Muddymoles mountain biking in the Surrey Hills and Mole Valley

Ride report: Sunday 30 September – Something old, something new

Posted by DaveC | September 30, 2012 | 7 comments so far

One of the problems of leading big groups is that it does tend to restrict the amount of exploring and experimenting you do, so as not to lead anyone on a wild goose chase. With some of the quicker riders doing the Brighton to Brighton 101mile sportive today, I decided we’d try a little bit of pathfinding for a change.

Bike Beans Cafe in Ashtead

It wasn’t a totally experimental ride as I knew the start I wanted and I knew the end I wanted but the “in between” needed some work. Tracklogs is a great bit of software and with the 1:25000 Explorer OS maps of the area I was able to mainly get the ride I wanted. On my simple Garmin Edge 205 I can follow a simple line and know whether I am on course… well… usually!

Anyway, the plan was to start as if we were heading to Reigate but then loop back and end up at Epsom Downs to do the return leg of our Epsom Downs ride. Pure XC was my aim and I pretty much achieved that. Matt (yes, THAT Matt), Kev, LordonOne, JonH, PaulM joined me on the ride. As we were about to set off a group of riders appeared and I finally got to meet Jamie from Bike Beans Cafe with the promise we would pop in on the return route. More on Bike Beans in another article! I also got a greeting from another rider, who I didn’t identify for a few hours!

So off we went, down towards Bocketts and across the A246 and down past the vines. At this point my nearly new Specialized Ground Control took on what I assume was a flint and started pissing latex out. Annoying so close to the off, I quickly reamed the hole before stufffing with a rubber thread and glue. Within about 5 minutes we were off again after a little bit of pumping. As Matt often says it can be quicker to repair a tubeless puncture than replace a tube. Luckily that was the only puncture of the day.

Up Alsation and taking in Life on Mars on the way to Headley. We then made a slight change and headed to Reigate in what would be reverse for us, but seems to be the favoured way for the Femoles. We set a brisk pace and soon crossed the golf course before taking a somewhat later left than I had imagined. 1:25000 maps can still be difficult to read! Either way we were en route and so far so good.

Crossing the common and woodland I caught glimpses of track we may or may not have ridden before and with Kev backing me up with simple Garmin mapping on his Edge 605 we more or less kept to the route I wanted. Crossing Walton on the Hill I was fairly sure we’d not been this way before but it could be a viable alternative to the Epsom Downs route on its own, as we soon picked up the bridleway that took us towards Tattenham Corner.

This was a surprisingly fast bit of track with excellent visibility. Soon we popped out onto the general race course area and started to loop round the course itself to get ourselves back down to the track we knew. With fast open track the GPS didn’t quite update fast enough sending us into a few u-turns but we eventually pointed out noses down and popped out near Langley Vale Farm.

This now put us on familiar territory and we headed up to join Stane Street before another diversion down to get to Bike Beans. Jamie and his ride had made it back before us and it was at this point I realised it had been Graham who had said “hello” back at the start of the ride. We had a natter. We had some cake and drinks. It was a nice place to stop and chew the fat with the GrandMole almost going back for seconds. Anyway, I have more to say about Bike Beans in a later article so do stay tuned!

We said our farewells and headed back to pick up the old Roman road and pick our way back to Bocketts Farm. All in all a decent little addition which, with bit of fine tuning, will add a nice alternative and could also be made into a decent length XC ride. Now… it’s not going to rain much before Christmas… right?

Filed under Rides in September 2012


About the author

Dave's been riding seriously since about 1997 and is one of the founding Molefathers — along with Matt and Mark — that came up with the idea of a MTB website for Mole Valley riders.

He's had several different bikes but it's now mainly 29ers in Dave's stable, apart from an Orange 5.

Current Bikes: Orange 5, Salsa Spearfish and Kona Big Unit

There are 7 comments on ‘Ride report: Sunday 30 September – Something old, something new’

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  1. LordOnOne says:

    That’ll make a nice addition to the catalogue of routes and Bike Beans made for a pleasant stopping point!

    The return journey only felt like a third of the outgoing one and delivered us back to Bocketts a touch earlier than other rides. Maybe the addition of some deviations coming back would bring it into balance.

    Despite the ground being surprisingly dry today, some of those sections were a bit tacky so I can see them becoming a swamp after some longer term precipitation. Still, I like the sustained momentum of a smoother XC ride and there’s a few good singletrack descents included here too.

  2. Matt says:

    I really enjoyed yesterday’s ride given the dry weather and dry-ish trails, although I agree with LOO that parts of this would be a greasy swamp after prolonged rain.

    I think there’s quite a few areas where we can quietly refine it to add in sections of singletrack which can probably be found not far off the main route. But it’s great to try something different.

    I was particularly pleased with a 4.57 climb of Alsation, putting me 7th overall. LOO was not far off me all the way though and didn’t appear to be panting as much as me!

    Enjoyed stopping at Bike Beans, it’s in a picturesque corner of Ashtead so a bit off the beaten track for us, but nice to be in a ‘cyclists welcome’ environment. I had a very nice cappuccino* in there with Lemon Drizzle cake chaser.

    In the afternoon I took my eldest son for a six mile ride to Downside and back and bumped into Jill on Bookham Common walking her dogs after completing her 27 mile Shine Walk on the night before. It’s not too late to sponsor Jill if you’ve not had a chance so far.

    But a huge thanks to those who have!

    * This is judged against my ‘901 index’ and means it’s well ahead of the Costa grade stuff I usually enjoy, but doesn’t trouble the quality of our cafe-meister himself. If you haven’t had a cup or two of Paul’s, you need to speak to him!!

  3. KevS says:

    Not having been on the dirt for a couple of weeks i was not sure what to expect after our long hot British summer? 🙁

    Surprisingly dry trails as it turned out and ridden with a select group of Moles over some new routes made a nice change for an XC spin.

    I think with more exploring it should be poss to string together a nice long route that heads out East and back, instead of just the Reigate run.
    There were also a couple of nice fast descents to hoon down over Epsom way so all good.

    Bike Beans cafe did indeed serve a proper cup of Cappucino and a fine chunk of cake as well. Must have been good as I was a nano second away from having another piece of cake until the signal was given to mount up and ride off!

  4. Bazza says:

    Hi All
    sounds a great familiar ride, the amount of time i have left you guys on stane st and rode past the bike bean cafe but never went it since i was only half a mile from home, but went in the other week and had a great chat with jamie, a big thumbs up from me, will take the kids next time.
    Yes uncle Bulgaria is back from his travels and survived the 120k ultra!! will write an article for the website, matt please publish this one…… as it turned in to an epic

  5. Related: Bike Beans Cafe in Ashtead | Muddymoles

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