Nine riders set off on flattish roads until we turned off at Leigh where we encountered some modest lumps. As a result we kept up a nice pace, only interrupted by a cluster of riders heading the opposite direction on a Caterham to Canterbury charity ride. The stop at the Cafe in the country park was less busy than last time and was enjoyed by all. Paul managed to coerce a lady into taking a picture with quite a friendly technique which left her with a smile on her face, but still no idea how to use the camera. The route back took us up Kenward and Red Hill so a good chance to test the legs. We covered 44 miles at an average of 14.5mph and 2000ft of climbing.
Twelve riders set out from Barming Heath on the hottest day of the year so far. Only a couple of miles into the ride and Phil had the only puncture of the day although two others had chains come off later on in the day. Despite the heat there was a decent amount of shade as we went out through West Malling, Crouch, Dunks Green and past Poult Wood golf course. The café break was at the Old Fire Station in Tonbridge where service was good with attentive staff. Returning through Tudeley and Matfield there was less shade and we were heating up considerably. We stopped on Castle Hill at Brenchley where Tony helpfully suggested to Anita that she lay on the grass in the shade of the trees to recover 'like his dog does' . He then gave a demonstration much to the amusement of everyone. At this point the group separated and five decided to go Teapot Island for ice creams and the remainder returned via Yalding and a last climb up from Barming bridge and North Street. A very hot day with a distance of 41 miles covered at an average speed of 13.5 mph with an ascent of 2257 feet.
Tony led the group of 8 out on a lovely summer's day keeping mainly to a lumpy route with plenty of shade. The usual suspects were joined by Richard, a new member, and potential members David and Jim. Tony's Garmin 820 decided to stop functioning near Frant and he had to resort to Google maps so as to enter Bewl Water by the tradesman's entrance. While watching the sun glisten on the reservoir it only seemed appropriate that Tony should buy the group some ice creams as compensation for getting completely lost. Suitably bribed the group followed him back with only David and Jim bailing out at Goudhurst: One too many hill perhaps. A distance of 42.5 miles at 13mph average with an elevation gain of 2,812 feet.
What’s the best way to Chilham? Put it in the fridge of course!!! (Boom boom) Or ride along some country lanes through downpours, puddles and battle strong head winds! Five riders set out together, with Richard Valentine and Chris Moon making up our numbers, but Four punctures endured by one rider proved too much and meant an early bath (to go with the shower). We were joined at the Cafe stop at Chilham by Bri and Anita. Good food and better weather meant a nicer second half ride, but a split occurred and the two groups made their own way back to the start. A good route, which would be nice in “Summer” was 41 miles, 2121ft of climbing(approx) and despite everything,good fun. Thanks to Paul, Colin, Richard, Chris, Anita and Brian, for sharing the ride, jelly babies and the craic!
The B+ Group joined the two D Groups at Bell Lane Staplehurst in a minute’s silence as a mark of respect to the late Richard Byatt. The ride to Bodiam was almost silent and the mood sombre as the six riders made their way through the lumpy lanes around Hawkhurst. The group had not lost their appetite though and decided to indulge in a posh wake at the Hub. The group consumed 1 eggs benedict, 3 bacon pancake towers with maple syrup, 1 scrambled egg with sourdough, 1 eggs royale and not a baked bean in sight. Tony Palmer pushed on through Sandhurst and Rolvenden in an attempt to get back earlier than normal. The group arrived back at 1:45PM in time to avoid the forecasted showers. A distance of 36.3 miles at average of 14.0 mph and ascent of 2,470 feet.
Three amigos set out from the King &Queen and within 200 yards were stopped by an elderly lady who needed help in getting her husband out of bed. He had been released from hospital with a broken shoulder etc, but was unable to get up. Assistance rendered we got underway again and made good speed towards Teston bridge and Yalding. The roads were very quiet and we made good speed to the little cafe at Headcorn,via Butts Green Road & Babylon Lane. Panini and tea consumed, Ulcombe Hill awaited, with a rush down Chegworth Valley Road to follow. Hospital Road gave us sight of an enormous bird of prey chasing a pigeon. A nice ride along the river path brought us to East Malling and a walk through the churchyard, where an enormous wedding was going on! Tony W, Gary P and Adrian did 44.14 miles, 2,369ft of climbing at 14.2mph.
Four riders set off from Yalding with the promise of meeting Linton en route in Ditton. True to his word he was there but by this stage the other four had climbed both Yalding and Teston Hills so were properly warmed up. We encountered a madman as we entered Boxley village - unfortunately for him he picked on the wrong man in Tony W as well as two motorcyclists who were also not impressed with his behaviour. We were soon making our way up Hollingbourne Hill and the first half of climbing culminated in Stockers Hill just before the stop at the Village Shop.
The clouds were gathering so after initially taking outdoor seats we were soon rushing indoors as the rain started to fall. After the usual slow stop our weatherman Gary checked his barometer and we were off moving with a very dark cloud following us on the home journey via Lenham. It caught up with us eventually and the heavens opened so we took respite under a few trees until our weatherman said things were improving. Linton took a more direct route back to Ditton and the remains four eventually arrived back at Yalding after completing 50 miles at an average of 13.5mph with 3,500ft of climbing.
Seven riders set out from Mote Park including Nick who was new to the group. We followed the D+ group out of the park at Willington Street and through Downswood and Otham towards Lenham. A climb up Hubbards Hill and along the lovely long stretch of road to Painters Forstal and our café break at Brogdale fruit farm just outside Faversham. Luckily the only rain we encountered all day was whilst we in the café. Return was through damp quiet lanes to Stalisfield Green and across the A20. At the bottom of Hollingbourne hill we met up with the D+ group again who were repairing their second puncture of the day. Along the Pilgrims Way to Detling and returning to Mote Park via Bearsted. Nick, our newest recruit then had the prospect of a ride back to Goudhurst with menacing dark skies overhead. A distance of 44 miles at an average speed of 13.9mph and a total ascent of 2585 feet.
The planned ride from Appledore was cancelled on Saturday morning due to Storm Hannah and the group sought refuge in the tree lined lanes beyond Hartley after climbing up Holly Hill. Tony's hurriedly constructed route opted to clock up feet climbed rather than go for higher speeds in the blustery wind. All was going fairly well to plan until arriving at the Oaks Cafe in Manse Parade Swanley only to discover it was now closed on Saturdays. The group continued on route to the very popular Riverside Tea Rooms by Eynsford Bridge. The long climb up Bower Lane, and ascents at Tinkerpot Lane and Stansted Hill ensured that the wind had little impact on the riders! A distance of 43 miles at average of 12.5 mph with elevation gain of 3,652 feet.
A stunning April day greeted the 10 riders at Headcorn. Jonathan's garmin was having an off day so we ended up reversing the planned route but no one seemed too bothered given the fantastic scenery and weather. Things were going ok at first but we soon began to challenge the most u turns in a ride and Linton's mapping skills were called in. We managed to circumnavigate the road works on the A20 near Sevington but then started the inward route home, and in the process bypassed the cafe stop. This was soon realised and after another quick u turn we were heading down the A20 to the Blue & White cafe at Smeeth.
The route home was less hazardous, passing through Wye and the traditional route to Charing via Westwell. Everyone kept up a good pace with a helping breeze on the way home. About 47 miles were covered, at an average speed of 13.8 mph and 1700ft of climbing.