Introducing the Surrey Hills to new riders

Last Sunday I led a “slow paced” ride in the Surrey Hills, specifically aimed at those who perhaps only ride with the club during the week and never join us on our away days.  This was also an opportunity for those who had gone into hibernation over Christmas to emerge from the sofa and get back on the bike. Surrey Hills 2

The Surrey Hills are one of my favourite places to ride and subsequently I’m up there with others from the club most weekends. If it wasn’t for the local trail fairies, the Surrey Hills would just be a network of fire roads in some pretty stunning countryside. Fortunately, since the early days of mountain biking the locals have been gradually building up a forever-expanding and forever-evolving web of trails in the woodland and heathland between the fire roads.

These trail fairies really know what they are doing. Some of their trails make professionally constructed trail centre trails look amateur.  Unlike a trail centre, where you’re tied into riding a fixed loop, in the Surrey Hills you are free to mix and match your own succession of trails.  This does however mean you really need to know where you’re going to make the most of it.

So to give those who have never been to the Surrey Hills a chance to be shown around, without fear of holding us regulars up, I arranged this all-inclusive ride where the pace would be restrained. We had a turnout of 19 riders and a dog, impressive! Surrey Hills 3

I’d been up the day before to assess the conditions on the trails I had short-listed to ride. I picked out a loop which avoided the worst of the winter slop. I was also able to scout out some super-secret dry trails. For a few minutes we could all sample a piece of singletrack paradise. A sandy pine forest without a hint of moisture in the ground. We all grinned as we threaded together a fast succession of dry twists and turns between the pine trees, loose sand was thrown into the air on every turn.  Bliss!Surrey Hills 1

We could have happily ridden this trail over and over again. But that wouldn’t be much of a tour of the Hills. So we had to move on. Along with some of the lesser known trails we also visited the famous ones. This included gems as Secret Santa, Barry Knows Best, Super Nova and the T trails.
It was clear to see people were enjoying themselves and hopefully this trip gave a glimpse of the great riding we have so close to home. I suspect there is going to be a lot of interest in future trips to the Surrey Hills.
Members of the club regularly post up on the forum when they are going. These are always open invitations to anyone who would like to join in. Perhaps inquire about distance, pace and ride time though.
Anyone who has ridden the Surrey Hills will now understand what I mean by Surrey Hills syndrome. A 20 mile ride in the Surrey Hills will feel like 50 miles and It’ll feel like you’ve climbed something resembling a mountain but really you won’t have.
Surrey Hills 4If you didn’t come, the photos show you some of what you’re missing out on….
Steve
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