It's often said in life it's not what but who you know and today proved that point. On the hottest day of the year 5 riders left Barming for Paddock Wood. At Dunks Green one of the cyclists had a broken spoke it was decided to head for Everdens and Richard Barsley the owner of the dept store in Paddock Wood also invited us to his cafe. When we arrived at Everdens it was discovered that the mechanic knew one of our riders so the repair was done within the hour. (BINGO)Then when in the cafe Richard generously bought us all tea and coffees. (BINGO AGAIN) We all felt important sitting next to the owner who gave a quick look around his amazing dept store. Back on track with a couple of climbs we were glad in the heat to be back Distance 34 miles Average Speed 13.6 Climb 1400 ft
A pleasant morning for the start from Snodland,and Richard led with a group oh 6,and headed off for a ride to Middle Stoke,on the Isle of Grain.With wind assistance,the route out via,Rochester,Upnor and Hoo St Wurburgh was very pleasant.On arrival at the Medway Microlight airfield cafe,the staff were very efficient and provided excellent value for money.Whilst there the group was able to watch Microlights taking off and landing on the grass airstrip which was quite entertaining. The return was mostly into a moderate headwind,and entailed a route through Cliffe, Higham and Cobham,before the nice descent to Cuxton and the final leg to Snodland.A distance of 40 miles at 13 mph average,and a moderate 1700 ft ascents .
A forecast of high winds and rain didn’t deter 5 brave riders (Inci, Sarah BV, Brigitte and Ray) who set out to immediately climb Hubbard’s Hill out of Lenham. An easy task for such an intrepid bunch! A super fast descent down to Painters Forstal with the sun on on our backs, where we took off over towards Selling and down through Old Wives Lees to our 19 mile stop for a fab bacon sarnie and a pot of Earl Grey! An average speed of 14.2! Yay! We carried on through Godmersham and Wye fighting the wind all the way but gloated too early when discovering the B+ group had been caught in a downpour and had suffered 3 punctures as nearing Charing the dark skies released the very worst kind of rain - Hailstones! Ow! Followed by a puncture on Lenham Heath Road for poor Ray where the roads seemed to be turning into rivers! The famous five arrived back on Dickley Road after 37.5 miles and 2362ft
A beautiful morning saw 4 of us set out towards Teal via Crouch. After loosing then regaining one of our riders at the top of Long Mill Lane, we then then powered on through some lovely lanes to reach the café. After a reasonably quick stop we set out for the challenge of the day, the dreaded One Tree Hill. The route designer had put in a loop on the hill to lessen its slope, but this went on to a track, too rough for our delicate road bikes, so we went back and struggled up the hill. The route from there was straight forward, again through some lovely lanes. 34.9 miles, 2379 ft at an average moving speed of 12.3 mph. Thanks to the group, and person who mapped the route.
A pleasant morning and a group of 17, opted to join Richard for a looping ride to Poult Wood.Good to have Bernadette and Julie join the group. Almost immediately after starting off,the aluminium bracket on Tony Munns bike
snapped,and he had to call it a day. After that it was an uneventful ride to the stop via Crouch and Hadlow, arriving at the break 5 minutes after they stopped serving breakfast,so it was light snacks all round. The return started off on the flat through Golden Green,before the ascents to Kings Hill via Butchers Lane. Dave Law as always,on his old fixed wheel bike left everyone for dead on all the hills. It was then through the estates of Kings Hill to the finish. A distance of 30.5 miles. Thankyou Bernadette for keeping the group disciplined. (Old habits die hard)!.
12 of us set off as I instructed my team that ‘everyone should be a back marker’, in a successful attempt not to lose any riders this time! We went to Headcorn via Wierton Hill (have I ever mentioned that it’s my favourite hill?) and along to East Sutton, Stickfast and Crumps to pick up a lovely long flat run into Headcorn. The biting cold wind made The Village Café very welcome. Our route back was delayed by a hail storm which we sat out in the café. So much weather in 31 miles and 1100 ft and all nicely under worked in anticipation for the SFA Sportive on Monday.
A Group of fifteen gathered in glorious sunshine in Headcorn. Split into two groups we headed for the Footprints Café, Ashford. We headed up Ulcombe, along Crumps Lane before heading down Lenham Road cutting across to Egerton Forstal. This was a very easy route to here but we then had Rocks Hill to climb to Egerton. Despite Alison’s chain coming off all 15 cruised to the top, with considerable ease.
Then via Pluckley we headed down to Bethersden, joining the very busy A28 for a short burst to the Footprints Café. Service a bit slow but good nose bag all the same.
Our intended route was blocked by locked gates so we had to add a mile or so to the scheduled distance. A lovely climb back to Pluckley before a lovely open countryside ride back to Headcorn. 35 miles, 420m climb at 14mph pace. An excellent ride enjoyed by all.
John led six of us from Aylesford on a blustery Saturday;
Through Ditton, East Malling, Kingshill then DOWN Butcher’s all the way
UP to Spadeworks at Offham where we had a fantastic break
Before riding through Ryarsh and Birling, digesting the cake.
Some had even tasted the cafe’s amazing flapjack,
Which clearly improved our cadence on the way back.
We didn’t lose anyone! Despite Inci’s GPS having its own idea,
She stayed with us, admiring the bluebells which had begun to appear.
The sun shone over Peter’s Village as we pedalled up the ridge
Before speeding back to Aylesford over the medieval bridge.
A lovely ride but an incident at Ditton gave us quite a scare;
Alison was downed by a pedestrian who crossed without due care.
Luckily no damage was done and we finished the ride all smiles,
Having averaged 12.2 mph, climbed 1,743 ft and completed 31 miles.
Seven D plusses met in Aylesford on a cold Saturday;
Only five degrees and the threat of hail not far away!
John C. led out towards Ditton and as usual crossed the A20, where
Alison was knocked off by a pedestrian crossing without due care!
Thankfully, no damage was done to walker, rider or bike but, “Is this a record?" I hear you say;
An accident within ten minutes of a ride getting underway?
However, no other incidents occurred and the group rejoiced in the total absence of pain;
Whilst riding, nay flying, along Butcher’s Hill and Matthew’s Lane.
Because, you’ve guessed it, we were riding them both DOWN hill!
Afterwards we congratulated John on his route-planning skill!
(Luckily we weren’t following Inci’s ‘Ride with GPS’ route downloaded that day;
Because it kept insisting that she cycle the route in the opposite way)!
However, our joy was short-lived. After Dunk’s Green, Long Mill Lane loomed, a hill to remember;
But Sarah B.-V. had erased it from her memory, having climbed it in icy December.
However, we all pedalled up it fast, especially Colin, at least that’s what we reckoned;
Probably because hunger was setting in and a warm café stop beckoned.
On the way to Crouch a couple of horses and Ray’s chain delayed us somewhat;
But in a short while we reached Spadeworks at Offham, where they still serve tea in a pot!
The food was good and the service fast. We had a lovely break and plenty to say;
But after 40 minutes a photo was taken and then John led us on our way!
And, Quelle Surprise! Whom should we see in Addington but our friends, the Ds!
Although we only had time for a quick wave whilst pedalling fast in the strong breeze;
The sun was now out, as were the blossoms and flowers;
Kent looked amazing and we could have ridden for hours!
The last leg (after Ryarsh and Birling, where John, accidentally(!) almost gave Inci the slip);
Took us over Peter’s Bridge then down into the dip;
And back up the other side, into the wind and UP hill! What’s that all about?!
Then when the cycle path ended an inpatient driver nearly took some of us out!
However, the final mile saw us riding over Aylesford’s medieval bridge, what a lovely river scene;
And we arrived back at about 1. 40 p.m. happy that we had been such a good team.
Our statistics show that we rode within D+ rules, so SFA coordinators should be all smiles:
An average of 12.2 mph, 1,743 ft elevation over a distance of 31 miles.