Attendance at night rides seems to have dropped off a bit in recent weeks. But having read some lively postings on the forum I expected to be greeted by a gaggle of Moles clustered around Hylands Garage for the first night ride of the decade. So I was a bit surprised to find only Lloyd had made it out and he had just about decided that nobody else was coming along.
I persuaded him to wait a few more minutes as people often arrived at the last possible minute and sure enough, at the customary quarter to eight, six lights appeared as three bikes crossed over to the garage. But sadly they were not Moles at all, just a mystery group returning from their night ride.
As we started the short climb up Crabtree Lane to the dark Surrey Hills, a light sleet started and I wondered if staying in was the wisest option after all. Lloyd was on a Pace, although I don’t recall which one. And following recent problems with a rusty rear gear cable on the Orange Five, I had taken the Inbred Single Speed.
We took the usual Wiggly Woods route and as we edged along the fields towards Polesden I spotted my first night time Badger. Luckily it was not quite as close as Colin and Dave observe them from. We passed Tanners Hatch slogging up to Ranmore, then along the top of the ridge on Badger Run and Collarbone. Conditions under wheel were unsurprisingly muddy and slippery, and the woods had frequent patches of mist making navigation difficult, particularly wearing glasses. So I wasn’t surprised to miss the turn off for the reservoir and instead took the main track over to the Drovers Road.
From there we followed the usual route around Crocknorth Farm and down through the woods to the A246 west of Effingham. Orestan Lane then led to the Lower Road where Lloyd and I went our separate ways. We had ridden a challenging hour and forty minutes but according to my odometer covered only eight miles – hmmm, that sounds suspiciously low.
Although there were only two of us, it was good to see that night riding for the Muddymoles is not dead yet. Now that the days are getting longer perhaps more of the regular Moles will be leaving their burrows by the next time I can join them for a night ride, at the end of the month.