With 17 wanting a final Club ride before Christmas, it had to separated into 3 bubbles setting off at different places. Mike Lambourne ,who traditionally hosts the pre festive ride set off in his full Santa costume with plenty of goodies from Marden with his 5 little elves.He just about out did Richard Barsley for the best beard.Their ride took them to Tonbridge for a takeaway from Greggs and a sit by the river. The only downside was the presence of the puncture devil who delivered 4 punctures.An overall distance of 39 flat miles,at 13 mph average.
Brigitte ,on her first lead, took her group of 6 from Ditton Community Centre,which was being also used as a COVID innoculation Station. With the puncture devil being elsewhere, they didn’t suffer any punctures or mechanicals ,but had a far more hilly ride of 2050 ft ascents, and had their takeaway in the dry at Detling Community Centre, They managed a mucky ride of 34 miles..
Richard led the third bubble of 5 from the new starting point of Larkfield village hall,on an uneventful ride to the takeaway at Camer Park,near Meopham. Again,the bikes were quickly very dirty after a period of rain,but thankfully no incidents or problems. The main highlight was passing Santa’s sleigh,being drawn by two magnificent black horses in full plumage,along the A 227 at Culverstone.and seeing his helpers distributing presents..It would have made a great photo. The ride was only 29 miles,and about 1500 ft climbs. and for all the groups arriving back to shortly find out that we had gone into a tier 4 lockdown,and the suspension of club rides again.Not a fitting end to a very challenging cycling year.
Two riders Mike and Ray formed a bubble to ride from Harrietsham Church to Headcorn. The fields in Harrietsham were covered in snow from the snowstorm the day before, it was thawing nicely and the roads were okay to cycle. Near Staplehurst a large area was flooded, luckily only one section of road was totally covered with flood water, we did however manage to cycled through it. All the shops were open at Headcorn following the lockdown and most of the cafes were selling take a-way snacks, we were spoilt for choice. Finding the shortest queue we purchased our hot drinks. The route back was via Egerton Village where two older ladies were having a picnic with basket, flask and lunch in the middle of the green. Being well wrapped up, they were a reflection of the time, no mixing indoors for friends from different households.
Stats: 30 plus miles at a good pace to be enjoyed by another bubble at a future date!
Two different starting places and times for the two bubbles of 4 and 5 ,from East Malling. Richard led his 4,which included Richard Barsley ,who started his cycling day from Shoreham. However with heavy rain forecast,it was a nearer stop at Borough Green,and back through a deluge of rain. Julie led the other group of 5 intending a ride to Rochester,but again with the heavy rain,cut it short with their break at Aylesford,and a swift return to the start..
Kevyn took the lead with a bubble group of 6, on a dry morning from Aylesford.She did an outward route of 21 miles ,going up a few lumps,including Cobhambury Road,before the descent to Lower Higham and the stop at Nell’s cafe,Gravesend. From there ,the return came back to Cuxton,then across the M2 bridge footway back to Aylesford. A distance of 37 miles ,at about 12.5 mph and 2300 ft ascents.
After very heavy overnight rain,10 riders still turned up at Paddock Wood. Tony Munn and Neal Welch split the group with 5 each,and set off for a nice flat ride in opposite directions to Headcorn aerodrome. Tony took his group through Marden, Staplehurst to the stop,and Neal went out on a slightly different route,via Marden Thorn and Frittenden.. Everyone had to sit outside on different tables,but fortunately it was drying out nicely. The returns were similar,without incidents with both groups getting back to Paddock Wood about the same time.A distance of 37 miles at around 14 mph average.
A comfortable group of 4 joined Gary from Snodland,on a very pleasant morning .An early mechanical when Gary’s mudguard split in half,then it was on to Rochester and out to Upnor where a dog ran out from a field across the road in front of a couple of riders.Fortunately it seemed to know where it was going and disappeared through a hedge undaunted. Onwards again to Cooling where Gary made an impromptu stop in the churchyard,and showed everyone the graves of about 13 infants dating during 1770s ,believed of the same family. He then carried on to the break at Mockbeggar Farm shop near Cliffs Woods,a new group stop,and worth future visits,even having to sit outside. It was then an uneventful return through Rochester and Wouldham. A distance of 30 miles at 12.5 mph and about 1500 ft ascents.
Eight riders set off from Lenham in two groups of four on a sunny and relatively calm day. Very good progress was made travelling via Ulcombe and Hawkenbury before arriving for an early lunch at the Headcorn Aerodrome cafe.
On the return journey the groups encountered the main hill of the ride at Egerton and then travelled via Stonebridge Green and Sandway before arriving back at the start point in Lenham. Thankfully the ride was incident free and with many of the roads having little traffic it resulted in a very enjoyable ride.
Distance 29 miles, average speed 13 mph and elevation 1159ft.
A large turnout for the D groups at Old London Road despite 'could it be winter already' temperatures found 6 selecting to take Neal's ride to Lullingstone. Setting off in 2 distinct bubbles for a downhill to Borough Green before the mucky climbs up to Mill Lane. A chain off, rider off incident led to our leader having to abandon the ride when the dropout did its job in protecting the fame and leaving him gearless. With John B taking up the white charger roll it was the 'Secret Seven' down to the 'Famous Five' for the ride to continue with Russell leading. Neal's promised hilly first half was accurate but enjoyable through some new lanes and the usual routing challenge of crossing the A25 at Seal. A nice run through Noah's Ark (I bet they feel smug when the rain is torrential), Otford and Shoreham for our stop at Lullingstone Country Park. A limited menu still found us refreshed for our run back through Shoreham to join the Pilgrims Way back to Wrotham. A great route, thanks Neal, sorry you missed it. 25 miles, 1900 feet of ascent at an average of 11.5 mph.
Route on Strava
Due to Covid-19 restrictions the ride was split into two separate groups of four riders each. Two new cyclists, John and Neil, were welcomed to the ride on what was predicted to be a very hot day. Good progress was made to the cafe at Headcorn Aerodrome cycling down many quiet and pleasant country lanes. The groups found some shade to enjoy at the coffee stop and just before leaving were entertained by two Spitfires taking off, all part of the plan of course!
All was going well until about ten miles from the finish when the Group leader (John) succumbed to the heat whilst climbing the hill just after Grafty Green. After ten minutes rest John once again led the group but just before reaching Mote Park decided to stop to purchase well earned drinks and lollies, from a local mini-market.
Distance 31.5 miles, average speed 12.4 mph and elevation 1193ft.
A jointly led very mini D ride comprising only 2 riders – Lisa and Sarah BV.
We arranged to have a What’s App call at 12.30pm. SBV set off from Marden to Yalding (combining exercise with a shop = compliant). Destination: bench near Teapot Island (which is closed). Lisa set off from Bearsted to The Downs. Destination: scenic picnic spot. Both in our own attire. SBV in pretty coral and Lisa in a soft feminine pink. Read on ...
Both ride leaders enjoyed incident free rides. In fact, the reduced traffic made cycling a dream during these difficult times. Waved to other single cyclists and the odd socially-distancing walker and horse rider en route. We had a call that lasted a mere 1 hour 25 mins. Male riders might like to spend less time sorting out the country, government policy, financial aid, men in general, children and pets. Who knows? But clearly we had enough material!! We then said farewell (phone batteries at 20%!) and continued on the rest of our rides.
We call this the “Remote Rider Buddy” programme. It doesn’t matter who rides to where from where. You’re doing it alone. Find a buddy, agree a time, have a call. It’s a café stop … but not as we know it. And it was lovely! SBV – 23 miles, 627 feet. Lisa – 26 miles, 1882 feet (show off!)
Yours - SFA compliantly, SBV and Lisa x
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