Muddymoles mountain biking in the Surrey Hills and Mole Valley

Promised pints promote punctuality

Posted by Dandy | March 21, 2013 | 22 comments so far

With the promise of a post-ride beer to celebrate JR’s impending birthday, for once I was at the garage meeting point with time to spare. JR arrived 5 minutes later, and after the obligatory further 5 minutes of chat and waiting for latecomers (none expected, none arrived), the two of us set off.

pints of beer

We planned a reprise of the ride a fortnight ago, up to Ranmore, then across the top to take in the ‘Lovely Linda’ descent from Crocknorth Road down to Honeysuckle Bottom. In a first encounter for what proved to be the prevailing conditions for the evening, Wiggly Wood was very sticky, and was quite a struggle in places. JR took a detour to avoid the worst of the mud, and found himself wading through a quagmire to rejoin the bridlepath at the top of the wood.

Here we bumped into a couple of Jem’s mates as they returned to finish their ride. Apparently they were out because Jem had organised the ride, but then cried off at the last moment. “Lightweight” was the general consensus as we slithered off in opposite directions. We headed straight on down, avoiding the right turn and the fallen tree, and towards Chapel Lane and the bridleway to the Youth Hostel. I managed the Tanners Hatch climb in 12 minutes, so I only need to halve that time to rival the best effort of ‘The Stravanator’.

Badgers and Collarbone were back to their winters worst, and we struggled desperately for grip and had many a sideways moment as we slowly wound our way to the top. Avoiding the expected treacle-like experience of Trouble in Paradise we headed back to the Ranmore Common Road before turning off left on the wide track across the top of the ridge towards Whitedown Lane and beyond. Lovely Linda was delightful, as always, and I was quite happy to be just 15 secs slower than our madcap descent in the drier conditions of a fortnight ago.

By this time it was close to 9pm, and there was little debate as we agreed that a warm bar and good beer were preferable to further mud-plugging. From Honeysuckle Bottom it was a spin down Green Dene to the A246 and the steep road section to Calvert Road. These roads are a lot easier on a lightweight road bike than a mud encrusted full suspension mtb, and I had to resort to the granny ring to make it to the top! A final bridlepath section through ‘The Short Wood’ saw us to Orestan Lane and a spin back through Effingham to The Anchor on Lower Road.

The beer and crisps (scientifically proven as the most rejuvenating of any post-ride refuelling strategy) were excellent, and the barmaid christened me ‘The Barefoot Contessa’ as I padded up to the bar for a refuel, having left my shoes and socks drying by the log fire. D-Dub made it to join JR in a celebratory pint or two, and we were nearly joined by Tony. However, in a double-dose of non-recognition, we failed to identify the roadie stood outside fiddling with his phone (can’t be Tony, he always wears blue) and he failed to identify JR’s blue Orange 5 and my Santa Cruz 29er secured to the pub table.

Happy Birthday for Saturday, JR.

Filed under Rides in March 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 22 comments on ‘Promised pints promote punctuality’

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  1. tony says:

    I think that they just didn’t want to be seen talking to a man in tights? Happy Birthday John!

  2. MuddyJohn says:

    Good write up D’Andy. Did you mention it was muddy? Because it was.

  3. Matt says:

    Happy birthday John! At some point I’m going to be riding and writing again but last night I was in Alton meeting a guy I’ve been working with over the past few months. Also in a pub but alas, owing to the drive home, essentially sans-alcohol!

  4. paul901 says:

    Happy Birthday John. I have many opportunities to sample beer but sadly i never liked pubs that much hence coffee etc. The Australian Blue Basalt is the finest coffee i have roasted and tasted for some time and the accompanying Peruvian chocolate really made me forget this miserably cold start to Spring. More of each to be indulged i think…

  5. KevS says:

    Happy Birthday JR, you’re catching me up! 😉

    Keep on shreddin the gnarr n’all dat.

  6. Dandy says:

    Darn, I forgot to mention in the write-up our erudite conversation at the start of the Tanners Hatch climb. We began by trading quotes from Voltaire, but my ability to continue the conversation was limited by:
    a) my ability to utter a sentence as the hill kicked in
    b) JR disappearing up and away into the darkness ahead of me, and
    c) I only know one quote from Voltaire (though suspect it might be one more than many 😉 )

    Of course French philosophers are a common subject on a Moles ride … Cogito ergo sum (and all that)

  7. Karl says:

    Epistemology and metaphysics are a staple part of Mole banter are they not? How can we still be alive after that hill, why are we here, what’s it all for? Is 26 or 29 better? Where am I?

    Happy birthday John!! Have a smashing weekend.

  8. Dave says:

    …although on reaching the top of a steep hill the “ONTOLOGY” of the situation may be more relevant don’t you think?

  9. Matt says:

    Ah, the nature of knowledge and of being! Perfect pub material.

    Personally, when riding – or rather meta-riding at the moment – I tend toward a Popperian view of things. In other words, I subscribe to the paradigm of the sodding steep hill until such time as it becomes apparent that a new paradigm – call it easy rolling perhaps – is more appropriate.

  10. Lloyd Brown says:


    Sorry, the discussion needed bringing down a level or two

  11. Matt says:

    Yes John that’s possible 🙂

    I meant the theory that I’m climbing a steep hill was only true the last time I checked. It may be that next time this theory is falsified by the fact the ground has levelled.

    I am guilty of wrongly attributing the term ‘paradigm’ to Popper as you point out, as it was Kuhn who argued that science proceeded on the basis of one paradigm or another, and that this was useful only until a better explanation of the facts became available e.g. Newtonian physics before Einstein.

  12. Tony says:

    Just push the pedals! Cycling philosophy in a nutshell 🙂

  13. Karl says:

    I do not agree with what you have to say, but I’ll defend to the death your right to say it. 🙂 V. Bet thats the one D’Andy?

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