Eighteen of the great and good showed up for a magical run over the Greensand Way and the North downs to Bike Beans, Ashtead. As advertised Leith Hill (Anstie Lane climb) and White Down were taken at an easy pace by some (as I can witness being the proud bearer of Le Lanterne Rouge; minor mechanical but no excuses). The same can’t be said of the rolling sections where a brisk pace warded off the autumnal chill. Thanks to the sacrificial generosity of the faster members, regrouping was exemplary. Navigational update: despite the farmer’s advice Wigmore Lane from Capel does cross the A24 and join up with the A29; I took us up the wrong fork.
Whilst making an attractive tea stop the Bike Beans experience was rather tarnished by cumbersome service. We arrived at an empty café and our orders were fairly simple but it was an hour and ten minutes before we left. Speed of service is certainly not the only criterion however: the café was clean, the food good and the staff pleasant.
Any takers for a rider survey of cycling stops? It could be themed “The Great British Bike Off”. A glittering career in TV/publishing awaits.
From Ashtead we ascended to Walton on the Hill (Jacquie’s Christmas route) from which point riders gradually peeled off as we made our way through Chipstead and Nutfield to the Drome for a welcome cuppa – thanks Calvin.
Weather crisp and magnificent, climb 3,100ft., Lanterne Rouge 12.5mph rolling. Picture – Nick White.