Two different rides with different start points to accommodate the numbers. A very wet day and real soaking was in store. Mark led his group of 5 over the downs to a new cafe stop at Oare on a 31 mile ride and Russell his group of 5 to Badgers Hill Farm at Chilham on a 34 mile lumpy ride. All roads were very mucky and with rain lashing down all had very challenging rides. All returned safely to dry out at home.
With sunny blue skies and no wind 11 riders in 2 separate and distanced groups started out from Appledore Village Hall on a 50 mile excursion to Winchelsea. Each group using a similar routes went through Ivychurch to get to Dymchurch for an 8 mile stretch of coast to Dungeness. Inland to Lydd and then more coastal paths to Camber Sands and Rye. Through the Rye Harbour nature reserve to get to our Winchelsea Beach cafe stop, all outdoors and distanced. Our only climb of the day into Winchelsea to pay hommage to Spike Milligan ("I told you I was ill") buried in the grounds of St Thomas'. A fast return to Appledore with only a couple of punctures befalling one group. 48 miles averaging 13 and 15 mph with total climbs of just 300 feet.
It would have been so easy to cancel the rides,on a thoroughly wet morning,but 12 riders who assembled in two different areas of Yalding Station still turned up. Russell had already preplanned the personnel for each ride,and he led a group of 6 for the break at Dunorlan Park, Tunbridge Wells,and Mark Eyres volunteered to lead the others to Bedgebury Pinetum. Unfortunately for Gary , soon after the start his bike sustained an unrepairable gearing problems,so had to abandon the ride and walk back.Both groups took lumpy routes outward bound,and enjoyed good cafe stops under cover. With the rain easing a bit both groups made their way back,with several riders dropping off at various locations,and arriving at Yalding almost together having both covered about 31 miles.Thankyou Russ and Mark for leading on such a rain soaked morning.
Only 8 started off from Chestnut Streeet,in 2 equal bubbles,with Jonathan and Richard leading and going off in completely opposite directions,but coincidentally meeting up briefly at the Kingsferry Bridge,as it was up to allow a barge through.. Starting off again,Jonathan tried a new route by trying to go through the Nature Reserve,but the Warden turned them back due to disruption of nesting birds. At Barton’s Point,Richard’s group decided to stop there for their break,and again by coincidence,Jonathan’s Group just happened to see them,so joined for lunch.Sitting outside in the sun and out of the brisk wind was most pleasant. The return was wonderfully wind assisted,and the use of the new cycle path,away from the main road was really appreciated . Both groups took a similar route back without incident.A distance of 31.5 miles at 12.5 mph .
It took plenty of planning to organise 3 different bubble rides from East Malling. Russell went off from a different car park with a group of 5 for a ride to Knole Park. Jonathan then went off with 4 and Richard set off 5 minutes later with 5 ,and both headed towards the coffee break at The Tudor Cafe, Chiddingstone.by taking different routes. Fortunately it was a lovely sunny day,and each of the 3 rides which varied in distances from 30 miles to 45 miles finished without any problems.
With 12 riders trying to socially distance at a Wrotham start,it had been decided in advance to do 2 different rides. Richard took a group of 6 and headed off for a new cafe stop at Coblands Garden Centre, Sundridge ( as advertised in The Milestone) .It turned out to be very agreeable,and will be used again.With rain forecast ,it was only a 25 mile ride at about 13 mph average. Jonathan volunteered the other lead, ,going off in a different direction for the stop at another new venue,of Turners Cafe,South Darenth.That ride was more lumpy,but again very enjoyable with a distance of 30 miles.
In these difficult group cycling times, Russell had organised an Away Day from Hamstreet to New Romney with 2 groups of 11 in total ,starting off at different times and car parks .Andy Taylor Vebel had already cycled there from Ditton,a distance of 30 miles , ( he rode home as well). Jonathan led the second later group,taking the same route as Russell. Fortunately the weather was fine,but as usual on the marsh the wind seemed mostly against you. Russell kept to nice quiet lanes,all of which seemed like the previous ones,so thank goodness for Garmin,and arrived at the cafe stop at New Romney after 21 miles. On leaving,we could see and wave at Jonathan’s group at a nearby cafe. Russell took a big loop on the return ,a bit like snakes and ladders, again going along various lanes and 31 miles later arriving back at Hamstreet,just before the heavy rain started. So ,a total distance of 51 miles at about 13.5 mph,despite the wind without incident. Thanks Russell and Jonathan as always for your efforts.
With prebooking of rides required regarding gatherings ,it felt strange having to self distance 2 groups of 6 and5 at the start at Lenham. However,things were quickly sorted out,and with Richard leading the front group,and Jonathan staying well back with the second group,it worked very well Thankyou. Also to Brian O and Gary for acting as middle markers ,which is always the most challenging job. A mainly following wind made the way out to Singleton via Grafty Green and Little Chart very pleasant via a fairly traditional route. The stop was at Footprints Environmental cafe,Singleton. They had reserved a room ,with tables of 4 ,and looked after the group very well. The return was again uneventful continuing the circular route,via Hothfield and Charing. A distance of 35 miles at 13 mph and 1550 ft ascents.
A group of 11 in total joined Russell,who yet again graciously led from Yalding on a lovely morning. He went off with the front six and Mark Eyres led the second bubble group.It was very much a ride of ups and downs,and keeping to narrow roads where possible.bypassing Horsmonden and Goudhurst then onto Hartley and around Sandhurst to the cafe at Newenden. ( The birthplace of cricket) .A really nice stop situated along the river Rother,in No Mans Land on the Kent ,Sussex border. The return continued with the undulations to Sissinghurst,and to Colliers Green,and past Blantyre House ,before returning to the flat of Laddingford and Yalding without incident,but a few aching legs. According to Russell’s Garmin a distance of 47 miles and 3480 ascents,at a moderate 12.5 mph average. Great ride Russ ,Thankyou