As Saturday rolled around, I found myself cycling through South London towards the infamous Surrey Hills, for the third weekend in a row.
My first jaunt was to take a newbie cyclist friend for a recce of Box Hill in preparation for the Ride100 later in the summer. My second saw me conquering Box Hill again (as well as an awful lot of other hills), as part of the 65 mile leg of the London Cycle Sportive. My third crawl up Box Hill, and this time Leith Hill, was with The Boyfriends Dad, as I embarked upon my first ever cycle where I was in charge of the directions, route and planning….
Oh dear. It turns out I’m not very good at map reading.
I’ve now learnt the importance of properly studying a route before heading out on your bike. A few times I caught myself shouting directions right at the crunch point of a junction… I’m sure we made more than one or two cars very unhappy. Luckily, The Boyfriend’s dad took it all in good humour, and I did manage to get us from Marylebone all the way to Leith Hill and back to Mitchum Junction via Box Hill, a feat of which I am probably more proud of than cycling up Leith Hill twice.
I’d recommend the route we tried out to anyone, whether you’re a brand new cyclist or an old hat. Although cycling through deepest darkest South London can at times be rather hairy, as soon as you break free in Surrey it’s all plain sailing from there. You can see the route we took on Strava here.
The most important piece of advice I can give here, is to make sure that your phone is fully charged before you leave – Google Maps was an absolute lifesaver!
The Hills: Hello, old friends.
We did have a rather amusing moment when I had confidently peddled away, leading our approach to Leith Hill, only for me to realise when we’d got about half a mile down the road that we were cycling up the descent….. However, still in good humour (although with what can only be described as defeated sigh), we made the decision to just do the bloody thing twice. So we did. TWICE.
Here we are at the top (note: at this point The Boyfriend’s Dad had cycled well and truly off into the distance leaving me puffing and panting, swearing and slugging up behind him… I had to gain composure rather quickly before this photo was taken. I am not a fan of hills).
Finally, for the third time in as many weeks, we cycled past the café at the bottom of Box Hill, turned right and began our ascent. But only after a handful of marshmallows, of course. Now, this time I was cycling up Box Hill with over 50 miles in my legs, something which was different from the previous two weeks cycle. It was great practice for the Ride100, however, as on the day Box Hill arrives at mile 60.
Up we went! Well, up The Boyfriend’s Dad went, whilst I slowly spun it out behind him. I felt good this week, perhaps because now I see box Hill as an old friend. Not a friend you’d want to see every week mind, but a friend you don’t mind going for a pint with every so often. And after a quick pit stop at the café, a couple of obligatory selfies, off we went back to London.
I thoroughly enjoyed my third trip to the Surrey Hills, and it’s made me more confident about taking the lead when planning routes. Although, I think I can safely say that I’ll be spending next weekend in bed!