The report is on the D Section..Where are all the D+ riders?
As only two turned up at Lenham,Mike Lambourne and Gary,they decided to join Rachel and Sarah on their D ride to Brogdale.
Seven of us headed off towards Borough Green through Crouch the back of Hadlow, Golden Green across the A26 to Shipbourne (how do you really pronounce it?) and on to Hildenborough. I needn't have worried about not having done a recce as Rachel was a great back up, helping with a few detours to avoid the traffic.
We stopped for a break at Teal cafe and enjoyed the sunshine on the outdoor terrace. This was a new stop and everyone seemed to agree that the food was really good but the service less so.
Leaving the cafe we headed up the A21 on the pavement. It was a stiff climb up to a Saint Julien Road where we left the main road and skirted Knowle Park through Godden Green and up to Seal. We continued on the drag up to the Pilgrims Way and at the junction we contemplated an extra loop or a straight journey back to Wrotham. I was heavily outnumbered as the group decided they wanted to do the extra loop. We had feared the worst as a couple of other cyclists, one of whom had suffered an embarrassing fall at the junction, had warned us that the first turning on the right was a nasty hill. So that is where we headed. On turning into Rowdow Lane the sign said a gradient of 14%....it really was like being back on Alpe d'Huez!
Thinking that was the hills done, we soon hit Magpie Bottom where the gradient was 16% in places. Thankfully everyone had their climbing legs on and it was not long before we were descending and back on the Pilgrims Way towards Wrotham.
In all we covered 32 miles at an average speed of 12.3 mph. It ia also worth mentioning we climbed over 2,800 ft. A great effort by everyone.
ps a special mention to Kevyn for bringing some fresh gooseberries. I confirm that having just eaten a gooseberry cobbler they were delicious!
When both D groups met at Staplehurst,Chris Moon suggested that we had a one minutes silence in memory of the Manchester bombing,which was naturally absolutely observed by everyone. Richard then took 9 riders on a ride heading off to Woodchurch rare breed centre.Taking many lanes ,in breezy conditions,the route went out via Smarden and Bethersden before the break. Sitting out was delightful in the sunshine.Peter and Denise then dropped off as they had started earlier from there,and the rest went through the centre,having a chance to see some of the animals.The return was back via Shadoxhurst and Bethersden again,before carrying on to skirt Egerton and Pluckley then Headcorn.A fairly flat ride overall of 46 miles at 14 mph.
Tony Munn led six riders on a route using two sections that would have been impossible a year ago. The ride started with a circular tour around East Malling before heading out to Barming, then dropping down Queens Road into Maidstone and through Whatmans Park. The ride then took the Medway Towpath including the new section to Aylesford. There then followed a climb through Eccles, the top road past Wouldham and the drop down Shorts Way into Rochester. Returning the group climbed up to Borstal before dropping down to Wouldham and crossing St Peters Bridge opened Sept 2016. The group continued through Snodland Birling and Ryarsh before returning back through West Malling.
Distance 32 miles Average Speed 13mph
14 turned up at Mote Park on a sunny Saturday morning. John Blakeley kindly relinquishing his D Ride lead to make14 well clad SFACC members (Sarah sporting SFACC colours with her scarves) to celebrate the completion of the 8 1/2 mile Barming to Aylesford Medway Towpath and the 2017 Maidstone CycleFest in Jubilee Square. Russell led us out of the park, through Downswood and up Church Road to Otham, Langley and Kingswood. Across the A274 motorway at Warmlake through Chart Sutton, Boughton Monchelsea and Loose to get to East Farleigh. At Barming Bridge we regrouped at the start of the now completed towpath for a photo shoot. A slow measured and considerate pace along the towpath with a promo video being shot. A delightful flat traffic free ride (except for an obligatory walk at East Farleigh) to Maidstone to meet the Gyratory Jungle. A warm welcome at Jubilee Square where Lise and Jason were 'manning' the SFACC stand. Some great public interest in the stands - Maidstone Cycle Campaign Forum with its plans to improve cycling in Maidstone, KCC Cycle Training and Cycles UK. After another photo shoot a walk through Town Centre to get back on Cycle Route 17 and the Medway Towpath at Springfield. Off at the Malta Inn for a break at Cobtree Manor Park, back on the towpath to Aylesford and up Rochester Road to Blue Bell Hill, down the Old Chatham Road, Grange Lane, Boxley and the Pilgrims Way to run back down Hockers Lane and Weavering Street back to the Park. 33.4 miles, average 10.4 mph refelecting towpath 'limits' with just 1,742 ft of climbing - not bad for a flat ride!
Route on Strava
Video - Barming to East Farleigh
Richard Byatt attracted a large group of 17 for his lead from to Yalding to Scotney Castle,on a morning that started off dry but cold. He headed off through East Peckham and Golden Green then skirting Tudeley to Colts Hill.There by chance the group met up with Roly Crayford who decided to join the ride.On to Matfield and Lamberhurst to break at Scotney.After a fairly lengthy stop due to the National Trust property being busy,the return route took the group along the back lane of Scotney to Finchcocks,before heading to Horsmonden and Yew Tree Hill,where Roly and Rachel left. Back on the flat again,and continuing on to Laddingford and back to Yalding with the sun shining.A distance of 33 miles at 13 mph average.
On a glorious spring morning 15 riders left Appledore for an Awayday across Romney Marsh. Brookland was soon reached before cycing out through Lydd to Dungeness and a coffee stop. Back to Lydd then along the cycle path and sea wall through Camber before the second stop at Rye for fish and chips. A short extension was then taken to Rye harbour before a return to Rye and the short journey back along Military Road to Appledore. Total distance 42 miles Average speed 12.5 mph.
A dull,drizzly start from Headcorn,with Brian Kavanagh leading a group of 8.Brian promised a flat ride with a possible lump later on.A lovely route out to Staplehurst,and Marden Beech,then onto Claygate before arriving at the Teapot Island cafe,Yalding.Fortunately the group arrived just before a coach load of walkers,which completely packed the cafe out.After a group photo,Brian took his flock into Yalding village and Lughorse Lane,before the muted climb of Barn Hill( Brian is trying to get some hills in before the forthcoming Alps cycle trip). Jonathan who is also going , was having trouble with his bike.He couldn't change from his big front ring,but very manfully,somehow managed to get to the top,where Gary,the cycle expert,took a look and quickly fixed the problem.Pity he didn't know about it at the bottom of the hill! Down again onto the flat ,via Coxheath to cross the A229,and a stop at Rabbits Cross where Kevyn demonstrated her balletic stretching exercises.(see the group photo section).Carrying on for the final leg through Farthing Green,back to Headcorn.A distance of 31 miles at 13 mph average. Thanks Brian for a lovely ride.