Tandem Club - South East London - 2010 Events
All tandem riders (and bike riders interested in tandem riding) are welcome on any of our rides.
Participation in any of these events is entirely at the rider's own risk. The Tandem Club, its officers
or representatives can accept no responsibility for any accident, loss, injury or death however caused.
We aim to start all rides promptly at the published times.
Note: Please contact ride organizer before attending a ride.
Sunday, 24th January 2010
Woolwich, South East London
Seventeen of us gathered for refreshments in the Royal Artillery Museum Firepower café before setting off for our ride to the Brunel Engine House Museum in Rotherhithe. For the majority of our route we used signed cycle routes 1 and 4, which kept us close to the River Thames most of the way. Soon after passing Woolwich Ferry our way was blocked by iron railings and a padlocked gate. Apparently it is always locked on Sundays and we had to retrace our steps and detour a short way to pick up the route again just before the Thames Barrier, glinting in the feeble sunshine. Continuing around the O2 Arena, through the University of Greenwich with its beautiful old buildings, past the sorry sight of the Cutty Sark tea clipper, now covered and almost out of sight since it caught fire, round Deptford, past wharfs and docks in Rotherhithe to arrive at the Brunel Museum.
Along the way Tim & Anne experienced one puncture conveniently next to the Thames and London Time Line board, giving several of us interesting reading whilst waiting for the puncture to be fixed. Around Limehouse Reach, we encountered “tall American Jon” and his young stoker, Alex, thus swelling our numbers to nineteen.
Our tandems were locked up to the Museum railings
Climbing back out into the cold (though slightly warmer than the underground Entrance Hall had been!) and onto the tandems, we made our way back to the Firepower café for warming drinks and cake before dispersing to go our separate ways. We were treated to a fabulous red streaked sky on our way home. Our thanks go to John for all of his research and organization, making for an excellent day out.
Report by Tricia Anderson
click here for pictures
Distance: 21 miles
Height Gain: 238 metres
Climb/Distance Index: 11.3 metres per mile (0.70%)
High Point: 11 metres
Low Point: 1 metres
Sunday, 28th February 2010
It was pouring with rain and didn't look like stopping any time soon, on top of that, it was cold. So it was agreed that the carefully thought out and planned route would be truncated.
Just as we were about to set off, Neville and Tricia's front tyre was found to be flat and Tim's rear tyre was much softer that it should have been. After we had attended to these issues, we set off, in the pouring rain, towards Orpington and after 1½ miles arrived at our coffee destination – Café Thorntons. It was a very pleasant place to shelter from the rain but eventually we had to leave.
Our organizers had checked with the pub to ensure that we could arrive earlier than originally planned and the pub management said, OK. Our next stop therefore, just 5 miles away, was Eynsford and lunch. We arrived a few minutes before the Plough opened and spent the time watching the rushing River Darent. The food was excellent and it became time to leave – back out in the rain.
The next phase was a journey of just under 1 mile to Lullingstone Roman Villa. This place was a flourishing Roman villa in the first 4 centuries AD and is now a covered, restored ruin and very interesting museum run by English Heritage. Among the exhibits, there is a well preserved mosaic floor and as an audience participation feature, they have some of the design elements from the floor laid out on a table with sufficient tiles to 'colour' the designs. Some of our number found this very entertaining and in any case, it was more fun than cycling in the rain! Before leaving it was decided to take the shortest route back to the start where tea and cakes was being offered...
The final phase of the ride was the longest. As it happened, the rain had now ceased and some of the huge puddles on the road had reduced in size but we stuck with the plan and after 7 more miles of cycling, enjoyed après cycling at the home of our organizers.
Report by Neville Frost
click here for pictures
Distance: 14 miles
Height Gain: 258 metres
Climb/Distance Index: 18.4 metres per mile (1.15%)
High Point: 104 metres
Low Point: 38 metres
Sunday, 28th March 2010
Newlands Corner, Surrey
Note: British Summer Time begins today. Time Springs forward one hour.
Starting as it did, in the Surrey Hills, this ride was, as predicted, quite hilly. We were very lucky with the weather and although, at times, it seemed that it would rain any second, it never did and we even had quite a bit of sunshine.
After passing through Rowly and Cranleigh, we found our route almost blocked for some distance with approaching runners taking part in the Cranleigh 15 mile and 21 mile races and hundreds of spectators. The runners were only a mile or so from the end of their respective races and some of them weren't looking too well! The writer was so pleased he was on a bike and not on his feet...
After a while, we arrived at Alfold Crossways, where we headed off towards Alfold and Loxwood whereupon, we turned around and headed back the 3 miles to Alfold Crossways. Now we headed towards Laker's Green at the edge of Dunsfold Aerodrome (where Top Gear programmes are filmed). The Three Compasses at Laker's Green is less than a mile from Alfold Crossways and apparently we would have arrived too early for lunch had we gone straight there - all quite logical! The meals were excellent.
After lunch, most of us took a short detour to have a nose at the aerodrome (not that we could see much of it) and the sorry sight of the unused Wey and Arun Canal. Then, continuing on our way, we passed through Dunsfold and Loxhill to Hascombe. After Dunsfold, the road ascends 100 meters in 2 miles – that seemed quite steep! Shortly after Winkworth, we stopped for afternoon tea at Winkworth Arboretum, where it's possible to purchase refreshments without paying the entrance fee. By this point, we had travelled 30 miles and the break was very welcome.
The final 10 mile leg took us through Busbridge, Bramley, Wonersh, Chilworth and Albury to the A25 and the climb back up to our starting point at the top of the North Downs. The final climb ascends 100 meters in just over one mile, so, steeper than the previous 'hard' climb. It was a fun day in the saddle, mostly on quiet roads and tracks and in much better conditions than weather forecasters had predicted – great.
Report by Neville Frost
click here for pictures
Distance: 40 miles
Height Gain: 794 metres
Climb/Distance Index: 19.9 metres per mile (1.23%)
High Point: 175 metres
Low Point: 26 metres
Sunday, 25th April 2010
Birdham, West Sussex
We set of on our ride from Birdham with 7 tandems, after a unpromising start to the day with rain earlier that morning.
We got .05 of a mile and we (the leaders) got the first puncture of the day. So after fixing it we set off again.
We had been expecting another couple to join us at the start but they were running late and found us en route, so we agreed that they would park their car at the start and meet us at the lunch stop. They discovered they had a puncture too!
The rest of us set off along Salterns Way, the scenic route to Chichester, then stopped for coffee at Fishbourne Roman Villa. We then headed west towards our lunch stop at Stanstead House. It was a lovely interlude as the weather was glorious and the food good. We set off again and a short while later we had the third puncture of the day.
The rest of us carried on whilst the puncture was sorted out and we all met up again just outside Emsworth. We meandered our way back to Birdham, via Bosham and ice creams, to tea and cake.
We all enjoyed the ride and were pleased that the weather was so much better than we had anticipated.
Report by Gail
click here for pictures
Distance: 37.8 miles
Height Gain: 233 metres
Climb/Distance Index: 6.2 metres per mile (0.4%)
High Point: 75 metres
Low Point: 0.2 metres
Saturday, 1st May - Monday, 3rd May 2010
Bank Holiday Camping Weekend Event
This year the 3 day event was held at the Rutland Caravan and Camping site at Greetham, a few miles to the north of Rutland Water, a brilliant campsite, not the cheapest and with rules that are not to be broken or even flexed.
27 members came to the event with 11 tandems and 5 solos. Three routes had been organized in this area, to the north, south east and around the Water. The forecast for the weekend got progressively better as the BH drew closer. Although there was a fresh and cold NE wind throughout the weekend we only heard rain overnight and had a short rain and hail shower on Monday.
The Saturday saw all set off towards Belvoir Castle heading northwards through rolling countryside stopping at Colsterworth for Morning coffee. The group then split with some going directly to Melton Mowbray (the home of the pork pie) and the rest to Melton Mowbray via Belvoir Castle. This longer route got progressively more undulating the further north we got and unfortunately although the leaders (us) had arrived there without incident we had not checked it would be open – and it wasn’t. Within 3 miles an excellent public house was located with room and good food so all was not lost.
The route back through similar undulating countryside was interrupted for a short while with a front brake block escaping from its housing. Coffee and cakes were had in Melton Mowbray with a couple of pork pies bought for later.
52 miles on the longer ride, 37 on the shorter. Fish and Chips were had by a few of us from the mobile chippy on site.
The Sunday ride of 39 miles had no short route but was considerably flatter taking in a café on the South of Rutland Water at Top Lodge RSPB sanctuary for lunch and an hour in Stamford (an historic Market town) for tea before returning to the site.
The evening was spent (for a few of us (11)) at the local Hostelry enjoying a pint and taking part in the Quiz; one point off winning.
Monday saw most pack up before a 10am start. Some members drove to the Water whilst others rode from the site to Oakham and then around the south and east sides of the Water before making their way back to the site and then home.
Report by Ian and Jo
click here for some pictures
click here for some pictures by Tim
Sunday, 23rd May 2010
Ardingly, West Sussex
The start will be near Ardingly, taking in a tea stop at Horsted Keynes Railway Station.
To get to the tea or coffee, one has to buy a platform ticket at £1 per adult, 50p per child. Payment of this fee also provides an opportunity to explore the station and look at all the workshops, sheds and such like. Steam trains come and go fairly frequently too, so there is likely to be one of those during our stop.
The ride was led by Adrian and Caroline and started from Ardingly Reservoir at 09.30. Adrian, rather confusingly, maintained that this was to be a ride of three halves. The first half, somewhat hilly, the second half rather more gentle, and the third half rather hilly again. Adrian stated that he would be happy to lead the first and third halves from the rear, but would be pleased to lead the middle half from the front. There’s democracy for you! Or was it that he and Caroline cannot keep up on hills? Undeterred, 12 people on 6 tandems set off in beautiful warm sunshine after a debate about the best place to leave cars so that they would be in shade on our return. The weather forecasters had promised a barbeque weekend, and certainly this was a lovely hot sunshiny day with just a light breeze to help cool the riders down.
A bit more cooling breeze may have been welcomed as this was a hilly ride right from the start. We cycled past the stunning Balcombe Viaduct and enjoyed the scent of bluebells, ransoms and primroses as we made our way up and down towards Turners Hill. After about 10 miles, we stopped for some very welcome refreshment at Tulley’s Farm, and then set off again, this time down the gently undulating Worth Way to East Grinstead, via Crawley Down. Much of the ride was in dappled shade, which was very welcome as the temperature continued to rise. A short on-road section through East Grinstead was followed by another gentle ride down the Forest Way as far as Hartfield.
Lunch was taken at the Hay Wagon Pub in Hartfield, sitting in the pub garden enjoying the lovely warm weather. In spite of being very busy, and a slight mix-up over baked potatoes and beans with and without cheese, which ended with Christopher having two lunches, the service was very speedy and efficient and the meals delicious.
The third half of the ride saw us toiling up and coasting down more steep hills and through two fords, one of which was fitted with elephant traps to catch out unwary tandems. Luckily no one fell in, and there were no untoward incidents with the exception of Clem’s punctured rear tyre whilst we were crossing Ashdown Forest. It’s always the rear tyre, isn’t it?
Another refreshment stop at Horsted Keynes Station, where we admired the steam engines and enjoyed ice creams, and it was just a short, if somewhat steep ride back to the Reservoir, to find that Clem had judged the sun and shade absolutely correctly, and so had a relatively cool car for his journey home.
Distance travelled: 37.5 miles (No one seemed to mind that the ride was 2.5 miles shorter than the programmed 40!)
Total climb: 2477 feet (phew!)
Temperature: 28 degrees Centigrade (double phew!)
Report by Caroline Fisher 24/05/2010
click here for some pictures
Thursday, 17th June - Sunday, 20th June 2010
Continental Touring Weekend Event
Dover and beyond
At 05.50 on the 17th June the rather disparate group which can best be called SE England – even though the leaders come from Essex – met at Dover Eastern Docks to cross to Boulogne for their annual French mini tour. As has become something of a tradition, we started with a problem, this time by way of a Ken & Jan puncture, but it was sorted in time for the off.
The trip was to take us :-
Once again, a fantastic trip, thanks entirely to Alan & Wendy who take so much care & pay such attention to detail when they do their preparations. This is definitely one of the highlights of our cycling year.
Report by Mike Wesson 26/06/2010
click here for some pictures
Sunday, 25th July 2010
Whyteleafe, near Caterham, Surrey
Starting from Whyteleafe, this ride will take in a few easy tracks and more than a few hills to reach Cudham for lunch at the Blacksmith's Arms. Coffee stop possible in Croydon, tea at Warlingham if we make it in time.
Please ring the organisers if you wish to ride as the pub needs numbers.
Three tandems and a solo met at Whyteleafe Recreation Ground on a rather dull but warm and humid morning.
The first mile and a half set the scene for the rest of the ride – steep hills and bridlepaths – as we climbed up to Mitchley Wood, using a section of the London Loop with fine views to the valley below. A series of loops, hills and paths (fractals were mentioned when the route was seen on the map) took us to a welcome coffee stop at Knights Garden Centre, Chelsham.
Almost immediately after leaving Knights we were off the road again, this time following Sustrans Route 21. The steep climb just before Fickleshole brought everyone to a halt as the rear wheels scrabbled for grip on the dry gravel surface. A little later the steep descent down Hesiers Hill brought about a search for Christopher’s lost water bottle, which flew off as we hit a bump at around 40 mph – it was never found.
Regrouping at the top of the hill, we took Norheads Lane (no traffic allowed) through the corn fields for the fast descent and very slow climb to Biggin Hill (surely this deserves a chevron?), and then after a few miles yet another fast descent and killer climb (surely it deserved two chevrons rather than just one?) to reach the Blacksmith’s Arms at Cudham for some much needed rest, liquid and food. It was good to meet Tricia who has walked all the way there from her home.
All this tarmac couldn’t last long, and sure enough a fast gravelly bridleway, again with some great views and steep slippy descent, took us to tea at another branch of Knights Garden Centres, this time at Woldingham.
Suitably filled with tea and cake, it was only another 2.5 miles (and a short bridleway section- sorry Helen!) back to the start.
Report by David Wilde 25/07/2010
click here for some pictures
Sunday, 22nd August 2010
Combined ride with Tandem Club - Kent
Starting from Tenterden, Kent
The rain shower stopped as we gathered in a corner of the Waitrose car park in the pretty town of Tenterden. Having thought that "everyone" was going to be away on holiday for this joint SEL/Kent ride, it was very pleasing to see the 17 people gathered ready for the off. Keith & Jane led us north out of Tenterden, through St Michael's and out into the lovely country lanes to reach Headcorn Aerodrome, whereupon we were treated to another rain shower and so hurriedly crammed ourselves into the refreshment queue in the cafe. As the rain stopped we emerged with our refreshments to chat and watch the parachutists "tog up".
Our ride split at this point with 5 tandems and 2 solos doing a loop to the north and 2 tandems and 1 solo waiting to watch some of the parachutists land and then taking the most direct way to The Bull at Sissinghurst via Frittenden. The rain started again as we stopped for a breather at the top of the rather nasty Satin's Hill (one whit commented that it was a "devil" of a hill!) but we made it to The Bull before it really started to fall heavily. We were just admiring the duck family which all came over the grass in a line to greet us, when the "long riders" arrived. Once again we hurried inside to escape the rain, where we were seated all together at a long table and enjoyed excellent refreshment whilst watching the rain bounce off the road outside.
The rain had stopped as the ride split again with 4 tandems and 2 solos doing a southerly hilly loop whilst 3 tandems and 1 solo went south to Golford and then almost directly east back to Tenterden, just getting a little damp from some light rain along the way. Just outside Tenterden we heard the steam engine on the Kent & East Sussex Railway tooting its horn and then saw clouds of smoke as it slowly hauled itself up the hill to where we awaited it at the closed level crossing - we all sympathised with its efforts!. 5 of us settled down in the Savannah cafe (2 had to rush home for a work shift) and were queried as to our odd number when we were the Tandem Club! We didn't have to wait too long for our "long riders" to arrive - they'd been delayed by a puncture. Tea, scones, waffle & ice cream, etc were enjoyed whilst chatting before saying our goodbyes and thanks to Keith & Jane for a good day out. I'd also like to thank Nick and Daphne for their sterling GPS route work on behalf of the "short riders".
Report by Tricia Frost 25/08/2010
click here for some pictures
Sunday, 26th September 2010
Starting from Banstead, Surrey
Ten of us met in the cosy confines of Costa Coffee, Banstead with the weather prospects slightly uncertain. The gist of the forecast was sunny in the morning, which it wasn’t, windy, which it was, and rain at some point later, which seemed likely. But it takes more than the prospect of rain to deter the Tandem Club, so in good spirits we set off briskly down Holly Lane. Naturally, what goes down must at some point come up, but that was for later.
The ride was billed as 40 miles Hilly, and our first hill was Farthing Downs. We stopped at the Orientation Table at the top to take in the views, limited a bit but still not bad, and then on up to War Coppice Lane - views in the opposite direction but similarly constrained - before a good swoop down through Caterham to coffee at Knights on the Woldingham Road.
The group was run firmly on Anarcho-Syndicalist lines, and our first joint decision was whether we would take a short cut up a muddy track. Road it was, so up past Woldingham School, where a taster-triathlon was being held. Encouraging applause for the tandems as we became involved in the bike leg, and then, at the foot of the ridge, our second big decision. Should we go steeply up Ganger’s Lane or should we dodge it and scoot away downhill? This one was not so clear cut, but gravity won and we were soon rolling South through Tandridge to Crowhurst where we stopped to take a look at the ancient yew.
Lunch at the Hare and Hounds, Lingfield, where they had prepared a good big table for all of us to sit together, and then SouthWest to cross the A22 at New Chapel; NorthWest and finally North as we headed home through Smallfield.
Now it began to get hilly. Not big hills, but regular, and the run of the country was up. We got on steadily enough until Church Lane at Bletchingly gave us a brief respite with a couple of miles of downhill, then it was up again up White Hill Lane. Anything called White Hill is bad news in chalk country, but we cunningly escaped the hard bit by turning off along Spring Bottom Lane.
Across the M23, with tea and cakes almost in sight, and it began to rain. We stopped under a tree to put our waterproofs on, and decided to skip tea at Fanny’s farm and head directly to Banstead. At the top of Markedge Lane we held our last Parliament - direct route up a steep hill or longer but flatter? Flatter - and the flatter the better, was the consensus.
So, just after four o’clock, five Tandems rolled along the High Street back to the start. Three local teams headed for Pistachios for tea and cakes, the two teams that had driven sensibly decided to head off for a hot bath.
46.68 miles, rolling average 12.5 mph, 2,498 feet of ascent and 2,091 calories. Should have eaten less cake.
Report by Mark 29/10/2010
Sunday, 24th October 2010
Oad Street near Sittingbourne, Kent
Four tandems, 1 triplet and 2 solos met on a sunny day at the Oad Street Craft Centre.
Dad had organised the pub and could remember some of the route from last time. Luckily Liz enjoys map reading and she and Ken led the way round. We had a pub stop about half way, at Painters Forstal.
On the way back we rode along the bank of the Thames estuary. We could see boats below. When we got back to the craft centre there was time for tea and cakes.
By Evie Butcher (nearly 10)
Additional information by Tricia Frost:
It was a very cold day with the temperature hovering around 5°C all day: lovely in the sunshine but toes and fingers got very cold in the shade. It was good that we’d started the day with warming refreshments in the café before setting off.
We were pleased to have Murray & Angela riding with us on their first group tandem ride and hope to see them out again.
Sunday, 28th November 2010
Various options for the route to lunch at the Castle, Outwood, depending on weather, inclination etc, ranging from short and flat to long and hilly (unlikely to choose that one!), with somewhere in between the most likely option. The leisure centre in Edenbridge can provide refreshment at the end of the ride.
On a fine bright but very cold morning (-3C) three tandems and two solos gathered outside the leisure centre in Edenbridge.
The roads were dry, so no problems with ice as we headed out through Haxted and Dormansland to reach the first section of bridleway. The organiser had not done a recce on the beginning of this, so it was a venture into the unknown, but the path proved well surfaced and easy to ride, though the ground was frozen solid.
The next section of path, taking us to Felbridge, was not at all easy to ride though, being badly cut up by vehicles and having lots of rubbish dumped along it. Christopher was feeling rather cold, so we headed off via the quiet road through Furnace Wood to the very busy garden centre at Snowhill for a welcome warm up.
The next section of bridleway, taking us past Chithurst Farm, was easy riding, but the climb up to Outwood got everyone warmed up. We admired (and some tasted) the fine grapes adorning the cottage at the end of the path, and then it was a short ride to lunch at The Castle, where we found Tricia waiting for us.
After an excellent lunch we headed off towards Oxted and Limpsfield, but failing light and energy levels meant that a short cut via Staffhurst Wood was used to get us to the last section of bridleway through Troy Town.
The Kent and Surrey golf club provided tea and coffee at a very reasonable price, and then everyone split up to ride their various ways home – only the organisers actually used the car to get to/from the ride!
Report by Dave
click here for some pictures
Sunday, 5th December 2010
East Farleigh, Kent
Joint SEL, Surrey & Sussex and Kent Christmas lunch at East Farleigh, Kent. Limited places so book early!
Report and pictures available on the Kent website