Two went to Biggin Hill for beans on toast. Sustrans Route 21 goodness.

Biggin Hill.

PP likes the long, day filling rides. Each time we go out, he aims for 60km. Normally we head off for Ranmore, but today it was to be the long slog to Biggin Hill. Off road you don't suggest this very often.

Now that is a slog. It cannot be, but it feels uphill all day. The reason for this being that the area around Caterham is a series of valleys running essentially North to South. Here to Biggin Hill is West to East. So all day you are climbing or descending. They are all short, sharp things hence one tends to remember the sharp climbs, and forget the short descents.

Caterham is interesting really.

  • There's the guy with a private golf course, complete with helicopter landing pad. And not mini golf either; a full sized course in his garden. 
  • The Llama farm in Purley.
  • Godstone vineyard. Just try their wine one day.
  • Hidden woods with secret trails. Or if you are us, hidden woods with known trails :-)
  • Al Fayed and his oil well.
  • £5 for two at any cafe.
  • Country pubs with views. Here I'm thinking Botley.
  • Great expansive views of London.
  • Pensioners in the cafe muttering that we had nothing better to do than ride bikes, implying we should be working. Oh the irony.

We also bumped into, and this was frankly a surprise, a large group of lady mountain bikers out on a ramble from Reigate. That's not something you see every day. PP was moved to comment that they looked more organised than us. Why? No back packs. One would carry the pump, another the inner tube etc.. Us one the other hand? 5 kg packs each, could cater for any eventuality other than actual welding. Hmm, why is that?

Old school.

It is very much a cross country loop, old school style. No long drags, lots of ultra short link sections. You need a map, or to have somebody show you first. We've done it often enough that the map was only needed for getting from New Addington to Titsey Hill via Biggin Hill.

As you can see from the map, we hit this one pretty much 90% spot on. It looks a smooth ride. I say 90% as I figure the need for a map, plus having noted unused bridleways en route, then there is room for improvement. It's a long old slog.

There has been quite a bit of rain of late, and the trails were muddy in parts. Unfortunately the mud wasn't consistent. Some areas would have been washed to bedrock, so you could get some speed up. Being the navigator lead duties were down to me, hence discovery of the mud also. What it meant was I'd be going along, being pushed from behind and hit these blocks of mire. Most often the speed would carry me through, but also just as often the front end would wash out, following the more solid ruts of other riders. Rather luckily the bike always caught. PP was duty bound to comment on my antics.

The big news was my conquering the steps at Caterham, the ones that PP has always ridden down. They are odd things, cut into a bank. Not even steps, in height or depth and there is a curve to them. I don't like them at all.

Beans on toast.

Of course there is not much at Biggin Hill. Beans on toast at the friendly cafe. Actually here I must say; beans on toast, extra toast, coffee, tea; £5 please. Friendly service to.

53km done and dusted.


In the post this week were my new PACE RC303 custom machined dropouts to take a Maxle conversion. Utterly lovely things these, like jewelry.