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.
A lovely bright morning and 14 riders turned up at Ditton Community Centre.Unfortunately due to a publication error in the Milestone,Lisa and Roger went to Wrotham instead. Richard led and headed off through Aylesford and over Peters Bridge to Cuxton,where Angie got a puncture.When repaired,it was up the hill to Cobham and onto the stop at the Salt Lane cafe,Cliffe Woods,where Roger was sipping tea waiting for the group.The staff coped well with the number. On departure,Colin’s tubeless tyre was flat,so he called his wife and bowed out. The return was into busier traffic of Frindsbury and Rochester,before easing again after Borstal and Wouldham. On getting closer to the start point,8 riders dropped off at various points,leaving the remaining to finish via East Malling and the road through the Research station. A distance of 38.5 miles at about 12.5 mph average.
A pleasant dry morning welcomed 20 riders at Lenham and Russell volunteered to lead and decided that Wye would be a good stop. After getting up Hubbard’s Hill, and nearing Stalisfield,Gary got the first puncture.Whilst being fixed,half the group continued,hoping that it would make the cafe break less manic. When done,Richard led the second group ,down Charing Hill,and along the Pilgrims Way,where they passed the first group where Ralph was mending the second puncture. Continuing on ,near Westwell,the road was closed,with a large amount of fly tipping waste,and a PCSO was at the scene.Lisa and Rachel took the opportunity to get close to him for a photo.They would have preferred a fireman,but can’t be too choosy! The third puncture befell Jonathan just before the break at Wye,so he able to fix it before his lunch when the group rejoined. Russell continued his lead after, and retraced the route initially,but poor Jonathan got yet another puncture,near Potters Corner ,so Russell led half the group on ,and Richard waited with the remainder,without further problems,except Russell’s group going through a very deep puddle in Old Ham Lane.An overall distance of about 35 miles at 13 mph average.Thanks Russ lovely,If unfortunately a disjointed ride due to the punctures.
After heavy overnight rain,it was surprising that 8 riders ventured for a start at Yalding Station,but with the forecast of brightening up,they set off heading for Poult Wood golf club,Shipbourne .Richard led and headed off in completely the opposite direction to Collier Street,and up to Brenchley,before returning to the flat of Golden Green and Tudeley to the golf club. A pleasant and reasonable stop. With ever darkening skies,the group set off again to Hadlow,and East Peckham,where the rain started in earnest,and got continually worse for the final stages through Laddingford to Yalding,by which time it was bucketing down,unfortunately for those cycling home through deep puddles.A distance of 28 miles at about 13 mph average,thankfully without incident.
A very clear morning,and 18riders started off from Chestnut Street with Tony Munn leading ,intending to head to Sheppey.Unfortunately,early on Tony’s front tyre went off with a bang,and he decided to call it a day,and with great buddy Gary,they cycled the short distance back to the start.Thankyou Gary.Richard then took over ,and set off for Queenborough.On arrival The Klondike cafe was being bulldozed for a new housing estate,but the leader had an idea that it had located to Halfway,so they headed there and enjoyed the much improved cafe.Getting out again,taking the cycle path to Barton Point and a glimpse of the Thames at Minster Leas,before heading inland. Due to an accident elsewhere on the Island,the traffic was horrendous,but fortunately the joys of cycling helped the riders through quicker than motorists.The remaining route via Iwade was uneventful until the end,when it was found that 3 riders cars had sustained wing mirror damage,allegedly caused by a speeding young motorist. A distance of 33 Miles at about 13 mph average.