John Blakeley led the ride to Staplehurst on what started as a cold and sunny day. The group of 6 left Mote Park and headed through Downswood, Boughton Monchelsea, Linton (south), Collier Street and Claygate. There was a sigh of relief when, at Marden Beech, it was discovered that a road closure allowed easy access for cycles. On the way to the coffee stop at Staplehurst the weather changed to rain.
Having warmed up at the coffee stop, the group then headed through Hawkesbury before attempting the 11% gradient hill at Chart Sutton. There was general agreement from the group that this would be a good ride to return to in the summer months. A distance of just under 30 miles at 11.8 mph average.
Yalding Station was totally packed with about 40 riders ,as it was the starting point for Both D and both Easy Groups. After each group sorted itself out,Mike Griffiths led the D Group with 7 riders.Taking a lovely flat route ,in very cold damp weather, he took them out to Benover,Collier Street,where Richard got the only puncture of the day.Carrying on after, and trying to warm up ,it was staying on quiet roads.A brief stop in Grave Lane to read a wooden cross obituary to Flight Officer Clifford,a 21 year old RAF pilot,who crashed after being shot down at the spot in 1940. It was then on to bye pass Staplehurst and to the break at the cafe in Headcorn High Street. Mike maintained the flat return journey,out towards Ulcombe then Farthing Green and Lamb’s Cross,before crossing the A229 to Hunton and into Yalding.A distance of 30 miles at 12.4 mph average.Great ride ,Thankyou Mike.
Welcome to Anita who joined us for her first ride with the D's and welcome back Sarah. Nine of us set off from Wrotham along the country lanes through Heaverham, Kemsing and on to Seal before the long climb up through Godden Green and to Underriver before descending Carters Hill. We continued on towards Hildenborough, then via Higham Wood to our lunch stop at Poult Wood. With the sun still shining on our return, we continued the undulating ride to Dunks Green and along Long Mill Lane to Crouch. From there we headed to Ightham and then up to Kemsing Road and back to the start point.We completed 27.9 miles with an average speed of 10.7, having climbed nearly 2000ft.
Please see D + reports
A lot more than figgy pudding slowing up this ride! Please can we introduce a new SFA rule? When overtaking Your Leader, you are obliged to huff and puff and at least pretend it's hard work!! Not that it happened that often or course .... good job we love the Irish. So we set off from Brenchley via the flat plains of Marden, Staplehurst, Frittenden and on to Cranbrook and Hartley Cafe where we pipped another large cycling group at the post and had a very satisfactory break. We returned via Goudhurst and wended our undulating way back to Brenchley, thanks to our Human Satnav, Mr Valentine. Rumour has it that he 'lost signal' last week but he certainly redeemed himself today, thank you. We welcomed a new member, Anthony and we hope to see you again! Happy New Year All.
A typical post Christmas ride, it was evident early on that a few riders had enjoyed more than their fair share of figgy pudding. 10 of us set off from Barming along North Pole, down Red Hill, through Wateringbury and Nettlestead to Yalding. From here pleasant country lanes to Paddock Wood. Refreshed we headed out towards Matfield and wound our way back to Yalding, up Kenward Hill, finally crossing Kettlebridge and up the hill to the Bull Pub. An enjoyable ride of 28 miles at an average of 13.5mph. Leader Chris Moon
The ground was still icy when we left Dickley Lane car park but the sun was shining brightly in a cold, blue sky. John Caves led our group of five up Stede Hill but Inci’s and Sarah’s fingers and toes were still frozen when we reached the top, despite multiple layers. We paused to enjoy a clear view of the Thames and Medway estuaries, the island and the countryside beneath us. We cycled through Tunstall and laboured up Stocker’s Hill where John Blakeley and Roger led us to the top. Waving to the cyclists enjoying breakfast in the sunshine on Rodmersham Green, we sped past them towards Bapchild. Once over the A2 we continued our almost traffic-free ride along the Lower Road, through Teynham and then took a right turn down Four Oaks Road. We zig-zagged along narrow lanes, tackled the sharp incline of Coxett Hill (too roughly tarmac’ed for hybrid tyres), passed the ancient church on Water Lane and doubled back along Vicarage Lane to reach Brogdale Farm. We were promptly served in the cafe but the leader decided against the free cider-tastings (John C. told Sarah to focus) and tempted us back into the cold for the climb up to Painter’s Forstal. We then enjoyed a slog into a headwind up the steady incline to Eastling and Warren Street to reach the top of Hubbard’s Hill, before whizzing down through Lenham and back to the car park. 31 miles; 1,215 ft elevation; 11 m.p.h. average speed.
please see Rachel’s report on D+ Group for the joint ride
Tony Munn led five riders in what can best be described as a challenging D ride. Leaving Ditton the group headed out through Aylesford up through Eccles and down to St Peters Village before crossing over the new bridge and climbing to Upper Halling. It was then that Darren Lloyd decided to go across country and it was agreed the rest of the group race Darren to Dode Church taking the traditional route. A big mistake as Tony thought Dode Church was Luddestone Church (an age problem) so the meeting up failed. The group continue up to Harvel before the decent down Holly Hill and into the rain. Cycling through Biring and Ryarsh saw us arrive at the Jungle Cafe Addington at the same time as Darren( phew !!!!.) The short cycle route back saw us return via Wrotham Heath, Offham and East and West Malling. Distance 31 miles Average Speed 12 mph 1890 ft of climb.
First of all a big thank you to the nine other riders who joined me for the D Group ride to Lenham on what could have been a very wet ride. Luckily the rain held off, although we did encounter a number of very wet roads. This was my first time leading a D Group ride and it was a very useful learning experience for me being ‘up-front’! I would like to thank both Chris and Mike for their words of advice and encouragement during the ride.
We left Mote Park just after 10am and headed through Downswood, Langley Heath, Kingswood and Platts Heath before taking a short journey on the A20 to Lenham. Unfortunately we arrived twenty minutes before closing at the Church and cake supplies were running low!
The coffee stop was quite quick and once Mike had made some repairs to his bike we headed off via a number of country lanes and crossed the A20 at Harrietsham and eventually turned onto the Pilgrims Way at Hollingbourne. We followed a very wet Pilgrims Way until reaching Detling, where we then headed in the direction of Mote Park.
So following the ride I have an increased respect for Group Leaders. Oh and I promise to do better with the coffee stop next time!
We covered a distance of 28 miles at an average speed of about 11.5mph.