Russell very kindly took over the lead at short notice,with a Lenham start and a group of 8 on a dry morning. .He soon got the legs pumping with Hubbard’s Hill,then onto quiet and often mucky lanes to Stalisfield and the top of Charing Hill and Challock,before the lovely descent of White Hill and into Wye.As usual the railway barrier was shut so everyone heaved their bikes over the bridge, through the ticket office before carrying on to the village. The next challenge was negotiating the new M20 roundabout at junction 10A,and being given duff information by a workman re cycle path diversions. Having found the correct route however meant slurping through muddy tracks which thankfully led onto a very quiet alternative roads and eventually carrying on to the Environmental cafe at Singleton, The service was very efficient,so the break was quite short. Having already done 24 miles, Russell promised a shorter return,which was uneventful getting back to Lenham via Great Chart and Pluckley. A distance of 39 miles at 12.5 mph average and about 2100 ft ascents. Thankyou as always Russell.
Six riders lead by Mike set off from Wrotham on a hilly ride to the Coolings Garden Centre near Pratt's Bottom. It was a cold crisp day as the group left from Wrotham, along the Pilgrims Way, turning right before Otford Manor and ascending the 14% hill towards Eynsford. At Eynsford passing the ford on to Crockenhill, Kevingtown, Chelsfield and Pratt's Bottom. Climbing Rushmore Hill a herd of deer (12) crossed the road in front of us an amazing sight, and the highlight of the ride! Arthur's a new café at the Coolings did not disappoint despite being extremely busy the food arrived in good time and to an excellent standard, we would give it a good recommendation for the future, and we will be back! The return was via Halsted, Shoreham, Otford, Kemsing and Wrotham. A total of 32 miles average speed 12 mph 2025 ft ascents..
A very dull November morning at Marden, but Neal Welch still gathered in a group of 10 to join him for his lead. A long outward bound journey of 26 miles took them to the break at Headcorn Aerodrome after some challenging lumps around Brenchley, Horsmonden and Curtisen Green, before the flatter lanes beyond Staplehurst and Frittenden. The cafe was very quiet,even though the B group were already there. With rain starting a bit more, Neal maintained a more gentle route along really quiet country lanes ,often quite mucky through Rabbits Cross and Stilebridge back to Marden, which was never quiet with Inci and Sarah B.V ,but remarkably without any punctures. A distance of 37.3 miles at 13 mph average and 1512 ft ascents..Brigitte however broke that duck when riding alone back to West Malling,but managed admirably to fix it.
Colin Tony Russell Richard Paul Ince Anita Brigette Ray and Mike set off in fog from Mote Park at 10.10 - one rider was held up in the traffic! After navigating the Park, Colin had to drop out due to a puncture in his tubeless tyre, fluid problems? Once out of the Park, Bearsted Water Lane and the Pilgrims Way was the route to Hollingbourne Hill. Ray who was using his electric bike for the first time made excellent progress on the Hill until he pressed the wrong button and we were able to reel him in. The group made good progress to the top and were rewarded with warm sunshine. It was the first climb of Hollingbourne Hill for a number of the riders. The next section was down hill until the A2 with a stop at Oad Street for Ray's puncture, the first on his brand new electric bike. A large piece of flint had penetrated the tyre taking a little longer than usual to mend. The group stopped at the Tuck Inn, Newington for a warm and refreshments, 21 miles. The route back was via Hartlip Farthing Corner, Bredhurst, Boxley, Detling, Weavering Street and Mote Park. The Stats - Made it back before the rain, 31 miles, ascending 2050 ft., 11.5 mph, 2 punctures and 9 happy riders!
With very strong winds and downpours of rain, Tony the leader was the only one to turn up at Yalding for his noon ride( most wanted to watch the England v South Africa rugby World Cup final,and probably wished they hadn’t) so the ride did not go ahead.
The Magnificent Seven – six lovely ladies (?!) and a very brave Adrian – set off from Paddock Wood to Biddenden with a stop at the very posh Bloomsbury Café – with Sarah BV as ride leader. We were honoured to have 2 racing snakes from the B+ group with us in the form of Adrian and Anita. The regular D+ people were wondering if they’d be able to keep up with both the pace and the banter, especially when Adrian fell off his bike in the first 2 miles (evil grin!). A few stops were needed en route to disrobe as it was far milder than everyone expected. Even SBV’s new neon pink overshoes proved too warm once the hills were underway. Everyone bravely tackled 1,300 feet of hills in the first 12 miles and then chilled for the remaining miles, which were refreshingly flat. In the final 20 miles, however, the weather changed for the worse and the Magnificent Seven were blown all over Kent in winds far worse than the iPhone’s weather prediction of “a light breeze”. 36 miles. 1,677 feet. Average speed 13.6 mph. No ‘bicycle injuries’ (we don’t use the 'P' word on our rides!).
John and Sarah had recced a lovely route from Aylesford to Knole Park,and a group total of 13 happily set off with them even though it was drizzly and chilly. John took a route out to Snodland then through Trottiscliffe and the Pilgrims Way To Wrotham., where Richard B discovered a staple sticking in a tyre. With great precision and a certain amount of trepidation it was removed with pliers,and to everyone’s relief hadn’t punctured. That elation didn’t last too much longer,when Bob shouted out that dreaded word “ Puncture”. Having quickly found the offending shard,it took 3 inner tube replacements and various pretty useless pumps and CO 2 canisters to get him going again. By this time everyone was getting cold ,so it was decided to cut the ride short and pop into a couple of cafes in Borough Green in order to warm up..The return route was quite short,with John leading through Crouch,Offham and East Malling back to Aylesford. A distance of only 25 miles,but well appreciated by everyone.
Russell took the lead at short notice from Paddock Wood,following a GPS route and it was inevitable that there would be some proper lumps . Six opted to join Russell on the out route up to Brenchley and then crossing the A21 at. Kippings Cross to Bells Yew Green and the very quiet leafy lanes to Frant. . From there ,the climbs and dips continued ,and a real puff getting up to Langton Green into the usualTunbridge Wells area heavy traffic. Continuing through Fordcombe it was the final climb after Penshurst to a new stop at the environmental Kingdom cafe. Surprisingly it was card payment only, which caused a few problems., but the views from the veranda across the Weald was stunning.The return leg was much less leg crunching ,taking the concrete road through the Penshurst Place estate to Haysden and Tonbridge town centre,and the nice flat of Five Oak Green and Capel back to the finish. A distance of 33 miles at about 12 mph average,and 2500 ft ascents without problem.
Even before setting off from Barming,Sarah B.V found she had a puncture in her tubeless tyre,so as usual Gary was on hand to help. Unfortunately,not taking into account the gunk liquid inside,which promptly splattered his shorts and the pavement,but unperturbed he fixed it with an inner tube. Richard then led off with 9 riders and headed down to the river towpath on route to the Maidstone Cycle Fest in the town centre. Getting there was a bit fraught ,taking a very gravelly path,fortunately without punctures,but a few humorous mutterings . (Apologies).The towpath route thereafter was fine,and on arrival at the Fest,Lise,Russell and Chris Bishop were amongst others helping on the stands. Whilst there ,several had a go on the turbo machine ,testing their speed over 30 seconds.The Fast Inters then turned up to further represent the Club. From there,Richard continued his lead along the towpath to Aylesford,before getting back on the road to Eccles,and over Peters Bridge into a strong headwind and to the break at the Jungle cafe,Addington.The return was probably the shortest ever,by going through the Kings Hill estate,where Phil Gerry took the lead for a while,before splitting off,and the remainder carried on along North Pole Road to Barming. A distance of only 25 miles at a very moderate pace,but thankfully without incident.
The new starting point at Marden Sports Car Park was warmly acknowledged,and on such a beautiful day,it was hardly surprising that Linton managed to recruit a group of 11 for his lead,especially when he said it was flat. The riders almost equally split between men and ladies,set off amid several other groups and headed out to Milebush and the lanes to cross the A229 near Frankies . On a couple of occasions ,the B+ group seem to arrive at the same junctions,which ensured a jocular banter. The ride continued past Frittenden,when several of the ladies grabbed the lead on occasions and chatted most of the way to the break at Bethersden Garden Centre..Following a nice stop,Linton ensured a very flat return by keeping to the quiet lanes near Smarden and through Headcorn and Staplehurst back to the car park. Thoroughly enjoyed by all and a distance of 33.3 miles at 13.3 mph average and 116 metres only of soft undulations. Thankyou Linton