Brian Kavanagh led from Yalding with a group of 11,and went out up Red Hill ,then East and West Malling to Ryarsh,and a loop around Trottiscliffe and the Coldrum stones to the break at the Oakdene cafe,Wrotham Heath,for the usual good food.Brian,unfortunately got a puncture just before the break,so spent much of his time outside repairing it.However Russell did get him a cup of tea to ease the burden.Fully refreshed,except Brian,who managed to quickly scoff a flapjack,the group made their way up to Crouch and Gover Hill,then down towards Hadlow,before Brian's sadistic choice of the sharp hills around Roydon Hall,all achieved with a puff.Then back to Yalding via Gibbs Hill.A distance of about 32 miles.
An unusual start point at Higham attracted 9 riders,on a dull but slightly milder morning.Richard led out to Cliffe and Cooling,where Gary related the locations around the church used by Charles Dickens in his book Great Expectations.Then onto the three bears hills. to High Halstow.Roger,being local informed the group that you first reach the baby Hill,followed by the mother hill,before the steepest Father bear Hill.With the sun then shining and with a following wind,it was onto the break at the lovely Beach Hut cafe at Grain.,but beforehand,a quick siteseeing opportunity to look across the Thames estuary,with very clear views of Southend. The return was more challenging into a fairly strong headwind,going through Middle Stoke Hoo and Chattenden to Higham without incident.A distance of 32 miles at 12.5 mph.
No ride,due to overnight frosty weather.
Due to anticipated icy conditions both official D and D+ rides were cancelled. However three intrepid riders turned up at Aylesford hoping for a ride so Jim Ray, Juan Ramiro and Russell set off for Rochester along the new Peters Village lower road to Wouldham, Borstal and Rochester Castle. Finding the roads acceptable we decided to continue to Upnor to see our second castle and then on to Hoo for a welcome break at a newly refurbished Taggs. An extended break in the warm then our return joining Cycle Route 1 to Chattenden and Frinsbury. Following the lumpy upper road from Borstal towards Bluebell Hill and back to Aylesford. Just 26.7 cautious miles at an average of 11 mph.
Our route on Strava:
Our Relived route:
Well a new year,and a bit of confusion initially as to which of the 3 car parks in Brenchley village to meet,but was soon sorted out.Russell came up with a great ride from the brand new starting point,and he led out a group of 8 on a very dull morning. The coffeee break was planned for Bodiam Castle tea rooms,a National Trust property.When Russ showed the graph for the ride,it looked like someone was having a very nasty heart attack,so we knew it was going to be hilly.Undaunted,off he trooped to Horsemonden and by passed Goudhurst,to Glassenbury and Hartley,before going along a miriad of narrow up and down country lanes to Sandhurst,to the break in Sussex.The usual twee menus,but well received,before the mandatory photo shoot in front of the Castle.We all knew that the same undulations awaited us on the return,and Russ did not disappoint.Back into Kent to Hawkhurst,via the Moor,and again joining cycle route 18,taking a similar route along country lanes,before diverting around Goudhurst and Horsmonden to Petteridge .Back at Brenchley,Gary dished out his Ruby Wedding cake left overs,which were scoffed with great relish by everyone.A hilly ride of about 3000ft,over 36.5 miles at 12mph.Thanks Russ,great if somewhat challenging ride.
On the last day of the year, ten riders set off in foggy conditions from St. Andrews Road, Maidstone. We headed westwards via North Pole Road, at the end turned right , making a small circuit via Sweets Lane, before passing through East and West Malling, onto the A20, then on to Birling via Birling & Bull Road, turning left at the Nevil Bull pub heading towards Trottiscliffe, where we rode a mini circuit via Church & Pinesfield Lane. Weather improving, we headed via a stiff climb towards and down Nepicar Lane , then on to the Oakdene cafe, for lunch.
Heading south after lunch we worked our way towards Windmill Lane, turning right at the end, now heading for Gover Hill, then right down Matthews lane, along the A26 before turning into Stanford Lane, making our way to Seven Mile Lane , headed north until taking the climb of Old Church lane. We made our way to the A26 along picturesque lanes , we headed east to the base of the final climb of the day, Red Hill. Once ascended we took North Pole Road back to base. The only incident was Sarah W's slow puncture less than a mile from base , temporarily dispatched with a lot of pumping.
We covered 31 miles, with a respectable 1900 feet of ascent.
Sincere thanks to Mike Lambourne for leading the ride and organizing the Pre Christmas lunch at the George and Dragon Headcorn.The joint report can be found on the D group ride report section
Tony Munn led 9 riders from Brooklands Lake on a murky foggy day that didnt get any better. Our route took us via Birling and Ryarsh before the climb to Offham, then out via Plaxtol before dropping down to Hadlow. A flat run then ensued through East Peckham and a welcome stop at Paddock Wood. The Village Cafe was full so we elected to go to Georges. Both are equally good but you can see your parked bikes at The Village Cafe. The route back took us via Yalding then two climbs up Kenwood and Teston hills before cycling back through West Malling where we took an extended loop back to Snodland. Distance 39 miles Average speed 12.5 mph
10 of the riders meeting at the car park elected to join Russell on what was to be a challenging and mucky ride up to the North Downs and to the Kent Gliding Club at Challock. Through Lenham, across the A20, up Hubbards Hill and along Waterditch Lane to Stallisfield Green. Some challenging lanes and undulations to Throwley Forstal. After leaving the picturesque hamlet a miniature Neolithic spearhead found its way through a Marathon Plus front tyre. As always fate choosing a windy wet exposed stretch of road to effect the repair, Ian coped well with the task. On to the A251 for a short stretch then the A252 to the Gliding Club for our coffee break. Not 1 mile later a mechanical befell Jonathan's bike, the chain and large chain ring tangling themselves. This further delay encouraged us to cut a couple of challenging miles off our ride and so we went down Charing Hill and down the potholed Pluckley Road to re-join the planned route along Egerton Road. Some more mucky lanes before the muckiest of them all, Runham Lane, took us back to Harrietsham. 31.9 miles at an average of 11.9 mph with 2,051 feet of climbing.
A group of ten riders left Wrotham, lead by Richard Byatt. A tough climb up Fairseat Lane took us to the top of the Downs. After that it was pretty much downhill all the way to the break. After a swift descent of Vigo Hill the route was through Trottiscliffe, across the motorways and A20, through Offham, West and East Malling to the cafe at Aylesford Priory. Fully fuelled, the return leg was through Eccles, up and then down to Peters Village to cross the new bridge over the Medway. Through the back lanes of Snodland to emerge at the bottom of ... Birling (Holly) Hill! Everyone got up in various states of breathlessness. A few more undulations and a minor accident later the group returned to Wrotham via Vigo village. About 25 miles at an average of 12mph with 1,500ft of climbing.