Gorillas in the mist mountain bike wilderness ride in Surrey. Warning! Bike Beans cafe content.

God created man. Man created Wednesday. Bikes were born and the world was good.

And so it came to pass that on 26th November of this year 2014 two intrepid explorers set off into the ancient woods of Surrey.

Muddy and PP expected coffee and muffins on Ranmore Common, but got tea and beans at Ashtead. We expected rain and mud, and, well, we got rain and mud.

Where did we go and what did we see I hear you ask! Well I was in a mood due to our cat being missing for a week so fancied getting rid of some aggression. Hence my first hour was spent thrashing away in the mud, with poor PP behind possibly wondering what's up. Got to Dorking pretty fast and set off up to Ranmore. There's a mobile cafe atop that I wanted to see and try, trading from an old Citroen H van. At Westhumble, though, I mentioned to PP that Pilgrim Cycle's would have their fire on. End of discussion really. Climb up Ranmore for the next twenty minutes or sit by a fire?

As it turned out the fire didn't seem to be putting out any heat, so sitting inside their cafe we got cold. Possibly colder than if we'd stood outside with big thick jackets on. His mom makes a fantastic cake though, must say.

Still had that climb to do though. Luckily the climb warmed us up quick enough and we were soon at the saw mill with a happy bunch of walkers who were mincing through the mud. Tried to slip past a horse by going the long way around Big House. Didn't win. Popped out on to the trail just behind horse. Horse rider smiled at my failed ruse and we had a happy laugh.

That side of Ranmore, Druid's Grove, is an odd place. Not sure, read somewhere that the Yew trees there are 2,000 years old. For our ride it was very atmospheric, all mist, mud and green moss. Coming down the hill was interesting. Mud + Corners = Tree Interface. All I could hear from PP on the way down were these cries that his front wheel kept tucking in. Sod him! thought I as I frantically tried to brake, steer and survive. It was great. Real fun.

By now I'd calmed down about cat. Cat wants to leave home, well what can you do? So I'd stopped speeding everywhere. Pity as PP takes a bit to get into his stride. By the time I'd calmed down, PP had filled his tanks and was off. For the remainder of the ride I was hanging on to his shirt tails. From Ranmore to Ashtead the thought of beans must have spurned him on. We did stop at Cycleworks to dribble over the Orange bikes and ponder where all the 26" wheels went in the world. All either 650b or a strange size called 27.5", whatever that is.

Bike Beans is clearly PP's second home. He settled in for the duration and we had seconds. The owner and customers started to bring small children in for him to bless. PP made large donations to the needy, and spoke words of wisdom to the silent and awed crowd. Candles were lit in his honour by the village. Leaving Ashtead I was struck by the small roadside images of PP with little blessings underneath. Began to wonder exactly how often he comes to Bike Beans Cafe.

Managed to winkle him out for the return leg via Epsom. By now my belly was full of beans, cake, banana, chocolate, biscuits and a pint of coffee. I normally run until I'm woolly headed, so a full belly was unexpected. The climb out of Epsom was hard. Overheated substantially and had to strip down to a t-shirt for the remainder of the ride. 50km later we were home, covered in mud, tired and happy. Two 50 year old men doing 50km in the mud and not being utterly exhausted by the end? We must be doing something right.

Cat? Nope, still gone. Normal situation at home. She'd been spotted a mile away from home. Here I am, 50km muddy ride, yet still managed to walk another 5km calling out her name. Sodding cat. She's not just wandered off to find a new home. Pretty secure with us really. Nope what we think she's done, mainly as she did it every day, was to get into a car for a play. She could be anywhere. Solly moo.