On a lovely Autumnal morning, 19 riders turned up at East Malling. Russell had already downloaded the Garmin route to Knole Park, and he thought it a good idea to split into 3 separate independent self controlling groups, so in the event of problems the whole group would not be affected. A picturesque route outward bound,through Crouch and the uphill through Plaxtol and Stone Street to Bitchetts Green ,then entering Knole Park via the back gate with magnificent views of the estate with the roaming deers and the house. With the sun shining warmly, a very pleasant break was taken on the open veranda above the cafe. An equally nice return, firstly and thankfully going down Carters Hill onto the flat around the Shipbourne area,before the puff of Oxenheath Hill and Butchers Lane,Mereworth to Kings Hill and East Malling without a single puncture (hooray!) or incident. A distance of 30 miles at about 12.5 mph average and 2435 ft total ascents Great ride Russ, Thankyou.
A bright Autumnal day welcomed 12 riders for a Wrotham start with a few already having cycled considerable distances to get there. Richard led and headed for the lumps up to Ivy Hatch, before to nice down hill then flat to Hildenborough where the group got split up. Gary, the usual back marker ,with Brian and Lisa were some distance back from the pack,when they followed a group of other cyclists. Unfortunately a different group, from ours, but we all met up eventually at Chiddingstone Castle cafe on the last day before it closed for the year,and sat out in warm sunshine. Lisa decided to take a photo and promptly fell back over a bike, but fortunately with only her pride hurt. On the way back via Tonbridge, somehow we lost Bob, who eventually made his own way . The rest of us returned via the puff of Gover Hill , then Borough Green. A distance of 39 miles at 13 mph average and 2500 ft ascents, without any punctures. The stalwart ones then cycled on to their homes.
The Away Day started off from the Wincheap Park and Ride , Canterbury, with a great turnout of 19 . Russell led, ( again, Thanks Russ) and the route followed the same one as a couple of years ago to the Princes Golf Course, Sandwich. It was to be a ride totally affected by the holdups of 8 punctures overall,so turned out to be a long day. Russell took the group out through some estates of Canterbury, and onto very leafy narrow lanes ,which in parts were strewn with mud and grit. It must have been White van man’s delivery day with numerous passing us at various speeds ,and road closures through villages such as Adisham, and Barfristone that had to be negotiated. After about the 5 th puncture near St Margaret’s at Cliff, it was decided that some of the group carry on to the stop, whilst others remained to help. However, it didn’t really improve, with a further 2 around Deal prior to the break, so it was quite late by then. With 19 of us, it was a long stop,with everyone enjoying Club,or similar sandwiches. Sarah Lewis,as usual took the opportunity to go for a swim in the sea,whilst waiting for her food . She said it was warm,but no one believed her. With the light just starting to fade and 20 miles to get back, Russ suggested splitting into 3 groups to coincide with travelling partners, so it was a bit of a heads down ,with fortunately only one further puncture, on much flatter lanes through Westmarsh,Preston and Stodmarsh. The only incident being, Russ taking a slow balletic fall into the grass bank and nettles to get out of the way of a wide farm tractor. With dusk approaching, all safely reached a traffic clogged Canterbury. A distance of 53 miles at about 13 mph average and 2410 ft ascents. Well done,and Thankyou Russell.
A usual dull,drab and drizzly Wednesday start,but 11 riders still turned up at Lenham. Russell volunteered to lead ,and with his GPS set for a Brogdale break they set off by firstly going up Hubbard’s Hill. Soon however Mick got his first puncture and then after a few more miles near Eastling,he got the second one in the other tyre. With Gary on hand to assist, they thought it was fixed ,only to discover a tiny hole in a brand new inner tube,so off the tyre had to come again. With time pressing on, Russell suggested a nearer stop at the Swan cafe, Faversham, always a welcome stop,which was reached via Ospringe. Following the break,Russell gave the group an inpromtu tour around the estates of Faversham , before getting back on track and the almost constant uphill to Newnham and Doddington,where Gary claimed the hat trick of punctures. All seemed well after,until reaching Stede Hill which was closed with fallen trees,but fortunately the workers allowed the group through by carrying their bikes amongst the branches. It was then back to the finish without further incident. A distance of only 27 miles at about 13 mph average and 1360 ft ascents in very mucky conditions and even dirtier bikes.Well Done Russ.
A great turnout at the station with 17 MidWeekers and the Wednesday Group. Matthew Gregory had devised a route to Headcorn and led a fast flat ride. Missing Richard V who was on a mission elsewhere but gaining Bernie Nichols we were soon through Marden and Staplehurst skirting Headcorn to arrive at the Aerodrome to meet another bunch of Fairies leaving. Great service, food and the spectacle of light aircraft, helicopters and sky divers. Even 3 Border Force Officers in attendance, truly now an international airport. Following the obligatory photo shoot it was off past the Big Cat Sanctuary and through Headcorn for a fast run, with some headwind, back to Marden where Matthew had to bail out. Some appalling behaviour with one truck overtaking on a blind bend nearly taking out a car coming the other way and a diatribe from the driver of a white truck who voiced his resentment of us using the roads as he ‘pays road tax' !
34.37 miles at average of 14.4 mph with just 627 feet of ascent.
Route on Strava
Matt Gregory had planned the route on Strava,then had to work,so Russell volunteered to lead with that route. Fifteen riders started off from Hothfield Common Car Park,on a chilly but glorious morning. Russ went out to Great Chart and Kingsnorth,bypassing Ashford South. It was then onto quiet lanes to Bilsington,wind assisted and onto the flat of the marsh roads to Newchuch,almost traffic free,to the stop at Bakery 64 cafe in New Romney High Street,where a reserved table awaited. Excellent food,service and value Following the stop,Russ decided to detour slightly off strava by going to the promenade front and looping back into the town,( with a bit off off roading).Inevitably the northerly wind was head on straight away,which with the very open countryside slowed the riders down a bit.However once past Ivychurch and up to Ruckinge, things improved and the remaining journey through Hamstreet and Shadoxhurst to the finish at Hothfield was very pleasant. A distance of 43 miles at about 13 mph average without any incidents or punctures. Many thanks Russ,and to Matt for planning the route.
A rainy start at East Malling only attracted 6 riders,but Richard led for the break at Poult Wood Golf Club. By the time they reached Crouch it was time to strip off the waterproofs and with the sun out it was pleasant cycling through the lanes of Dunks Green and Hadlow to the stop. On the return ,the leader tried to stay on the flat as long as possible by going through Golden Green and Mereworth,before the climb of Butchers Lane. and the nice cycle path descent of the Kings Hill bye pass back to East Malling. A distance of 29 miles at 13 mph average,with the rain just starting again.
A chilly but beautiful morning attracted 17 riders at Wrotham,with some newcomers bolstering the figures. Richard led after deciding to go to Cliffe Woods as the stopping venue which firstly took them up Wrotham hill and onto Stansted. Unfortunately one of the new riders felt the pace very early,but many thanks to several rear riders,including,Gary,Jonathan, Tony P and John G, for their stalwart support in helping out. The ride continued along lovely quiet country lanes ,including Hartley Bottom Road, to Longfield ,Sole Street and Shorne before getting nice views across the estuary and Lower Higham to the cafe at Cliffe Woods Lakes. The staff were not overwhelmed by the numbers,and sitting outside overlooking the Lakes was pleasant. Richard decided to take a less undulating return, by going up Thong Lane to The Inn on the Lake,where workmen informed the group that it is to be the starting point for the new Thames crossing due for opening 2027. There followed numerous waits ,which continued all the way back to Wrotham ,via Camer Country Park ,Meopham and the A 227. On arrival at the end, an ice cream van turned up,and Peter, one of the first time riders bought the leader an ice cream,which was really appreciated. A distance of 36 miles,at a very steady 12.5 and exactly 2000ft of ascents.Gary was one foot short so lifted his bike in the air.
A dull day for a WhereTo ride which started from Reculver for 10 riders which Russell led. With a following wind,it was pleasant cycling along the traffic free Viking Trail all the way into Margate,before rounding North Foreland and Ramsgate into a strong headwind. Gary suggested a new break stop at the Lido cafe near Ramsgate,and it proved very reasonable . Carrying on after, Russell led the group into picturesque Sandwich town then past Richborough Fort , Chislet and Grove Ferry back to Reculver. A challenging finale returning the the Bishopstone Lane Car Park up the grass track into the wind again. A distance of 43 miles at about 12.5 mph.
Tony Munn led an alternative local ride from East Malling for Midweekers who 5 who didn’t want to go to Reculver. His ride went to the very popular and reasonable Top Nosh cafe at Paddock Wood covering a distance of 38 miles , averaging a respectable 13.3 mph .
On route the rain poured down , but with true Midweekers endurance 12 riders still turned up at Lenham ,including John Gibbons who rode from Barming( and back later) .Fortunately the rain Gods looked down favourably and very soon it dried out. Richard led and took a really looping route out to Headcorn aerodrome by going to Harrietsham then up towards Ulcombe before the steep descent of Liverton Hill and into Grafty Green. From there it was virtually flat all the way through the lanes to the break. The weather had cleared enough to sit outside and view the parachutists coming down. The return was in pleasant sunshine , and continued the extended route by going through Smarden up to Pluckley and onto the Charing Heath Road, where Angie sustained the only puncture but as always Good Old Gary and others were on hand to repair it. It was then a short leg back to Harrietsham and the finish. A distance of 30 miles at about 13 mph average.
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