As usual,a really big gathering of 23 assembled at East Malling. So good to see new members from the recent “Try It Out ride” sessions joining, including Clare, Nick ,Emma, and David. It showed how successful those taster sessions were,as so many are now riding Midweek or with Saturday’s Groups.Great to see Mike Griffiths out with the group again also. Jonathan led his group of 7 faster riders,and Russell led the remainder who split into 2 bubbles. A lovely route that went to Dunorlan Park, Tunbridge Wells, via Crouch and Tudeley before taking the cycle path from Vauxhall to Pembury and the break.It was gloriously warm sitting on the veranda of the cafe,and the service was excellent. All too soon it was time for the return,again taking the lumps around the area to Pembury and Brenchley then onto the flat To Yalding. It was then the inevitable climb back to East Malling via Red Hill . A distance of 37.3 miles and 2382 ft ascents,with different group speeds.
Thirteen riders started off from Hothfield Common on a dull dry morning,and headed for the break at Dymchurch. Jonathan took a faster group of four,whilst Angie led the remainder,with Brian O helping as additional leader. An outward bound route along country lanes to Great Chart ,Shadoxhurst and Ham Street onto the marsh to NewRomney then along the esplanade into Dymchurch. With the tide out, the beach was showing in it’s true glory. Due to the numbers,there were a couple of cafes used near the front. The return remained uneventful through Newchurch and the rise to Bilsington and onto Stubbs Cross before the finish at Hothfield.A distance of 44 miles
The Group welcomed Nick Davis on his first ride and Martin after a lengthy break.. A really hot day for a Wrotham start.with a Four Elms break. Jonathan led with 5, including Mandy who was happy to have a slightly faster ride, and Richard V,who followed shortly after with a group of 9. A lumpy route out via Stone Street and Bitchet Green,where Steve’s front disc brake failed,and despite Gary’s efforts had to continue for the whole of the ride after with just his rear break.With all the hills,including Ide Hill,it became a real challenge for him. Jonathan’s Group arrived at the Four Elms nursery stop well in front, but both groups met up for a while. With no drop in the heat, the hills continued all the way back to Wrotham, via Hildenborough and Plaxtol.A distance of 36 miles,and 2350 ft ascents,with moderate speeds.
Following really long rides 2 days before,Clare, Jill,Lisa and Russell,still all turned up with 15 others for a start from Chestnut Street. With such numbers,as usual it was divided into 3 ,with Jonathan leading a faster group ,Gary and Russell taking the rest. A quite lumpy out bound to Bredgar and Oare,where unfortunately the Creek cafe was closed. Russell had already phoned Crispins restaurant at Teynham.It was bacon butties all round that had been prepared earlier ,and for some served in a hurried way,as they wanted more room for regular customers(all 8 of them)!, Almost straight away on the return,Mark got a puncture with a screw in a tubeless tyre. but most fortunately,Colin Campbell had a dyna plug sealing kit,and everyone looked on in admiration as to how well and quickly it worked. After that it was back to the finish at different times and speeds,via Tunstall and Borden.A distance of 34 miles,and 1850 ft ascents.
A very large turnout of 23 arrived mostly by bike ,including Jacqie and Caroline, from the Inbetweeners, Brian K and Lisa with Andrew from Maidstone .Also Mandy,Jane,and Richard W from Paddock Wood and Brian O, Brigitte and Paul from West Malling , plus Maria and Jill from other areas ,so the car park was pretty sparse with cars. Brigitte and Paul led 2 groups, and Jonathan took his usual faster group of 8 ,with Brigitte with Paul taking on the remaining 15. Jo E joined at Yalding,and quickly had to stop momentarily with mudguard problems,and soon after Gary had to abandon the ride with a broken spoke and wobbly wheel.( again).It was then onto Bewl Water,with a GPS tweak by Russell to navigate the quietest roads possible,to Lamberhurst and the break,where everyone met up and sat outside in the sun. A pleasant return without incident took the groups to Bells Yew Green and Pembury before the flat of Golden Green and East Peckham to the finish. A distance of 37 miles, 2220 ft ascents and varying speeds . Incidentally,Lisa had already been to Sheerness earlier for a swim before cycling to the start.Amazing.
A Lenham start with 20 turning up,including Maria ,a B+ rider, for the first time and Brigitte,Lisa and Brian K, who cycled in long distances to get there and back. As usual,the groups were split into 3, with Jonathan taking 7 others on what is becoming a Midweekers + Group,being a bit faster, then Russell and Richard going off with bubbles of 6. The out bound routes all started off to the North Downs, via Hubbard’s Hill,then onto Westwell and Wye,where Richards group stopped for their break at the Corner cafe. Jonathan and Russell’s then carried on to the Blue and White cafe,Smeeth. The return proved a bit fraught especially for Richards group,who missed a GPS turn and ended up going down the footpath alongside the B2070. Not to be recommended. Thankfully thereafter,the remaining returns via Pluckley and Sandway were uneventful. A distance of 40 miles,at various group speeds from about 12.7 to 16 mph average and ascent of 2172 ft
Russell had arranged an Away Day that started at Wincheap Park and ride park, Canterbury. A great turnout of 19 including Caroline,from the Inbetweeners. With such numbers ,it was divided into 3 groups with Russell, Jonathan and Mark taking leads. After eventually getting out of the back estate roads,it was onto quiet country lanes,and through picturesque villages such as Barfrestone , Adisham and St Margaret at Cliffe ,before the lovely descent to Kingsdown and along the front through Deal to the break at the Princes Golf Club. Russell had preordered food in advance,and when about to pay, the less than happy male staff member wanted a single combined bill, which caused some financial head scratching,but Jonathan stepped forward to pay,and everyone promised to settle up with him later.The return ,still in lovely weather went through delightful Sandwich,and back alongside abundant wheat fields through Westmarsh and Preston and eventually into Canterbury City Centre. A distance of 53 miles,at about 12.5 mph,and 2200 ft ascents,without any incidents or punctures.
An East Malling start,with 21 riders, most of whom thankfully cycled in,including a newish member Mandy from Paddock Wood. With such a number,and all intending to travel to Lullingstone ,the groups were divided into 7 each, with Jonathan leading the fastest group,and Tony and Mike L,taking the others more or less in the same directions,although Mike took a bit shorter route. All arrived safely at different intervals at Lullingstone Country Park,which was quite busy. All the groups departed individually ,taking the route up Knatts Valley,but arriving at different times at the finish.Distances varied between 32 and 39 miles with ascents around 2150 ft.
With a large turnout of 22 at Aylesford 3 leaders were required,so Russell,Jonathan and Gary stepped up to volunteer. Setting off at intervals,all made their way for the break at the newly reopened Purple Planet cafe,Cliffe Woods. A traditional route out via Rochester,and a viewing stop at Upnor Castle, then onto Hoo with a succession of road closures to be negotiated.The only mishap before the stop was Steve taking a tumble on an adverse camber road. Gary took a slightly shorter route,arriving first at the cafe ,then with everyone else getting there,the service inevitably was very slow.Afterwards,each group left at different times,and the only incident was at Higham,where a speeding motorcyclist overtook a parked lorry,and brushed against Brian’s arm,and narrowly avoided Russell. From there it was back to Aylesford via Cobham,Cuxton and Snodland..A total distance of 40 miles,with2160 ft ascents.
On a really hot morning,17 still assembled at Chestnut Street ,and with Richard V leading set off for a break at The Old Mill Cafe, outside Eastchurch Prison. A well used route out via Hartlip and Lower Halstow over to the Island and a quick stop at Minster On Sea,where Lisa,Jo E,went straight into the water,and Heather and Angie dipped their legs in,all claiming that the sea was warm. It was then onto the cafe,where the staff were really excellent and looked after the group very well.A shorter return in the heat via Iwade and Bobbing, without incident. A total distance of 40 miles at 13 mph and 1673 ft ascents,which was quite enough with the heat.
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