Tuesday, August 28, 2018

27th August (cloudy and mild) 81 km

After the deluge of rain yesterday, it was nice to wake to a clearer day. There was still the usual cloud cover that we’ve experienced every day since our arrival in England and I’m beginning to think that the idea of a cloudless day is just a myth. Turned on the tele when Julia woke just to get the weather forecast. Cloudy….funny that… and 19 degrees….that’ll do us.
Another shooting in the States…..this time in Florida. Apparently a guy playing computer games went on a rampage when he lost the game. Something like two dead and fourteen injured. How bad is it when you are becoming blasé about people dying. It just happens all the time now.
Downstairs for breakfast with Steve. Once again it was delicious and the service has been awesome throughout our stay. Chatted about friendships and visits and as always one topic led into another. It’s never been hard to find things to talk about with Steve, which is why we value him so much as a best friend. He has a great sense of humour and always makes us laugh.
Too soon, it was time to say goodbye. We’ve been lucky over the past four years to have seen Steve three times, but it would be nice to have him just around the corner. Gear loaded and off down Ealing High Street to Halfords, to pick up a new inner tube. Even though I repaired the puncture yesterday, figured it would be good to have another back up.  We stayed on the roads heading out for a large percentage of the time today because it was Bank Holiday Monday, so not as much traffic in London as usual.
Travelling at a steady clip, we reached Richmond Park. We had chosen to come through this way as on the map, it was a big green park area with a small road running round the entire perimeter.  When we got there, it had obviously been claimed by the cycling fraternity as their local patch and hundreds of them were flying round this circuit in varying shades of lycra.  There were a number of cars also on this road, but travelling very sedately – perhaps too sedately as one Range Rover was stopped on the road, with an ambulance alongside and his whole back window was smashed in.  We wondered if he’d braked suddenly and received a cyclist in his back seat. 
Hmmmm, should we heed the warning?
In the end it was all in a day's work for us - nothing
more or less dangerous than other hills we'd encountered.

The suburb of Coombe was very nice as was Cheam, with some lovely houses. At this time we were following directions to what we thought was a park, but it turned out to be a golf course. One of the middle aged female players told us that we could cut across the course to get to where we were headed, as the course was common land.  So we did.
At Burgh Heath we stopped at a park for lunch. Whilst eating, a little female Fox Terrier showed up, looking lost. No name, but a tag saying she was microchipped. We rang the number on the collar, but to no avail so left them a text message to tell them where their dog was.  Got a text later in the day letting us know they had found her and thanking us.  On an A road for twenty minutes, far too busy, before coming off to do a short part of the North Downs Way, which was much more fun, even with all the gear on our bikes.
Part of the golf course detour

Back into suburban Redhill and following cycle route 21 when suddenly, my back tyre is going down again. You cannot be serious.  Jason’s prophetic words that punctures come in threes, echoed in our heads.  As we removed the old tube, we noticed it was twisted and ballooned either side of the twist, which we had pointed out to Jason as he was putting it in place, but he assured us it would sort itself out when the air went in – well it didn’t Jason, so no wonder you’ve had so much experience fixing punctures! 
Getting quite expert at fixing punctures now.

Not far down the road, I found that my two small cogs on the back weren’t working…. And my chain came off twice when I was going through the gears…bloody bastard. 
On B roads heading for Horsley, hoping that a bike shop was open to correct the problem, but once again the Bank Holiday was kicking in, with the shop closed. Further on down the line we came upon On Yer Bike, a cycle shop, just after passing Gatwick Airport, in a small village called Felbridge. The doors were open, but when I put my head in, they were just closing (it was 6pm by now).  I asked the guy if he could look at it for a second as we were touring, which he did and fixed it, in five minutes, free of charge.
Pete on the lookout for blackberries.

Forest Way, (an old railway line) a delight to cycle on.

We were getting close now, or so we thought, as it seemed to take forever. At East Grimstead we found the Forest Way, a beautiful old disused railway line, but unfortunately overshot the exit point and then had to backtrack up a farmtrack and had to unload the bikes to lift them over the farmers gate, before reloading them. Finally we rolled into David’s driveway.  David and his wife Elizabeth had Julia boarding with them for a year when she was 19.  Elizabeth unfortunately had a stroke six weeks ago and is now in a nursing home and not in a good way.  David himself is doing remarkably well, although his hearing is very bad now – it has been a problem his whole life.
He had an American friend, and colleague, Bob staying, from New Jersey, who has worked with him often.  After a delicious dinner we all retired to bed. Bob was getting picked up by taxi at 3am to get to the airport and Ju and I were both knackered.  So, an eventful day, not one I would care to do too often.


  1. Looking at the photo of Ju on her bike ,I still find it remarkable how little you guys carry for the amount of time you are away, and how well you do with so little. You look like you are just out for a day ride! I guess you have it down to a fine art by now. Linda has more stuff than that just as carry on ,on a plane!

  2. I tell you what - it's amazing how much room it takes up once you get everything out of the bags! Compression bags are awesome!