Map reference: 110k, brushing Gatwick, Horsham and Billingshurst
Carbs and caffeine: Chalk Hills Bakery, 75 Bell Street, Reigate, RH2 7AN, chalkhillsbakery.com, Reigate, and Milk Churn, Kiln House, Lynwick Street, Rudgwick, milkchurn.co.uk
My friend Keith has volunteered to pick up the mantle of getting me fit while helping me map my local rides. Bealesy started the job but he is now off running his holidays in Spain and Italy and I’m still struggling to piece together the roads of Surrey, Kent and Sussex. They are beautiful counties and under-appreciated by people haring through on the main roads. Luckily this leaves some beautiful peaceful routes for the cyclists, sharing with runners, riders and walkers… and just the odd white van trying to make time on an unlikely shortcut.
The weather was not quite as billed so were both in our rain tops, and my back got filthy as I still haven’t fitted my mudguards. We had a quick coffee stop at Chalk Hills Bakery. Another time I’d love to try their pastries which looked delicious. The breads are all homemade… one to revisit in the car, I think, so I can stock up.
We pedalled on through indifferent weather but the afore-mentioned pretty roads and vistas. It was just beginning to feel like a long ride when we came to the Milk Churn for our lunch stop. I chose donker bread for my cheese on toast. To the uninitiated (I had to ask, so include me in that set) it is an especially dark wholemeal bread. It was perfect. Not enormous, just the right size as ride food, with the delicious local Charmer cheese oozing over the sides. I will be finding an excuse to go back there soon. There is a brewery and a car showroom on site, so this could easily be a family outing.
By now, with our two stops, we were pushing my time window a little and we had to charge home as quickly as possible. I chewed a few jelly babies (regular reader will know these are my emergency fuel) as we charged down the side of the A24. Keith was taking the brunt of the wind and I tucked in behind as best I could. The kilometres clicked by and the clock ticked faster, but I got home just in time. I had to drive rather than walk to pick up my daughter, but frankly my legs were jelly and I was quite relieved to have the excuse.
Keith peeled off at a garage for fuel – riding fuel to get himself home that is. I’m betting it was a milkshake. See, the funny little things you get to know about a person when you ride with them for a while.
Note to self: Mudguards… come on, make time to fit them