Ancient Orange 5, North Downs forts; a week in Surrey.

My Orange 5.

I've had this bike since early 2013, a black special edition. Bought as I'd purchased a dropper post in the CRC Black Friday sale and needed a bike to fit it to. Really! It has never been my go-to bike, and I'm not sure why. Certainly when bought I could not see why it ever got five star reviews. By heck it was heavy. For example, the dropper wasn't that much heavier then the existing seat post. The wheels were ridiculous. I'm still shaving weight as it has 1x gearing and tubeless tyres courtesy of Decathlon.

It is a bit better now, a little more fun.

Modified Orange Five

This year I've not used it much as I have a new hard tail, one of the 650b+ variety. Decided to play with the 5 this week. Oh dear. I've obviously got used to new geometry as this Five was horrid. Just an odd riding position, as if the bottom bracket was miles in front. After 20 miles my hip joints hurt. Hated it.

Got home, pondered a bit. It was fine six months ago.... Dropped the saddle 5mm, put a new saddle on, rotated the handlebars forward a tad, adjusted the gears and brakes. Two rides on and it is back to being fine. Go figure.

Glued on mudguard

I also tired of the mudguard moving around, so glued it in place. Job done. The Five is an ugly bike anyway; I've not made it worse.

Trail gremlins.

It can be a struggle riding around here. Today, on a legal trail there was a woman off to one side, standing on a patch of grass with her dogs. As I rode past, one dog barked at me, so the woman called me an idiot.

There's also been a fair bit of land owners reclaiming land. Trails that we have used for years have disappeared.

Barbed wire - not nice.

And then there are the trail fairies putting logs over the trails. I'm not sure this is anti bike so much as anti everyone. On Stane Street, an ancient Roman road and the A29 for much of its' length, somebody had dragged an iron gate across it. That's just arse.

North Downs forts.

My plan this week had been to visit a few of the 1890's forts. I started with the one over Merstham. It was overgrown.

Merstham fort

Merstham fort

Merstham fort

It was OK. Derelict and full of junk. Reigate one was nicer, and the Bletchingly one non-existent. Box Hill I just rode past, on my way to the one at Dorking. That turned out not to exist, so I took a photo of a church instead.

Flint church, Dorking.

Actually as a project it lacked, shall we say, interest. As an excuse to ride a little off the beaten track? Pretty cool. Even though I've been riding these trails for years, this little project found me some new ones.

Not all cycling....

Managed to squeeze in a work day in London.


Avocado people.

Elephant & Castle.


As I am now taking a camera out, I'm a little more observant. Taking the photo below, I spotted some wild raspberries. Made my day!

Secret raspberry location

And for every ying, there is a yang.

Fly tipping
This is in Walton, an area where the average home is over £1m. This has been dumped by a person who lives in a £1m home - only a local would know where this is, as you cannot drive to it at all.

A busy little week. Probably managed to ride over 80 miles, all off-road. Life is good.