A good turnout of 17 at the King & Queen on a dull, drizzly but thankfully not icy morning. Great to have Ron out with us with his e-Bike. A good pace with two groups the second led by Tony P through West Malling and Offham to St Mary Platt and Plaxtol. A smooth run through Tudeley and past the 'Save Capel' posters to Five Oak Green where Pete Searle peeled off. Into Paddock Wood for a great cafe stop at the Village Cafe with Ron and Tony P leaving us to enjoy it without their company. Andy TV's bike getting a fit of the sulks whilst we were in the warm greeted Andy on leaving with a flat. With Andy making his own way we had a good run back through Yalding and the final climb of Red Hill losing a few more riders who peeled off for their own rides home.
32.25 miles at an average of 12.8 mph with 1480 feet of ascent.
Route on Strava
Those who came along for the ride:
19 valiant riders were at the start, 3 having riden in. Just after setting off a nasty fall left one of the team having to abandon the ride with another kindly ferrying him home. The obligatory warm up of Hubbards Hill then a new for me left turn off Waterditch Road just so we could ensure we did not miss the chance of off roading along one of the muckiest lanes of the route. First puncture of the day just before Kettle Hill followed by Haywards Hill and some great lanes to Sheldwich but not before the second puncture. Some great vistas along new lanes for many to our stop at Badgers Hill Farm Shop at Chilham. Revised route back as a result of our delays took us on an unplanned loop before rejoining the A252 to take us, minus 3 delayed by puncture 3, back to Charing Hill and along the North Downs to descend Hubbards Hill as a final treat. 34 miles at an average of 11.8 mph with 2300 feet of ascent.
The first ride of the new decade welcomed 9 riders to a cold Yalding Station Really good to have Andy Wood back in the flock after a long absence. With a group of 9 , Richard led on a very flat route to Headcorn with very light traffic around. To get a few extra miles in, there was a longish route out to Headcorn,only to find the cafes in the village shut on the Bank. Holiday, but fortunately the George and Dragon pub was open, and looked after the group well. A more direct and equally uneventful return route took the group through Staplehurst and Marden back to Yalding. A distance of 35 miles at about 13.5 mph average.
With a turnout of 18 at East Malling, it was necessary to go to a location that would provide adequate coffee breaks. Russell suggested Paddock Wood,and led off with three individual groups. Following recent rainy days,some of the lanes past villages such as Offham,Crouch,Plaxtol and Golden Green proved very mucky with huge puddles. On arrival at Paddock Wood,the group divided to the Top Nosh and Station cafes, both of whom were very efficient. Some riders left before the return ,and Russell continued the lead to Laddingford and Yalding before the only climb of Red Hill back to East Malling, without any problems. A distance of 31 miles at about 12.5 mph.
Fortunately several cycled to the start,and others had problems due to a motorway accident,but eventually 18 riders set off from Wrotham with Richard leading and headed for Westerham In 3 groups. along the Pilgrims Way. Staying on quiet lanes it was on to Kemsing ,Otford and the Pilgrims Way again to Westerham. The group found two cafes, and divided which kept the break a lot shorter. The return route was quite similar, except for a detour through Dunton Green, and a cut through off road from Otford to Kemsing,then arriving back at Wrotham just as the heavens opened,which was unwelcomed by those who cycled in. A distance of 30 miles at 12.5 mph average and 2000 ft ascents.
Not a usual starting point, but initially 19 riders turned up at Wouldham car park On route several cycled in,which in part was still a bit icy,and Mick took a tumble but carried on. Then before setting off Brian O felt unwell and bailed out. Richard led on aroute that took the group to Rose’s cafe Middle Stoke. After going through Rochester, there was a detour to Lower Upnor and the Arethusa,for a bit of sightseeing and photo. From there it was on fairly quiet lanes past Kingsnorth and the massive newish Amazon distribution centre to the cafe. Due to our large number it was a very long stop, but pleasant. With time getting on, it was back on the bikes ,and at High Halstow, Jonathan had the only puncture of the day, but Brian K was on hand as Gary’s excellent stand in to help. Continuing thereafter, and without incident it followed a more lumpy route to Shorne and Cobham then over the M2 Bridge footpath and back to a very busy Wouldham just in time for schools turn out. A distance of 39 miles at about 12.5 mph and 1900 ft ascents.
After periods of really rain, suprisingly 11 well attired riders ventured out for a Lenham start. It was fairly inevitable that the roads were going to be pretty atrocious, but everyone was up for the challenge. Russell as usual stepped up to lead, and thought that going onto the North Downs maybe a drier choice. However with all the grot and puddles, everyone’s shoes and bikes were quickly soaked. A couple of slow falls and a puncture sealed the mood of the ride early on. Unperturbed however, Russ continued the lead, sometimes up to our peddles in slosh all the way to Wye, via Charing, Westwell and Boughton Aluph. On arrival at Wye,with the rain really starting, the railway barrier was as always it seems shut for almost 10 minutes, then to cap it all the cafe in the village was shut. Fortunately Russ came up with plan B, and we headed off to Perry Court Farm and Tea Rooms, a short distance out of Wye. It turned out to be really pleasant,and noted for further stops. On leaving ,our bikes were still soaked after yet another downpour, but resilianty the return was pretty incident free past Egerton and Lenham Heath before the second puncture and a huge lake of a puddle in Old Ham Lane. A distance of 35 miles,12.5 mph average and 2070 ft ascents.
A group of 27 turned up at Yalding Station on a cold,dry morning. It was immediately decided to split the group,and the coffee stops. Tony Munn led the first group and went over Kenward Hill and Red Hill, to Ditton and Aylesford. Whilst waiting at traffic lights ,a car brushed against Matt Gregory’s leg,crushing it against the frame of his bike. Matt was able to carry on,but in pain. Tony then took the groups along the new track from Aylesford towards Peters village,which necessitated humping the bikes over a steel barrier,as it had been closed off. From there the two groups split up again, and went through Snodland,and Ryarsh to separate breaks at the Jungle cafe and Spadeworks,Offham. Matt was still hurting,so Andy T.V went with him to catch a train home from West Malling. For everyone else,the return route was out to Crouch and Hadlow before returning to Yalding without further incident. A distance of about 33miles,at a fairly average speed and moderate ascents.
A sunny morning for a start from Chestnut Street, with 14 riders joining Richard,the leader for a ride to Halfway on Sheppey. A different route out than on some other occasions, by going to Hartlip then up Queensdown Warren to Farthing Corner, then crossing over the M2 and down Meirsborough Road to Rainham. From there a lovely flat ride past Lower Halstow to the Sheppey Crossing and onto Halfway for a great value break and service at Klondyke cafe. Later ,from there it was onto the Leas, Minster,where Tony P discovered a puncture in a tubeless tyre, but a few revolutions soon sealed the problem, but it provided a nice few minutes to view the estuary in lovely sunshine. The remainder of the return was without incident ,via Iwade and lanes back to Chestnut Street. A distance of 33 miles at 13 mph average and. 1050 ft ascents only.
On a lovely Autumnal morning, 19 riders turned up at East Malling. Russell had already downloaded the Garmin route to Knole Park, and he thought it a good idea to split into 3 separate independent self controlling groups, so in the event of problems the whole group would not be affected. A picturesque route outward bound,through Crouch and the uphill through Plaxtol and Stone Street to Bitchetts Green ,then entering Knole Park via the back gate with magnificent views of the estate with the roaming deers and the house. With the sun shining warmly, a very pleasant break was taken on the open veranda above the cafe. An equally nice return, firstly and thankfully going down Carters Hill onto the flat around the Shipbourne area,before the puff of Oxenheath Hill and Butchers Lane,Mereworth to Kings Hill and East Malling without a single puncture (hooray!) or incident. A distance of 30 miles at about 12.5 mph average and 2435 ft total ascents Great ride Russ, Thankyou.