The two mile ride. My Colley Hill Cloverleaf.

Firstly, do we need to wear a specific mountain bike uniform when out on a ride? I only ask as in the week I read a ride report from another blog where they berated somebody for turning up on a group ride in jeans. In a slightly bullying tone, it wasn't seen as the done thing. Why? Do we all have to wear combat shorts, wicking tops and use a Camelbak? So today in support of the jeans wearer I too went out in jeans and a t-shirt; house keys in one pocket, money in the next. Thirsty? Stop at a cafe or pub, job done. And do you know what? It made not a jot of difference to the ride what I wore. Indeed for me it was kind of liberating. A bit like when you were a kid and just set off anywhere in whatever you were wearing at the time, and on your parents' borrowed bike. Try it one day - just go for a ride without all of the crap you normally take.

So, where did we go? Well I've been meaning to show AD my 'Cloverleaf' night ride route for ages, but it is essentially a local spin so a tough sell. "Fancy a spin out? We'll not go further than 2 miles" hasn't really got much of a push to it has it? But for some reason AD bought into it even though it involves an awful lot of climbing in a very short space. I figure on at least 1,800m of climbing*, essentially up and down Colley Hill. Easy routes up [ha ha ha ha ha ha], nasty routes down. Indeed one was so nasty AD almost ended up with concussion as his head bounced off a tree, his ride trademark these days. My maximum speed approached 30mph, AD's probably half that. In total we only did 20km in two hours. But none of it was horizontal; we were either going up, or plummeting downwards vaguely in control. Actually at one point I wasn't in control of the bike and nearly went pell mell into some tramp - and when was the last time you saw a real tramp?

Kite | LBBOnline advertising video for Sainsbury's shows you some really rather good images of Colley Hill, Reigate. Our ride today was essentially down the escarpment to the left of the girl, going right down to almost sea level, then back up again.... six times. In two hours using different routes each time. And the girl here? She's from Stourbridge, where I used to go drinking.

For the main we really didn't stray more than 2 miles from Reigate, yet we really enjoyed this little spin. Sure you'd not want to do it all of the time, but it does show what you can do in keeping it local. Some of the descents can cook your brakes, whilst all of the ups cook your head. One descent even has a sign on it saying "Dangerous Hill" which is all one wants really. I was on my trusty PACE RC303 and AD his susser. Only on his Chalk Path did he show me a clean pair of heels, but the rest of the time any bike will do. [And for the record I had to stop for a Jaguar car that pulled out on me - and hats off to her predictive driving as she anticipated somebody would be following AD.] Just be warned some of the descents are nasty. Not technically challenging in any sense, just steep. The one that drops prallel to the A217 is a tricky bugger though. You're going downhill at 40km/h and the trail just stops at the road. That's a good test of any brakes.

My favoured two descents here abouts are poles apart. The first, down Reigate Hill, is nothing but tame double wide. A few small jumps and a couple of corners, but otherwise just pedal until there are no more gears left, then coast. I like it simply because of the wind noise past my ears and the sheer speed. My second, the A217 one, is down a deep 'V' shaped gulley made of chalk, flint and mud. Get up to speed and you cannot brake without causing an incident. Sure you could drag the brakes, but on this one I prefer the on-off approach. Last night, on my night ride, I went down it at stupid speeds. The little 10cm drop half way down I jumped and landed a bit squew. The front end was fine, but my rear tyre refused to re-gain traction. I was out of control. So today I did exactly the same.... except there was a tramp in the way, scuttling around in the undergrowth. Apologies for not even trying to slow down; it was safer not to. Honest.

AD has been, and will remain, sceptical of chainsets that have less than three rings. I've only got two, and have been toying with dropping the granny entirely. But today I really, really needed it, especially that long drag up Dangerous Hill. Indeed without it I'd have had some long walks. As it was, no climb beat me or AD today so we must be doing something right with this cycling lark. Especially as we tackled the hardest climbs in the area; short but steep. And we did this six times.

We stopped at the cafe on top of Reigate HIll, and I really need to adjust my pricing of coffee. I paid almost £4 for two cups. My coffee was so strong it took the enamel off my teeth and I'll be hyper for two straight weeks. It was that good, and quite frankly the girl serving me had really lovely jiggly breasts. I'd pay £4 just for that view, and I figure the owner of the cafe knows that - as perhaps does the girl serving seeing as how I was literally dribbling down her front. But AD thought the price high. Now I was going to bow to his greater experience in things cheap, but really £4 for a peek - nay, outright stare - at some lovely young boobies is acceptable isn't it?

Oh and Dom Jolley is alive and well, being seen at the Reigate Hill Urban Kitchen every Sunday on a nice looking Boardman full suspension bike. What a gob shite and poor advert for Boardman bikes.

Cheers for the cake AD; it was appreciated.


N.B.: I call it the Cloverleaf ride as it is essentially three or four loops centred on the Urban Kitchen cafe. Some of it is even legal. Actually 90% of it is legal, so there.

*Sat Nav data - take with a pinch of salt that one. I'd happily go with getting on for a minimum 1,200m from the Ordnance Survey map and my own experience, perhaps 1,400m. Even though we climbed the North Downs escarpment from base to top six times, 1,800m seems a lot.