Colin Tony Russell Richard Paul Ince Anita Brigette Ray and Mike set off in fog from Mote Park at 10.10 - one rider was held up in the traffic! After navigating the Park, Colin had to drop out due to a puncture in his tubeless tyre, fluid problems? Once out of the Park, Bearsted Water Lane and the Pilgrims Way was the route to Hollingbourne Hill. Ray who was using his electric bike for the first time made excellent progress on the Hill until he pressed the wrong button and we were able to reel him in. The group made good progress to the top and were rewarded with warm sunshine. It was the first climb of Hollingbourne Hill for a number of the riders. The next section was down hill until the A2 with a stop at Oad Street for Ray's puncture, the first on his brand new electric bike. A large piece of flint had penetrated the tyre taking a little longer than usual to mend. The group stopped at the Tuck Inn, Newington for a warm and refreshments, 21 miles. The route back was via Hartlip Farthing Corner, Bredhurst, Boxley, Detling, Weavering Street and Mote Park. The Stats - Made it back before the rain, 31 miles, ascending 2050 ft., 11.5 mph, 2 punctures and 9 happy riders!
With very strong winds and downpours of rain, Tony the leader was the only one to turn up at Yalding for his noon ride( most wanted to watch the England v South Africa rugby World Cup final,and probably wished they hadn’t) so the ride did not go ahead.
The Magnificent Seven – six lovely ladies (?!) and a very brave Adrian – set off from Paddock Wood to Biddenden with a stop at the very posh Bloomsbury Café – with Sarah BV as ride leader. We were honoured to have 2 racing snakes from the B+ group with us in the form of Adrian and Anita. The regular D+ people were wondering if they’d be able to keep up with both the pace and the banter, especially when Adrian fell off his bike in the first 2 miles (evil grin!). A few stops were needed en route to disrobe as it was far milder than everyone expected. Even SBV’s new neon pink overshoes proved too warm once the hills were underway. Everyone bravely tackled 1,300 feet of hills in the first 12 miles and then chilled for the remaining miles, which were refreshingly flat. In the final 20 miles, however, the weather changed for the worse and the Magnificent Seven were blown all over Kent in winds far worse than the iPhone’s weather prediction of “a light breeze”. 36 miles. 1,677 feet. Average speed 13.6 mph. No ‘bicycle injuries’ (we don’t use the 'P' word on our rides!).
John and Sarah had recced a lovely route from Aylesford to Knole Park,and a group total of 13 happily set off with them even though it was drizzly and chilly. John took a route out to Snodland then through Trottiscliffe and the Pilgrims Way To Wrotham., where Richard B discovered a staple sticking in a tyre. With great precision and a certain amount of trepidation it was removed with pliers,and to everyone’s relief hadn’t punctured. That elation didn’t last too much longer,when Bob shouted out that dreaded word “ Puncture”. Having quickly found the offending shard,it took 3 inner tube replacements and various pretty useless pumps and CO 2 canisters to get him going again. By this time everyone was getting cold ,so it was decided to cut the ride short and pop into a couple of cafes in Borough Green in order to warm up..The return route was quite short,with John leading through Crouch,Offham and East Malling back to Aylesford. A distance of only 25 miles,but well appreciated by everyone.
Russell took the lead at short notice from Paddock Wood,following a GPS route and it was inevitable that there would be some proper lumps . Six opted to join Russell on the out route up to Brenchley and then crossing the A21 at. Kippings Cross to Bells Yew Green and the very quiet leafy lanes to Frant. . From there ,the climbs and dips continued ,and a real puff getting up to Langton Green into the usualTunbridge Wells area heavy traffic. Continuing through Fordcombe it was the final climb after Penshurst to a new stop at the environmental Kingdom cafe. Surprisingly it was card payment only, which caused a few problems., but the views from the veranda across the Weald was stunning.The return leg was much less leg crunching ,taking the concrete road through the Penshurst Place estate to Haysden and Tonbridge town centre,and the nice flat of Five Oak Green and Capel back to the finish. A distance of 33 miles at about 12 mph average,and 2500 ft ascents without problem.
Even before setting off from Barming,Sarah B.V found she had a puncture in her tubeless tyre,so as usual Gary was on hand to help. Unfortunately,not taking into account the gunk liquid inside,which promptly splattered his shorts and the pavement,but unperturbed he fixed it with an inner tube. Richard then led off with 9 riders and headed down to the river towpath on route to the Maidstone Cycle Fest in the town centre. Getting there was a bit fraught ,taking a very gravelly path,fortunately without punctures,but a few humorous mutterings . (Apologies).The towpath route thereafter was fine,and on arrival at the Fest,Lise,Russell and Chris Bishop were amongst others helping on the stands. Whilst there ,several had a go on the turbo machine ,testing their speed over 30 seconds.The Fast Inters then turned up to further represent the Club. From there,Richard continued his lead along the towpath to Aylesford,before getting back on the road to Eccles,and over Peters Bridge into a strong headwind and to the break at the Jungle cafe,Addington.The return was probably the shortest ever,by going through the Kings Hill estate,where Phil Gerry took the lead for a while,before splitting off,and the remainder carried on along North Pole Road to Barming. A distance of only 25 miles at a very moderate pace,but thankfully without incident.
The new starting point at Marden Sports Car Park was warmly acknowledged,and on such a beautiful day,it was hardly surprising that Linton managed to recruit a group of 11 for his lead,especially when he said it was flat. The riders almost equally split between men and ladies,set off amid several other groups and headed out to Milebush and the lanes to cross the A229 near Frankies . On a couple of occasions ,the B+ group seem to arrive at the same junctions,which ensured a jocular banter. The ride continued past Frittenden,when several of the ladies grabbed the lead on occasions and chatted most of the way to the break at Bethersden Garden Centre..Following a nice stop,Linton ensured a very flat return by keeping to the quiet lanes near Smarden and through Headcorn and Staplehurst back to the car park. Thoroughly enjoyed by all and a distance of 33.3 miles at 13.3 mph average and 116 metres only of soft undulations. Thankyou Linton
A glorious sunny Autumn morning,and Tony Munn led a group initially of 13 ,out of the car park at Snodland,to be increased with Phil Gerry who arrived at that moment. Tony took a route out via Ryarsh and Offham to Dunks Green ,then onto Hadlow ,East Peckham and Laddingford to the break at Teapot Island. It was truly delightful sitting out in the warm sunshine. Richard Barsley ,who cycled from Matfield to the start,bade us farewell,and everyone else with Tony leading headed back via Yalding,Kenward Hill and Red Hill Wateringbury, where Phil left, then taking the main road before Teston and upto the North Pole pub.A nice run towards East Malling,where Linton veered off and with numbers rapidly declining ,including Darren the remainders got back to Snodland via,West Malling and Birling.A distance of 31.5 miles at 13.3 mph. Great ride,Thankyou Tony.
First signs of Autumn weather with a chilly and dull start from Lenham,but a really large number of riders went off in various groups. Richard led with 7 others and headed very indirectly to the Old Foundry cafe at Ashford,via Platts Heath ,down Liverton Hill and Grafty Green. From there it was country lanes almost all the way to Great Chart and the break. It has to be one of the best value stops on any of the rides,really good wholesome food and great service.With dark clouds looming,the group set off again ,returning via Hothfield and Westwell with Russell helping out with the lead on occasions,before reaching Charing. From there a straight run along Charing Heath Road to Lenham. A distance of 35.5 miles at 13.5 mph average and 1760 ft ascents,without any incidents .
On the last official day of Summer,the weather remained kind to the group of 6 that accompanied Neal Welch on his lead from Wrotham. He promised a fairly lumpy ride,but it started off fairly flat along a busy Pilgrims Way to Otford, with plenty of other cyclists around. The first climb took the group up to Knockholt Pound then through the lanes and the nice descent to Brasted, before tackling Ide Hill and yet another downhill through Weald to the stop at Teal cafe near Hildenborough.A chance to rest the legs. Too quickly however,it was back on the bikes for a shorter return ,again keeping to quiet lanes and the final ascent of Mote Road up to Ivy Hatch,,before meandering through Ightham back to the finish,at about the same time as the B+ and D Group where convivial ride experiences were exchanged. A distance of 30.5 miles at 12 mph and about 2500 ft of leg crunching. Thankyou Neal and the back marker John Blakeley for devising the challenging ,but thoroughly enjoyable route without incident.