Report by Tony Palmer
The hard overnight frost and mist put this ride, planned by Gary Pearce, in jeopardy; however, eight riders, with a strategy to keep to main roads to avoid ice, warmed up nicely after ascending Wrotham Hill. The group received an unwelcome cold shock, however, as they dipped into a pocket of freezing mist in Valley Road Fawkham. Goggles became misted immediately and Garmins repeatedly warned that the group were off course. Luckily the fog disappeared after Gravesend to reveal a bright blue sky over the Medway Estuary. A distance of 41.25 miles at average of 13.6 mph with ascent of 2,325 feet.
Report by Linton Schwarz
Expected rain or not, the weather-hardened B+ elite rode out of Staplehurst town to Rolvenden regardless. Colin and Angela complimented the group making 16 in total. So due south we went, to Lilly’s Café in Rolvenden, chosen for two main reasons. One, the best full English west of Ashford. Two, the best selection of kid’s toy vehicles anywhere! Just too good an opportunity to miss… Oh yes, there was plenty of time to enjoy the scenery too. Poor old Pete ‘the puncture’ Searle had three, scattered thoughtfully across the whole ride, giving some of us time to have a breather. A distance of 33 miles at 13mph average, and just over 1,800ft of ascent.
By Brian Kavanagh
Brian commenced his Pyrenees training early by dragging five of his fellow riders up the biggest lumps he could find, including Vigo Hill and Row Dow, between East Malling and Lullingstone Country Park. Brian had five riders in tow when he left East Malling; however, Little Phil, made up an excuse, just before the ascents, about apparently watching Gillingham play football, as if! Tony bailed out after climbing 3,750 feet with the lame excuse, claiming, in between rapid breaths, that he had to get back early.The remaining hardy souls completed the distance of 43.09 miles at an average of 11.7 mph with an excellent effort to gain an elevation of over 4,078 feet.
We had the lot on this ride from Mote Park, very low temperature, fog, then sunshine, dry conditions and even a little rain towards the end. Seven riders headed to our café stop at Headcorn Airfield. We headed up Kingsdown and going above the fog covering Maidstone to the lovely sunshine as we headed towards Langley Heath, then across to Kingswood and to a lovely descent of Ulcombe hill. We then headed East working our way to climb Rock Hill to Egerton. Once we reached Pluckley that was all the climbing done for this half of the ride. A lovely flat ride to Headcorn Airfield to the very busy café.
The second half of the route was a little more challenging in that we had Ulcombe Hill to conquer with café legs! However, we breezed up this and headed down to Lenham before we had the pleasure of climbing Stede Hill. The weather did start to change a little with a drop of rain in the air. However, we cracked on to another lovely descent of Hollingbourne Hill, then along the Pilgrims way to Detling and then down to Mote park to finish. A great ride enjoyed by all, 43.7 miles, 2325 feet climbing at an average pace of 14.6 mph.
Report by Tony Wells
Eight set out from Barming, with Tony Wells leading, along North Pole Road, via West Malling, then along some devious roads, including Styants Bottom, to Birches Cafe at Seal.
The return included passing the Snail at Stone Street, then down into Plaxtol. Tony then took the group up the Roughway!!!
The group then headed towards Wateringbury, but turned off at Pizien Well, to go over Gibbs Hill and past chez Palmer. They continued up towards The Good Intent pub and eventually climbed back up the hill from East Farley Bridge to the start point.
Distance of 38.96 miles with 3120 feet climbing, 2.54 hours ride time at average speed of 13.7 mph
A smaller turnout of 7 riders compared to recent weeks set off on damp roads after the deluge in recent days. We were joined by Grant the prolific marathon runner for his first B+ ride. The lanes on the climb up to Egerton were full of debris and puddles and it was no surprise when Pete had a puncture in Pett Lane in Charing. Fortunately this turned out to be our only puncture of the day and we got into a nice tempo as we made our way to the Blue and White cafe in Smeeth.
On the route back the clouds were gathering and despite some spots of rain near Great Chart we skirted the worst of the weather and managed to stay predominantly dry. It was a flattish route back without incident and in summary we covered about 45 miles, at an average of 15.4mph and 1,700ft of ascending.
Billed as a very flat route by Gary without any hills, the group were up to the challenge of a well paced ride on a nice warm, sunny day. Out through Marden to Staplehurst then Frittenden heading south to the Rare Breeds Centre at Woodchurch. Surprisingly the café was devoid of anyone else, so service was very prompt and we sat outside enjoying the food and warmth. After the break, a stroll through the centre, seeing various birds of prey and other animals before exiting down a track to the road to continue the journey back. The only incline of the day was Bethersden Road, which was no trouble. Continuing through Bethersden, past Headcorn aerodrome, Staplehurst and back to Marden. Everyone enjoyed the faster paced ride as it was flatter than our usual rides. Distance 43.33 miles, 307 m ascent at a well paced 16.6 mph.
Five riders attended the ride Aylesford to Borough Green. A ‘dreich’ morning indeed, which threatened rain, but apart from a little shower here and there, we had good conditions throughout the ride. We headed off up Rochester Road to the Pilgrims Way, through Eccles and Burham to under the M2 and back towards and over Pete’s Bridge to Snodland. The group settled down very quickly and collectively we worked our way up to conquer Birling Hill. A lot longer and steeper than some of us expected but lovely all the same. We headed to Vigo and cautiously descended Vigo Hill and eventually crossing the A20 and up Church Road to Offam. Once we reached Crouch we headed down and up to our scheduled stop The Village Café and Sandwich Bar, but it was closed! The bakery next door was an excellent alternative.
We headed up the short but hilly Crouch lane and headed gently up to the Hurst and down Gover hill to West Peckham, what a lovely descent that is; enjoyed by all. Then more enjoyment up Butchers Lane. Then through Kingshill, up to Broadwater, Pikey Lane, then up the gradual slope, The Heath. We then had a great run to Aylesford along Sweets Lane across to Station Road and home. 40.1 miles with 2,600 feet of climbing, with an average pace of 14.1 mph.
A stunning morning greeted a healthy turnout of 14 riders at Charing including John & Kate Bosley on their magnificent tandem. The climb up Charing Hill got us nicely warmed up and we were soon admiring the glorious views over the Downs as we navigated our way to Bridge and the Independent Pedaler cafe. We set ourselves up at an outdoor bench and Adrian relaxed in a deckchair as we enjoyed both the food and the setting. It soon became apparent that Tony P's decaf coffee had not arrived or had it been consumed by someone else? Cue coffeegate - another one was ordered and our group coordinator was happy.
The route home included the drag up to Hastingleigh where we stopped for photos and to admire the views cross country and out to sea. This was followed by the lovely descent to Wye and the traditional route back via Pett Lane. We covered 42 miles at an average speed of 13.2mph and 3,000ft of climbing.
A good turn out of fourteen turned up at Dickley Lane car park on a chilly and breezy day. We soon warmed up with a climb of Hubbards Hill and passed through Faversham and Graveney. Arrival at our café stop in Seasalter was after just one hour and sixteen miles covered. The tide was out so no chance of a swim for Lisa ! Returning via quiet lanes of Hernhill and Stalisfield we waited by a field with five detectorists trying to find treasure whilst Gary and Lisa were picking up free courgettes offered from a roadside table. Gary's was very large indeed and we were pleased he kept it in his rear jersey pocket ! Luckily no incidents or mechanicals for a large group with a good average speed of 14.7 mph and a total distance of 42 miles covered.