The landlady of the Compasses Inn, Gomshall, acts as the unofficial supplier of hot food to the village’s pensioners.Even during a midweek lunchtime, the pub is full of over-sixties tucking into steak-and-ale pie or the ploughman’s.
Eventually she found an opening, and as she went past, they spat at her. They come to Surrey as a direct result of the Olympics cycle road race that was held in this area last year.Jean Hoblyn, who owns the Barn café at Newlands Corner, between Gomshall and Guildford, says: “If Wiggins came in here, I’d give him a piece of my mind.It’s all right for him — they closed the roads when the Olympics were on.But these roads are dangerous, with 60mph speed limits and blind corners. They are obnoxious and completely oblivious to any of the traffic on the road. We feel it is Londoners coming down, filling up our roads, with no benefit to us whatsoever.” The issue came to a head this week, as preparations were under way for the Tour of Britain’s arrival in Surrey today, with the professionals, led by Sir Bradley, riding a route similar to the one used at the Olympics.I’m terrified there’s going to be an accident.” For Mrs Hoblyn, Mrs Morley and many other residents, enough is enough. The problem is that everybody now comes and practises on these roads, and their mindset is that they are in an Olympic race — riding four abreast and often over both sides of the road.” At this point, James Nicholls, a customer nursing a pint of Surrey Hills ale, pipes up: “I like cycling. A petition entitled “Stop Surrey Being Turned into a Cycle Track” received 2,000 signatures within days of being launched.
“I didn’t have a problem with the Olympics,” says Mrs Morley. The petition has struck a nerve for a number of reasons.Never have Britain’s roads been so full of cyclists.In total, 6.8 million people cycle once a month, a rise of 1 million in four years, according to the organisation British Cycling — and a disproportionate number have ended up in Surrey.All those extra two-wheelers taking to the road is great news for the health of Britain, and most are undoubtedly polite citizens, keen to get fit.But many residents around the Surrey Hills argue that a few of the “Mamils” (middle-aged men in Lycra) are plain rude — spitting, swearing and gesticulating at any car that dares to overtake.Of equal concern is the infrastructure, which is inadequate for mass-participation cycling.