It was really blustery on arrival at Lenham,and surprisingly Tony P,turned up after returning from holiday early due to bad weather. He joined,Brigitte,Gary,Ray,Jonathan and Richard.It was decided to go to Wye,and with Richard leading,the out route went through Charing and Westwell along the very quiet Pilgrims Way before the busier A251 and Boughton Aluph to the cafe in Wye village,a nice relaxing stop. With the sun really warm the return was more wind assisted going to Brook and the A20. Richard managed to miss a turning,and the group ended up going through Ashford town centre before returning to the quieter lanes of Great Chart and Pluckley and the climb to Egerton and return to Lenham. A distance of 38 miles at about 14 mph average.
Jonathan led the four riders on a glorious morning, although the air was a lttle chilly. After navigating the short stretch down the A21 we were soon meandering down the lanes heading towards Bells Yew Green. From there we made our way to Frant where we took advantage of a bench on the green and had a well deserved breather taking in the lovely views and to give Tony's heartbeat a chance to get back in sync. We then took the undulating A267 to Mark Cross before turning off and going through Wadhurst and on to the Courtyard Cafe in Ticehurst where we were able to sit outside in the warm sunshine. The cafe was very quiet with the local community engrossed with the royal wedding.
After the break the ride was more lumpy and the average speed started to come down from the 15 mph recorded before the stop. We headed towards Hawkhurst and turned down Park Lane, a gravel path through the Bedgebury Forest. Road bikes were hardly suitable but we took it slowly and came out unscathed the other side taking in the magnificent scenery. After exiting the forest we made our way up the steep incline to Goudhurst, and after pausing for breath made our way back to Brenchley via Horsmonden. We completed the 38 miles at an average of 13.5 mph, and climbing over 3,000 ft.
Tony Palmer led the group of four riders on a cloudy morning with rain forecasted at 11:00AM and at 2:30PM. The plan was to ride along the sea wall basked in glorious sunshine with a gentle westerly breeze pushing us along from Lydd-on-sea to Hythe; however, this idyllic activity didn’t materialise. We headed south through a series of narrow lanes to Brooklands and then took the lane, tucked behind the church, across Walland Marsh, towards Lydd. After encountering a few spots of rain crossing Denge Marsh we climbed the largest incline on the route, which was the ramp over the Romney, Hythe and Dymchurch Railway Line at Lydd-On-Sea.
The sea was calm and there was little breeze but there was no sign of any sunshine. We travelled through Greatstone and Littlestone and then took the narrow sea wall towards the sluice at St. Mary’s Bay; however, the broad red sea wall path onwards was strewn with large pebbles, flotsam and jetsam. BriKav suffered a puncture which called for Plan B. So, we rode along the A259 through Dymchurch to the Light Railway Café at Hythe. Our return route took us along the quiet country lanes through Botolph’s Bridge, Newchurch, Ivychurch and Brenzett and we arrived back before the forecasted rain. We maintained a steady pace throughout our ride; however, where the recorded elevation gain came from is a mystery.
A distance of 45.1 miles at 14.6 mph average speed with elevation gain 375 feet.
Phil Harvey led the group of five riders on a route that looped around Bewl Water with a scheduled break at the Greedy Goat Café in Ticehurst. As promised by Phil, the route was nice and lumpy with climb up Knowle Road being the first of several ascents. Reaching the top of lane after Sparrow’s Hill, however, gave the group a splendid panoramic view of Bewl Water, as it glistened in the sunlight. The route included many shaded lanes through wooded valleys; however, after 24 miles it was time to take on refreshments. Phil had negotiated with the proprietor of the Café to stay open after midday to cater for our group, so we have the place all to ourselves. We headed back along the B2087 crossing the A21 at Flimwell on to the A268 to turn left on to Slip Mill Road just before Hawkhurst. Joining the A229, at Tubslake, we then turned left on to B2085 through Glassonbury. The route deviated to admire the architectural beauty of Blantyre House Prison before descending to the flat Weald. The faster main roads, with fewer potholes, on the return journey, enabled the group to maintain a steady pace.
The group congregated on a cold, drab and miserable morning: the summer had retreated and shorts were abandoned. Amnesia had got the better of two riders as they had left their helmets behind. Adrian also forgot his glasses so he cancelled his ride for the day. Tony led the group of seven riders out on his route through Bapchild, Oare, Faversham and Graveney to Seasalter. The planned ride now included a stop at Faversham so that Jo could purchase a cheap helmet. After successfully navigating through Borden and Tunstall Tony blundered, at Rodmersham Green, by missing the road to Bapchild. Nevertheless, the scenic lanes around Lynsted and long downhill run into Teynham more than compensated.
After swift visits to several charity shops in Faversham, Jo conceded that it would be quicker to make her purchase at the Bike Warehouse. While waiting outside the shop, the group, munching on various ration, became emboldened for a longer ride by venturing on to Tankerton. This inspiration proved fortuitous because the café at Seasalter appeared to be closed as we passed. The Seaview café in Tankerton was buzzing, however, we squeezed into the remaining seats inside to warm our bones.
After gaining tentative group approval, and not deterred by his earlier navigational oversight, Tony took an improvised route back through Yorkletts, Dargate and Hernhill to Faversham. The impromptu route proved rewarding with some beautiful countryside and quaint villages. Luckily Gary spotted the left turn, after Faversham, at Ospring to return home via a familiar route.
Tony Palmer led the group of three riders to visit Bodiam Castle and then return via Beckley, Wittersham and Rolvenden. The glorious sunny weather necessitated smothering our exposed extremities with sun cream and attending to regular re-hydration. The route to Bodiam offered shady lanes through Glassenbury, Benenden and Sandhurst. With little wind and some concentrated effort tackling numerous inclines the group reached the castle in just over 75 minutes at an average speed of 14.9 mph.
We stopped at the Hub Café at Bodiam for an early lunch and to take plenty of fluid on board. The return route took us through Ewehurst Green, Beckley, Wittersham and Rolvenden Layne. As our water supplies were running low we stopped at the convenience shop in Rolvenden Village to replenish our tanks and to consume sugar boosting snacks. We continued back via quiet country lanes of Halden Lane, Forsten Lane and Biddenden Road to reach Frittenden. The slight tailwind ensured that we maintained our steady pace all the way back to Bell Lane.
A distance of 46.2 miles at 14.6 mph average speed with elevation gain 2,795 feet.
Peter Collins led this lumpy ride, aptly named ‘Hills and Houses (AKA Stately Piles)’, starting from Witches Lane at Riverhead. The group of four riders crossed the A25 on to the B2042 to then turn right into Back Lane’s pleasant wooded valley. In less than ½ mile we had transitioned from suburbia into peaceful countryside epitomised by a mewing buzzard circling on thermals. The long slog up Back Lane brought us on to Goathurst Common, near Ide Hill. We then ventured down Yorkshill which is not for the faint hearted, particularly when wet leaves aid your decent. All reached Bough Beech Reservoir safely where the sun, glistening on this vast water, prompted Tony to mug a bored twitcher to take our group snap. We pressed on to Chiddingstone, with the castle to our right, we bagged our first pile. It would have been rude not to pay Penshurst Place a visit as we were in the vicinity.
Peter led us through the Penshurst Estate road on towards Leigh. I’m not sure if we counted Hall Place at Leigh because you can’t see it from the road. At Hildenborough, from our vague encounters with aristocracy, we thought that we would take morning coffee with Dame Kelley Holmes; however, she apparently had other prior engagements. Our next pile was encountered at Ightham Mote where we were reminded of the hills element of this ride. We crawled up to Ivy Hatch. We headed on towards Godden Green along Stone Street Road with the expectation of visiting Knole House. We skirted Knole Park, so that was good enough to count. An impromptu excursion to Seal, Kemsing and Otford ensured that we took full advantage of the sunshine.
A distance of 39.2 miles at 13.4 mph average with an elevation gain of 2,503 feet.
Mark Phillipson brought along his personal entourage to boost the B+ Group to 8 riders. Mark’s renowned preference for lumpy routes was revealed quite early as Wierton Hill came into sight.
It became apparent, as we climbed our first lump, that we had all overdressed, particularly as the sun suddenly made an unexpected appearance through the cloudy morning haze. We continued our lumpy ride by passing through the Loose Valley, via Boughton Lane and Teasaucer Hill.
We headed on towards Dean Street and East Farleigh and then turned left to climb up Vicarage Lane and Willows Lane to reach Heath Road. This route provided spectacular views over the Weald and the Medway Valley. We dropped down into Yalding and then passed through East Peckham as the sun shone brightly.
By the time we had reached our scheduled stop, at the Weathered and Worn Café in Hadlow, there was a strong urge to shed our excess apparel. We sat outside, properly disrobed, in the pleasant sunshine to cool down and to soak up some early-season rays.
A flatter ride back through Golden Green, East Peckham, Laddingford and Collier Street enabled us to maintain a steady pace back to Marden. Jim, on his road to recovery, declared 2 miles from home that his tanks were about spent, so our prompt arrival back was apt.
A distance of 38.3 miles at 14 mph average with an elevation gain of 1,148 feet.
Ian Hilton extricated himself from the warmth of Annies Café, in the Mid Kent Shopping Centre Allington, to lead the group of six riders to the Teal Café at Hildenborough. In order to avoid cycling along the A20 Ian led the group up the metalled path from Howard Drive through to Hermitage Lane. Going up past the hospital we then turned right on to Heath Lane and continued on to North Pole Road heading in a westerly direction. Aided by humorous conversations (thank you Bernadette), we travelled at a steady pace through the quiet and familiar lanes of West Malling, Offham, Platt, Crouch, Plaxtol and Shipbourne. Ian’s preference for descents became increasingly apparent as we sped down Riding Lane to reach the B245 London Road in next to no time. Taking the B245 straight up the hill, we promptly reached the comfort of the popular Teal Café. The café was extremely busy; however, with a waitress service, we were quickly on our way again after enjoying the banter and our culinary delights.
We returned along the same route until Dunk’s Green. Ian opted to continue along Hamptons Road to then turn right down High House Lane towards Hadlow. A good pace was maintained we as headed eastwards through Golden Green, East Peckham and Wateringbury. While the rain threatened it remained dry with a gentle but cool breeze.
A distance of 45 miles at 14.1 mph average with an elevation gain of 2203 feet.
With an excellent turnout of riders at the Village Hall Richard and Tony decided upon a joint group ride with a stop at Headcorn Aerodrome. The group of 17 riders, led by Tony, started by going down Church Hill and turning sharp left (and too sharp for some) into Peens Lane and then continuing south easterly through Green Lane and Babylon Lane. The lanes were very mucky with plenty of pot holes focusing the riders’ attention. The group reached the scheduled refreshment stop, after 10 miles, by using New House Lane and Shenley Lane.
The cafe was very busy with prospective adrenaline junkies because the flights were grounded due to low cloud. The catering staff quickly served up refreshments. Some were disappointed not to have time to consume their customary bacon butty. Roly’s president’s group then rolled in, unexpectedly, having arrived at the same conclusion to avoid the limited capacity of the Lenham cafes. While sitting outside was pleasant, the riders began to feel chilly prompting an immediate return to the road.
The group headed north easterly through Bell Lane, Bedlam Lane, Sherway Road and Southernden Road towards Grafty Green. Rachel shared out her hermaphrodite jelly bears to boost energy levels to aid the climb up to Boughton Mulherbe Church. The sun made a brief appearance at the church which prompted Richard to get his camera out. The riders’ stomachs were now beginning to rumble, so it was time to return by turning left along Park Lane and left again on to Lenham Road. Now sufficiently incentivised, the group sped along the ridge’s roads, aided by a decent tailwind, to reach the Village Hall in a perfect time for the SFA birthday lunch.