A mecca for all cyclists residing within spitting distance of London and its commuter belt, the Surrey Hills offer challenging climbs, pleasant rural roads, and most importantly, plentiful cake stop destinations.
The downside to all this picturesque riding is that the roads and lanes suffer in bad weather; prone to ice in the depths of winter, mud and puddles during periods of wet weather. So basically in the midst of this ‘cold snap’ it’s basically a no-go on a road bike. But generally rides out into the country are preferable to endless lapping of Richmond Park. And we all wave to each other too – must be something about being outside of London.
The good folk at my club, the Kingston Wheelers, have teamed together to produce a very valuable resource to anyone planning routes out to the hills. The map charts the various Surrey Hills landmarks – Horse Block Hollow, Leith Hill, Coombe Bottom – but more importantly a comprehensive cake stop listing. Doubtless it won’t be long before a Wheelers points system will be employed to rate moistness of carrot cake and piquancy of the brews on offer at each establishment.
Personally I’m rubbish at map reading, and will get lost no matter how detailed the directions. In fact, I used to get lost on my way to Richmond Park which is only a 15 minute journey. Recently I’ve come to terms with my incompetence, but found that it’s actually a great way to explore and discover. The added adrenaline – caused by the fear of never finding my way home again – also helps to add a little extra pace to my training.