8 Bikes and 9 riders (yes the tandem was out) turned up for what was forecast to be a hot ride.Darren, Amanda, Kevin, MarkyMark, Dandini, Al, Jez, JamesPro and myself lines up for an “alternative” ride to Newlands.
My plan was to point the bridleway South once we got behind Shere and come at Newlands corner from the West, via Martha’s Hill. I stressed to the riders that I’d just plotted this on Tracklogs and hence was not sure of the conditions we might encounter.
The first 8 miles or so were very familiar and took in the normal fun bits as we head to Abinger Roughs. Dandini decided to try and ram the tandem at one point on a small drop off but seemed to recover well and only screamed for a short time. Whether this was his version of “audible approach” is unclear.
Conditions were interesting on many of the trails such as Badger Run with that greasy on top, hard underneath, consistency. The Nobby Nic tractor tyres on the Spearfish provided lots of traction.
Once past the cricket pitch behind Albury we started to head Southerly and picked up a new bridleway. Popping out via a couple of steps we split a group of DofE girls sitting either side of the trail and this was the first of many positive comments that the tandem drew.
Turning left we started to ride a section of track in reverse that we do on the Mole Killer loop. Horrible muddy trail with deep ruts. I think it’s called Ponds Lane. Al showed that the choice to refit the Mud-X tyres was a wise one. Passing more DofE’ers we made steady progess before a small road section through Farley Green before picking up a piece of trail that led onto Blackheath.
Thinking back to rides from the past with Cycleworks where we met over at Newlands I must have ridden this way before but none of it looked familiar. Markymark picked out a section of single track he knew and this livened the ride up a bit. There must be trails over there as the whole terrain just reminded me of Swinley forest. Be interested to hear from anyone who knows the area well!
Then we started the climb up Martha’s Hill and eventually up onto Newlands itself. The climb wasn’t without incident but I don’t want to comment on this site about it. I was happy just to ride on and meet Jem who had taken his Ducati out for a spin to meet us. The sun was baking down my this point and I forwent the normal hot chocolate for a Fanta and a bacon roll.
The ride back took in the normal route with 4 or maybe 5 bikes including the tandem riding the bowl of death. We pushed on at a fair pace as time was pressing on but got back to Bocketts at about 12:50. By the time I got home I was knocking on 30 miles.
A decent ride with an alternative trail thrown in.