A lovely morning welcomed 19 riders at East Malling,and Gravesend seemed like a decent destination.Richard led and took a wiggly outward route,going to Aylesford,over Peters bridge and taking a little diversion along the river front path (and grass)! At Halling then to Cuxton,where there was a long hold up for a puncture,and whilst being mended ,another riders inner tube exploded.Eventually the ride then carried on up to Gold Dtreet,and past Jeskyns Country Park to the break at the Promenade cafe, overlooking the Thames at Gravesend .It was really busy,but the service was pretty quick,and sitting out in the glorious sunshine was very pleasant.After a photo,it was off again,taking a more direct route,through Denton,and up Thong Lane to Cobham,and the great descent of Cobhambury Hill,continuing to Cuxton and Halling,and the final leg through Snodland village and Larkfield to the finish.
A distance of 36 miles at about 12,.5 mph with 1900ft of ascents
Russell was good enough to arrange a ride which started at the Wincheap park and ride,Canterbury,with a decent turnout of 10 riders.Ralph initially led off through the housing estates,before getting out onto gloriously quiet country lanes,where Russell took over.On the way to Adisham a pedal on the bike Tony Palmer was riding,suddenly dropped off,with bearing problems.A temporary repair,then it was on again through Barfestone and Eythorne,where the problem occurred again,but he resiliently carried on to St Margaret’s at Cliffe,and the lovely flat wind assisted ride along the shore line path through Walmer and Deal to the break at Princes Golf Club,Sandwich.Lisa ,who had cycled directly from Canterbury ,joined the group and with Sarah,decided to go for a swim.They said the sea was warm,but no one believed them,especially when they were white as chalk afterwards.Getting to Sandwich afterwards,Tony went into a local cycle shop and they gave him an old pedal,which sorted the problem.The return leg,was mainly into a challenging westerly wind,and Russell kept almost completely to NCR1,which went past Richborough Roman Fort,onto Westmarsh and Preston to Stodmarsh,before arriving back at a busy Canterbury without incident.A much longer day than usual,covering 54 miles at a steady 12.3 mph.Thankyou Russell for a great day.
From the very start the sun shone and the 12 who turned up at Lenham were for once in shorts.A general consensus was that it would be good to go to Seasalter.Richard led on a traditional route over Hubbard’s Hill,then the gentle descent virtually all the way to Painters Forstal,wind assisted.It got busy getting through Faversham,but the quiet lanes past Graveney to the Forget Me Not cafe at Seasalter was pleasant . Sitting outside,with good service and an extra full breakfast that no one ordered was quickly devoured by Gary,Brian and Ian, after their meals. Too soon,it was back on the saddles,and Richard took the group out to Brenley corner( sorry ,as it was really busy), before diving off on pretty ,open country lanes again,that eventually reached the A251 at Sheldwich,then to Baddlesmere ,and the Faversham Road,to the top of Charing Hill.( thanks Ralph for giving the leader a break on part of the route).A quick whizz down to the A20,then turning to Charing Heath,and Sandway,where Ian and Ralph peeled off,leaving the rest to make the short trip back to Lenham.A distance of 40 miles at 14 mph average,with ascents of about 1800 ft.
A Group of 12 led by Richard left Yalding on a misty coldish morning.A flat start through Hunton to Rabbits Cross before the rise to Sutton Valence,then onto Kingswood,Platts Heath and the break at the cafe,Lenham Square..Andy was still getting over a bug,and peeled off to return home,whilst Russell joined the group.A lengthy stop,before starting off again,continuing a circular route to Boughton Malherbe then on the flat for the remainder of the ride via Headcorn,Staplehurst and Marden to Benover and the finish.A distance of 40 miles at about 13.5 mph average.
At least the day was dry,but with a very blustery wind that seemed to change direction at every turn,it was quite challenging on occasions.A Chestnut Street start,welcomed 10riders,and it was off to Faversham,with different riders taking a lead including Ralph,Richard and Russell.A ver well used outward bound route to Borden,Bredgar and Teynham. Angie succumbed to the only puncture at Deerton Street,but good old Gary was on hand as always to fix it.Whilst doing so,the majority of the group carried on to the Swan cafe at Faversham,which as always provides good value nosh. A traditional return also,to Ospringe into a headwind. Angie and her husband Mick had done an 80 miler the day before,and she was struggling,so told the group to just carry on. Russell was kind enough to stay with them to guide them back. An uneventful final leg,through Tunstall and Borden to the finish. A distance of only 30 miles,( but on occasions felt like more with the wind) at a mediocre pace of about 12.5 mph.
Suprisingly,with constant rain falling and large puddles everywhere,Four riders still turned up at East Malling,Richard,Russell,Mike Lambourne and really nice to have Ian Allcock join the group. With the weather being as it was,it was never going to be a long and challenging ride,so with Richard leading out,the journey went through West Malling,Offham,Crouch to the village cafe in High Street,Borough Green.A really nice little break,which the group hardly ever uses. With no let up from the rain,Russell led for most of the way back,via Wrotham,and the Pilgrims Way to Trottiscliffe,Ryarsh and Birling.Mike dropped off at West Malling to cycle home along the A20, and the other three took the back road to the start.A distance of only 21.2 miles,but quite enough on such a grotty day.
At last ,It felt like a bit of warmth had penetrated the endless clouds of late,and 11 still fairly well togged up riders ventured off from Wrotham in the dry and temperatures above freezing,which suited Angie and Mick who have just come back from cycling in India. Richard led and did a fairly traditional ride out to the cyclo cafe at Westerham. The route went to Otford and the lanes past Chevening,mostly against the wind,but quite sunny,There were plenty of other cycling groups around,so the hibernation looks to be coming to an end. The cafe has been altered inside to provide more seating,and apparently we were the first group to stop there this year,but hopefully the business will pick up now. The return was partly the same,but diverted to Chipsted and Dunton Green then Otford to Heaverham before returning to the Pilgrims Way .and Wrotham. A distance of 30 miles,at 13 mph average,and 1800 ft of climbing,without any problems. except having to negotiate so many darned potholes!.
A new start ,saw 14 riders ,including a new couple ,Jenny and Rob, and with Richard leading,set off from Wouldham on a pleasant,dry but windy morning.There was also a welcome for Phil Gerry . In the main,it was nice to have the wind in our favour,and the route was undulating,going to Halling,Cuxton and up to Cobham before Shorne Ridgeway and the lower road to Higham Station.From there,it was open countryside with the wind varying in directions,to Cooling,High Halstow to the break at Rose’s cafe,Stoke village.The group pretty much filled the small cafe,but the staff were accommodating and efficient.It was fairly inevitable that the return was going to be with headwinds,so it was more direct, but it provided good views overlooking the Medway estuary, past Kingsnorth to Hoo St Werburgh and Upnor. The quieter roads gave way to fairly manic traffic through the Frindsbury Industrial Estate, and into Rochester,passing the castle and Cathedral before Borstal and the finish at Wouldham. A distance of 40 miles at about 13 mph and over 2000 ft of climbing,but fortunately,without incident or punctures
On arrival at the starting point of Lenham,it was raining so hard that the general consensus was to call it a day. A shame ,as 10 people had turned up,including Ralph who had cycled in from Boughton Mon,and Brigitte who had cycled part way. Ralph decided to cycle back home,instead of a lift,as he said he couldn’t get any wetter.Very brave! Typically the weather seemed to improve a bit later in the day,but too late by then.