Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Recession Obsession

It was a balmy summers evening with maximum daylight hours given that the longest day was just a few days away. Billybob needed an after work escape not to mention exercise and at last minute made the call for a late start TCA route from his. Jon answered the call with John and Al being either out of the country or away, so once again Billybob had to try and keep up with the big man.

After picking up the nippers from nursery, getting them ready for bed before handing over to Stef and hastily assembling apparel and bike lights, the boys managed to depart by 7.30pm normally far too late but given the long clear evenings of late still adequate for a spot of off road action. The route followed the road to Blackdown via Tennyson Lane and then the steep downhill past Tennyson’s Aldworth House onto Jays lane. This northern downhill section was especially dry and a mighty fine test for Billybob’s new Rock Shock Recon forks and boy what a difference a ‘rebound damper’ made.

The route followed a dog leg north through the usually waterlogged Anstead Brook before crossing the Petworth Road then onto the Killingfields otherwise known as Killinghurst Lane, this time the intrepid duo stuck to the country lanes rather than fight the dense thicket and poor unmade footpath through Hollis Hanger. The road picked up the Furzefield Road and then joined the historic TCA route otherwise known as the Chiddingfold bonfire route via Mill Lane which leads into Chiddingfold and the TCA favourite albeit super posh and carpeted The Crown.

Shoes Surrendered at the Door
of the Chiddingfold Crown

The boys sat down to the last few chimes of the local bell ringers while discussing how recession proof some people are, noting the plethora of Mercedes and new 09 plate Audis in the car park not to mention the various states of dress sitting down to a five figure evening meal. The boys content with their common man pints of Thirsty Ferret (albeit £3.25 each), soaked up the ambience (free) and discussed the merits of pushing onto Hambledon (fee) and then taking the train home (not free, in fact very expensive for a 4 minute journey).

A Toast to Absent Friends,
The White Horse

True to form the lads ditched the route that necessitated a train home in order to make dinner that was not cremated and so Billybob quickly fashioned a simpler, faster and more importantly cheaper route back to Haslemere via the Frillingshurst Copse, basically retracing the historic Chiddingfold walker route of olde and then picking up the road through Grayswood avoiding the intimidating relentless hill climb of Three Gates Lane (Billybobs choice as he was sure Jon could tackle this without shortness of breath).

The final return leg into Halslemere, went off road once again through Beanfield Copse, this time on a footpath, a route not usually chosen but given the lateness of the evening it was decided there would be few if any walkers on this wooded trail, fortunately the lads were proven correct. This is a lovely wooden trail which avoids the Petworth road eastern run marred only by the several styles that the boys had to invent various lift and drop techniques to overcome, some more successful than others.

The duo opted once again for another posh pub The White Horse rather than the ‘Spoons’ a decision based largely on likely ‘ambience and views’ rather than the quality of their beer. However Billybob was very pleased to see that Doombar was on tap and all agreed this was a splendid way to finish the evenings ride. A quick slog up Shepherds Hill saw Jon really get into his stride and leave Billybob once again for dust. A return by 10.30 saw the boys sit down to a Mrs B.B spag bol and half a Waitrose custard slice and the beginnings of the film Black Book: Carice van Houten stars in Paul Verhoeven's war-set thriller as a member of the Dutch resistance prepared to sleep with an SS officer to uncover secrets.

(Posted by: Billy-Bob)

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