Bike Beans cafe, Box Hill and Reigate group mountain bike ride.

This was a tale of woe really.

Lots went wrong today, on a ride where I'd been asked to guide as well. That's not good is it?? Lots went right as well, certainly more than went wrong. I'm the type to focus on the negatives rather than the positives though.

It all started well. PP had bumped into Keith, an old scootering mate of his from 30 years ago. Keith had been living in Dorset, but was now back in Surrey and had just taken up mountain biking. Another "back in the day mate" of PP's, Karl, was feeling his age so wanted to prove to himself that he could still cut it. PP and Co requested a full day out, starting at Reigate.

We met up, we headed off. Soon transpired that Keith was handy and Karl keen. Hmm, the pace will be solid then, as it proved to be. We got to Bike Beans at a fair lick, even allowing for two hawthorn punctures, and all was well with the world. Happy little group, and PP was enjoying showing off his new fitter self.

It kind of went downhill.

Leaving Bike Beans to Stane Street there is a little lane one car wide. We were halfway up it - it only goes on for 200m at most - when some twonk in a white BMW X1 decided he was coming past. He pushed PP and Karl aside, and Keith was next to give in. I had nowhere to go, but kept in to the left as I guessed he'd push past. He did, but it was a punishment pass for me as halfway through he cut into me.

Naturally a small fight followed, and we both looked stupid. To my credit he started it with his dangerous driving. I didn't look good to PP and his mates though. Who is this strange guide who has fights with complete idiots?

Leatherhead to Box Hill.

This was all good. We did a circular route past the saw mill, and then up the face of Box Hill. However Karl wasn't happy and here I failed again, pushing on instead of calling it quits. He's a big lad height wise, and did not enjoy the climbs. Rather he did, though not the 2,500ft we did today. Everything in moderation please.

We had tea, so he got a rest in, yet instead of being fair and picking a flat way back, I took a route through Headley that would interest PP. PP does this all the time; he wouldn't have missed one more up and down circuit of Headley. I'm not sure the additional ups and downs were pleasant for Karl at all. Fair play he took it all with good grace. Knock him down, he gets back up instantly.

Reigate Hill.

Not my fault really. Both PP and myself had mentioned the steep drop down by Urban Kitchen, and both Karl and Keith seemed game. Instead of just showing them where it was, and leaving them to ride it alone one day, we just did it. I rode down, and off, waited half way. Always a sign of a bad guide that; riding off. They gamely followed, but it wasn't a pleasant sight at all. I saw Keith go over his handlebars right at the start, and Karl walked down for a bit. Naturally I egged them on a bit more, riding off and down. This time PP came a cropper, going over his handlebars and bending his wheel in the process.


Karl could still cut it, and would be great on a normal group ride. Pushing him two hours past his comfort zone of four hours was not fair. He was game for everything, and was fast downhill. The last drop was out of order really. His bike was set up for cross country, so there was no need to take him down a trail that none of us could actually walk up. What did that prove? That myself and PP can be pricks really.

Keith was just fast. He obviously could muller each and every one of us, yet chose not to. At the end of the ride he looked the same as when he'd started. He's obviously massively fit.

PP was happy as. He had a great time, and didn't even look too phased at breaking his bike.

Me? Out of sorts really. Slightly jaded world view this week left me full of my own self pity. Instead of looking outwards, I was listening to the inner miserable voices. Meant that as I was punishing myself, they also coped a bit of it. The ride was OK but could have been so much better had I taken some interest in what the others wanted. I needed a physical release, they just wanted fun. Sorry.