Sometimes the joy of getting out on the pedals overrides common sense. After heavy overnight frost,ice and small snow accumulations, 5 riders still ventured to a Yalding start. Richard led with Russell,Lisa ,Paul and John G,and initially on the flat out towards Collier Street,all seemed fine. However,that changed going up towards Brenchley,when the road was covered in ice,resulting in Russ taking a tumble,Fortunately without apparent injury.From then onwards,it was walking and sliding with the bikes,even down most of the descent of Knowle Road,with large areas of black ice.Getting back on the flat was most welcomed,and the ride to the break at Paddock Wood was slow but uneventful.With the sun really getting hold ,the short return to Yalding via Laddingford was a lot easier. A very sedate ride of only 16 miles,at a speed which wasn’t worth recording on strava.
With temperatures barely above freezing,it was quite surprising that 8 riders still turned up at Chestnut Street.At least it was dry and Richard led the group on a traditional route out to Faversham,via Borden and Bredgar . Sarah L got the first puncture of the day near Rodmersham,but Gary was on hand as always to assist. Everyone then tried to warm up again heading to Teynham and the Lower Road to Faversham,for the break at the Swan cafe in the town.It is always a very good watering hole,with value and service. The return,and everyone got fully togged up again,as the temperature was showing -1 degree.Sarah popped into the local bike shop to get a tyre fully inflated,and it was then off to Ospringe and some climbs to Newnham and Kingsdown. Just before Tunstall,Gary got a slow puncture ,but after a couple of stops to put more air in,it was on to the finish via Borden. Adistance of 31 miles at 12 mph average and about 1450 ft ascents.
A very dull,but thankfully dry day that still attracted 13 riders for an East Malling start . Richard led and went out through the Research station,and housing estates of Ditton and Aylesford. It continued up Pratling Street and along the narrow Pilgrims Way to Burham , Wouldham and Borstal,before arriving at Rochester and the cafe break on the Frindsbury estate. It is always a great stop,so quick,efficient and cheap!. The return,started to follow the same route,but crossed the River Medway,by going over the M2 footpath,then down to Cuxton and off the main road. The quieter lanes were immediately welcomed by going to Upper Halling and through the Holborough housing complex and Birling village,for the final leg of West Malling to the finish.,without any incidents or punctures,and just in time before the rain started. A distance of 30 miles,at about 12 mph average and climbs of 1760 ft.
A cold dry start awaited 12 riders at Wrotham,Russell offered to lead yet again,and planned a route to the Weald area. The outward route took the group to Borough Green,Crouch and Plaxtol up to Shipbourne .From there it continued along many quiet lanes to Hildenborough towards Chiddingstone and Bough Beech,before arriving at Weald village and the stop at Teal cafe on A225.There, we met up with Lisa ,who cycled from Bearsted to join the group.A welcomed break,with good service. Russ reminded everyone that the main climb of the day,One Tree Hill was to be conquered very soon after,so with a bit of consternation they set off again,and all managed it at different plods.With spirits high,the ride continued to Seal,Kemsing and Heaverham before getting back to Wrotham. A distance of 34 miles with 680 metres ascents and about 12.5 mph average,without any problems..Great ride Russell,Thankyou.
The first “Where To” ride of the year and 20 turned up at Lenham .Russell offered to lead ,on a cold dry morning and thought that a trip to the north Kent coast would be a good start,but with the break to be decided later. A lovely route out ,by firstly going up Hubbard’s Hill,then what seemed slightly down hill all the way past Eastling to Painters Forstal and into Faversham.From there it was into a northerly breeze to Seasalter,but with the tide out,Lisa and Sarah L,were unable to take the opportunity of a swim,thank goodness.With the cafe there shut,Russ continued the ride to Whitstable,eventually finding a cafe open called Bubbles near the harbour. It was inevitable with 20 ,that it was going to be a very long break,but it turned into a new and nice stop.The return became considerably more lumpy,but Russ found quiet lanes out to Hernhill,Boughton,Oversand to Sheldwich.,then more picturesque challenging climbs past Throwley to Stalisfield.With time really getting on,most of the riders decided to take a shorter route to Lenham ,again via Hubbard’s Hill,and the others getting a couple of more miles in via Charing Hill. An overall maximum distance of about 2700 ft ascents at about 12.5 mph average,without any punctures or incidents.Thanks Russ for a great ride.
Nine riders headed out from Wateringbury Station to Bedgebury Forest not only eager to burn off the seasonal excesses but to enjoy some tranquil lanes after Christmas Day’s festivities. Tony Palmer’s planned lumpy route through Yalding, Laddingford, Brenchley and Kilndown was designed to achieve the first aim. The Boxing Day Sales ensured that there were very few cars on the country roads to disrupt the group. The morning was overcast and dry but the temperature was sufficiently nippy to warrant the wearing of full gloves rather than short finger mitts, as Richard discovered. While the group was taking in the beauty of the Brenchley Village’s decorations one of the inhabitants, from a family desperate to get on their way, was mugged to take the customary group snap. Sarah B decided to return directly to Wateringbury as she was under a 12:30 curfew.
Several hills later, after going up and down some narrow country lanes full of slushy wet leaves, the group finally arrived at Bedgebury Forest. The group favoured light snacks, more mince pies and Christmas cake, as Café was busy with bank holiday visitors. The return route skirting Goudhurst and Horsmonden was much flatter helping the group to ride at a steadier pace to get back before 2:00PM. A distance of 34.7 miles at 12.3 mph average with an elevation gain of 2,084 feet.
After heavy rain, but improving weather 12 riders still turned up at Yalding including Joan ,an 82 year old non Fairy on her e bike,who just fancied a ride.Richard led and took a fairly usual route to Headcorn aerodrome,where they met up with Russ,who had missed the start.Following a leisurely break,it was a very extended loop,still on the flat,via Staplehurst and Hawkenbury.Towards the end,Joan’s battery ran flat,so Mark E buddied her on a direct route to Yalding,whist the remaining riders took more puddled country lanes..Just before Laddingford,Angie got a puncture,then walked with her bike to the village,and Chris Moon returned to get his car and then collect her.A distance of 38 miles at an average 13 mph.
A really large turnout of 22 arrived at Chestnut Street ,on a sunny,If not slightly chilly December morning.Tony Munn offered to lead,and in 3 Groups set off for a break at Beano’s ,Sheerness.A very traditional route out via Upchurch and Lower Halstow and into Sheerness,where immediately before the stop Stevie got a puncture,but with Gary’s and Keith help soon met up again with the group at the cafe,which was a new one and can be thoroughly recommended for efficiency and pricing. Thereafter,Tony led the group out to Minster On Sea,for a photo stop.The ride continued back,again taking well established routes to Iwade and Bobbing,where Gary got the second puncture of the day. and to the finish.A distance of 33 miles at about 13 mph average.
On a dull morning,with total chaos on motorways and main roads,it became very difficult for riders with cars to get to East Malling,and some left theirs at Aylesford,and later joined the rest as they reached Aylesford.With Richard Leading,with 12 riders,it was then onto quieter roads,for the break at Nell’s cafe ,Gravesend,via Cuxton and Cobham .Following the stop,it was out again to Inn on the Lake,and into Cobham again..Unbeknown to most of the group,Tony Palmer at the back had a puncture in a tubeless tyre,and even with Gary’s help,proved impossible to mend. Thankyou Phil Gerry for cycling all the way back up the hill to assist. Tony had to call his wife,and then walked 3 miles into Cuxton to meet her.The rest carried on over the M2 Bridge,and through Wouldham and Aylesford again,where those riders were reunited with their cars.This proved fortuitous for Angie,as she had a puncture very close to where Colin had parked,so he gave her a lift.The few remaining ,then carried on to the finish at East Malling.A distance of 36 miles at a very mediocre speed.
On a dull and drizzly morning which would have been easy to call off,8 riders still turned up fully waterproofed,and with Richard leading headed off for a lumpy ride to Paddock Wood.Firstly it was up to Ightham ,Plaxtol and Shipbourne,before the descent to the flat around Golden Green,before some main roads throughTudeley,Five Oak Green into the Transfesa estate,Paddock Wood and the delights of the TopNosh cafe. Great service and value as always. The return continued the circuitous route going out to East Peckham and Hadlow,before the inevitable climb ,choosing Gover Hill before Crouch,where3 riders dropped off.It was then onto Borough Green and the finish at Wrotham,without any punctures,suprisingly or incidents.A distance of 34.5 miles,at about 12.3 mph and 1850 ft of climbs.