Regular Monthly Intermediate Rideout 10th September

After five years unridden in my garage, I decided it was time to dust off my Husaberg FE 550. The Berg had languished in my garage after the birth of my two lovely daughters some five and a half years earlier. I have been a member of the TRF on and off for a few years but had been put off remaining a member because of all the infighting at director level and the constant emails slagging people off! But recently the emails have just been about ride-outs and Martin Welch’s email caught my eye: “Intermediate Surrey ride out”. I decided to re-join and try and do a few events.

Sunday morning of the ride came around and I left my village near Leighton Buzzard at 7.15am and had a good journey on the M25. Just before my destination at Ryka’s Café near Box Hill, I found myself behind a very clean Transit van that seemed to be going my way; this was confirmed when we both pulled in to the car park together. The driver turned out to be Alun Watkins, he had just purchased the van the day before, and when he opened the side door, inside was a brand new Beta X Trainer two stroke, yummy! The rest of the group arrived bit by bit…

  • Ride Leader Martin Welch riding a Beta X Trainer
  • Alun Watkins also riding a Beta X Trainer.
  • Stuart Bryden riding a KTM 300 EXC
  • Charles Lovell riding a KTM 300 EXC.
  • Martin Smith riding a KTM 350 EXC.
  • Ilse Lambert riding a Honda CRF 230 F.
  • Tom Siddall riding a Husaberg FE 550.

After tea and cakes we set off, Martin up front and Alun bringing up the rear. The route was a 53-mile loop west of Dorking. We started out towards Leatherhead but turned west before reaching the town. The first lane in Felcham Downs was accessible straight off the main road. It was a twisty gravel track, and a little further on it started to climb and the surface became washed out leaving large gravel and stone. This was a great lane but we had to proceed very carefully due to the large number of dog walkers, horse riders and ramblers. By the time we had reached the village of Gomshall, the ride had started for real, we had already done more miles off road than on tarmac! The lanes were incredibly diverse. The surfaces changed between gravel, rock, sand, chalk, tree roots, mud and forest floor mulch. The first rest stop was in a tiny village (possibly called Coldharbour Common). I got my breath back after a very slippery descent on a chalk lane; I hate chalk, it just makes me tense up waiting for the inevitable wipe-out. We then started to climb again into a more wooded trail. We travelled through the villages of Walliswood, Ewehurst and Winterfold before making our way up a newly graded lane to the visitor centre at Newlands Corner. Here we stopped for our fill of burgers, sandwiches, tea, and the loo! After the grub stop we did a little bit of roadwork and then entered the lanes in the Effingham Forest area. These included a great ascent up a chalk lane twisting and turning and some fabulous sandy trails through the woods. I love the wooded lanes, especially when it’s sandy and you have great grip but you can slide the bike just on the throttle! Great fun. After Effingham Forest we returned back through Fetcham Downs, retracing our steps on the first lanes of the day and still coming across the odd horse and dog walker. After the last lane it was a short road ride back to Ryka’s Café. A great day was had by all, no mishaps, and a nice pace set by Martin on some really varied and fun lanes, most of them too narrow for 4x4s, so a lack of deep ruts! I’m really glad I decided to come along and meet everyone, they were very welcoming and friendly, and many thanks to Martin for organising the day and leading us.

Lunch at Newland’s Corner: Tom, Stuart & Alun

Lunch at Newland’s Corner: Tom, Stuart & Alun

At Newland’s Corner - clockwise from left: Alun, IIse, Martin Smith, Stuart, Charles & Martin Welch

At Newland’s Corner - clockwise from left: Alun, IIse, Martin Smith, Stuart, Charles & Martin Welch

Tom Siddall