An unusually small group of 5 ,led by Tony Munn set off from Snodland for a very looping route to Legends cafe,Rochester. Negotiating puddles galore,and often heavy rain showers,the route went out to Birling,West Malling and Eccles to the stop. Tony had an app on his phone,which every time he stopped,unfortunately emitted a WhatsApp type alarm,which was frustrating for him in the cafe. After the very good break, Tony led the group over the M2 footpath onto Cuxton and Up Dean Lane ,trying to avoid numerous potholes and gravel debris, before the descent of Holly Hill and the return to Snodland, somehow miracously without a puncture or mishap. A distance of 32.5 miles,at about 12.5 mph and 1820 ft ascents.
A huge turnout for the D's and B+'s at Lenham on a dry morning. Take up for the D+ lumpy ride was slow but 6 set off first to climb Hubbards Hill before a fast run towards Eastling then the fun began. Floods having subsided no real challenges before a climb of Haywards Hill with very mucky roads. A few more lumps then a delightful run before crossing the A251 Ashford Road to go through Selling and Old Wives Lees. A great cafe stop at Badgers Hill Farm & Cidery before warming up again with a climb up Soleshill Road. Negotiating some flooded roads with no hidden dangers, more challenging lumps after re-crossing the A251 and appreciating the village of Throwley Forstal. Descending Hart Hill to cross the A20 and our return along familiar roads to Lenham but not before the leader was nearly wiped out by a low flying pheasant - not very pleasant. 33.7 miles with 2770 feet of ascent at an average of 11.1 mph reflecting the mucky roads and lumps.
Route on Strava
With heavy rain falling before the start, it was decided to cancel the ride
Marden Sports Club hosted numerous groups as a starting point on a very dull and windy,but dry morning. Brian K offered to lead for the second week running and zoomed off from the car park with 5 others hanging off his tail. I think it was because he wanted to beat Sarah BV and her D Group to the cafe stop at Teapot Island, Yalding but had a greater distance to get there. With a swirling wind,that seemed always to be against,Brian took an unusually flat route for him, but appreciated by everyone else, with the only climb up Yew Tree Hill towards Brenchley before a speedy descent to Laddingford and getting to the cafe stop in time to join the D ‘s in the cafe queue. After a lot of banter,both groups went their separate ways, and Brian resisted the lumps again ,and kept to some quiet mucky lanes via Hunton and Staplehurst ,mostly into strong headwinds back to Marden without any incidents ,arriving as the D’s were leaving, and hearing all about Sarah’s problems with “Rainbow” ,her bike. A distance of 32 miles at 14 mph average. Thanks Brian.
Due to storm Rachel Dennis this ride was rather curtailed . Four riders set off from East Malling heading due south in a vain attempt to take a sheltered ride. We headed westwards along North Pole road, eventually crossing the Medway via the footbridge at Barming. We headed southwards towards Marden, eventually looping towards Yalding via Green Lane. After a short break at Teapot Island , we took a short route back to base via Cannon Lane, Kings Hill and Station Approach West Malling. The only incident was that Paul's brand new bike gathered a speck of mud!
We covered 25 miles at 11 mph, ascending 1400 feet
A fine dry morning attracted many D Group riders at Mote Park, and a group of 9 dutifully enrolled for Russell's lead ,with a planned stop at Bredgar cafe. After some rainy days,the quiet lanes from Detling onwards were quite muddy with concerns by most of that dreaded "P" shout, which first occurred with the leader's misfortune at Newington. A team effort,especially by Mick got the group off again before too long. From there it was onto Bobbing,where a moron of a van driver inpatiently nearly used some of the riders for skittle practice and was advised accordingly. The cafe at Bredgar welcomed ,after 22 miles of challenging undulations. Those climbs continued thereafter,up to Wormshill,again on very mucky roads before the relief of going down Stede Hill, and a photo stop on Pilgrims Way sitting alongside the wood carved statue of the Pilgrim. With the sun still shining it was back to Mote Park,via Kingswood and Downswood without incident. A distance of 38 miles. and 2600ft ascents .Great ride Russ,many thanks.
Fourteen riders signed in and followed Mike from Yalding to Tonbridge. A flat route that was amended by popular demand at the last moment to include a small hill on the return leg. The route from Yalding was going to be at the fast end for a D+ ride. However we had not planned for a head wind most of the way out, 22miles, heading mainly west into the wind. Two riders made an early exit. The slower pace meant the group missed the 12.00 midday deadline for the breakfast menu at Wetherspoons - by 5 minutes! However there are always plenty of alternatives at a Wetherspoons. Route Yalding Hunton, Chainhurst, Marden, Claygate, Laddingford, East Peckham, Golden Green via the A2017 to Tonbridge. Feeling refreshed and with the wind at our backs the return leg was completed in good time. Stats 34 miles 13.7 mph 1puncture.
It may have been a cold dull morning, but 18 riders turned up at Hothfield to help celebrate Russell’s special birthday ride to Dymchurch, including Lisa, Anita and Brian who cycled about 20 miles to get there. An uneventful route thankfully that went out through the lanes past Stubbs Cross, where we said goodbye to Matt Gregory, then onto Aldington and the marsh, unusually without hardly any wind to Dymchurch. Due to our numbers ,we split into two cafe groups, but reassembled as Rachel had baked a cake and presented it to Russ with a firework type lit cake candle. It was quickly dispatched by all present. All to soon it was out for the return, part of which was along the sea wall path from St Mary’s Bay to Littlestone, then to Ivychurch and another stop at The Rare Breeds Centre ,near Woodchurch. With time pressing on,some riders carried on leaving the rest to have a drink. From there it was a quick nip up to Shadoxhurst towards Great Chart and the finish,with those intrepid three riding home again. A ride distance of 43 miles at about 13 mph average. Great ride Russ, Thankyou.
On a mild,dull but dry morning , a group of 8 joined Richard on a looping route from Aylesford to Borough Green. Starting off , going in the opposite direction to the bottom of Blue Bell Hill , then along the Pilgrims Way to the M2 bridge before returning through Wouldham and over Peters Bridge before Birling and Trottiscliffe to a new cafe stop at Sweet Memories cafe in Borough Green. On sitting down, the England cricket team would have been proud of Neal who knocked into a shelf with a lovely China cup on which fell, but miraculously he managed to catch it before it hit the floor. Following a fairly lengthy stop, it was a quicker route back to Aylesford , via Crouch and West Malling with John C getting the only puncture of the day. A distance of 32 miles and 2050 ft ascents at a very average speed.
A large group of 16 set off from Brenchley to Headcorn on a crisp cold but sunny day. SBV was leading on her trusty steed, Rainbow, who was disappointed to note she was carrying an extra 5 lbs post-Christmas gorging! Somewhat scarily, we had 3 of the B+ racing snakes with us, but they might come in useful with some pulling ropes on the bigger hills. The ride was beautifully flat for the first 25 miles with all the hills being in the last 12 miles. The first half of the ride was textbook – no incidents and all happy travellers. Then the George & Dragon in Headcorn sadly let us down with 5 riders still unfed after 50 mins, having to make do with Tesco sandwiches or emergency Mars bars. Neal also had a puncture. So the group split up for the return journey. SBV mostly led from the back in her usual style for the worst of the hills and then lost 7 of the troop in the last 2 miles who missed a hand signal (error duly noted, fear not!). All ended up at Brenchley unharmed though, hill challenges met and in good humour. 37.8 miles. 1,463 feet. 12.5 mph average.