Blow me down! It's sunny here in Surrey.

Took a gamble today. Met a guy yesterday who claimed that the trails have really dried out during the week, so on his word I fitted summer tyres to my home-built Tassajara and removed all trace of mudguards. Go for it I say...

And indeed the trails were dry, which is remarkable. Sure there were some muddy sections, but nothing to challenge my almost treadless tyres and I flew, covering 24 miles in sub 2 hours. There was no need for long travel suspension, let alone rear suspension at all, so the 90mm travel my forks give were fine. Having a light bike on the climbs helped, as did the general lack of tyre friction. You see over here in West Surrey we don't have much in the way of technical riding, and once the trails dry out they are no more challenging to ride than canal towpaths. But it makes for pleasant, long rides where you can drift off mentally away from whatever goes on at work or home.

It's also a wonder to have nicely smelling trails again. The sun on warming soil plus general plant growth made for a pleasant environment. And how interesting it is to have clear sight lines everywhere. The late spring has cut back on tree growth and most are leafless. Add in clear, moisture free air and one can see into some of the splendid mansions we have around here, some of which I've never seen simply due to tree coverage and / or wet weather. Man some must be worth an easy £5m, possibly more as we do see the odd £20m gaff advertised deeper in Surrey. Wonder what it's like to have that kind of cash lying around? But then I saw a rat running from the grounds of one, so all isn't always well in the world.

Not many cyclists out and about, or horse riders for that matter. The few mountain bikers I did see weren't venturing far. They were on what looked like the original Marin full suspension bikes. Given the bellies on the guys riding them, they were probably bought new back in the day, being brought out for the odd sunny ride. It's nice to generallise now and then. I think it's fair to say some of these men were pushing 20 stone, which made them hefty for average height bods. Apologies to the one I brushed past, but I didn't expect you to drift so far over on the trail. They seemed a happy bunch, content with their bikes and lifestyle, and could put a spurt on now and then so still have it - they looked as though they'd cleaned the chalk path. Isn't that enough these days? To be content. To be fair I was happy with this group, who weren't in the least bit pushy, as opposed to the lot we saw over at Peaslake, Nazi inspired helmets and all. Bunch of testosterone fuelled nutters or old guys out for an amble in the sun on older bikes?

Wife on her run spotted a group of eight or so cyclists returning home at about 8am. Wonder which Redgate group they were then? They must have been out unfeasibly early. Oddly enough I've never tried an early ride in Surrey. Last year I was on Snowdon on my PACE at 6am for ten days running, but then the motivation to do such a thing is high. Surrey Hills hasn't the same drive has it?

Oh I didn't stop as the cafe at Headley seems to be opening later and later each weekend. At 11am they didn't even look as though they were going to bother. Wonder what's up there? Usually reliable. Ah well, saved me £4 in not stopping, and helped me do the high average time. Wonder when I'll ever do that again? And really, do I actually want to do 12mph averages? Nice to be able to do it at nearly 50 years old, but it's also nice to pootle and chat, watching the world go by.

Just one oddity. I was almost run over by some old guy in a diesel golf buggy. He was sat still on the trail and I went to pass. Little did I know they are all eco now, and don't need to idle. The engine was off so I assumed it would need to engage the starter motor before moving on. It didn't; all was silent then all was clattery movement. Luckily it seemed to instantly do 13mph against my 12mph so I just missed him. Or he just missed me in a glass half full kind of way. Bugger was doing the nice bit of singletrack next to the golf course. You now the track that's like that pub in the midlands, where gravity flows upwards, or that scene in Father Ted with the wheelchair. No idea why, but that trail is soooo easy and flowingly lovely taken in the uphill direction yet a right sluggy chore when taken downhill. Always bemused as to why. Indeed in the downhill direction it is a shitty pig of a trail with no flow, and I really don't know why we bother with it.

Yes the ambling walkers 100m away from the Urban Kitchen were annoying but I had an epiphany. Walkers are about as intelligent and docile as cows, so that's how I treated them for the rest of my journey down Reigate Hill at the end; as beasts of burden with limited intelligence. Oddly this made for far more happy encounters. I don't mean this in a demeaning way. Just that when one encounters groups of walkers they either seem to go in seven directions at once, or shut down and just stand there. Mainly they just kind of stand there looking gormless and surprised. There must be some clever people out there who can categorise group behaviour better than I, but I'm content with my cattle theory. It is my theory after all, so why shouldn't it work for me?

Go on, next time you encounter a herd of walkers on the trail, treat them as domestic cattle. Be patient, don't make sudden noises and kindly move them off the trail. Slightly condescending I know, but better than just blasting through them shouting vile insults.

Chatting with KD post ride it became apparent that I should really singlespeed the Tassajara. KD is mechanically inept so likes the simplicity, but I always had such devices back in the day and used to enjoy the need to maintain momentum. Guess I've lost the bravery and confidence that owning such a bike implies. I'll have to change that - the first thing to do being to remove that 42t outer ring. Boy I've really taken a dislike to those, and cleaning the bike post ride I can see why. You can never fully clean the middle ring, even with the chain off, and I cut the ball of my hand in trying. Quick look at Charlie The Bikemonger has solved that issue, with some shorter chainring bolts. Once I've got enough funds in Paypal I'll order a kit in.