A bitterly cold morning welcomed 12 riders for this ride to the Footprints Café in Ashford. As always a huge thanks to my back marker Jo Ellsemere great job. Also, to Chris Daly and Tim Fox for their roles when the groups split. Team effort, thank you.
Despite the cold; the chat and banter from the off was a great distraction as we headed along Kings Road out through Forge and Oak lanes to get onto Smarden lane. Bedlam lane took us up to Forstal Road, flat all the way to Egerton Forstal then up to Egerton via Rock Hill, a lovely hill, not too steep or long in length to make it a classic but a test all the same.
New road took us along to Pluckley, where we joined Station Road, for the long fantastic downhill and flat into Bethersden. We continued along to the A28. This was where our backmarker Jo, came off, a bit of a bang from hitting a pothole. Damage to the elbow but gladly nothing too serious. Did she complain, no, she got on with it!
We had a stop at the Footprints Café (TN23 5LW). I called ahead and booked a table as this place can get busy. We were served quickly with good quality café food.
We headed back through Singleton to join the cycle path to underpass The Great Chart bypass, up onto Ninn lane then right up to Waterfall Road into Hothfield. We had a nice steady climb from Hothfield through Little Chart back up to Pluckley. Down the hill and right onto Smarden Bell Road to Bell road. We then headed for the Airfield and back into Headcorn.
Overall, I think this route lacked the challenge needed on group rides, ie some elevation and more interesting scenery and not a 10 mile flat run in. The group were ‘class’ company and the road discipline was fantastic.
The route was 30.1 miles at regulation speed for D Group at 12.8 mph with approx. 360m climbing.
Eight of us gathered for what was supposed to be a typical January ride; all wrapped up shielding from the cold, but, it wasn’t that bad and laid the foundation for an enjoyable ride to Borough Green. Firstly, I must thank my back marker Tim Fox for helping throughout, very much appreciated.
We headed out along Forstal Road to Eccles, and joined the new road to Peters Village, a little head wind but a really nice part of the ride. I felt using the cycle path was good and helped with the safety along that part of the road.
Once through Snodland the ride became a little lumpy, through Birling, Ryarsh and Addington up to Offam. We turned left at Crouch to Basted lane where came across a flood right at the bottom of the hill, bit tricky but all through, a little wet but unscathed. Up Quarry Hill and into Borough Green for teas and stuff in the Village Café and Sandwich Bar. Very pleasant and would certainly use it again.
I promised the group it was a little easier on the back, well, maybe apart from Crouch Lane, and along the Hurst to the top of Gover Hill! But the pleasure going down Gover Hill to West Peckham was the reward for all the hard work. However, only to be confronted with the little lump of Butchers Lane! Through Mereworth, Kings Hill and East Malling church yard to the research centre , down to Ditton and finally along the flat road to Aylesford.
Thanks to Heather, Chris, Tim, Mathew, Ray, Sarah and Rachel for making this an enjoyable ride.
The route was 30.4 miles at regulation pace for D Group at 12.3 mph with approx. 600m climbing.
Thirty seven cyclists from D, D+ & B+ amassed at the Brenchley car park , the cold winter weather not deterring everyones enthusiasm for the days adventures. Twelve of us from the D group had the pleasure of Gerogina, Mary and Chris from the C group joining us for the first half of the ride, later breaking formation to do their own thing as we pressed on.
We set out along a route skirting the back of Marden where the first 14 miles were fairly flat, but we got no further than 2 miles before a puncture stopped one of our number in their tracks. The more challenging lumpy section kicked in just before we reached Collies Green and contiuned for the rest of the ride.
Prior to lunch at Bedgebury, Kevyn was unfortunate enough to also get a puncture; but with the cold making the task of removing and refitting the tyre challenging, it was team effort with help from John Blakely and Chris Moon to get the job done.
We covered a distance of 28.7 miles, at an average speed of 11MPH and climbing a total of 2040 ft; but not enough to break the dreary cloud cover that lasted the day.
A really large gathering of riders from 3 Groups assembled at Barming,and when divided,Richard led 13 and headed for Poult Wood,by firstly going through Kings Hill and Beech Road to Seven Mile Lane..From there it was the first puff of the day along Swanton Rd and Gover Hill,before the lovely descent of Park Rd,and then up Puttenden Rd to the break at the Golf club.A warm and efficient service was received.The return was an initially flatter ride through Golden Green,East Peckham and Yalding before the inevitable climb back to Barming via Kenward and St Helens Lane..A distance of 26 miles at 11.3 mph and 1407 ft ascents.
For the fourth consecutive year,Mike Lambourne had organised a DGroups pre Christmas ride from Marden to Headcorn.This year,Tony Palmer from the B+ Group joined also. Unfortunately,Mike was recovering from the flu,but dressed in full Santa costume,he met 22 riders ,many of whom were festively dressed at Marden Station amid much mirth and humour .Setting off eventually in 3 Groups,Richard led on the very flat route to the green at Headcorn,where Mike and Mike Griffiths were waiting for a photo opportunity and a carol singing session. From there,it was on to the George and Dragon pub,in Headcorn High Street,for a very sociable lunch. Chris Daly,the new club man of the year,was given the task of awarding the most seasonably dressed rider and bike,and the well deserved prize of a tin of chocolates went to Sarah Lewis. It was then Rachel’s turn,with Sarah’s assistance to start a pass the parcel game,with Chris Moon singing and abruptly stopping for each unlucky person to open the wrappings. The contents contained various kitchen utensils,which were adorned on Brian Kavanagh,plus a bra for good measure.He took it reluctantly but very well! Richard was also awarded a tin of chocs,for his group services,which was much appreciated.ThankyouMike and all. Immediately after leaving,it was a stroll across the road to the War Memorial,where Mike led his “ choir” for a few more carols. It was back on the bikes for a direct route back to Marden,at a very leisurely pace.A distance of only 21 miles,which was accedemic,as the day’s ride was about getting into the Christmas spirit. Thanks Mike for all your efforts.
It was two degrees and damp but that didn't deter 12 all-weather cyclists from turning out for the ride. Sarah led the well-wrapped group out of the car park towards Birling, then through Ryarsh, up to Trottislcliffe, along Wrotham Water Road and up to the Pilgrim's Way. We undulated for a while but the squirrels and rabbits which Sarah had seen on the trial run must have been hibernating, for the only wildlife seen of note were her fellow cyclists! We then passed through Wrotham where nobody took advantage of the conveniences because it was too cold to pee! The route ran along Kemsing Road, up Watery Lane, left along Pillar Box Road to Stone Street, Ivy Hatch and then down to Ightham Mote. Service was quick at the café and we resumed promptly, still nursing a vain hope that we might get back before the rain. But we didn't. After the Plaxtol descent and the rise up Long Mill Lane, the rain fell in earnest and strong gusts of wind blew us about through Crouch and on to Offham. On the approach to West Malling, with the rain obscuring the Garmin, Sarah had to consult the human satnav (aka Richard). However, the downfall lubricated the wheels and the group was soon bowling along through Lunsford, the Leybourne Lakes and back up to Snodland. Mileage: 28 at 11 mph average; elevation: 1,723 ft; dry riders at the finish: none.
A cold and blustery, but sunny, morning saw six of us set out on a ride to Greenways garden centre near Bethersden (I had advertised the ride on WhatsApp as reasonably flat - only 885 elevation - but it turned out to be almost 1600 ft - my apologies I must learn how to read these gadgets properly!). Lovely ride out in the late autumn sunshine although some of the lanes were very muddy. We got to the café in no time with only minor grumbles about the pace. Café provided great food as usual. The clouds were gathering as set off on the return loop, more generally up hill. When we stopped at the top of one rise a whole herd of young sheep scampered across to their gate to engage in a staring contest with us. We made it back to the car park before the rain started with only one minor dispute between me and my Garmin. Thanks to the group for great company! 29 miles at 12.5 mph
For safety and sanity,ride cancelled
A damp,dull morning saw 4 Sarah’s and three new Group riders,Paul,Bill and Matthew join a gathering of 12 at Staplehurst. Sarah Mullins took the lead and headed off for the break at Silcocks farm shop ,St Michaels.Matthew who had previously ridden with the Easy+’s had a very heavy mountain bike with huge tyres,and found the ride challenging,but did very well. Sarah took a lovely country lanes flattish route out to Frittenden,then by -passing Biddenden to High Halden and St Michaels to the break with light bites at the cafe.Sarah then continued the circuitous journey which was slightly lumpier by going to Golford and into Cranbrook.As Matthew was struggling a bit,Richard buddied him back to Staplehurst by the most direct route,whilst Sarah led everyone else onto Hartley,and the Glassenbury Road ,then passing Blantyre House prison and Curtisen Green to the finish. A distance of 30.5 miles at about 12 mph average.Great ride Sarah .Thankyou.
On a beautiful sunny morning 7 of us left the car park and headed off via West Malling towards Offham led by Angie. Cycling along the Teston Road we were joined by John Wells. We continued through Crouch and along The Hurst and then just after we past Dunks Green, Mo caught up with us! Shortly after we arrived at our lunch stop at Poult Wood and just managed to put in our order from the breakfast menu ending at 11.30. After a group photo overlooking the golf course , the then 9 of us led by myself then cycled off along Puttenden Road. Soon after Alison dropped off to return home and we continued through West Peckham and Mereworth then John left us, before cycling up Butchers Lane, through Kingshill and back to the start. The ride was 25.5 miles in total with an average speed of 11 miles an hour.