Muddymoles mountain biking in the Surrey Hills and Mole Valley

Ride report: Sunday 3 July – Summer lovin’

Posted by Matt | July 4, 2011 | 18 comments so far

I’ve missed quite a few Sunday rides recently, for a number of different reasons. Family commitments for one thing, so-so weather at times another. One of my main problems is having three mountain bikes, none of which are completely serviceable which tends to get irritating at times.

So I took out my Orange. It’s got a few creaks appearing and some shifting issues which is one of those things which tends to wear on my nerves more as the ride goes on. The creaks and a slight looseness to the back end is most likely from the rear shock bushing which I’ll order in. It’s possible the pivot bearings need attention too but I think most of the creaking is coming from the RaceFace chainset which never seems to do up tight. It just keeps working loose and it’s loose again now. Maybe it’s time for a change… 2×10 anyone?

All that aside, meeting at Bockett’s for a Leith Hill run were MarkyMark, Tony, Barrie, DaveW, DaveC, KevS and Lloyd [edit: and Ian!]. A few guys are attempting the South Downs Way in a day in a couple of weeks so a sense that they need to get the miles in was never far away.

We set out along the Admiral’s Track up to Polesden with plenty of dust getting thrown up. I think it may be time to switch my MudXs for something more appropriate and despite a hankering for Maxxis Aspens I may well go for a Schwalbe Nobby Nic and Racing Ralph since they are now available in tubeless ready form.

It felt like a reasonably not-hanging-around run up to the top of Ranmore and we soon pressed on toward the top of Landrover only to pause for a few minutes for DaveW to sort out a cut sidewall on his rear tyre, finally resorting to putting in an inner tube when it became clear the cut was too much for his tubeless set up. The delay gave PaulM the chance to catch us; he’d turned up late and had a guess at where we were heading and his perseverance paid off.

Down Landrover in perfect conditions was next, the Orange quietly happy with the terrain as I followed DaveC down at a brisk tempo. It wasn’t long before we’d crossed the railway line, had passed through the back of Westcott and were starting on the long Rookery climb.

It’s not much of a problem these days, with the smooth surface meaning your focus is purely on turning the pedals up the steep incline. My dislike of this climb is growing I think, especially since I had a grinding accompaniment of my creaking suspension and drivetrain following me!

Once we’d regrouped at the top it was onto Wolverns Lane, a trail I love. Having soon reached the front of the peloton following Tony and Barrie it was time to get into the flow, with tight singletrack, short punchy sections to clean and bursts of speed check with sharp dabs on the brakes. As we neared the end I could see Tony and Barrie in sight, they weren’t exactly pushing but I managed to catch them by the time we’d reached the clearing area.

On the way up I passed rider and warned him there was a whole bunch of us blocking the trail behind me. He didn’t acknowledge me – maybe didn’t get the chance – but didn’t slow either although it turned out he had in fact pulled up to make way. Thanks for that.

I find myself meeting riders occasionally that have me wondering about where the increasing popularity of mountain biking round here will lead us. With so many people using the hills for riding as well as other activities I worry about the impression we may leave (I’m not attacking this guy in particular by the way, as I said he may not have had a chance to acknowledge but I’m just pointing out the impression given).

Anyway, we pressed on toward the decimated bad lands of Summer Lightning (where thankfully the trail remains) and then on to the top of Deliverance and on towards the Tower.

I love the hoon down to the foot of the climb but again it’s quite a busy section of the hill. The climb itself was a lung buster but dispatched without drama which was more than could be said for the two ladies coming down who had just (it appeared) stacked it. I managed to ask if they were OK as I rode past and there were no problems.

After Eccles cakes and coffee Tony and Barrie departed back to Bookham as they needed an early return. I too needed to get back earlyish but decided to follow everyone down to Holmbury and head off from there. We took a quick and flowing route directly down to the car park, all keeping together as a pack and then started down the Mother.

It’s always a blast and I was flying on the Orange, great fun following DaveW and DaveC down the trail but leaving them plenty of room so I didn’t get blinded by the dust. It was one of those runs wher eit feels like th ebike is connected directly to your brain and you could place it wherever you want.

Once in the village I turned off while the others headed up toward the Cricket Pitch and Yoghurt Pots and Telegraph Road. I headed back home along the tarmac and then Sandy Lane toward Abinger Roughs. At this point, with no conversation to distract me all I could focus on was the noise of my bike and the ropey gear changes.

It was slowly driving me nuts!

Including the climb up White Down in soaring temperatures I managed to cover the whole return trip to Bookham in 45 minutes and was putting my bike away – and drinking the last of my water – at 11:30 which was a pretty good morning’s effort. 23 hot and dusty miles in total. Now I just need to sort out that creaking…

Filed under Rides in July 2011


About the author

Matt is one of the founding Molefathers of the Muddymoles, and is the designer and main administrator of the website.

Having ridden a 2007 Orange Five for many years then a 2016 YT Industries Jeffsy 29er, he now rocks a Bird Aether 9 and a Pace RC-627.

An early On-One Inbred still lurks in the back of the stable as a reminder of how things have moved on. You can even find him on road bikes - currently a 2019 Cannondale Topstone 105 SE, a much-used 2011 Specialized Secteur and very niche belt drive Trek District 1.

If you've ever wondered how we got into mountain biking and how the MuddyMoles started, well wonder no more.

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  1. Dave says:

    I think I should probably sit here and gloat at this point as my fleet of bikes is maintained (to my standards) and ready to roll at a moments notice (apart form the one on loan to another Mole who has defiled it by fitting normal bars…..)

    Anyway, what a corking ride that was in the best part of the day. Land Rover and the Mother showed an increasing confidence in the Spearfish’s ability to descend without any problems. I managed to keep DW well within my sights while adopting some “original” lines.

    Even the climb up to the tower proved the bikes as an all rounder. Just me that lets the package down! Heart rate knocking on 180.

    After you left us Matt the rest of us headed to do Telegraph but we entered via SS just to make it a bit more interesting. It appears quite a few riders are doing this now! We headed down the trail, turning right before the end to join the trail we always used to do which ends in the hairpin left turn over the tricky root before dropping into the car park. PaulM hounded me down that particular section.

    Raikes Lane claimed Lloyd as a victim on the sandy surface. Nasty 10′ fall through nettles but missing the dog pile in an elegant role. Lloyd seemed OK although he took a lot of the impact on his head and his neck was suffering. His water bladder probably absorbed a lot of the energy as it burst. Luckily I had an almost full bottle to keep him going on the way home.

    We returned via High Med and Dearly Beloved.

  2. Dandy says:

    Matt – what about lubing the cables to smooth out your gear changes, or maybe changing them? That’s often the cause.

    I took it easy on Sun morning, saving my energy to join the merry throng of at the Foo Fighters’ Milton Keynes gig on Sun night 😉 What with JR’s recent Glasto trip, the Port ‘n Stilton brigade are becoming a real bunch of ageing rockers!

    Will probably head out shortly for an evening play around Pitch Hill. I should be putting some miles in for the SDW, but playing on the berms and jumps is much more fun 🙂

  3. Lloyd Brown says:

    Well it was one of my more spectacular efforts given the speed of travel. A case of confidence outstripping ability. I flipped over and landed on my back with my head facing down the hill giving me a dreadful whiplash – I can barely move my head at the moment but thankfully the helmet did its job and the sore head and neck is the worst of it. The bladder did save me as the rigid glasses case in my backpack was flattened by the impact. This is the same bladder tested recently that failed to rupture when driven over by a car!
    A great ride and a fortunate escape from more serious damage.Thanks Dave for the liquids to get me home.
    I shall be back – but maybe not so soon.

  4. Markymark says:

    Great ride guys! Glad you’re OK Lloyd!! I was sure you were going to take up our offer of lining up and one-by-one pissing over your limbs to neutralize the horrendous stinging nettle rash that practically covered your forearms and shins. To miss that turd which your left lens landed in when it popped out of the frame was a miracle (oh, sorry, didn’t i mention that?).

    Matt – change the black gear cable outer +new ferruls. It can be often overlooked. I change mine once or twice a year to keep the shifting crisp. As well of course as the usual suspects: rear mech hangar with the alignment tool and then make sure the H limit is spot on (silent).

    Looking fwd to SDW, but keeping a medium pace over the next week or so in the build up to that one…

  5. PIJ says:


    tend to agree with where you were trying to go with your riders comment. I pulled up alongside a guy on Sunday, said a cheery “hello” and got a completely null response. He then tore the trail up afterwards. Left a bad impression and it does seem that we are getting a few agressive riders coming out, who don’t seem to care about other trail users. Hopefully they’re in the minority and wil get bored come the winter? Luckily this side of the Surrey Hills isn’t as populated as yours so we don’t fall foul of bad manners that often.

    Hope to see you guys out on Sunday as myself and a friend are doing some skills training in the area.

    Sounds like you should bite the bullet and take a few bikes down to your LBS for a fettle….. Mine’s down there for a bottom bracket as I’m a bit time constrained this week. It hurts to admit defeat though ;¬( Had to wait in line for some 20 year old to drop his off so they could repair a flat tyre.


  6. KevS says:


    Good to know you ok if not stiff and sore as hell around the neck area.

    From my vantage point of hooning down behind you I have to say it was a gut wrenching, bar clenching, big intake of breath on my part, followed by Oh Sheeeeeeeet as you stacked it big time!
    Two huge somersaults at speed plus the bike flying over you was pretty scary from where I was and I reckon it was a good job that I had left a decent gap between us or I would have been joining you in the massive stack! 🙁

    All in all a cracking piece of stunt riding and hope you mend soon.

  7. Matt says:

    Thank goodness you’re still in one piece Lloyd. I’ve seen people stack it down there before and was quite circumspect myself as I rode down alone on Sunday after leaving you guys early.

    The combination of deep, overgrown ruts and speed will catch out the unwary (or the unlucky) very quickly.

    All the best for recovery and I think that makes you a contender for Mole of the Month!!

  8. tony says:

    When Barrie and I left you, we caned it. Waggle Dance, Summer lightening, Wloverns , Rookery, High Med, Ranmore (sitting on Roadie’s wheels going up the road :)) then popping out at Westhumble. At the A24 Barrie headed back up to Little Swtizerland and I rode home. 55mins from the tower!

  9. ian says:

    I made a point of keeping my head down and just getting through the 3rd July ride – having just returned from the embarrassment of totally cramping up before the end a few weeks ago – I must have really kept me head down so much that I’m not even listed as being on the ride…………nice to feel part of the crowd anyway 🙂

    • Matt says:

      Guys, who is this clown?!! Anybody??

      Ian, really, really sorry!! I can’t even think of a decent excuse, maybe my memory got fried listening to my drivetrain on my solo ride home?

      I’ve added you to the list now… and hope to see you soon.

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