A Lenham start,with 14 riders,including Geoff,a Pentecostal vicar from the Brewer Street church,Maidstone,joiningbfor the first time ,and good to see Steve back after his long lay off following being knocked off his bike a few weeks ago,and breaking his wrist..A dry day,and Richard led,well sort of,but with Inter riders joining ,it is a bit like having to keep them on a leash!!,but Paul and Dell were very good waiting for the slower riders to catch up..The ride headed for the Bethersden garden centre cafe,and set off to Grafty Green.,where Steve came a cropper on a bend,and managed to hurt his other wrist,but fortunately only bruised this time.A nice flat ride thereafter along quiet lanes took them to the break.The cafe has been refurbished,and a lovely log fire was burning,so a very nice stop.The return went on a big loop ,around Bethersden to Hothfield,where Rebecca left,as she had a hospital appointment,so Tim acted as her buddy,and rode back with her, (Thanks TIm ).The remaining riders carried on to Westwell,and Charing,back to Lenham.,where Allan dished out his home made flapjacks,which went down a treat.( thanks Allan).A distance of 40 miles ,at 13 mph,with almost 1900 feet ascents.Russ then manfully cycled off declaring he had to do his 50 miles .
How lucky we continue to be with weather that allows pleasant cycling,and for the first Midweekers ride of the year which started from Yalding station saw a group of 12 ,which divided into two groups,with 5 going off from their usual starting place for a 22 mile flat ride to Paddock Wood. Richard then led a group of 7 to Tunbridge Wells.Good to Have Allan out again after his cold bug.Out on a circuitous route to Horsmonden,and Matfield,then crossing the A 21 at Kippings Cross to Frant ,then very quiet lanes to Hawkenbury,before the busy traffic of Tunbridge Wells and the break at Grosvenor Park cafe.A very good value break,overlooking the winter ice rink that was about to be dismantled.The out route was a bit lumpy,and the return proved a bit flatter.The worse bit ,getting out on the horrendously busy A228 towards Pembury.Thank goodness for the cycle path.Then onto quieter roads of Tudeley and the flat thereafter from Golden Green back to Yalding,where Gary provided everyone with cakes from his recent Ruby wedding celebrations.Much appreciated. Ralph and Phil,then cycled off up the hills to get home to the Maidstone area.A total ride distance of 32 miles at 12 mph and 1600 foot of climbing according to Russell's strava and relive your route computer.
Well another year of midweek rides has come to an end,and without hardly any missed due the weather,has been very successful. The post Christmas ride was from Chestnut Street,and with overnight freezing fog and part icy roads,it would have been easy just to stay at home.However,8 riders still turned up,and with Richard leading headed off to Faversham,with the forecast of the visibility and temperature improving.And so it turned out,but it was still decided to stick to more of the main roads,just in case.The out route went on the old A249 to Bobbing and Iwade,before taking the By pass to Murston.Carrying on through Teynham and Oare to the popular stop at the Swan cafe in Faversham.Fully refreshed it was a quick stop the the cycle shop in Preston Street for Sarah to get herself a new helmet.Then with the sun quite warm and shining beautifully,the return took in quite a lot of the same route to Teynham before going off to Rodmersham Green,Tunstall and Borden without incident,other than Richard's gear shifter cable snapping.A distance of 28.5 miles at about 12 mph. Same again next year hopefully!
The Midweekers, the D plus and the D group took the opportunity at their Christmas Eve Meal of thanking their Leader Richard Valentine for his organisational skills, hard work and dedication to the groups over the last few years. Richard was presented with a thank you card signed by the members and a Restaurant Gift Card to be used in any of nine Maidstone Restaurants. The members really appreciate the work put in by Richard on their behalf. "Thank you" from the Midweekers.
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.