A great turnout of 12 plus the 'elected' leader Russell at Wrotham for our ride on a sunny morning. The route planned was to go to Kelly Holmes' refurbished cafe at the Cyclopark. Ralph had already been there last Saturday but was happy for a re-visit. Richard B had never been to the Cyclopark before. It was great to welcome Ian back from his enforced time out for his first ride in some time. Our ride set off over the M20 footbridge and the warm up climb of the A20 for a right turn onto South Ash Road to Fawkham Green and Horton Kirby. A confusing turn left into a Close which was not a Close in South Darenth and on to Bean and Southfleet to cross the A2 and into the Cyclopark. The park was bustling which was good to see, the cafe had its healthy versions of a full English enjoyed by some. Discussions over the challenge of the 25% Lockyers Hill (see link below) planned for the return led to a wise decision to re-route and avoid it. Within five minutes of having left the 1st puncture of the day befell Rachel - do bikes feel left out at the coffee stops and decide to inflict their revenge? Time taken to fix compensated by removing a loop around Shorne. A fast decent of Cobhambury Road then a right turn for the climb to Luddesdown, Foxendown and Harvel just before which the 2nd puncture befell Keith. Richard B and Bryan K had to go on as they had commitments leaving 11 soon down to 10 when Keith, having cycled in, headed straight for home. Arriving safely back at Wrotham having covered a modest 30 miles at an average of 12 mph but 2250 feet of climbing.
The route on Strava
Top 10 toughest climbs in the Kent Alps
By way of a change,it was decided to do a ride over the other side of the water in Essex.Eleven turned up at the ferry crossing at the town Pier Gravesend,and filled the deck with the bikes.The slightly more mature managed to use their bus passes and get a freebie.(sorry everyone else).Sarah L,phoned to say she was running late and would do her own ride.On reaching Tilbury,Richard led,but very quickly,Tony P had problems with a new rubbing mudguard,which was taken off and hidden in a bush for retrieval on the return.The route went via Tilbury marshes,not the prettiest part of the county,with dozens of Gypsy horses in nearby fields.It was then onto Chapel St Mary,and on relatively quiet roads to Orsett and charming Hornden on the Hill. A brief stop at Langdon nature reserve for calls of nature,and carrying on to Noaks Bridge,and various lanes to Hanningfield .Just before the Reservoir,a few of the riders nearly ended up in the bushes,when a van towing a wide trailer passed extremely close on a bend with oncoming traffic.However the break at the cafe was pleasant and tranquil,with lovely views over the waterThe return leg was identical, but by sheer chance just after leaving the cafe the group saw Sarah travelling in the opposite direction,so she turned round and joined us.Another stop at Langdon for ice creams!then back to Tilbury just in time for a ferry,where initially the Captain said he could only take 10 bikes,but soon relented ,so everyone got on with a bit of a squeeze.An overall distance of about 46 miles,mainly in the sunshine.
Russell stepped forward to lead the ride from Lenham with a group of 11,including Caroline, who now being semi retired joined the group for the first time.The morning started bright and the route out went out to Charing and Westwell to Boughton Aluph,when Peter suggested taking a bigger looped ride before the break,as he knew a lot of the local lanes.Firstly going through Wye onto lovely,but quite hilly roads to Brabourne and Brook,where Denise dropped off as it went past her house.It was then onto the stop at the cafe in Wye.It was very busy,but the staff were excellent.Russell then retook the lead,and took the group into more new territory up the puff of White Hill towards the Challock area.The country lanes were playing havoc with Ralph's waggly rear mudguard,which found it's way into a local wheelie bin.With rain clouds really gathering,it was onto Stalisfield,before the nice descent of Hubbards Hill,and into the heavy rain back to Lenham.A distance of 40.5 miles miles at about 13 mph,and over 2250 feet of ascents.Thankyou Russell and Peter for a lovely ride.
A good turnout of 14 riders with Tony Palmer leading. The morning was dull and breezy with rain forecasted to arrive around 2PM. We made our way out through the narrow tree-lined lanes towards Claygate which gave us protection against the strong southerly wind and then on to Marden Beech. We continued at a good steady pace into the headwind across Marden Thorn, past Blantyre House HM Prison and then up towards Goudhurst via Ladham Lane.
Without any prior notification, Caroline and her team in the Weeks Bakery and Tea Rooms at Goudhurst served breakfasts promptly in the upstairs tea room which has splendid views across the Weald. The Bakery is a new venue for the Midweekers and it is certainly worth another visit.
Spots of rain accompanied us during our lumpy return, through Horsmonden, Castle Hill, Knowle Road and Laddingford, back to Yalding Station. The heavy rain started shortly thereafter with those cycling home receiving a good soaking.
A distance of 30.5 miles with ascent of 385 metres at 13.9 mph average.
A group of 9 started off from Chestnut St,including Steph,out on her first Midweekers ride,Lisa in preparation for her London 100 ride,and a non Fairy rider relative of Russell's also doing that ride.Richard led on an overcast morning,on a very roundabout route to Faversham.Firstly going out to Iwade,then through the Ridham dock industrial site and around the Eurolink business park maze,before emerging on the newish bye pass ,and NCR1 route to Teynham,which actually took the group into a dead end farmers garden.!.So back tracking ,it was then on to Tonge and Luddenham before arriving at the Swan cafe ,Faversham.Always a good value and hearty break.The return followed a similar route,partially in the rain,through Teynham,where Steph came a bit of a cropper after her wheels got caught in some ruts.Thanks Tony P,for looking after her.After that,it was a well known pedal to Rodmersham,Borden back to Chestnut Street.A distance of 36 miles at about -12.5mph average.
Fourteen turned up at East Malling,including a few we haven't seen for a while,Ian Alcock Kevin and Del,on a dull morning.Richard led out to the Isle of Grain,firstly going out to Aylesford,then onto Cuxton and up the hill to Cobham. On then to Lower Higham before getting to the cafe at. Cliffe,only to find it closed. Ian suggested that we try the newly opened Rose's tea rooms at Lower Stoke,so off we went via High Halstow. The break was really nice and very reasonable.On leaving,Brian found he had a puncture,and unfortunately the new inner tube got pinched so it took a bit longer to get started again into a challenging headwind to Hoo and Chattenden.There Bob took a tumble and hurt his arm and knee ,but with a quick bit of first aid treatment,it was on again to the Medway Enterprise estate,(wish I had gone another way as it was so busy). With time really getting on,some of the riders started peeling away ,whilst the remainder carried on to Snodland and Larkfield to the finish.A longer ride than normal of 51.5 miles,but for some quite a longer as they rode in.
After heavy overnight rain,it was still a very grotty,drizzly and cloudy start from Wrotham.Suprisingly,8 riders still turned up,and with Richard leading ,headed off further into the low clouds via the A20. By the time they reached Ash,everyone was pretty soaked,and the dreaded cyclists shout of " puncture" was heard.Steve was on tubeless tyres,but still managed to get a flat,so it was a quick inner tube job,and away they went,a bit wetter and colder into a northerly wind.However Mother Nature became kinder,and the ride continued along Fawkham Valley Road,to Longfield with it clearing,and by the time the group reached Hawley Garden Centre for the break,all clothing was dry.Strangely,the outward bound didn't seem particularly down hill,but the entire homeward seemed uphill,going out to Hextable,before Sutton at Hone,and those long drags of Mussenden Lane and again up to West Kingsdown. Before the nice down hill to Pilgrims Way and Wrotham.A distance of 28.5 miles ,at about 12.4 mph and 1700 feet ascents.
Phew, that was a scorcher!
A sultry hazy morning greeted the 14 intrepid sun lovers congregating at Staplehurst’s Bell Lane Car Park. Although, no one actually managed to park their car there because it was full by 9:30AM.
Tony Palmer led the day-out ride scheduled, via a lumpy route, to visit Bodiam, Wittersham and Rolvenden with two stops planned. We headed out towards Bodiam via Glassenbury, Benenden and Sandhurst. Fortunately many of the steeper inclines were shaded, keeping the riders fairly cool as the burning sun made its present felt. We made steady progress as there was little wind and were assisted by some unexpected pacemakers on their way to Rye. At Benenden crossroads, Richard gave the leader a warning and a yellow card for going too fast. Some more climbs brought the pace back towards normality. Rebecca resisted temptation to take an even slower ride on the ancient steam locomotive relaxing at Bodiam Station.
Mark continued back towards Sevenoaks leaving the sun lovers to take in some much needed refreshments at the Hub Café at Bodiam. A fairly new watering hole and a recommended stop for those riders with appetites beyond the staple cyclist nutritional diet of baked beans on toast. Sipping coffee/tea and gulping jugs of water quickly replenished lost fluids. After customary snaps, with Bodiam Castle in the background, we ventured onwards towards Ewehurst Green and even more inclines.
At Wittersham the leader had a convenient bout of amnesia when questioned about the number and severity of the hills left to climb. Luckily his mental dexterity returned in time to pause matters at the Bull Inn at Rolvenden, as the perspiration glowed (and flowed) from the sun lovers. After soft drinks all round, with one exception, we continued back via country lanes east of Hemstead Forest, skirted Biddenden and then went though Frittenden.
A distance of 46 miles at 14.4 mph average speed in riding time of 3 hours 14 minutes with climbing ascent of 827metres. The average temperature was 28ºC with a maximum of 40ºC.
A big thanks to Allan (elbows) Brown for these statistics; however, the 40ºC (claimed as his tyre temperatures when practising his sprinting), I believe is somewhat dubious.
Oh, and for the record, zero punctures this week!
Seven Midweekers assembled at Dickley Lane car park. Once the group realised that it was leaderless Ralph offered to lead the group to the Oase cafe at old Romney. However Sarah had already planned at route to Oare. We headed off to Stede Hill but took the wrong right turn. After that first mistake the group found themselves in the lap of the Gods. However the Gods were not pleased and after only 4.5 miles we had suffered 7 punctures. As time elapsed and Andy was suffering an annoying slow puncture the group collectively decided to have the cafe stop at Rodmersham, allowing Andy to mend his puncture. After the welcome cafe stop (even Steve got what he wanted) we set off to Oare. Well into the afternoon Steve and Andy needed to get back by three o'clock. Ralph decided to abandon the Oare destination and turn the ride homeward via Teynham and Doddington on good fast roads to get the lads back in time. At Teynham Ralph got the tenth puncture of the ride. However Steve and Andy did make it back in time. I have no idea what the stats are and quite frankly I was passed caring. A day best forgotten. Come back Richard!
On a day that promised to see the mercury hit the 30s Tony Munn decided to lead a "no thrills no hills" ride to Headcorn Airfield. After welcoming Brian a potential new member the group left on a classic route. This took them via Laddingford, Marden, Staplehurst, and a loop around Headcorn to the airfield .Returning the group by passed Headcorn before heading back this time via Pattenden Lane Marden. A welcome stop was made at a fruit stall where Sarah and David bought strawberries and cherries which they shared out. The ride then continued back to Yalding where the temperature was 34 degrees phew !!!!!! Distance 34 miles Average speed 13.7