On a glorious bright and sunny day Phil Harvey led a group of six riders from Headcorn to Brogdale fruit farm on the outskirts of Faversham. After climbs at Boughton Malherbe and Hubbards Hill, quiet lanes with open views of the countryside look the group through Lenham and Painters Forstal to the café stop at Brogdale. Despite a coach party and a large group of Sittingbourne triathletes resplendent in their smart red and black club jerseys service was quick and food excellent. The return took us through Charing Heath, Pluckley and Smarden. In total, a distance of 36 miles was covered at an average speed of 14.1mph with 1844 feet of ascent.
Jonathan Engwell led ten riders out on a chilly but dry day. The gates were closed at the far end of the East Malling Research Centre, so Jonathan's ad hoc navigation skills were put to the test. Adrian peeled off at Comp Lane to leave nine riders to enjoy Jonathan's well planned route which included some new lanes. The cafe in the country park proved popular with dog owners; however, their quick service had us on our way again. Suitably fuelled several riders attempted some PBs up Kenward Ramp and Red Hill on the return journey.
Distance of 40.9 miles at average speed of 13.7mph average speed with elevation gain of 1966 feet.
Tony Palmer led seven riders southwards towards Benenden on a warm day, aided by a cool North Westerly breeze. Despite the lumpy outbound route, the group reached the Hub Café in Bodiam by 11:30 AM. The group continued their lumpy ride returning through Ewhurst Green, Beckley, Wittersham and Rolvenden Layne.
When questioned, at Rolvenden, about the number of hills still to climb Tony continued his running evasive commentary by declaring that the route had lumpier than he could remember.
A distance of 45.7 miles at 14.0 mph average speed with elevation gain of 2,966 feet.
Russell Chidwick’s meticulously planned route culminated with the Red Arrows flying right over the group while returning along the Pilgrims Way. Russell led a group of eight riders along the lumpy outbound route which involved Gracious Lane, Ide Hill Village and Emmett’s Garden and a stop at Toys Hill to admire the panoramic view of the Weald. A perfect backdrop for the group snaps. The group also stopped to view the splendour of Chartwell House on its way to the Westerham Cycle Café.
Dee and Colin decided to ride back along the A25 which was unfortunate because they missed the fast lanes along the Pilgrims Way and the scheduled flyover ;-) Great planning Russell!
A distance of 45.8 miles at 13.1 mph average speed with elevation gain of 3,458 feet.
It was really nice for Tony P that the B+ Group was able to attract 16 riders at Wouldham on a day following horrendous rain .Richard V,led and set off for the Isle of Grain.After going through Rochester,there was a brief sightseeing stop at Upnor Castle,and a photo opportunity.The ride then carried on to Hoo and Kingsnorth,before arriving at the intended stop at Rose’s cafe,Lower Stoke.Richard failed miserably with his forward planning as the shutters were well and truly down.Ah! Plan B, Roger suggested Buckland Lakes cafe at Cliffe Woods,so without so much as a muttering from the hungry riders,sheepishly the leader headed off again,and after going through High Halstow,and Cooling,reached the cafe,was very relieved to find it open.On later reflection,with the large numbers,it turned out to be a far better option,and sitting outside overlooking the lake was nice. Back in the saddle the return trundled out to Lower Higham and Chalk,before the slight pant up Thong Lane to Cobham and the whizz down Cobhambury Hill to Cuxton.The last leg,and it was over the M2 cycle path back to Wouldham,with the sun still shining. A distance of 39 miles at about 13.8 mph average.Thankyou everyone .
The D Groups and the B + Group all met up on a warm and sunny morning at Yalding Station to offer three different routes. Tony Palmer recruited nine riders for his lumpy route to Four Elms, which took advantage of the shade provided by Godden Woods, Knole Park, Sevenoaks Common along Gracious Lane, Stubbs Woods and Goathurst Common. A quick stop at the Ide Hill Village Stores provided the opportunity for the group snap with a panoramic backdrop.
Upon arrival at the Elms Café, John stated that he thought he was riding to Headcorn with the D+ Group! Much to the amusement of his fellow riders, he was consoled by reassuring him that we could, if he wished, return via Headcorn. He declined, so we returned using a flat direct route picking up the pace aided by a decent tailwind.
Total distance of 39.2 miles at 14.1 mph average with an ascent of 1,735 feet.
Jonathan Engwell led a group of five in bright, breezy and cooler conditions after the overnight storms. The outward journey benefitted from the following wind but we were wary of the headwind on the return. We did a loop around Iwade but were soon lost in a new housing estate which had been built on the edge of the Sittingbourne industrial estate not picked up on Ride with GPS. We soon navigated back on our route and passed through Tonge, Teynham, and Conyer on our way to Faversham. We then took the usual route to the coast through Graveney enjoying a good burn along the Seasalter front where the Maidstone missile led the way.
We arrived at the Seaview cafe at Tankerton to be met by Tony's wife and dog and enjoyed the views out to sea whilst enjoying the food. After a photo session we made our way back and soon marshalled Tony to the front to give the rest of us some much needed shelter. Russell had an afternoon commitment so he made a direct journey back along the A2 whilst the rest of us did a loop up to Rodmersham, through Tunstall and on to Oad St. At this point I made a mistake by leading the group down Woodgate Lane which was not fit for road bikes so we carried our bikes down the byway until we joined the road at Danaway. From there it was a short hop back to Newington via Bull Lane.
We completed 51 miles at an average of 14mph, with no punctures but some worn out cleats!
Tony Palmer led a group of four riders on a humid morning from Staplehurst Bell Lane along the Goudhurst Road towards Glassenbury. While feeling the heat climbing up to the A262 there were patchy clouds around to provide momentary respite from the glaring sun. At Benenden Jules bailed out because she was feeling tired and her broken wrist did not make riding comfortable. The remaining amigos travelled on through Rolvenden, Wittersham and Iden to then turn right into Deadman’s Lane just before Rye. Having encountered some irate and impatient motorists in the dark and shady lane the three survivors navigated their way around Rye’s fortifications to seek sanctuary in Café Zara. After lunch Derek decided to ride home directly to Northiam having ridden in to Staplehurst earlier. He needs to get in as many miles as possible for his Lands End to John O’Groats challenge. Jonathan and Tony were greeted by a cloud of gnats on their return along the Military Road, which made any meaningful discussion impossible. In silence, covered in little black beasts, they climbed Knock Hill to reach Stone in Oxney where normal dialogue was able to resume. The pair rode at a steady pace up the B2080, along the Cranbrook Road and through Frittenden’s lanes to reach the car park just before 2:30PM.
Total distance of 48.7 miles at 14.9 mph average with an ascent of 2489 feet.
Peter Collins led this very lumpy but enjoyable ride from Tunbridge Wells Mount Ephraim to Ashdown Forest with scheduled stops at Duddleswell Tea Rooms and Rothersfield. The route was mainly through thick forest roads and along leafy lanes which offered plenty of shade while tackling several challenging hills. We headed out down Fir Tree Road, passing the cricket pitch, along Hungershall Park to then join High Rocks Lane, which runs parallel to the Spa Valley Railway Line.
We negotiated our way around the back of Groombridge Station to then join the B2100 towards Withyham. On through Hartfield and turning left at Coleman’s Hatch, passing the inn, to then climb “the wall” which comes right at the top of the long ascent of Kidd’s Hill. Our efforts were duly rewarded with some stunning, but hazy, panoramic views across the forest. Further rewards were acquired after belting down the B2026 to the Duddleswell Team Rooms. We convinced ourselves that the extremely large wedges of cream cakes were essential to immediately boost our wilting energy levels.
Suitably indulged, we continued along the B2026 to turn left at Fairwarp, passing through wooded undulating lanes to then cross the A26 near Herons Ghyll. We went along Perrymans Lane, through Burnt Oak, skirted Five Ashes and up Castle Hill to our second break at Rothersfield. Our last stretch involved riding north down Eridge Lane, crossing back over the A26 near Eridge Green, along The Forstal and Eridge Road to retrace our outward route at Broadwater Forest Lane. A distance of 36.7 miles at 12.5 mph average with an elevation gain of 3,600 feet.