I can’t claim any originality for this ride. Colin mapped it a few weeks back with the Diary of a Mountain Biker crew and reckoned it was worth repeating, so much so that we took him up on his offer.
The original plan was to rendezvous with the repeat DoMTB ride but they eventually started too late for us and from Ashtead too which meant by the time they reached a suitable meeting point I’d be running out of man–points rather too quickly in the year for my wife’s liking. A shame really as I’d have liked to meet up with Rich and the guys.
Instead, Jem, Jez, Tony, Lee, Toby and myself struck out on our own from Bookham at 8:30, hauling ourselves up Alsation and past Headley Cricket Ground to pick up sections of the North Downs Way to Reigate and then on to Gatton. It’s a great little route, all short, sharp climbs and fizzy descents interspersed with some good cross country riding. There isn’t anywhere in the route where you really get a chance to relax but for all that it’s not a massive physical challenge.
We were helped by the weather which produced what (I’ll go out on a limb to claim) is likely to be one of the best riding days of the year, winter or summer. No rain for weeks and frozen, hard, dry trails crackling with frost which gave up a grippy, high speed surface. Added to which the seasonal lack of vegetation meant you could ride the downhills with a good view of what was up ahead.
Once up on the downs we had a great view south toward the Weald and the South Downs, crisp, clear and sunny before it all closed in later in the morning. After flying down Colley Hill (which was much more sanitized than I remember), Gatton Park was a new one for us and we skirted it before climbing up to the Tea Room at the top of Wray Lane. It certainly looks worth a bit more exploring although I’m not sure if it will offer up any decent singletrack. Maybe a local can tell us?
The tea was very very welcome and is a new rest stop for us to add to our Cake pages in due course. I was kicking myself that none of us had a camera, Rich at DoMTB seems pretty disciplined in carrying (and using) his and it pays off. He’s posted some pics of their later ride on his ride report so take a look to see where we were riding.
All in all a very enjoyable ride and one we’ll likely repeat. Having ridden that way to work many times my only caveat is that the trails can get pretty sticky at times so you want dry conditions. Or frozen, of course! You can see some of my old commuter pics on Flickr which show bits of the route.