Trying new trails - Route 21 from Redhill to Oxted.

Quite often ride out with AD, and due to his time constraints we do 2 hour rides to Boxhill and back. Today I was solo, so why not try a different spin? As a family we were in Oxted yesterday and I'd mentioned that it used to be a destination of mine, but as I'd not ridden that way for ages she looked a bit surprised that it was even on the ride agenda. So today why not give it a go?

I can tell you why. It's shite. All is fine to Caterham. But from then on it really falls off a cliff to rat shit, literally. The ride takes you through such lovely areas:
  • Parallel to the M25.
  • Fly tipping, stinky hell.
  • Hideous overgrowth.
  • Odd, half used industrial units.
The route also goes up and down the main ridge, so takes ages to get anywhere, which is nowhere. The only views when there are any are of the M25. I can think of better. And overall you're just in a crappy place, cycling past little semi-derelict grubby cottages that still cost £300,000. I tried the North Downs Way for the return leg, and it had the great failing of being dull. Last week I mentioned my wonder why the Italian tour companies go via Redhill. Route 21 would be a more obvious choice, but now I understand. They miss that bit as it obviously offends the Italian sensibilities, as indeed it would those of any normal person. Wonder if things pick up past Oxted or in the Hanging woods?

Caterham to Oxted is just a pointless ride really. Choice between riding through muddy fly tipped lanes and industrial units, with no real destination, or a happy little spin to Boxhill and some cake? Really I ought to take AD on this shitty ride one day, and then perhaps he'll stop whining on and on about wanting to go over to Leith Hill for some sandy based gnar. Nowt wrong with box Hill or Ranmore Common.

On a positive note I actually enjoyed my three hours ride just as a ride. It wasn't fast as the trail doesn't allow fast, too slippery, too muddy for that. So I just sat there, spinning away in the mud quite happily - way more happy than the area should have allowed for. At the end of the day I just like riding my bike. What more do you want? And sometimes although the route may be a bit crap, it's nice trying out new things, a more simple ride than the mad dash that we usually get up to. Although it was still three hours solid riding, so a good morning out. One also suspects that not many mountain bikers venture out into these parts, certainly not the density that attack Leith Hill. Why do I say that? Well because the people I did meet were all friendly. They were not wary of me, or outright hostile - the passive aggressive style of walker over The Reigate Hill to Box Hill bit of the North Downs Way, where they pretend not to hear you and hold position on the trail, even though you're right on top of them. Being treated as an human was quite nice I must say*. Perhaps I must learn to find a way past the crappy industrial area, or just blank it out? This is after all the start of potentially a big ride out to Hastings, so I may well have to just suck it up if the longer ride is on the cards.

*And yes, this is a two way street - us mountain bikers can be right pricks at the best of times.