Thursday, 9 November 2017

TAKING PART IN THE PRUDENTIAL RIDE EVENT

An account of the LRA treasurer's experience in the 2017 Ride London cycling event. It could not be printed in the autumn newsletter in its entirety but we thought others would enjoy a step by step narrative of her adventure

TAKING PART IN THE PRUDENTIAL RIDE EVENT 
by Paula Sabine

At the age of 62, and now having a hybrid bike (a cross between a mountain bike and a road bike), I decided I would like the challenge of taking part in a cycle event. Note the word eventand not race’! It was then suggested that I took part in the Prudential London ride the 46 mile route, not the 100 miles as this would be
beyond me, having never cycled more than 18 miles before. The route started at the Olympic Park and ended at the Mall l, but the 46’ers turn back to London after Hampton Court.

In March, I applied then I got cold feet, but thought never mind, I wont get in anyway’, as it is a public ballot. In May I got an email saying Congratulations’, and I thought bother (a stronger word was actually used) Ill have to do it now’.

So the 8 weeks training began – 7am on Sunday mornings is the best time to go out as there is hardly any tra c and I found a lovely route that took me to Stoke DAbernon and over Bookham Common for my 1.5-hour training sessions. Taking the various bridleways became a bit of an adventure, as sometimes I didnt know where I was. I also cycled this route for my 2.5- hour sessions plus going through Bookham to E ngham Junction and then onto the Black Swan pub and up to Downside and back to Leatherhead. On trying to find di erent places to go, I had some interesting experiences a path with kissing gatesto lift my bike over, paths which narrowed and had lots of nettles and a bridleway which started well and then became an assault course. My longest ride was through Esher to Bushey Park where I got a bit lost, but eventually found my way back to Hampton Court. There I crossed the bridge and cycled along the tow path this was lovely multi-coloured and di erent shaped houseboats I hadnt seen before, past Sunbury Lock, and the Guildford Rowing Club was holding a regatta on the river.

As this was a big undertaking for me, I decided to raise money for a charity, and contacted the Princess Alice Hospice as I drive past there on my way to work and my aunt was there about 2 years ago. They kindly gave me a cycle vest (never had one before) to wear with my name and their name on it. At a lasagne eveningI met others who were cycling the 100 route.

At last, the day of the eventarrived. The logistics of getting up to the Olympic Park for the start, when roads were closed o after 5am, was interesting. I decided not to drive to one of the designated car parks, as this meant I would have to cycle 5 miles to the start, and then cycle the 46 miles, which might have been a bit much. Another option, which I plumped for, was to take a specially laid on train from Richmond to Stratford. My husband kindly drove me to Richmond station for the 5.45am train we left at 4.45am, as I thought there would be a queue of cars dropping o (there wasnt) and I had thought the train ride would take 1 hour (it only took 30 mins), so I got there at 6.30am when my start time wasnt until 9.08am. At the stations, I had to carry my bike down some stairs and at Stratford take the bike up an escalator, which was a bit scary.

At Stratford, lots of other people were there early too, so there were people to chat to and to look after your bike while you popped to the port-a-loo. Participants were put into di erent wavesto start, and at 8am I joined others going into the Mwave. We were in the wavefor about an hour before we were finally allowed to start. The wavemoved down very slowly towards the start and at one point, there were a couple of port-a-loos. I thought this would be a good time to use one as I didnt know if there would be any others (there were), and the Scottish lady I was talking to said she would hold my bike for me. After a bit of queuing, I emerged from the looto find that the lady and my bike had completely disappeared. I panicked for a bit as I imagined having to tell all my supporters that I never started the event because I lost my bike, but eventually I found her/it, the wavehaving moved down much more quickly than I had thought it would.

I am not an experienced or fast cyclist (average speed 11 mph), and I was worried that I wouldnt get to Hampton Court (27 miles) in the time allowed, so I didnt stop at all until I got there as I couldnt bear to think I might not be able to complete the route. As it was, I need not have worried as there seemed to be lots of people behind me.

After that, I relaxed a bit. However, as there are lots of cyclists taking part in the event it was a bit like cycling in normal tra c as you had to constantly check you

werent going to move into someone else by mistake. I saw about 5 crashes where this seemed to have happened. Consequently it was di cult to notice the surroundings as you cycled, although I do remember going past Trafalgar Square, the Ritz and the Houses of Parliament (obviously not in that order), and through Kingston market.

There are three hillson the route shown on the event map. One in Richmond Park (not that bad), Coombe Lane (I think) which is horrible, and Wimbledon Hill which is horrendous. After Coombe Lane for some reason I thought I had got up Wimbledon Hill a couple who were also cycling for the Princess Alice Hospice spotted me at one point and slowed down to check if I was ok which was really kind of them I proudly said Id got up Wimbledon Hill only to be told I hadnt got there yet which came as a bit of a shock when Wimbledon Hill did appear, only bloody mindedness and lots of jelly babies for the sugar hit, got me up there without stopping, which I am quite proud of as lots of people got o and walked. After that the route was ok.

The last five miles were really tough as the back of my neck started to hurt I have never eaten so many jelly babies and bits of flapjacks as I did during those last five miles. Eventually the Mall came into sight and I finished! Then I collected my medal (a wonderful bit of bling) and retrieved my bag, which had been transported for me from Stratford to the Mall. It took a while to make my way to the other side of Buckingham Palace to be able to cycle down Buckingham Palace Road to Victoria Station (so many people), and I was worried that I wouldnt be allowed on the train with my bike. But all was ok and I got to Leatherhead even being able to sit down, without being in other peoples way, while holding my bike (I dont think I could have stood at that point for the 45 minute journey).

I am really glad that I took part in the Prudential event, which was very well organized. Also wearing the Princess Alice Hospice cycling vest made a big di erence, as people cheered me on and that really helped me keep going. Did I enjoy it, people ask me? Not sure. It was one of the toughest things I have done, but I enjoyed being able to bomb down the hills knowing that no tra c was going to pull out in front of me (my Garmin said I did 29mph at one point). I am proud that I managed to finish, taking 4.5 hours altogether, and I would again like to thank those who helped me raised over £700 for the Hospice.
Roll on the next challenge

Thursday, 26 October 2017

Agenda for Meeting on 6th November 2017

     7.30PM in Room G6 LETHERHEAD INSTITUTE

AGENDA
        Are there any questions to come under AOB?
1.  Apologies for absence
2.  Minutes of meeting held on 2nd October 2017
3.  Matters arising 
4.  Chairman’s Report (CB) Transform Leatherhead Public Forum on 1 November,Church Street, our Website, Water Works
    5.  Reports from committees
a.  Planning (FS)
b.  Forward Planning (MW)
c.   Environment (CA)
d.  Health (HP)
6.  Marketing – Ashtead & Leatherhead Local & Autumn Newsletter

7.   AOB - Dates for Diaries

    8.  Date of next meeting: Monday 8th January 2018

Arrive by 7.15 if you would like to speak to the Chairman about any issues

Thursday, 28 September 2017

Save Leach Grove Woods

This is an unusual wild area adjacent to Leatherhead hospital, where children can ride bikes along muddy tracks, build jumps and create dens, and dogs can be walked off the lead. Many of you will remember the efforts put in by both Residents and by our energetic former member, Flip Cargill, who secured a Village Green Listing for Leach Grove Woods. Tim Jones, who has lived in Leatherhead all his life took over the fight when after Flip had left area, the owners, NHS Property Services Ltd challenged the designation by Surrey county Council. Sadly, in 2016 a court case decided Surrey had been wrong to designate the area a village green because it was owned by the NHS. 
This has now become a nationally important decision, so, together with a similar case from Lancashire Tim decided to challenge the decision that Town and Village Greens cannot be registered if:
1) they are owned by public bodies performing their statutory functions
2) the recreational use of the land would be incompatible with that purpose.
The Appeal will be heard at the High Court on 4th-5th October to decide if it is legally permitted for a public body to have land they own registered as a village green. 
Tim is asking for support, to bring this important case to the Court of Appeal in the hope of stopping a dangerous precedent being set and, of course, to protect Leach Grove Woods too.
Tim's lawyers are acting on a conditional fee arrangement which means that if they lose the case in the Court of Appeal they will not get paid, and Tim will have incurred expenses and will have to pay up to £10,000 towards the NHS’s costs.
Donations can be made at:

Monday, 28 August 2017

AGENDA for Open Meeting 4th September 2017


LEATHERHEAD RESIDENTS' ASSOCIATION 

        COMMITTEE MEETING TO BE HELD ON MONDAY
4th September 2017 at 7 for 7.30PM in the Abraham Dixon Hall
in the LETHERHEAD INSTITUTE

AGENDA       
Are there any questions to come under AOB?
1.  Apologies for absence
2.  Minutes of meeting held on 7th August 2017
3.  Matters arising
4.  Chairman’s Report (Caroline Brown) - Epsom Hospital, the Royal Oak and the latest Police report.
5.  Reports from committees
6.  Our Speaker:  Councillor Simon Edge, who represents Bookham South, but who is also on the Mole Valley Executive Committee for the Economy and for Transform Leatherhead.

7.  AOB
8.  Date of next meeting: Monday 2nd October 2017


Arrive by 7.15 if you would like to speak to the Chairman
about any issues

Wednesday, 2 August 2017





 OPEN MEETING to be  HELD
on MONDAY 7th August 2017   at 7.30PM
 at the LETHERHEAD INSTITUTE,  Room G6

AGENDA
            Are there any questions to come under AOB?

1.    Apologies for absence

2.    Minutes of meeting held on 3rd July 2017

3.    Matters arising from meeting not covered elsewhere on the Agenda

4.    Chairman’s Report (CB) : Future MV and survey;  Re-cycling centres;  Verge cutting; Swan Centre;  Parking;  Police Reports;  Epsom and St. Helier Hospitals;   Titan Developments

5.    Reports from sub-committees

a.    Environment (CA)
b.    Forward Planning (MW)
c.    Health (HP)
d.    Highways (HC)
e.    Membership
f.     Planning (FS)  
g.    Newsletter

6.    Ashtead & Leatherhead Local – please think about what YOU could write!

7.    AOB

8.    Date of next meeting: Monday 4th September 2017




Arrive by 7.15 if you would like to speak to the Chairman
about any issues

Thursday, 6 July 2017

THREAT TO AXE ALL EVENING DIRECT LONDON BRIDGE TRAINS IN MOLE VALLEY

Govia trains, which includes Southern, have now opened its second and final consultation phase for its proposed timetable for beyond Dec 2018, which will be the first time travellers can enjoy the benefits of the major rail investment, including the seven year project to rebuild London Bridge. 
There are some useful improvements, such as an earlier first Victoria train and a second morning peak to London Bridge. 
Epsom residents should be very pleased as they will see an enhanced and improved service, with new, twice hourly trains direct to London Bridge. Southern note that this “in response to strong stakeholder representation…..We expect these [routes] to be very busy”.
However, it is a different story for commuters in Mole Valley who will see a significant diminution in the evening peak from London Bridge with the axing of almost all direct trains.
Currently, from 1800, there are three direct train services departing from London Bridge for Mole Valley (1803, 1832 and 1929). These trains call at Ashtead, Leatherhead and either Dorking or Guildford.  These trains are very busy, yet they have all been axed.  In future, a re-timed service will go as far as only Epsom. This can’t be a capacity issue at London Bridge so why are they being abolished?
This is clearly a retrograde and divisive step.  Mole Valley residents are having one of their three arterial routes downgraded whilst Epsom residents see theirs improved.  We have all put up with the disruption while the London Bridge project has been underway, now we should all be sharing in the benefits.   
The proposed changes will cause significant inconvenience and extend journey times to many hundreds of Mole Valley commuters. Commuting to London is already a long ordeal, please don’t allow Govia/Southern to make it even harder for us especially as this is being billed as an improvement.
The good news is that is still time for ARA and all of us to make strong and immediate representations to Govia/Southern not to axe the three directs trains in its proposed timetable, but we need to be quick. Their consultation window only opened 26 June and closes 27 July 2017. This consultation is for “fine tuning” so please let Southern know that Mole Valley commuters value and want to save their evening peak trains.   
Comments can be submitted to gtr.timetableconsultation@gtrailway.com
Please do respond or else we will certainly lose the route.
Above is a summary and links to supporting documentation are below.