Ride by Brian and Helen

Ride and report by Brian and Helen

They would chose today to dig up the crossroads. The crossroads used by people coming from the south of Guildford to get to the start. Unless, of course, you're a local and know the town's back roads. Thus one lost and frustrated car-bound crew towing trailer completed the last two miles to the start behind the leader's bike.

We're off then, 5 tandems and a solo. Over the North Downs to the Tillingbourne valley and coffee at Abinger Hammer. The sign in the tea-room window says, "Closed"; the welcoming smile of the proprietor says, "Have another toasted tea cake. Being 1st August, the spots of rain on the cafe window disappear by the time we set off up Holmbury Hill, from whence it is essentially 10 miles downhill to level to lunch at Ellen's Green.

A zig here and a zag there and before you know it we are up and over the Downs again and back in Guildford. Every year the town tries hard with its floral decorations (annuals!). Nowhere is more gaudy than the castle grounds whose floral theme commemorates the 70th anniversary of the Battle of Britain. Adjacent is the clink of the bowls green, but we are drawn involuntarily by the pied pipers of Guildford to the bandstand beyond housing a string quartet. Mixing fairy stories, we examine the statue of Alice Through The Looking Glass - sculpted pushing through a wall of glass rather than the more common impediment to today's Alices - the glass ceiling. From the castle keep we admire the architectural blots of Debenhams, House of Frazer and the Cathedral.

Five minutes more and we're back at the leaders' house for hot, home-baked apple and blackberry tart with ice cream, looking back on a day of exercise (39 miles), sights, sites and sounds and lots of eating.

Abinger Hammer tearooms - Photo by Dave

The Wheatsheaf, Ellens Green - Photo by Dave

Woodhill, near Shamley Green - Photo by Dave

Level Crossing - Photo by Dave

Guildford Castle - Photo by Dave

Guildford Castle - Photo by Dave

Alice through the Looking Glass - Photo by Dave

The bandstand - Photo by Dave

100801GuildfordRoute - The route as ridden. To download the gpx file click on the link and choose Save Target As..

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