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.
A Paddock Wood start,and NealWelch led with 2 groups of 6 and headed off to Headcorn Aerodrome. He certainly chose a lumpy route out,firstly up Pixot Hill then out Horsmonden and up Winchet Hill to Blantyre House prison,and the A262 to Sissighurst,trying very hard to retain separate groups,but with the difficulty of congregating on the hills. Neil continiued on a long loop to get to the aerodrome by going out to Golford and Biddenden . At the cafe stop they were treated to intrepid wing walkers being flown on a biplane. Following the break,Neal assured all that the return would be a lot flatter,which was most welcomed, by going out towards Frittenden then Staplehurst. Just before getting back to Paddock Wood,Ray had double tyre punctures when he hit a deep pothole,but Gary and Neal were on hand to help. A ride distance of 38 miles ,with about 1550 ft ascents at an average of 13 mph.
On a very wet morning two groups social distancing left East Malling for a ride to the Aircraft Museum at Shoreham Kent. As the group continued their ride the weather worsened not what was forecast. Having ridden through Platt Borough Green and Ightham a decision was made to abort the ride to Shoreham and cycle more locally. The group headed to the Jungle Cafe (closed) then Spadework at Offham (closed) the will to continue cycling was now lost and the group headed back to East Malling. A distance of approx 20 miles.
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