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  • 20/07/2019 15:00 | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Saturday 20 July 2019

    The predicted storm arrived 12 hours earlier so by the time all the fair weather cyclists had decided the weather still wasn't fair enough, the remaining three of us set out from Marden Sports Club in light rain.  

    Running a stolen route from Big Chris, the ride out to Silcocks Farm Cafe was pleasant and uneventful, and upon arrival we were greeted by the biggest fish finger sandwich in the world!

    The return ride was excellent until after Liverton Hill where Big Chris's route seriously let us down, killing our average by turning into gravel and pot holes with additional hazards created by the previous night's storm.  

    Overall, an excellent day on an excellent route - now the section after Liverton has been tweaked!

    • Distance: 91.5 kms
    • Average: 25.9 kms/hr
    • Punctures: 1

    Glenn Roberts

  • 19/07/2019 21:08 | Anonymous member

    4 of us gathered at the Marden Sports club, marking a little territory in one of the car park spaces.

    Then, amidst a sizeable gathering of other riders, off we set - destination Whitstable.

    Passing through Staplehurst we shared some road with Amici who were off to Seasalter, although our routes differed soon after.

    We were then "treated" to a spattering of gravel sections that was a wee bit sketchy but thankfully we all got through unscathed.

    One of the significant climbs of the day took us up towards Charing before dropping down towards Faversham. Ah, Faversham! As we passed through traffic was already building due to other road closures which featured more significantly on the return leg.

    The flats from Faversham to Whitstable saw the pace pick up a little leading us to the Umbrella Cafe. Coffee, cold drinks and good food later off we set to venture home.

    Faversham this time was truly suffering with traffic and so we weaved our way through the jams before spending what seemed to be a long, deceptively gentle but drawn out climb back up towards Lenham.

    Once over the M20, the taps were gradually opened and we all picked up the pace as the Sports Club beckoned.

    A great steady ride was finished off with a welcome drink and wind-down at the Sports Club.

    4 riders

    0 punctures

    65 miles

    16.0mph average

  • 18/07/2019 11:05 | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    VELO FORTE – 2019 GROUP RIDE STATISTICS 5/1/19 – 13/7/19

    Number of Group Rides

    Average Riders/Ride

    Total miles

    Average Miles/Ride

    Total Ascent

    Average Ascent/Ride

    Average Speed/Ride








  • 07/07/2019 17:29 | Anonymous member

    There were just Chris, Glenn & myself riding from Velo Forte this week, so we decided to join the Inters + ride down to Lympne.

    In hot & humid conditions it was a steady pace down to the Marsh, with riders maybe conscious of Lympne Hill, the only climb of the day, which came just before the Café stop. A short break at the Lympne Castle Bistro followed before the pace rapidly increased for the flat ride back to Marden.

    At the end of the ride we were able to enjoy a drink & to socialise with some of the other groups in our new ‘Home’ at the Marden Hockey Club.

    A great ride, fast pace & a good alternative group for when Velo Forte are short on numbers.

    63 miles, 1700ft of elevation & average speed of 18.1mph.


  • 29/06/2019 12:56 | Anonymous member

    You heard it here first...

    A case of professional espionage is probably even now being investigated by New Scotland Yard.  The series of events leading to this improbable outcome ended in the deafening sound of a gun shot in the leafy, and usually quiet, lanes surrounding the picturesque village of Hadlow.  You know, the one with the world famous Grade 1* listed folly, the tallest of its kind in the United Kingdom, which was constructed in the mid 19th Century and once formed part of a grand castle in the Romantic Gothic style.

    All appeared well as the five confrere met in the early morning sunlight  at the back of an ale house in East Malling.  However muterings were already afoot:

    • Would Jon's new Rose (alledged to be arriving next week) be able to compete with the lightness, agility and aerodynamic vigour of Glenn's Canyon SL (latterly referred to as 'Barnie') ?
    • Could Chris (who's Time Trialling Career was faultering) be able to lay down enough power to compete with the rejuvenated Glenn?
    • Does Ciaran really need a new bike or had Glenn somehow pushed the idea into his sub conscience like a drug dealer peddling cocaine?
    • Why was Jimmy riding his old Ribble frame?  Was he too embarressed to bring his new(ish) bike on the same ride as the magnificent Barnie?

    Barnie was scrutineered by four pairs of adoring eyes and mention was made of a small bump on its rear tyre, however someone commented that 'this is a new innovation and that it makes it faster'.  Neither I or anyone else present can remember who made this fateful comment.

    The ride began with Glenn charging straight to the front and forcing the pace.  Strangley he seemed hardly to be trying but, this was clearly just a front.  Curses were uttered from the back of the group, though they were muted by rabid breathing and the strength of the wind, so fast was the pace that Glenn was setting.  We charged into Yalding and on to Paddock Wood.  Glenn took the opportunity to show Chris 'how a time trial should be ridden' as he accelerated onto the Q10/29 and quite literally blew all comers from his wheel, so great was the power being put through Barnie.  At this point Jimmy accelerated madly to catch Glenn.  Was this competitive spirit or had he wanted to have a good view of an incident that he knew was about to happen?

    Turning into East Peckham Glenn began to wheeze and groan.  Had the effort on the Q10/29 caused a stroke?  No, Barnie was unwell.  With tears (or possibly sweat) in his eyes Glenn pulled over, gushing sweet nothings to Barnie that it would be alright.  Barnie's rear tyre had a bulge and was losing pressure!

    Working rapidly and with high precision Glenn managed to remove Barnie's rear tyre (in about 15 minutes).  Jon and I had been waiting with baited breath to assertain the cause of the problem but got bored and were talking idly.  Jimmy had been trying to balance on Glenn's back but also got bored.  Only Ciaran was paying attention, very dynamic attention.  Eventually Glenn released the inner tube.  Ciaran snatched it and declared 'the rubber's perished, it's perished I tell you'. 

    Glenn was astounded that his Barnie should be decaying so rapidly.  He rubbed at the tube and a strange circular object, perhaps 4mm in thickness and the size of your little finger nail came off.  It was a mass of thin worm-like shapes that had been trapped between the tyre and the inner tube.  The excessive heat of the day and the vast quantity of watts that had so recently been blasted through the tyre had caused its pressure to rise.  Glenn normally rides at 110 PSI but the tyre had clearly been subjected to forces of 180 PSI, causing the object to rupture the inner tube and deform the tyre.  Strangely the object disappeared and Ciaran hurried to use his large German Frau impression skills to roll the tyre on in less than 30 seconds.  Ciarans thumbs are impressively powerful.  A trait that he shared with the inforcers of the East German Police.

    We set off again desperate to regain lost time as the temperature was rising.  Glenn once again headed to the front and powered towards Hadlow.  The group began to break apart under the constant pressure and we pleaded for a small breather, with the major climb of the day just ahead.  This seemed to appease him and he relented somewhat, then suddenly the crack of a rifle shot was heard.  Glenn swerved across the road as his rear tyre deflated in milliseconds.  To protect Barnie from damage he grabbed the front brake, forcing the bike into a stoppie, and hopped the bike down the road.  After about 200 feet he had slowed enough to unclip his feet from the peddles and leap over the handlebars, whilst catching Barnie in his left hand.  Neither I or any member of the group have ever seen anything like what I just descibed.  Amazing.

    Glenn decided that it would be too dangerous to proceed and requested a car home.  The person receiving the phone call responded with military like efficiency.

    Once our Leader had departed we became a group without purpose.  Jon rode hard for a while but then remembered that he had to be somewhere and broke away.  Jimmy tried to take up the mantel but struggled with the heat and with Chris who had no idea of which way to go. 

    After our very plesant stop at Otford, back gate left open for us, reserved table, jugs of water with lemon and mint for our bottles, good service, Ciaran took the lead.  He had been drinking Coke and decided to force the pace, even though the temperature was in excess of 31 degrees.  Sand-bagging was expressly mentioned and last week's infamous sprint.

    None of us made it back to our start point.  Glenn's initial pace had been savage,  the temperature was extreme.  Our Leader had been assassinated.

    Chris rode 47.8 miles and climbed 2,457 feet.

  • 21/06/2019 17:05 | Anonymous member

    Wanted, for hire or sale a child's hybrid or mountain bike suitable for our 11 year old grandson. He is coming with us to the New Forrest, in August, and we plan to ride the Forrest trails. If so please contact Ralph Robinson on 07845 169647.

  • 15/06/2019 19:04 | Anonymous member

    A small and perfectly formed trio of riders set out from Marden amidst some lovely conditions.

    Highlights of the ride included a lovely wooded section, Horseshoes Lane near Bixley, and a superb stretch of tarmac just south of Udimore.

    The Cafe stop was at the Winchelsea Beach Cafe which was good value, quick service and definitely had a breakfast that Jimmy would be happy with! We were even joined for food by a lovely feathered guest!

    Ian suggested a minor tweak to the route heading away from the cafe to take advantage of a segment of the NCR that hugs the coast through the Rye Harbour Nature Reserve, and heads inland along the banks of the Rother back towards Rye. A great choice and was a treat to sample a bit of sea air.

    Big turns were taken sitting on the front, I think Ian and I particular enjoyed tucking in when it was Chris' turn!

    All in all, a great day out - favourable conditions, good company and chat along the way.

    3 riders
    16.7mph average
    0 punctures


  • 14/06/2019 18:48 | Anonymous member
    1. Our club has a number of very dedicated volunteers who turn  out every Wednesday evening, during the summer, to organise and marshal our club tens.
    2. The more riders that ride a Ten, the better the event.
    3. An Evening Ten is very social.  You meet riders from different groups.
    4. The marshals cheer you on!
    5. If you attend regularly, you will see your times improve; remarkably satisfying.
    6. You can learn better technique.
    7. You can ride as hard as you want.  You're racing against yourself.
    8. You can compare your time against others (If you want some friendly rivalry).

    What would you normally be doing on  a Wednesday evening?

    Why not give it a go?

  • 14/06/2019 18:01 | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Well done to Jo Hovenden and Chris Kennard, two stalwarts of Velo Forte, who along with just four other rider braved the likelihood of rain to ride in Wednesday evening's TT at East Peckam.

    Despite what appeared to be less than favourable weather conditions and spells of heavy traffic both riders managed good times.

    You never know, now you've set the standard, more Velo Forte riders might be going with you in future!

  • 10/06/2019 09:45 | Anonymous member

    Five of us set out from Marden just after 9am; myself (Jimmy), Jon Craig, Jo Hovenden, Chris Kennard and Ciaran Johnson.  The weather had been wet for the last couple of days so most of us brought wet weather gear just in case – I chose to ride my winter bike.

    We headed out of the Low Weald into a blustery headwind towards the first climb of the day, Castle Hill.  Then a rollercoaster ride after Matfield on some lovely new tarmac until we hit our second climb, Half Moon Lane, where we encountered Southborough and District Wheelers youth wing practising their cycling skills.  A fast run down the cycle path next to the A21 before another climb, Vauxhall Lane up to the A26.  We skirted Bidborough and on through Penshurst.  Jo had the first and only puncture of the day at the top of Smarts Hill.  Chris helped by pumping a spare inner tube up to beyond the circumference of a wheel.  It looked like a giant sausage – very amusing – but I think you had to be there to appreciate exactly how amusing it was!

    We descended into Chiddingstone at around the half way mark and I suggested we stop at the Tulip Café (we had been due to stop at Hilden Park Golf Centre).  Everyone acquiesced so we sat outside.  It wasn’t long before a few spots of rain hurried us inside. 

    After the food stop we set out again – the weather over the North Downs looked ominous and some of us donned our rain jackets.  As we approached the foot of Carters Hill (aka One Tree Hill) the heavens opened and there was a giant crash of thunder!  We spread out and ascended in sheets of rain.  The hill was awash with streams of water and winter detritus. The cars that passed us in the gloom must have cursed us and questioned our sanity in equal measure.  I was as close to getting off and walking as I have been in a long time.

    We reassembled at the top and set off again, a very bedraggled bunch.  The rain eased off but had left massive road-wide puddles on the North Downs which we pedalled through nervously.  Once we hit Plaxtol Jon peeled off home and we were now bathed in brilliant warming sunshine.  The roads looked like they were literally steaming – very photogenic.  But we didn’t take any pictures because we were motoring now, around the back of Hadlow, East Peckham and through Yalding.  Along Lughorse Lane which has been very recently tarmacked and down East Street.  Chris went into time trial mode at the Chainhurst bump and pulled away.  When Jo realised I wasn’t going to chase (because I couldn’t) it was too late.  She valiantly charged after him but Chris rolled into Marden first, closely followed by Jo, then me and then Ciaran.

    Jo’s stats were 54.09 miles, 3,032 feet at an average of 15.9 mph.

    A big thank you to Chris who let me follow his wheel all the way back to the foot of Barn Hill.

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