Muddymoles mountain biking in the Surrey Hills and Mole Valley

Ride report: Sunday 8 March – Ranmore and Abinger Roughs loop

Posted by Matt | March 8, 2009 | 8 comments so far

Colin on the Drove Road
Today’s ride was brought to you by the words ‘complicated’ and ‘tiring’. In DaveW’s case ‘puncture’, followed by some other choice words would no doubt apply.

The ride was complicated because we decided to hook up with a group of DoMTB riders who were starting out from Ashtead at 8:00 and tiring is the only word you can use after covering 23 miles in blustery conditions in just three hours without a tea shop in sight.

Starting from Bockett’s we had Lee, Toby, John(Jon?) and myself expecting to meet up with the DoMTB group about 8:45 along the Admirals Track to Polesdon. Within minutes though I’d had a call from Colin to say they’d suffered a puncture at the King William in Mickleham and were running late.

With the wind keeping the temperature down I suggested we head up to the saw mill to meet them as they rode through Norbury but when we arrived there was still no sign of them. A quick phone call told us they were still wrestling with the puncture down in Norbury, so it wasn’t until 9:00 we finally met up with Colin, DaveW, Davebus and Nick (Easynow).

But we got going, all of us riding as lightly as we could along the Admirals Track which claimed so many riders a few weeks back with hawthorn punctures. It didn’t seem much better today but we made it through unscathed and headed on to the green lane up to Ranmore. I hate this route, the top is quite tricky to ride smoothly with all the ruts and bumps and the rest is just a hard slog up over loose fist-sized flints.

Obviously I haven’t ridden it for a while though as the top part has been sanitised by filling in the chalky gully that used to run the length of the track to the first right hander. If anything, this is an improvement because you can carry a bit more speed through the turn using the bank, but it’s still rough from there down. The long climb was certainly no better, I hooked on to Lee’s slowly disappearing wheel and dug in for the duration. We managed to be the first two up but it wasn’t our physical condition that brought us that result, just more clanking mechanical noises from DaveW and other riders getting thrown off their rythmn.

Up at Ranmore, DaveW pulled up for his second puncture stop (it was his struggle back in Norbury too). Part of the reason seemed to be his complicated (that word again) bolt through arrangement on the Marzocchi Bombers on his—rather fine looking—Prince Albert which slowed him up considerably.

Colin on the Drove Road

Eventually the hounds were off again heading toward the green lane toward Newlands Corner. Davebus had a route down off Ranmore in mind, the start of which I’ve ridden past many times without trying. Actually, we rode past it again this time but it was no great disaster and once on it we flew down toward Abinger and crossed the railway near New Barn Farm. It was a fast, dry descent which let you carry a lot of speed all the way down and great fun.

Just before turning onto the Roughs we said goodbye to Toby and John(Jon?) who were heading for a longer ride toward Holmbury and planning to meet a mate shortly. The rest of us continued on, blasting through the sandy Roughs with momentum on our side before crossing White Down Road and following the edge of the field along the valley back toward Westcott.

From there we headed for Holehill and the trackway back up to the Ranmore Road, interupted at times when DaveW stopped to put air into his by now thrice punctured tyre. No matter, the weather was warm, there was plenty of sun in the sky and more surprisingly we were on time.

Having meandered down through Denbies, we spat out onto the A24 to be greeted by a scene of carnage on the road. The south carriageway was closed and there were the remains of two motorbikes strewn across the road with plenty of police in attendance.

Not a pretty sight and made more worrying by seeing someone’s leathers, obviously cut off the rider by ambulance crew, lying in the road. I don’t know the outcome of the incident but it’s sobering to think that something like that can change your life and that of those around you so quickly.

Putting that behind us we turned for home, eventually parting with DaveW, Nick and Davebus followed shortly after by Colin in Norbury Park. Lee and I set our sights on the long tarmac climb back to the saw mill to bring us full circle and by the time we’d managed that followed by an intense but brief 30 second ‘sprint’ back up to the Bocketts car park we were exhausted. You could say it was tiring!

But it was a fine ride (see Abinger Roughs ride pictures on Flickr) with plenty of miles under the wheels, dry conditions (unbelievably given the heavy rain of the afternoon) and good company from a variety of riders – thanks for the ride folks. We made it back bang on time which given Lee had an appointment he couldn’t miss was ideal and will hopefully gain us a few more brownie points with our other halves.

Filed under Rides in March 2009


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 8 comments on ‘Ride report: Sunday 8 March – Ranmore and Abinger Roughs loop’

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  1. Toby says:

    After splitting from the group John and I headed off to meet Chris at Abinger Hammer and decided to head up Rad Lane to Peaslake. After a stop for an early lunch we headed up Pitch Hill and then down the otherside to do the ‘otherside of Pitch Hill loop’ which was surprisingly muddy in places.

    Unfortunately the rain came then and we decided to head straight back to Bookham instead of going via Holmbury as initially intended. So back along Rad Lane to Abinger Roughs were we left Chris and then back along to the climb up to White Down where we were hit by strong winds and a hail storm but kept our heads down and rode up to Ranmore Road.

    We finished up by descending to Bagden Farm, where I discovered a puncture, and up the other side with the sun finally reappearing as I arrived back home.

  2. Andy says:

    I got to that motorcycle accident minutes after it happened. Looked very nasty with one rider hanging over the verge on the other side of the carriage way and another in the road on the other side. No cars were involved on what is a straight piece of road, so I think the two riders must have collided.

    Looked like one of them then hit the central reservation and was thrown a fair way. Hoping that everyone was ok.

  3. DaveW says:

    I wasn’t too happy with all the punctures, it has to be said (I expect the others felt the same way). On the first puncture I had the unsettling experience of not being able to find the cause, so hoping it was an in-and-outy I fitted a new tube. Then on the second one I found a thorn, but I suspect there was still something in there, judging by the third flat near Westcott (surely I can’t have got 3 thorns on one ride…).

    The ride back from Westcott was sprint and pump job for me – a good workout, but rather frustrating, although fun to see the nervous over the shoulder glances of a pelaton of roadies as I caught up with them at the top of Ranmore – and by Leatherhead I decided to leave DaveB and Nick to keep their own pace and choose their own route, whilst I burned along the road back to Epsom, getting home by 12:20 and with only one more pump stop. Please please Panaracer, bring out a PR version of the Cinder!!

    Thanks to Daveb for working out the route and to the others for your good company (and patience!).

  4. JohnT says:

    Good to meet you all (briefly), I didn’t get home till 6pm and proceded to clean the mud off all my gear in the bath… definitely negative brownie points from the ‘missus’!

    Good days riding though, and I managed to do my first ‘tubeless’ ride with not a single incident, didn’t even loose a single PSI of pressure! I’m planning to get out as much as posssible this year so will probably see you again soon.



  5. Colin says:

    Tiring but fun ride, thanks to DaveBus for organsing it and for showing us a super fast way of getting down from Ranmore – can’t wait to run that one in the dry again and its sure to feature on future group rides.

    Respect to DaveW who did remarkably well to conceal his frustration at 3 punctures – I wouldn’t have remained so placid.

  6. JohnR says:

    I unsuccessfully waited for you all on the Admiral’s Way, then at 9 went to Bockett’s car park and found nobody there either so went off myself up to Ranmore.

    It looks like if I’d gone to Bocketts 5mins sooner, or waited 5mins longer I would have met up with you! Better luck next time.

  7. Nick says:

    That accident was apparantly a large group of about 25+ bikes leaving Box hill as a group and three bikes colliding when the group bunched up. I dont know, but I’m guessing (and this is pure speculation) that the riders in the front braked very early for the Denbies roundabout and some hot heads in the back barrelled into them.

    This is exactly why I tend not to ride in big groups when I go out for a quick blat on my Triumph. It was a pretty high speed impact though from the damage we could see.

    Two riders were taken away in ambulances, and the third was taken by air ambulance that landed on the A24. Thinking back that must have been the white chopper with blue sides that went over us at about 150 feet shortly after 10.

    Matt, have you got any whippet in you? The way you vanished off up that gravel track I figured its either that or you have some kind of concealed power source on your bike…

  8. Matt says:

    Cheers Nick for the heads up about the riders, it all looked a bit ‘grown up’ seeing debris and bits everywhere, seems weird that while we’re enjoying ourselves someone is in a life threatening condition not that far away.

    Having said that, I have a non bikers view on things – there’s a lot of risk not just to themselves but also to innocent third parties with what these guys get up to.

    As for whippet traits, no such luck I was just feeling enthusiastic yesterday – needed a good breather every now and then to recover!

    JohnR, sorry we missed you. I didn’t realise you were planning on attending and after about 8:40 we rolled down toward the sawmill. As you say, probably missed each other by minutes.

    DaveW, don’t worry about the punctures, we couldn’t catch you anyway!!

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