The shortest day of light during the year,but 16 riders congregated at East Malling.Nice to see Angela and Clive NYE say hello,before going off for another ride.Richard led out,and with mucky roads and light drizzle headed up to the Kings Hill by pass.Ian R,wasn't feeling too well,so Andy acted as buddy and they rode to Ian's house.Many thanks Andy.The rest carried onto Hadlow,where at 10.44am Roy rang his bell ,and informed everyone that it was the official Winter Solstice moment.and then on for a short tea stop at the cafe on the Transfesa estate,Paddock Wood.The group had booked a pre Christmas lunch at the North Pole pub ,near East Malling,to celebrate the Solstice.(thanks Roy for coming up with the idea),so a shorter return via Laddingford and Red Hill to the pub.An excellent finish to the pre Christmas rides. A distance of about 30 miles at a moderate pace,without incident.
The group could not have asked for a nicer,sunny and mild start from Wrotham.Fifteen turned up and with Richard leading they set off up Wrotham Hill ,heading for Nell's cafe. Gravesend.A traditional ,undulating route out through Ash and Fawkham and Longfield to Southfleet ,where Ian' chain got wedged in the front rings so a slight holdup ,and the Cyclopark.As it was new to some of the riders ,there was a stop to have a look around.Unfortunately the bike shop has gone and the cafe is closed ,hopefully only temporarily,so it was then onto a leisurely ride to Nell's,which is under new ownership.Found it to be as efficient and competively priced as before.Still enjoying the sun,but slightly mucky lanes,the group continued the ride to Gold Street and down to Luddesdown,before the climb up to Dean Lane,Harvel ,Vigo village.and Fairseat.,before the nice descent to Wrotham.Only 26 miles,which somehow seemed longer,at a conservative 12 mph average.
13 met at the Fishermans Cafe (now sadly closed) on a damp but not too cold morning, all grateful for no risk of ice. Russell suggested going on the 3 Castle ride over to Rochester and the Isle of Grain. Suggestions mean leading so off we went, up to Halling and over the new Peters Bridge to Wouldham then onto to Rochester for the first castle. Over the old Rochester Bridge to Strood, past the abandoned Russian submarine, on to Frindsbury. Down the cobbled Upnor High Street to Upnor Castle, our second castle of the day. A quick photo shoot and on towards Chattenden and our first puncture. Delay meant a direct route to our cafe stop at Taggs in Hoo. A long stop meant a more direct route back missing the intended third castle of the day, Cooling Castle. Through Chattenden Barracks to Higham and the second puncture of the day. Through Shorne village and past the many 'SOS' Save Our Shorne 'No to option C' Thames crossing signs. Up the long climb to Shorne Country Park, over the A2 and our reward of the fast descent of Cobhambury Road. Then to Cuxton and the Pilgrims' Way back to Snodland. Just 30.2 miles with 1390 feet of climbing at an average of 11.1 mph.
Please see Russells'report on the forum section.
A beautiful clear sky,but very cold morning,greeted 14 heavily dressed souls at Lenham.The frosty breaths,and looks of what are we doing here,were quickly forgotten when Allan started dishing out his tasty home made shortbread biscuits.Richard led off and decided to go to Woodchurch rare breeds centre,which was a new venue for a midweek ride.Fortunately,although the fields were covered in an ice hue,the roads in the main were very dry,with few frost patches.Without incident thankfully the group headed out to Boughton Malherbe,and Grafty Green towards Headcorn before changing directions to Egerton,Pluckley and Bethersden.It seemed easy cycling ,being mainly downhill or flat,right to Bethersden,and the countryside,with the sun shining on the fields,and trees,with their last semblance of leaves,looked magnificent.On to Woodchurch and the cafe stop,which was quiet and enjoyable.Out again,and continuing a circular route,(not always intentionally),sorry guys!,the group carried on along extremely empty lanes,with hardly any traffic for a change,and went to Warehorn,before heading back to Woodchuch and Bethersden again.A hill was inevitable,so the rise to Pluckley was chosen,before carrying on the undulations to Egerton ,Charing Heath and Sandway to Lenham.Overall distance of 46 miles ,oops again!!,at about 13 mph average,depending on whose sat navy you believe,and 2270 feet climbing.Thanks to Andy for looking after Lisa at the back,and Allan for keeping a further supply of shortcakes at the end.
Yalding station was packed out with about 25 riders,and 5 who start from there every. Wednesday set off on their own ride.There were concerns about everyone else staying as one group,particularly with coffee stop availability.,so Richard led off with a group of 9 heading for Snodland,and Phil Gerry who is a very occasional participant,valiantly agreed to lead about 10 to Headcorn aerodrome.
Richards group had a lumpy ride,going out via Hadlow firstly then up to Mereworth and KingsHill.then on to Offham,Trottiscliffe,Ryarsh to the break at the Cricket pavilion cafe at Snodland.A new stop,and good value etc.The return saw the group set off through the Aylesford newsprint site ,then up to the Wateringbury Road to Barming,down to the river crossing to Tovil,where Phil H peeled off.Carrying on the incline to New Cut where Ralph also left..The final leg up to Kenward then through Yalding village,where Bob and Alan leftA distance of 39 miles at 12.5 mph.
Phil went out via Laddingford and Claygate to the aerodrome,with the riders splitting into groups ,depending on their differing speeds,but all meeting up at junctions.The break was as efficient as always,and a flat return ensured an enjoyable ride of about 34 miles .Thanks Phil
Phil has done a more in depth report which will be going in the MWM next Milestone.
A nice morning,and 15 turned up.Unfortunalely that quickly reduced to 14,when Brian K realised he hadn't brought his front wheel! and had taken the day off work. Richard led the rest,well sometimes and did a very traditional ride out to Queenborough.First puncture of the day was suffered by Paul,at Upchurch(thanks Allan for helping),then on towards the Sheppey bridge,with the group realising that 3 were missing,and it turned out that Andy got the second puncture.Off again to Queenborough for the break at the Klondike cafe( formally known as the Xpress),which has changed ownership,but everything was as great as normal.How did you get through that mega breakfast and doorstep bread Rebecca ?A slight return variation,going out to the Queenborough causeway then following the path between the hundreds of newly imported cars area, near Sheerness,then onto Iwade and Bobbing.It was'nt Paul's day,as just before the finish he got his second puncture,and as always Gary kept with him to assist(thanks Gary).A distance of 31 miles at 12.8 mph average.
Well done to Brian,Juan and Lisa for turning up at East Malling,on a horrible rainy morning,sorry I could not join you at the start.
This Wednesday's MWM ride comprised of just three damp cyclists, Lisa, Juan and Brian.
We set off from East Malling in a southerly direction towards Wateringbury , onto Yalding via Kenward Road through flooded roads .
We passed through Laddingford, eventually ascending Castle Hill via Pearsons Green Road. We skirted around the south side of Marden, passing through Marden Thorn , and stopped at Helen's Coffee House Staplehurst.
After a super extended lunch, we headed eastwards along Headcorn Road for a short distance. We looped around Staplehurst, crossing the A229 into Clapper Lane eventually passing Pattenden Lane on our left and staying on this road until we reached the bottom of Hunton Hill. We headed back to Wateringbury via Hunton , Yalding along the Maidstone Road and up Gibbs Hill. The final part of the route to East Malling was via Malling Road . We covered 42 miles at an average speed of 11.6 mph.
On a sunny but cold Wednesday morning, 14 souls gathered with a few brave ones even in shorts ! Tim lead the group along Pilgrims Way and then the climb up Old Terry's Lodge. Then it was the nice descent down to Horton Kirby before a relatively short first part of the ride for the cafe stop at Cafe Cinos in Swanley. Once the group were fed and watered it was onto the North of Swanley via some quiet roads and then some lumps and bumps via West Hill and onto Lullingstone and Eynsford. Then the return to Wrotham via the Knatts Valley for a ride of 37 miles at about 12.5mph.