Muddymoles mountain biking in the Surrey Hills and Mole Valley

Ride report: Sunday 31 December – a classic of the genre

Posted by Matt | December 31, 2023 | 4 comments so far

James on his way along Collarbone
Here’s a relatively short ride report from our last ride of 2023.

With the last day of the year falling on our regular riding day – a Sunday – it all felt somewhat ironic. For me at least, 2023 has been anything but plain sailing, with a dodgy neck that continues to hamper my riding.

Sunday was no different, with me chasing the last few miles to get to 2,000 for the year, a long way down on 2022 (with 3,500 miles) and even further from 2021 (a record 4,700 for me). I’ll detail the breakdown of 2023 miles later but for the purposes of Sunday’s ride it was ride or miss an already low target.

A break in the weather meant five of us set out – Elliot, MarkC, James, Stuart and myself – headed for the Dabbling Duck at Shere. Basically our classic ‘Reverse Newlands’ that never actually goes to Newlands Corner. We should really be calling it ‘Shere’ or ‘Not Newlands’ at the very least.

Lloyd remains hors de combat where he’s been since mid December with his septic lungs, while others were otherwise away or found their burrow rather appealing with a New Year party ahead of them.

Pace RC627 hardtail by a fallen tree

We soon found lots of trail damage from fallen trees up on Ranmore, with a hike over them required on more than one occasion, particularly toward the end of Collarbone. The wind had been pretty fierce over the previous night.

What was worse though was the rain returned, at one point it felt like it was getting dark at about 10:00 in the morning! We pressed on using the tried and tested ‘one more trail’ approach to see if it got bad enough to call it a day. It got quite close I think looking at the faces of my riding companions!

With rain came mud – lots of it. I quite enjoy the sort of low speed slither this encourages as you pick a line of least resistance through familiar trails turned treacherous from the soaking.

Our path took us to Sauvage, ridden relatively sedately, then back up to the Drovers Road as the rain lifted. It still left the mud of course.

Petrol Pump was my highlight of the day, dampened a little by a smug walker who just had to tell me it was a footpath when I was trying to let him know there were riders behind me.

Matt and Elliot, Sauvaged

Community relations slipped further coming in to Shere.

As we passed the church Elliot’s rear wheel plopped into a pot hole causing a small amount of water to splash up. We’ve seen worse. But the uppity woman walking about a metre and half to Elliot’s right clearly hadn’t and started complaining loudly about the chance her jeans might get wet (they hadn’t). As I was behind Elliot I said to her ‘sorry about that, we’re not doing it on purpose…’

Her reply was we definitely were, and we shouldn’t be riding there at all. Hard to fathom a response to that – we were on a road, passing parked cars. Presumably she wouldn’t mind getting splashed or simply knocked down by a Surrey SUV but somehow a bike was too much.

We retired to the Yurt for coffee and cake, the only sensible response to public idiocy.

It's definitely muddy

Suitably revived – but in my case, not entirely revivified – we headed home along the classic Abinger Roughs route with Elliot upsetting walkers at will. It was that kind of morning but at least the weather had dried up and the sun came out, making me glad we didn’t quit earlier.

We even managed to include High Med on our route home, followed by Big Babba Yagga down to the Tanners Youth hostel. In all, about 25 miles of mud and filth!

Muddymoles on High Med

Filed under Rides in December 2023


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.

There are 4 comments on ‘Ride report: Sunday 31 December – a classic of the genre’

We love to get comments from our readers - if you've spent a few moments to comment, thank-you.

If you haven't had a chance yet, jump to our comments form if you have something to say.

  1. Tony says:

    I was road biking that morning and the rain was horrible. Like being jet washed on a bike.

    Nice to see that Elliot is the “new D’Andy” for his ability to upset walkers at will. Impressive

  2. Elliot says:

    The ride wasn’t entirely lacking in fun considering conditions. At least the rain stopped before we were fully saturated!

    That puddle did make more of a splash than intended, but as you say I don’t think she actually got wet. I wasn’t waiting around to find out anyway, with her ranting “this isn’t a cycleway” as I vacated the scene. Quite why she stopped in beside the puddle rather than carrying on walking (in a road) is anyone’s guess.

    These sort of people do seem to creep out of the woodwork at this time of year. The place or circumstances wouldn’t have made any difference. She was looking for someone to have a go at and wouldn’t let facts stand in the way.

  3. Related: Sucking on a Platypus - a hydration review, I promise - Accessories, Reviews - Muddymoles - mountain biking in the Surrey Hills and Mole Valley

Leave a comment…

Have your say – we'd love to hear what you think.

If you have something to add, just complete this comment form (we will not publish your email address).

*Required information.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.