Six intrepid riders turned out to meet at Lenham for a ride despite a bad weather forecast. Richard V unwell so it was left to Russell to lead to Bethersden as suggested by Ralph. Out skirting Lenham by Sandway to Lenham Heath and Charing Heath. Taking a right turn before reaching the Charing to Pluckley Road to avoid it by going past Newlands Stud and Pilvington Mill. Through Pluckley and left along Malmains Road to get to Bethersden for the puncture of the day befalling Brian O, quickly repaired opposite the tennis courts. Taking a right (not left - get it right next time Russell!) to join the busy A28 to get to the Garden Centre for a welcome break. South along the A28 again to turn right into Cripple Hill for a right turn into a closed road (thanks workmen for shepherding us through) to get to Pot Kiln Lane and then a left to Smarden. Left into Mill Lane, right into Water Lane then on to join the Smarden Road past the Big Cat reserve. Just into Headcorn to get to Ulcombe for a right to Grafty Green. Taking a loop to avoid the Headcorn Road to get to our first and only climb of the day to Boughton Malherbe church. Back through Lenham to briefly join the A20 to arrive back before the rain came down. All back safely after some 'Are you sure, Russell' moments. 35.3 miles at an average of 12.8 mph with 1532 feet of climbing.
Route on Strava
A dry mild morning ,and 17 riders ventured to the station car park,Yalding,briefly joining about 6 who do their weekly ride from there.Tunbridge Wells seemed like a good idea,so with Richard leading and informing the group tha it would be a bit of a lumpy windy route.Starting on the flat out to Tudeley,before getting up to Bidborough. via Vauxhall Lane.A bit of confusion there,due to the new road lay out,and workmen telling us about the cycle/ footpath being constructed that will go to Pembury.Must remember that for a future ride.The lumps continued after Bidborough Ridge,which must have some of the best views across the Weald,then onto Speldhurst,and into the Wells,via Langton Green.The stop was at the Calverly Park Cafe,,overlooking the ice rink ,which was very quiet as it was school time.service at the cafe was excellent,except I think they forgot Angie’s Soup.A flatter ride back was promised,which took the group out around the rear of Dunorlan Park to Pembury.From there to Five Oak Green and skirting Paddock Wood To Laddingford back to Yalding.A distance of 34.5 miles at about 12.5 mph average,without incident.It was good to have Andy T.V and Phil Gerry join the ride.
After the large turnout of the previous two Wednesday’s,a smaller group of 10 arrived at Chestnut Street.All wearing winter clothing to combat the icy northerly wind,Russell and Richard did a joint lead on a very traditional route to Faversham.The way out as usual went via Borden,Bredgar and Teynham.The puncture devil struck just after Luddenham,surprisingly wuth a new Swalbe Marathon tyre on Tony M’s bike.With Gary on hand,(as always thank goodness),to help fix it,Russell led half the group on to the Swan cafewhilst the rest remained to assist,and later joined them.The stop remained as good as ever,even if the service was a bit slower than normal.A usual return leg to Painters Forstal,when the puncture devils mate struck again,this time for Brigitte,but no prizes for guessing who was on hand to help.Good old Gary..There must be some SFA CC award for the puncture supremo.Perhaps we ought to put it to the committee!. After that it was fairly uneventful,through Newham,Tunstall and Borden.A distance of 33 mikes at a steady 12 mph,in the dry.
Another great turnout of 21,this time from East Malling, on a very blustery,but lovely mild sunny morning.Again,because of numbers,it was thought it better to do two separate rides.Ralph stepped forward and took a group of 12 out to Lenham. They went out via East Farleigh and Boughton Monchelsea .then along the Ridge.To add an alternative to the straight road,they tried getting through Sutton Valence,but due to road closures ,had to retrace their steps.Following the break at Lenham,the return route went out to Headcorn,Yalding and Wateringbury,by which time 5 riders had dropped off,and the remainder arrived back at East Malling ,having done 45 Miles at 13 mph average Read more below
Richard led a group of 9 to Otford,going out via West Malling,Borough Green and Ightham.Then carrying on along the Pilgrims Way through Kemsing to the Pond Cafe in Otford village.Sitting in the cafe with the sun shining strongly through the front window,was most pleasant.The return was again uneventful and went to Heaverham,Wrotham,Trottiscliffe,and Birling,before the final leg through estates to East Malling.A distance of 31 miles at about 12 mph average. Matthew Gregory wanted to get extra miles in ,so he cycled home to Ashford.Well done Matthew.!.
When a really large group of 19 turned up at Wrotham,it was thought that it might be too many for a single cafe stop,so Ralph volunteered to lead an alternative ride,intending initially to go Poll Hill garden centre,and 6 others opted to join him.Very quickly however,it was thought that it was not far enough,so Del then took the lead and they went to Hawley garden centre.Uneventful except for Brian getting a puncture on the way back along the Knatts Valley,and a road closure further on,but Andy sweet talked the workmen to let them through.A distance of 30 miles at 13 mph average. Read more below
Richard led the other ride,and with a group of 12, headed off to Paddock Wood.Nice to have some new riders joining,ie Philip,Briget and Angie on her first Midweekers ride.The first part was a bit lumpy going up to Ivy Hatch and Shipbourne,,before the flat of Hadlow,and Tudeley to the Top Nosh cafe on the Transfesa estate.Amazing how some cafes can be so great in service and value,without being phased by numbers.The return took the group through Laddingford ,and Hadlow,then the lump of Gover Hill,where Peter got the days puncture,but Allan was on hand as always to help,and with the CO2 cartridge frightened Peter to think the tyre had burst,only Joking!.it was then a quick run back to Wrotham,,and the delight of Allan’s flapjacks.A distance of 37 miles at about 13 mph average.
A dull,cold start from Marden,but 11 still turned up,and with Richard leading the outward bound route went out via Staplehurst and Watermans Quarter To to Smarden,where there was an unexpected stop due to a large flock of sheep being shepherded along the road. On again ,down to Bethersden and the stop at Woodchurch Rare Breeds Centre. There , Mathew Gregory joined the group for part of the ride back,with Denise and Peter peeling off shortly afterwards.The anti clockwise route continued going back to Bethersden,,Egerton and Mundy Bois to Headcorn ,then back to Marden,fortunately without any incidents or punctures.A distance of 46 miles at 13.8 mph average.
With the weather still being so kind ,it was great to have 16 turn up at Lenham.It was decided that the Old Foundry cafe,Ashford is always a good stop.Richard led and took a more elongated route than normal,going out to Platt,Grafty Green and towards Egerton.Bob sustained the first puncture ,but Gary and Allan were on hand as always to help.It was then on to Rippers Cross and various quiet lanes to Great Chart and the break.The cafe always offers excellent value and prices,and the 16 of us were served quickly(except Gary) Oops,On returning to the bikes Rebecca discovered that she had a puncture,but the dynamic duo were there in a flash.Well done Guys..The return leg was pretty uneventful,continuing the anti clockwise course,by travelling to Hothfield,Westwell and Charing back to Lenham in pleasant sunshine.A distance of 35 miles Averaging 13.8 mph.without too many hills.
A group of 14 arrived at Yalding station, including three out with the group for the first time,Bridget,Phillip and Elliott,on what started out as a very dull drizzly morning.Another group of 4 also went off on their weekly Yalding start to Brenchley. Ralph suggested Chiddingstone for the break as his group had gone to the Post office cafe a couple of weeks before and really enjoyed it.So with Richard leading and the rain having stopped,it was the normal route out via East Peckham,Hadlow and Hildenborough,past Phillips’s house! On arriving at Chiddingstone in beautifully warm weather,it was discovered that the Castle cafe was open until the end of October,so the group split in two,which probably worked out better for faster service.The return leg was also the traditional one,via Leigh,Powdermills and outskirts of Tonbridge,before Golden Green and East Peckham again.A distance of 36 miles at about 14 mph average,fortunately with any incidents what so ever.
A very dull and dismal morning greeted 10 riders at Chestnut Street,and good to have John Blakeley out with the group for the first time.Richard led on a very traditional route out to Hartlip,Upchurch and Lower Halstow and over the bridge to the old Xpress cafe at Queenborough.Always a firm favourite and again it didn't disappoint with excellent food and value( see photo).With no real improvement in the weather except drier,the group did a short route back to Chestnut Street,via Iwade and back of Bobbing.A distance of only 27 flattish miles at 13.7 mph average.without incident.
A big turn out of 18 assembled on a fine morning at East Malling.Matthew Gregory ,from Ashford,who is an occasional Midweekers rider volunteered to lead ,which was greatly appreciated and we set off in 3 groups,including a new lady Paula,and good to see Phil Gerry also. Matthew chose an undulating route outvia Offham,Gover Hill before the levels of East Peckham and Yalding.Continuing on to Collier Street,Paula was struggling,so in order to allow the main group not to be held up too much,A few including Russell and me decided to shorten our ride a bit with her and dropped off at Helens cafe,Staplehurst,whilst Matthew took his group to the Garden centre on the A229 near Knoxbridge..The rides back were fairly similar,with the main group doing a bit of an extended route out from Marden to Chainhurst and directly up Red Hill,Wateringbury with Matthew taking a bit of a tumble on route,but fortunately not too serious,before returning to East Malling.Peter and Denise who live near Ashford were kind enough to give Matthew a lift home.Both rides were in excess of 40 miles,with the smaller group taking a slightly more direct route without incident.