A stunning morning greeted a healthy turnout of 14 riders at Charing including John & Kate Bosley on their magnificent tandem. The climb up Charing Hill got us nicely warmed up and we were soon admiring the glorious views over the Downs as we navigated our way to Bridge and the Independent Pedaler cafe. We set ourselves up at an outdoor bench and Adrian relaxed in a deckchair as we enjoyed both the food and the setting. It soon became apparent that Tony P's decaf coffee had not arrived or had it been consumed by someone else? Cue coffeegate - another one was ordered and our group coordinator was happy.
The route home included the drag up to Hastingleigh where we stopped for photos and to admire the views cross country and out to sea. This was followed by the lovely descent to Wye and the traditional route back via Pett Lane. We covered 42 miles at an average speed of 13.2mph and 3,000ft of climbing.
A good turn out of fourteen turned up at Dickley Lane car park on a chilly and breezy day. We soon warmed up with a climb of Hubbards Hill and passed through Faversham and Graveney. Arrival at our café stop in Seasalter was after just one hour and sixteen miles covered. The tide was out so no chance of a swim for Lisa ! Returning via quiet lanes of Hernhill and Stalisfield we waited by a field with five detectorists trying to find treasure whilst Gary and Lisa were picking up free courgettes offered from a roadside table. Gary's was very large indeed and we were pleased he kept it in his rear jersey pocket ! Luckily no incidents or mechanicals for a large group with a good average speed of 14.7 mph and a total distance of 42 miles covered.
Tony Palmer led eight riders out from East Malling to Four Elms on a bright and breezy morning. Tony opted to use Swanton Road, rather than the usual Comp Lane route to Plaxtol; however, the overnight rain and the green moss on the lanes though Mereworth Woods made the roads very slippery and the pace dropped to walking speed. Once past these hazards Adrian thought that he would “give it some welly”; however, his adventure came to an abrupt end when he confronted a tractor coming straight at him. Following this timely lesson, the group headed over to Gracious Lane in Sevenoaks. The steep drop down to Sevenoaks Weald afforded some excellent views, if having time to avert your gaze from the road. The group ventured down Hale Oak Road, with its pleasant winding lane, for the first time to then reach Chiddingstone. Richard caught up with the group at the Elms Café which was perfectly timed to proceed with tackling Ide Hill and Old Terry’s Lodge on the return journey. A distance of 46.75 miles at an average of 13.6 mph and elevation gain of 3,097 feet.
Adrian Cole's inaugural ride lead from Wrotham to Westerham turned out to be quite a challange. Adrian was joined by ten other riders to tackle the climbs up Chelsfield Lane to Well Hill, Cudham Lane North to Downe and Moat Road to Ivy Hatch. The biggest challenge of all to Adrian was to try and persuade the owner of the cafe in Westerham to serve cooked breakfasts or hot meals. . In his defence, the owner did agree to cook breakfasts when Adrian booked the venue the day before. "Let them eat cake" echoed, a high pitched french whine, from le garde-manger. And so the team indulged in various large wedges of gateaux and delicate choux pastries, without a baked bean in sight! An excellent route traversing many new lanes for the group on a warm and sunny day. An excellent start for Adrian. A distance of 41.6 miles at average speed of 14.2 mph with elevation gain of 3,163 feet.
Report by Linton Schwarz
Not quite the normal club-run today. We B+ and the D+ decided to share the route from Staplehurst down to The Hub at Bodiam. The idea was to let us of the leash prompt at 10am for a blast to Bodiam at 18 miles, and the more leisurely D+ could then follow on in order to stagger their arrival. It worked exactly as planned!
We started off with 11 riders, aiming for 15mph for the first leg. We touched 14.8mph for a while, out to Frittenden, Biddenden, and then at Benenden hospital we went down (in truth more up) Green Lane where we lost the advantage. The road was still plagued with potholes and gravel wash-down. After Sandhurst we didn’t fare much better but still managed to arrive at 11:30, AND the D+ hadn’t overtaken us…
There is a tale to be told at The Hub. Apart from the very nice food, two riders couldn’t be found, and their meals went unclaimed. The owner later rang me to apologise for the mix-up, but in reality it wasn’t her staff’s fault. I would recommend this stop any day! Jonathan had a ‘stacked pancake & fruits’ dish, and had to fight off Inci trying to blag a bite. We wouldn’t have minded really as a very occasional B+ rider, but today she was riding with the D+’s AND was only a visitor to our table… what a cheek!
I had planned to take an easier pace for the return, but I guess the pancakes (yes I had one like Jonathan) needed to kick in, so we enjoyed the shaded lanes back north through Four Throws and Hartley where we regrouped and got ready for the downhill stretch past Glassenbury, Colliers Green back to Staplehurst.
My stats were just over 35 miles total, 2162 feet of climb, 14.1 mph average. Other riders sprinted on the final leg, with Dave P coming in at 14.4 mph. Well done all!
Although the Met Office forecast strong winds it did not deter four hardy souls from venturing out from Appledore with a scheduled stop at Winchelsea Beach Cafe. Tony's cunning plan was to start by heading straight into the Southwesterly force through as much tree cover and leeward contours as possible to then take full advantage of the tailwind after break. Initial implementation of the plan proved challenging after Wittersham Village. Riding into the headwind was as sapping as climbing up Vigo Hill with flat tyres because there are no hills and there are few trees in this marsh land. When the intrepid four reached the wooded cover they then encountered broken branches and large twigs strewn across the road as well as showers of leaves and other debris descending upon them. Tenacity, however, won the day and the intrepid four, upon reaching Pett, were now able to reap their reward. A mighty tailwind enabled a quick sprint across Pett Level to break in the welcome shelter of the Winchelsea Beach Cafe. Over lunch, the four decided to take full advantage of the tailwind by racing back straight along the Military Road rather than following the planned route. The group clocked up the 4.64 miles along the Military Road in 11 minutes 31 seconds at an average speed of over 24 mph. The total ride distance of 37.50 miles was at an average of 15.1 mph and elevation gain of 1501 feet.
Eight riders left base on a dry and warm morning and after a gentle warm up on flat roads we started climbing in a north westerly direction towards the north downs. Good to have Gary back as he sorted out an issue with Simon's gearing. On a few occasions we passed a convoy of motorcycles on an organised event; not sure what is was but it wasn't good for the lungs. Unusually we headed down the Knatts Valley Road towards Farningham and this stretch was enjoyed by all but less so was the slog up Mussenden Lane to the cafe at Speedgate. After the break we climbed to the A20, then a brisk stretch on the main road before climbing Old Terry's Lodge and the descent of Exedown. The climbing wasn't over though as we puffed our way up the steepish hill to Crouch but from there it was a pleasant spin back to Yalding. We covered just over 40 miles at an average of 13.9 mph and over 2500ft of climbing.
After the overnight deluge and the threat of heavy rain, with thunder and lightening, sensible members of the group elected to occupy themselves in alternative ways. Four riders, however, had no such back-up plan. Trouble often comes in threes, apparently. Tony's hurriedly composed route to Challock soon came unstuck at Lenham Heath Road as the group turned left into a narrow farm lane to then encounter a gated cobbled bridleway. Bull Hill was chosen to overcome this obstacle; however, half way up the hill Tony was stung on the side of his head, underneath his helmet strap. A debate then ensued as to whether it was a bee or a wasp sting. Tony's comments are not fit for publication here. Still off route, with the Garmins beeping incessantly, the group went straight over the A20 and up Rayners Hill in order to get back on course at the top near the Harrow Inn. A blind motorist coming down the hill forced Tony to swerve into the gutter, full of flint, which resulted in an explosion of yellow gunk in his rear tubeless. Paul and Richard assisted Tony to repair the large split in the tyre while providing their sagacious thoughts on the merits of tubeless tyres. Tony remained convinced that getting covered in yellow gunk on the rare occasion is preferable to fixing multiple punctures. While listening to the debate, and much to his amusement, Jonathan spotted a great photo opportunity as evidence and then proposed that the group take a short-cut to the Kent Gliding Club to make-up time. Fortunately, no further incidents after the break and the intrepid four basked in sunshine as they returned at a steady pace via Westwell and Bethersden. A reduced distance to 36.2 miles at an average of 14.1 mph with elevation of 1,844 feet.
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.