A cold but gloriously blue sky welcomed 20 riders at Hothfield Common. Russell had organised 2 different length rides.One going to Rye, a distance of 50.5 miles ,and the other to Appledore a distance of 32 miles for those wishing to get back earlier . Nice to have Tony Palmer join the group ,and he offered to lead a group of 5 for the Appledore ride,with an outside cafe stop at the village tea rooms. Russell and Jonathan then led 2 groups on a lovely outbound country lanes route via, Stubbs Cross ,Ham Street and Lydd to Camber. Sarah Lewis took the opportunity to go for a swim, and later joined the groups at Rye. It was then back inland to Appledore ,Woodchurch and Bethersden ,again keeping to quiet roads back to Hothfield without incidents.
Eighteen started off from Wrotham,with Richard leading one,and Gary leading a slightly faster group on a dry, blustery morning. It was straight up Wrotham Hill ,to West Kingsdown, before the lovely descent to Fawkham. The ride then rolled up and down all the way to South Darenth,before reaching Longfield and Betsham with the cycle access along side the A2 and Cyclopark to the break at Nell’s cafe, Gravesend.Gary’s Group got there first,but still the service for everyone was great and good value. A very strong headwind then welcomed the riders on the return, via,Sole Street and Harvel with a few lumps thrown in for good measure before Wrotham. A distance of 28.5 miles at about 12 mph and approx 2000 ft ascents without incident.
The pre foundation tree cutting work has now commenced at the M2/Jw the A249 for the new flyover, so this ride may well be the last one to Chestnut Street for a long while. However 17 turned up at the start,and Russell had organised a route to Whitstable. As is usual now ,the group divided into 2 ,being almost equal in numbers. Russell led one and,John/ Mark took the slightly faster one. With a fairly strong tail wind, it was pleasant going out through Rodmersham, to Teynham and Faversham before arriving at the Beach Cafe, Whitstable. Lisa and Sarah L, immediately took the opportunity to go for a sea swim,whilst everyone enjoyed their lunch. Inevitably,the return was straight into a strong head and side winds, and quite challenging passing the open countryside, past Graveney. From there it was to Ospringe and the top of the Downs past Kingsdown to Tunstall back to Chestnut Street. A distance of 44 miles and 2,077 ft climbs,at about 12.5 mph.
A chilly start at Paddock Wood ,saw 18 riders turn up and divided into 3 groups, led by Mark, John and Gary. Keeping to the same route ,well divided and staying where possible on quiet flat lanes to Stile Bridge and onto the break at Headcorn Aerodrome,where the groups met up again. Sitting outside in the sunshine was really pleasant. The return remained nicely flat and quite brisk going past Staplehurst to Marden Thorne. A couple of incidents occurred towards the end,with Angie losing control at the side of the road,and ending up in a ditch,fortunately unscathed .Then a case of an impatient motorist trying to overtake a group,on the wrong side of a central traffic Island ,being confronted by an oncoming car,then blaming the riders,with an out of the vehicle confrontation.A distance of 43 miles at variously speeds.
A great turnout of 24 started off on a beautiful morning from Aylesford,which divided into 3 bubbles,with Richard V ,Gary and Mark leading them. Really good to have Andy and Inci,out after long breaks and David Jordan on a taster ride.. An initial slog up to the top of Blue Bell Hill, then onto flatter roads around Bredhurst and Meirsborough,before arriving at The Tuck Inn,A 2, nr Hartlip Hill. It was really enjoyable ,all sitting outside in the sunshine and the service ,value and speed of delivery was excellent. Only slight problem was that it was cash only,which made it difficult for card holders ,but others subsidised them. Following the break,Richard B dropped off as he had ridden to the start from nearby,and it was again uphill for a while back to Farthing Corner,then Dunn St,where Ray and Andy also left . A nice welcome descent of Boxley Hill and Russell leaving,then back to Aylesford without incident.Only 25 miles,and ascents of 1780 ft at about 12.5 mph average.
With the fuel problems,it was decided to have 2 starting points,which were more convenient for most to cycle to. Mark graciously volunteered to lead a group of 4 from Lenham,on a 38 ish mile ride that went out to Egerton, ,Bethersden and High Halden for the stop,sitting outside in the sun at Silcocks Farm Shop,St Michaels.A nice return route took them to Smarden and the climb up the ridge back to Lenham.A distance of 38.4 miles and 1500 ft ascents.
Richard V led the alternative ride from Ditton Community Centre,with a group of 16, most of whom cycled in,including Mandy from Paddock Wood. Breaking into 3 groups,they headed for Libby’s cafe,Ash. An uneventful way out,except for having to follow a fast moving sheep in the middle of the road near Wouldham,but luckily it scuttled off into the hedgerows.From there,it was up to Sole Street,and Longfield into a headwind,and through Hartley to the stop.How well the 2 serving ladies looked after all the group.Great prices,and service. The return was through Wrotham,and Offham back to Ditton.A distance of 35.5 miles,at 12.5 mph and 2008 ft ascents.
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.
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