On the return journey at the junction of Hawkenbury Road Graham opted to take the direct route back while the remaining lunatics opted to loop back via Babylon Lane and Green Lane. Chris Moon then left the group to notch up Wierton Hill while Russell and Tony ploughed on through the deteriorating conditions to reach the A229 at Linton. The loop back via Redwall Lane and the short-cut along George Street to Chainhurst enabled the frozen lunatics to meet their 35 mile target.
Distance of 35.6 miles at 13 mph average with elevation gain of 823feet.
Five riders set off from Bell Lane on a bright sunny but cold morning towards Frittenden. With Tony Palmer leading, the group decided to keep to busier roads in order to avoid the risk of ice in enclosed tree-lined narrow lanes. The group, however, encountered the occasional patch of ice and slush along the roads through Biddenden and along Tenterden Road around Parkgate. The group took full advantage of the stiff easterly chilly breeze at Tenterden by turning right along the A28 towards Rolvenden. The downhill section through Rolvenden Layne, passing Wittersham Road Station, enabled the group to progress at a steady pace into the easterly headwind.
The wind became more noticeable as the group headed through Wittersham and down across the the Isle of Oxney. After 22 miles the café offered welcome respite from the biting wind. The huge cheese scones in the café proved irresistible to all riders. Gary managed to devour two!
The long climb up the B2080 towards Tenterden soon warmed up the riders; however, the short-cut along the lane past Finchden Manor was not a good idea, as there were many patches of ice from several overflowing streams. The flat roads on the return through High Halden, Smarden and Headcorn were much safer and also quicker with the strong tailwind.
Distance 43.7miles, 1772ft elevation gain at 14.1mph average.
Spring sprung and 3 met up in the Dickley Lane, Lenham car park for my planned route (December 9th route reversed). Having made off and heading down Ham Lane heard calls of 'Wait for me' from Bernadette who had missed our start by minutes. Now 4, just into Old Ham Lane and 3 danced on ice, well it is Winter Olympics time, fortunately all stayed upright. Followed the intended route to Platts Heath and on towards Egerton then a wrong turn lead us on a great route to Barnfield. Usual route along Pivington Lane to reach Pluckley for another deviation to Hothfirled and Goddington House. South of Ashford via Great Chart and Singleton reaching Mersham to emerge on the A20 for our break at the Blue and White Cafe, Smeeth. Up to Bradbourne Lees, Bradbourne Downs to accept Peter's challenge of the ascent to the top of Wye Downs. Fantastic views, first time for some made it well worth the climb for a photo shoot. Down from the Downs and Peter left us to return home to Brook having cycled to the start from there earlier. Kept to the route returning via Boughton Lees, Eastwell, Westwell, Charing, Charing Heath, Lenham Heath and Lenham Square. Roly who had expected the start to be from there had missed a great ride, sorry Roly. 47.5 miles with 2600 feet of climbing just making the 13 mph average.
Route on Strava
I was unable to coerce, despite generous bribes, any of the Easyrider Plus Group to join me to Chiddingstone.
The overnight frost lingered, resulting in very slippery lanes with many patches of ice and slush. The stream at Crouch Bottom had broken its banks leaving a large puddle to navigate with slush on entry and exit. Spots of rain started at 11:00AM; however, the temperature did not rise as forecasted.
The café at Chiddingstone was shut so I pushed on via Hoath Corner to break at Penshurst Place café. A warm venue which enabled me to defrost my toes. My return journey through Leigh, Hildenborough, Golden Green and West Peckham was complemented by a decent tail wind and unwelcomed heavy rain. Distance 48 miles with 2300 ft elevation gain at 13mph average.
Two hardy riders confronted a cold and very wet day’s riding, with only slight trepidation, from Bell Lane Staplehurst. Tony Palmer and Chis Moon eagerly tackled the harsh elements passing through Biddenden, Rolvenden Layne, Wittersham and Ebony to reach the dry sanctuary of the Tenterden Garden Centre at Reading Street. The wet bedraggled pair were greeted with the comment of “you must be bonkers” by a member of the restaurant catering staff. Her statement contained a grain of truth. After warming the bones through and with hot sustenance consumed the bonkers pair faced misty damp conditions on their flatter return journey. Their route back skirted Tenderden, passed through High Haldon, Smarden and bypassed south of Headcorn. A distance of 43.9 miles at 13.3 mph average speed with elevation gain of 1,649 feet.
Hi Tony, Just to say good luck and best wishes on taking the coordinates role from Bernadette.I am sure the group will continue strong with your leadership.. Richard