We were 12 strong when we set off from Hayes just after 10.30am with our relaxed pace group. Our youngest riders today being just 8. Quite a chilly morning so we were glad of the hills to warm us up. We avoided the rather busy Layhams Road with our young riders and headed instead for Keston Common and up Nash Lane.
From here we headed for Bedlestone Lane, a very long uphill, where we found Evelyn and Sophia who had become separated from their group and had decided to wait to us. We stopped for drinks and snacks after our long climb and then with our two extra riders, carried on towards the Reptile Centre near Tastsfield. This was a good opportunity for a loo break and water top up, before carrying on up and down more hills until we came to the cross roads at Grays Road.
Turning into The Nower and down the very long Rag Hill we headed towards Sundridge where we stopped to buy sweets and pick up another 4 riders who had had a mechanical. We now numbered 18 and our next task was to conquer Toys Hill. Just before we set off we spotted Adam in a CAR with his bike on the roof. ‘Adam’s cheating’ said one of our younger riders, as Adam’s car was seen disappearing up Toys Hill. I asked him afterwards what had happened and he assured me he had had a problem with his bike and phoned home for a new bike – maybe.
Our 18 riders now made their way up Toys HIll, some making the whole climb without stopping, others walking part way, but we all made it to the top. Then it was along Emmetts Lane and all the way down to the pub where we stopped for our lunch break. 45 minutes said Spencer, our rider leader, no hanging about today. Everyone was quite hungry so we piled into the pub to order predominately chips. The pub were keen for us all to order in one go to make their life easier, which we all managed to do, bar one. No names mentioned. Then we sat in the garden and awaited our food. At this point I must just mention the person who ordered late actually got their food rather early. No names mentioned – actually it was Evelyn. Sorry just had to do that.
After lunch we set off up to Dunton Green, some of the little legs now getting tired. Spencer made the decision to avoid Shoreham and Shacklands Road, but instead take our group up Old Polhill, which made a lot of sense as our youngsters had done very well today with all the hills and I think Shacklands would have been one hill too many.
Back along the cycle path on the A21, Barnet Wood Road and Hayes. Well done everyone – I am sure you are all well up for Brighton. See you in two weeks time.