A very warm morning saw 19 turn up at Lenham. It had previously been arranged to have two groups,with Tony Palmer being welcomed back to the group leading slightly faster riders,and Russell looking after a group of 10 also. It started to get hot very quickly with the route going over the North Downs through lovely lanes and countryside past Sheldwich and Selling,before looping back through Faversham for an enjoyable outdoor stop at The Cafe at The Creek,Oare. The groups remained divided by several minutes after the break,wilting a bit in the heat and returned through Teynham and Oad Street,before the climb back up the Downs to Hucking,and the final descent of Stede Hill back to Lenham,all without incident.A distance of 38.5 miles and around 2350 ft ascents and about 13.5 and 12.5 mph for both rides
A beautiful warm morning welcomed 14 riders at East Malling. They split into two groups with Jonathan taking a group of five for a lumpy route to the Bredgar and Wormshill light railway cafe, and Colin with wife Sarah leading a group of 9 to Lenham Square. Jonathan headed out through Aylesford to Penenden Heath then up Hollingbourne Hill to the cafe ,which had a mouth watering selection of cakes. A puncture held up their return a bit,which brought them back down to Otham, before more lumps around West Farleigh and Teston. A distance of 37.7 miles and 2320 ft ascents. Colin’s route was flatter, after getting up to Coxheath.A nice outdoor stop at the fish and chip shop in Lenham Square, followed almost immediately with a puncture. Colin stopped along the Pilgrims Way between Harrietsham and Hollingbourne and showed the bungalow where the musician Jeff Beck recorded the song “ High Ho Silver Lining” in 1967.So that tune was going through people’s minds for a while. The ride carried on back to East Malling ,with some dropping off on route. A distance of 37.7 miles and 1913 ft ascents at 12.7 mph average.
Thank you Russell for organising different routes for an Away Day which started at Ham Street with 19 kitted up riders which was quickly sorted out into 3 groups. Jonathan with his slightly quicker riders, then followed by Russell’s group and immediately thereafter by John Cave’s party. Welcome back John and Sarah after their brief life in France. With the very warm weather, the groups did their own thing, and just as well as Russell’s group were held up with Ray getting a puncture and Gary losing a spoke. However everyone managed to get the the Airport Cafe at Westenhanger, after a hilly outward route, and it is no surprise that it won the best “Kent Best Transport Cafe” award. Really busy but so quick and great food, price and service. A big thanks to Richard Barsley, whose car was there and he was able to take Gary and his bike back to Hamstreet. The groups split up again, with Jonathan and John's groups heading for the coast via different routes, and inevitably, Lisa, Sarah and John going for a swim at Hythe, reporting that the marsh was peaceful, and the tail wind helped. Russell had to get back early so Paul took over competently for the second half. John's group eventually completing a 43 mile ride, with Colin saying “It was chuffing lovely”.. At the finish Neil Hunt decided that he didn’t want to miss out on the swim, so went back to a deserted Dymchurch for a dip.
A Lenham start with a crowded car park,for 15 Midweekers and also some SFA members past and present from the West Malling Sofa to Saddles Club out on a birthday ride,so really nice to meet up briefly. Russell then led the MW’s from a ride with gps library ride, and with other leaders ,Jonathan and Matt Gregory all headed off at short intervals for a stop at Badgershill Farm Shop and Garden Centre at Chilham. It was certainly a ride of ups and downs,and narrow country lanes,but the lovely rural scenery made up for the aching legs.it is easy to forget that once out of our urban areas ,we are still lucky enough to have lovely rural cycle routes which went out through Warren St,Otterden , Sheldwich and Selling,before arriving at the stop. The route back continued with many more climbs past Shottenden and Throwley with wonderful views,before the descent to Charing Heath and return to Lenham. A distance of about 33.7 miles and 2700 ft ascents at roughly 12 mph. However that was not enough for Jill, Andy T.V and John G,who all cycled long distances to and from the ride.
A group of 16 started off from Yalding Station,in 2 groups with Jonathan leading for a break at Four Elms Garden Centre, and John Gibbons going to Sissinghurst ,National Trust cafe. . John took his group of 7 on a flattish outward bound route via, Staplehurst and Frittenden, and his return took in a hillier course initially to Curtisen Green and Blantyre House, then the return to the flat passing,Marden and Collier Street. A distance of 37 miles at about 12.3 mph and 1240 ft ascents
Jonathan took his group of 9 in the opposite direction on a slightly undulating route after the flat start,via East Peckham then up to Hildenborough and onto Chiddingstone Causeway,and the great break at the newly refurbished garden centre cafe.A nice flat return via Leigh ,Tonbridge and Golden Green,with a distance of 38 .5 miles,at 14 mph and about 1500 ft ascents. Both rides were without incident.
A group of 18 assembled at Chestnut St,so were split into 3 bubbles, with Russell and Richard leading their groups to Seasalter,and Jonathan leading his for a longer ride to Whitstable. As they were basically going in the same directions, there were time gaps in departures. Russell took a fairly direct route and arrived at the Forget Me Not Cafe first,whilst Richard took a longer route,and arrived as Russell’s group were about to depart. Unfortunately a deluge of rain confronted them on the return for a while, and Richard’s group were held up with Ray sustaining a puncture. Rides of 36.5 and 42 miles respectively. Jonathan’s Ride also encountered the heavy rain coming back from Whitstable, and a tumble for Mick when a wheel to wheel collision occurred with Angie ,his wife and he sustained a cut leg,but was able to carry on by leaving the main group and returning on their own.
A pleasant morning attracted 17 for a start from East Malling. Russell had arranged 2 separate rides,to Pittland Lakes, near Paddock Wood, and another to Dunorlan Park, Tunbridge Wells. Setting off in 3 bubbles with Russell leading one bubble, followed by Gary taking the same route that took them out to Yalding and Claygate,then up Yew Tree Hill,Brenchley for a photo at the viewing point , before arriving at Pittland Lakes,for a lovely break sitting out in the sunshine. Jonathan led his group of 6 on a similar route,then from Brenchley to Pembury and to another delightful stop at Dunorlan Park. On the route back, all 3 groups met up briefly after the slog of Gover Hill and all arrived back safely at East Malling around the same time. Distances of about 38 miles at about 13 mph and 1762 feet ascents.
With 19 turning up at Wrotham, Russell the coordinator had already sorted the leaders and their bubbles.. Together with other leaders Mark and Gary ,he took one of 3 groups on a shorter ride of 28.5 miles with the break at Lullingstone Country Park. Both of the other groups self distanced from each other and headed to Penshurst,maintaining a good average speed.and about 38 miles distance.All 3 rides were about 2500 ft ascents without incident.
Russell organised the rota Away Day to start at Appledore,on a very chilly morning. A total of 18 turned up. Russell led with one bubble and Gary led another on a route of 47 miles to Winchelsea Beach. Mark E took on the third group,who wanted a shorter ride of 39 miles,but taking a fairly similar route without the extended bit.. The rides initially took all 3 groups out against the wind to Ivychuch and New Romney,then a lovely wind assisted flat journey to Dungeness,and onto Camber and Rye. Some stayed there for their break only to meet up again at Winchelsea Beach Cafe with others. A fairly swift return ,again int the wind back to Rye up to Winchelsea village and church for a look at Spike Milligan's gravestone,before the few miles back to Appledore with Jonathan giving Russell a break at the front.
Colin Shea led the East Malling Ride with 6 others initially,on a bright chilly morning. Keeping in two groups,he took them out to Barming,and Aylesford,before crossing the M2 bridge,and the gradual climb to Harvel ,where Sarah Shea joined. An unfortunate incident occurred when one of the riders overshot the junction at Harvel,and ended up head first into the opposite grass bank. Fortunately only his pride was hurt. Colin then continued down Holly Hill,for an outside break at West Malling. Several of the riders then peeled off,and Colin did a shortish loop around Trottiscliffe and Birling back to East Malling. A distance of 37 miles.i
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