A total of 19 riders elected to join 4 combined joint groups starts,which had to be organised to ensure COVID regulations. Neal took a group of 6, from the main car park in Snodland and set off to Borough Green for a ride of 27.5 miles and succumbed to the only puncture of the day. Angie started from Brooklands Lakes with 5 and went to Tonbridge. Their ride endured several mechanicals,including a broken chain link..The 3rd Snodland Ride only had Tony M and Mark ,and they left from the railway station and went to Sally’s Emporium,Otford for an expensive takeaway and an overall distance of 32 miles and 2243 ft ascents. The last alternative ride went from Mote Park,with Russell leading with his 5 others. It went without incident,except everyone getting their boots soaked going through the flooded streams getting out of the park. The stop was a takeaway at Headcorn aerodrome,with an overall distance of 35 miles and about 1600 ft climbs.
Having to conform to COVID restrictions and the popularity of group riding, it became necessary to divide the ride starts with two groups of 6. Nick De Smith started off from Lenham,and headed for their break outside at Footprints cafe,Singleton ,covering a final distance of 38 miles and 1640 ft ascents. Richard V led the alternative group from East Malling,and without any incidents,except Heather almost ending up in a hedge when she took her eyes off the road for a second. Everyone seems to be getting used to having to take the break outside of cafes these days, and the benches in Hadlow were welcomed ,where most enjoyed their bacon rolls ,care of Hadlow bakery takeaway. A distance of 29 miles in total at about 12 mph average.
Trying yet again to comply with self distancing restrictions,two small groups set off from different parts of Yalding with Neal leading one group of 4 and Bob another of 4. Unfortunately the predicted heavy rain forecast proved very accurate with a deluge. Neal still managed to complete the ride despite the awful conditions,completing a distance of 37 miles and 1550 ft ascents at 12.5 mph average. Bob intended to go to Penshurst,but decided to forego the break,and 2 caught the train back to Tonbridge whilst Bob and Sarah swam their way back to Yalding. A distance of 33 miles ,975 ft ascents at 11.5 mph average.
A joint group ride always attracts numerous riders, and so 3 rides were arranged from different places. on an extremely windy day, Russell set off with a group of 5 from Hothfield Common for a break at Bakery 34 in New Romney High Street. A challenging head wind for most of the way out,but a lot easier on the return. A distance of 42 miles and about 12.5 mph and 1130 ft ascents. Richard volunteered to lead another bubble of 6, and opted for a start at the Riverside Country Park,Lower Rainham,again wind buffeted and headed to The Swan cafe Faversham.,an overall distance of 46 miles,again about 12.5 mph average and 2000 ft ascents. On route they very briefly met up with Jo Ellesmere and her group of 6 , near Faversham ,on route to Brogdale. Jo had the toughest ride,having started at Allington and taking in some big hills on route.An overall distance of 48 miles and 3000 ft ascents. Fortunately none of the rides had any disrupted incidents,despite the very challenging winds.
Trying to stay socially distance was a real challenge at the Headcorn start,with at least 5 groups assembling there. Russell took his bubble of 4 and Richard left it a few minutes and then followed with a group of 5. They heading to the Footprints cafe,Singleton ,on a route via Egerton Forstal, Bethersden and Shadoxhurst. They met up again at the cafe,who had set a large room aside for them . Leaving separately ,the return was on lovely flat,dry country lanes via Great Chart,and Smarden taking slightly different routes back to Headcorn,with distances between 33 and 36 miles,,
The group had to split into 2, and Richard led the first with the maximum of 6 and Gary volunteered for a second group of 3. They went off in different directions from Barming ,but eventually met up at Poult Wood Golf Club,where they had to maintain the self distancing. Setting off again in the rain,they continued in their opposite directions,and both groups returned to Barming without incident.A distance of 31 miles and about 1500 ft ascents
Trying to keep within the “Gathering law”, it worked out well with the maximum 6 turning up at Marden,at an earlier than usual time on a nice morning. Richard led and headed to Hawkhurst. The out route took the group to Frittenden,Sissinghurst and an impromptu stop at the beautiful green in Benenden.,before the break at Hawkhurst cafe. A really nice and very reasonable stop.. Out and staying where possible to country lanes again, it was back via Glassenbury and Colliers Green without any incidents to the finish at Marden. A distance of only 29 miles at 12.6 mph average and 1700 ft ascents
Group of 9 started from Snodland including Richard who had cycled in from the cafe stop at king George’s. along the way we picked up Julie at Aylesford bridge and Russell on bluebell hill ( great photos of the group from the bridge). We headed out towards king George’s through the pretty village of hartlip skirting newington, through Danaway and Borden to the stop at king George’s. lovely stop then back on road to the long slog up to the top of hollingbourne through Tunstall and bredgar. Once down the hill we went along the pilgrims way through detling and Aylesford back to the start at Snodland 39 miles at just under 12mph with no punctures or mechanicals and good weather
A warm morning welcomed 12 riders at Lenham and Mark Eyres led with two bubble groups on a lovely planned route to Silcocks cafe at St Michaels. He kept to many quiet lanes ,through Egerton and Biddenden,where a new taster rider had the initiation of failing to unclip in time,and taking a tumble but fortunately without too much injury or bike damage. It was then on to the break and being able to sit out in the courtyard in the sun was very pleasant. The return continued with more lanes,bypassing High Holden and Headcorn,then the only climb of the day up Windmill Hill before getting back to Lenham. A distance of 38 miles,approx 1500 ft ascents at 13 mph average.
With a group of 11, socially distanced,Richard led from Wrotham,on a dull morning and headed for the break at Hawley Garden Centre.An uneventful ride took the group to Ash,Hartley and Longfield,before reaching South Darenth to the break. The staff had reserved tables for us outside,but under cover,so quite satisfactory. The service and value was good,so it was enjoyed by all. Inevitably the return had to include a few lumps,after Horton Kirby,by getting up the drag of Mussenden Lane ,and Billet Hill to Ash. From there a further climb of Terrys Lodge Lane,and the whizz down to the Pilgrims Way back to Wrotham. No incidents or punctures fortunately. A distance of only 29 miles,with about 1550 ft ascents at roughly 12.5 mph average.
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