in the last few years prove the maxim that you can't teach an old dog new tricks.

In between hospital visits, Dandy rides a brace of much-blinged Pace RCs, the 'green themed' 405 and the silver & gold 506. His winter hack is the Moles' favourite, an On-One 456 hardtail, now converted to an Alfine hub He also dabbles in 'the dark arts', keeping 2 road bikes in one of his seven sheds.

There are 17 comments on ‘Here comes summer (fingers crossed)’

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  1. Colin says:

    Great write up, sounds a laugh. Glad to see you guys are avoiding the Hazels and Wiggly Wood on Sundays, shame other popular forum Sunday rides don’t do the same and save it for the night rides. Bad form, you know who you are!

  2. Andrew AKAK says:

    Very embarrassed to have 2 punctures – new tyre is on order as it has given me too much grief now. Thanks for all the help changing tubes.

    Nice ride – is getting pretty dusty at the back of the pack!

  3. Matt says:

    That was quite an eventful ride for me.

    Folowing Karl down Foot and Mouth, everything was under control until Karl lost control, losing the front tyre on the turn after the dusty shute and rolling impressively out of the way of my front wheel. I pulled up in time to avoid riding straight over his bike and Tony just about managed the same but by then Dave was mid-shute and had nowhere to go (apart from into the bushes).

    Slaag was negotiated with aplomb apart from a brief stutter on one of the rooty turns at the top, as was Slidewinder which I enjoyed immensely with plenty of controlled front brake action.

    Shame my mojo departed immediately after we crossed the swampy bit at the bottom as my front wheel dug in and pogo’ed me up and over the bars at not much more than walking pace! Ooof!

    The rest of the ride was fine, apart from a convergence of lines with Andy on Deliverance – thank goodness we both had a measure of control…

    I let the bike run on Summer Lightening without pushing stupidly, as I could feel myself wilting like a green salad at a bbq and the rest of the ride home was a case of measuring out the energy I had left. Still not completely fit but it feels like it’s coming back well enough.

    Great way to spend the morning and a laid back afternoon to recuperate!

  4. KevS says:

    After 2 weeks off the bikes and fighting a virus, I was in two minds about joining the Mole Massif on a D’Andy led “Follow me chaps, no harm will come to you Gnarr shredding special” – but I’m glad I did.

    It was a great morning to be out and good to see so many Moles ready to go at Bocketts. Must be the warm sunny weather!

    Gnarr was tuly shed and I personally witnessed two Mole Fathers hit the deck in front of me.
    Carnage on Foot and Mouth ensued and somehow I managed to avoid crashing down on top of MuddyDave but he kindly gave me another chance to run him over when he decided to take another lie down across Golden Nugget!
    Karl and I missed him again as we were both in control and managed to pull up. Now that’s something you dont hear too often, Karl and me both in control! 🙂

    All in all a great morning out on the dusty trails in the sunshine led nicely by D’Andy and for me personally, no harm came my way despite some serious scream and plunge opportunities!

  5. tony says:

    Well it was a great day to be out. Properly hot and dusty. If only I wasn’t quite so jet lagged it would have been perfect.

    In keep with the D’Andy “sponsored by NHS A&E’s everywhere” ride ethos I had a prat-fall at 2 mph going uphill when I almost ran into the back of Dave, stopped and the front wheel slipped away. Again (same theme as Kev) I almost ran over Matt in the “Karl jam” on Foot and Mouth. After some panic front breaking I stopped then turned to help Dave out of the vegetation. Although stopping for the photo op first. All good. Then I started off (I haven’t done this in years), missed the pedal and gashed the whole of my shin. Cue lots of swearing.

    Otherwise all was good and my legs got better as the ride got on. I got to the Tower with 3 gears left to drop down too and not feeling like I needed an extra lung. Then later had a little tow up the hill to Ranmore from a roadie. I felt sorry for him having me sit on his wheel, since we pop out 2/3 of the way up the hill and getting past by a full susser is just unfair. Also to point out my terriers are 15yrs old, slightly deaf, a bit arthritic and have poor bladder control. So quite similar to me really.

    Golden nuggets was a fine finale.I still was a little off-piste but I’m going to get it all linked up well…… one day.

  6. wobbem says:

    What a motley crew we Diary lads bumped into, a great day for it , PS we really should party together sometime ; )

  7. Guaca says:

    Very nearly joined you but I decided a sleep in and a leisurely ride up to the Tower would put me in your path for the return journey. Guess the late start and punctures delayed you somewhat so sadly we did not meet up Sounds like a cracking ride with plenty of comedy!

  8. Dave says:

    I think the camber was OK but the loose soil was not on GN. Anyway, a good ride but I was tired at the end. I hadn’t realised that Karl was responsible for the pile up on F&M, no harm done although I do have some nice scratches.

    Matt’s wheel was an error on my part as I can only think I had a seal in the wrong way round, good job I had a leatherman-like tool with me to sort it.

    After a small rest in the afternoon I replaced the GM’s PF30 BB for him, then I did nothing.

  9. Gordo says:

    I think I was a little out of practice with gnarly stuff at the start of the ride. That assumes, of course, that I was ever in practice!

    Ah well, with the assistance of the occasional stabiliser I both thoroughly enjoyed myself and survived.

  10. Nick says:

    Really good ride. Plenty of variety and some good banter.
    Nice to see I’m not the only one who bins it!!

  11. Karl says:

    Thanks DAndy for swift ride report, and leading the ride through some good trails.Thanks also for the tea and cake on Leith! Sterling stuff.
    Good job on getting the piccies Tony, fine effort.

    Sorry everyone for log-jamming on foot and mouth..!! That bloody trail always has me off.. I’m with Dave on the blaming loose surfaces. Had far better control on other techy bits tho,(mostly) and enjoyed them thoroughly despite a running battle with clipped-in-ness. Even managed to come unclipped in the air over one of the gap jumps in the play area, that bloomin freaked me. Might need to keep to flats on the gnarr..not sure..

    Wobbem.. thought you’d been for a swim.. looks like you had quite a workout!
    We are out for a drinky on Friday if you wanna join us?


  12. Jez says:

    I sloped off as had a bbq to sort out. The promise of Redlands tempted me out for short spin. I think Foot & Mouth was only bit I had done before. All good fun but I need to commit to that bomb hole next time.

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