Muddymoles mountain biking in the Surrey Hills and Mole Valley

Ride Report – Sunday 25 Jan – The Magnificent Seven ride again

Posted by Dandy | January 26, 2015 | 8 comments so far

The Magnificent Seven

The Magnificent Seven

Along with our native guide, a Moles Magnificent Seven rode out over the hills and valleys of the Wild West … of Sevenoaks.

Having sampled a few Moles rides this year, Matt (from Redhill CC) was keen to repay the compliment and show us some of his local trails. Even though the invitation was extended late on Friday night, a posse of seven was rapidly rustled up to head over the pass (Goddam, I hate that cliché) to Limpsfield for a 9am start. From left to right in the photo above, we had Chris H, Jem, Mark P, Elliot, myself, JR and Karl (aka El Fandango Magnifico, as it says on the ‘Wanted – Dead or Alive’ posters).

Matt promised a relatively mud-free ride, with few hills and lots of singletrack. The consensus was that he was right about two of those promises, but with Strava suggesting about 600m of climbing in a 26k ride, we weren’t so sure about the ‘few hills’ bit !

Downhill demon

Downhill demon

Our native guide confessed to the first fall of the day, not off the bike, but slipping on the ice when de-icing his van before heading out to the start. Temperatures were above freezing by the time we headed out after minimal ‘faffage’, and we were immediately tackling some Bomb Holes and swoopy singletrack which lead us back to … where we’d parked our cars.

It was great to play on some new trails, and Matt certainly delivered on his promise of lots of singletrack. None of us had a clue where we’d been, and we didn’t think we’d be able to follow the route even with a GPS unit, it was that ‘noodly’. The various trails ridden included Purple Forest, Amazon, Camberwell Green, Kick Start, Handbag, and Dogging. As you can guess, this last trail ended at a remote car park.

Chris enjoys himself

Chris enjoys himself

We did encounter a few short muddy sections, but they were pretty rare. Almost all of the climbs were doable, though there were two steep pulls that required all of us to get off and push. Apparently these are just about doable in the summer, though maybe not for me on my single-speed.

Keep pedalling

Keep pedalling

Shortly before descending by road into Westerham, we rode a fast and flat trail called Handbag. Exiting onto a car park, we returned via a short road climb to tackle it once again. All was going well for me, until I exited onto the car park for the second time. I’m not sure what happened exactly, but I politely tried to head to the edge of a fire road away from a lady exercising some spaniels. I think I may have braked at the same time, and with the off-camber, greasy clay-like surface I found myself sliding gracefully (I think) on my side. The spaniels found it all highly entertaining.

The Tudor Tea Rooms in Westerham provided excellent and generously-sized portions of cake, with the chocolate and the carrot cake being the most popular amongst the Moles, though I think I saw a very large flap-jack and a tasty looking Danish pastry, as well. Why haven’t we got a picture of the cake?

After pausing for pics against the statue of Churchill on the green (this time Matt has replaced JR on the far right-hand side on the photo below), it was a slow and steady climb back up Hosey Hill.

Our native guide

Our native guide

As before, it was more singletrack, the odd patch of mud, one steep climb requiring a dismount, and yet more singletrack. We passed ‘Chartwell’ (Churchill’s country home) along the way back, hence the statue of Churchill down in the village.

Bend ze knees

Bend ze knees

The route back was shorter than the route out, with a few Moles tiring despite the recent injection of sugar. Matt assured us that having reached the top of a second long climb, the return was now ‘mainly downhill’. We decide that the definition of ‘mainly downhill’ was downhill where you needed to pedal like stink to keep moving!

Knadgery descending from Mark

Knadgery descending from Mark

It wasn’t too long before we found ourselves back in Purple Forest and the bomb holes back to the cars. With the sun shining, no rain, great singletrack and little mud, it really was a fantastic morning’s ride. Thanks once again, Matt.

Smile, be happy

Smile, be happy

Filed under Rides in January 2015


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 8 comments on ‘Ride Report – Sunday 25 Jan – The Magnificent Seven ride again’

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  1. Karl says:

    What a smashing ride report D’Andy, I really enjoyed reading it.
    A big thanks to Matt for guiding, and for patiently waiting at all the turns for us.
    It’s great to do new stuff, and take in new trails. That particular route will be really fab when it’s dry under wheel and I’d like to return one dry sunny day to do it again.
    Will most certainly visit the tea rooms in Westerham too. Dam fine cake and a very picturesque neck of the woods.
    The Jemster is looking mighty fine in several pics, and there’s some top shots of us either in action or gurning.
    All good.

  2. JR says:

    Great report Andy and I agree that Matt delivered on two out of three promises: I think the “no mud” one was a bit dubious. Looking forward to another visit in a few months.

    A couple more pics on Flickr, including the Moles pano:

  3. Dandy says:

    Very strict standards for your ‘no mud’ comment there, JR. I thought the route stood up pretty well, especially since it’s January. As Karl says, I’d love to ride it again on a dry summer’s evening, seeing as the finish is so near to the Carpenters Arms 😉

  4. Jemster says:

    To notch report D’Andy. I really enjoyed the new trails, somewhat like a rollercoaster ride for near-on 15.5miles.

    What mud there was, zapped any energy I had left in my legs and I feel like a great brown bear kicked the s..@!..t of out me today!

    Agree Karlos that the route would be fab in the dry summer months.

    Mat, thanks so much for being patient with us, especially the slow one at the back on the orange bike on all the climbs. Great pics BTW.
    Cheers again D’Andy for the lift, good of ya govna! 🙂

  5. Matt says:

    Shame I missed this one, Mat’s been trying for at least a year to get us over there!

    I was willing but stuck at home as we’re finally fitting up our en suite (first world problem). The shower would have been straightforward had I ordered the right one! Which means not only did I miss this weekend but there’ll be another weekend missing when the right one is acquired. At least I’ll somewhere to wash after my next ride which I fully expect will be dusty at this rate.

    The good news is, I might try a night ride this week… maybe road, maybe MTB, we’ll see!

  6. Elliot says:

    What a great place to ride! I definitely want to go back in summer. Seemed like it was a bit less muddy than other places this time of year, maybe because it gets used less?

    The carrot cake should have been documented. It tasted lovely and even came with chocolate carrots on top!

    A long term feeling that my Kona SS climbed and accelerated like a lump of lead wasn’t helped after picking up Mat’s carbon rocket. Then made worse watching him disappear up, down and around like greased lightning. No doubt also down to being a rather handy rider as well. Fortunately a long awaited freehub turned up this morning, so I’ve ditched a good 400g swapping wheels and tyres, which felt considerably nicer out this evening.

    Some excellent magazine style riding poses going on in the pics…

  7. KevS says:

    That looked like a fun morning out East, shame I missed it.
    Kudos to Mat for putting up with that bunch of itinerant journeyman Pikey’s! 🙂

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