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.
Despite the disappointing weather forecast 8 of us, 6 ladies & 2 men (including Sarah, Donna and Angie who were either joining us for the first or second time) set off from the station. We headed towards Laddingford, then Claygate, Marden Thorn and followed the windy roads and got to Wilden Park Road when it started to drizzle. However by the time we had climbed Husheath Hill it had stopped! It stayed dry then until we'd nearly reached the A229 where we turned left and cycled towards Staplehurst village and stopped at 'Helen's Cafe' for lunch having cycled 15 miles. Just before 12.30 we continued the ride taking the Headcorn Road towards Hawkenbury and then turned off and followed the country lanes until we joined the A229 very briefly. At the bottom of Linton Hill we headed off along Redwall Lane towards Hunton and soon reached Yalding high street via Vicarage Lane. We arrived safely back without getting wet having completed 29.5 miles at an average speed of 12.4.
Only a group of 4 joined Mike on his lead from Brenchley,with the majority going with the D+ riders.The morning started off quite chilly but thankfully sunny and dry. Mike quickly realised that gloved fingers and pressing a Garmin screen does’nt work too well,so after a short distance it was an about turn.Undaunted Mike took his flock down the lovely descent of Pearsons Green Road,but only to chug up it again homeward bound. It was then onto the flat lanes,with Mike charging ahead to Claygate and Marden Thorn before arriving at Frankies cafe near Staplehurst.A very sociable,but not cheap stop,On leaving It was a quick about turn again,with a rider ( no names) suggesting that Mike should lead 50 ft in front of the pack,but his response was to jokingly query if that person had even served in the Diplomatic office! Another route of very quiet lanes awaited going to Wanshurst Green and Milebush,then bypassing Marden and back to Claygate and up that hill I mentioned earlier ,and then stopping at the viewing site overlooking the Downs.Really good to see that the brass? plate has been reinstated ,and hope that it is not stolen like the last one.Our leader then took his group home.A distance of 28 miles at about 12.5 mph average.
PS Mike has said that this may be his last D Group lead,as he feels he is more comfortable with the Easy+ Group.Don’t you believe it.
Thanks Mike lovely ride even with the gloved fingers V the Garmin screen.
Mike Lambourne and Mike Griffiths shared a joint ride from Headcorn,with only a group of 8 turning up.After about 13 miles,unfortunately Mike L came a cropper down a dip beside the road,which took Sarah Weeks and Graham Gale .with him.All were pretty sore with cuts and grazes.At the time,they were only a couple of miles out of Headcorn,on a looping ride,so Chris Moon cycled off to his car,and returned to convey Sarah to the cafe stop ,beside Sainsbury' in Headcorn High Street.Graham wishes to thank the cafe for their help in providing ice packs.The ride was terminated thereafter,just going back the short distance to the start..Fortunately all are ok,and hopefully the aches and cuts will clear up quickly.
please see Chris Moon' s report from Mote Park to Headcorn on the D group forum
Sarah and John worked out a gently undulating route with only one moderate incline, following negative feedback on the steep hill in their last ride!
Sarah led the group of seven (Rachel, Pam, Gary, two Johns, Eddie) from Aylesford on a cloudy but warm day through Ditton, West Malling and then off road via the research station to East Malling. We then followed an undulating course through Offham, Crouch and down Roughway Lane towards Pittswood. Turning off just before Poult Wood Golf Club, we sped down to Hadlow College garden centre, where the cafe staff had kindly reserved us a table and offered us breakfast, in addition to scrumptious cakes and scones, despite our late arrival. During the break, Gary entertained us (is that the right word?) with his endless repertoire of school boy jokes.
Moving swiftly on, we left the A26 at the first opportunity, turning down Common Road then Matthews Lane where we convinced Gary to do the Strava challenge up to Forge Lane to give us some peace from the relentless puns.
We continued through Mereworth, up Butcher’s Hill and through Kingshill, down the cycle path on the dual carriageway where Eddie left us, evidently fearing more of Gary's humour. Taking an embankment led us up to Lavender Road and along various delightful lanes in the sunshine. We eventually reached Kiln Barn Road again and followed the outward route, returning to Aylesford at about 1345. Distance of 30 miles with an average speed of about 12 mph. Oddly, the ride seemed to contain more downhill than uphill sections. Now, how is that possible? See ride photo in the photo section.
It was decided that we would do a group ride so 13 of us set off from St Andrews Road towards Barming Woods. At the end of North Pole Road we turned left and headed towards East Malling via Sweets Lane and then continued on to West Malling. Turning off the High Street, we cycled along Normans Road and on to Offham, where we turned left on to Comp Lane. After a quick drink stop we continued and headed for Crouch and from there we turned off and cycled through windy roads, through Claygate Cross. We eventually joined Puttenden Road, after taking a wrong turn and finally reached our midway destination at Poult Wood. The sun was shining so we enjoyed or lunch sitting out on the terrace. After a quick photo we continued the ride along Ashes Lane, left at High House Lane and then headed towards West Peckham and on to Mereworth. After the long climb up Butchers Lane, we continued on through Kings Hill and then cycled along the cycle path parallel to the A228 and turned off to join Lucks Hill. Just afterwards two people dropped off and headed home and the rest of us continued through East Malling, along the Wateringbury Road and then on the home straight back to Barming. We had completed 31.5 miles , with an average speed of 12.1 and thankfully no punctures!