9 of us left Snodland 7 gals and 2 very brave men on a wet blustery day headed for Speedgate cafe in Brands Hatch . I’d forgotten the route was such a hilly one sorry peeps but everyone valiantly made it including climbing Stansted Hill near the end . Well done everyone 2000ft of climbing 30 miles at 11.7 mph
John Blakeley led a group of sixteen from Lenham, luckily on a dry day. After so much wet weather recently there were fears we would be swimming the route rather than cycling! The main difficulty at the start of the ride was for John to divide the large group into two equal groups, luckily Chris came to the aid of John and helped him out with his sums. The group headed towards Charing Heath, Egerton and then on to the coffee stop at Headcorn.
The Kingsbury Coffee Lounge were very accommodating and re-arranged the tables so that the entire group could sit together. After the break the group was reduced to twelve (that is 6 in each group John!) and then headed off to the main challenge of the day, Ulcombe Hill. Everyone made it up the hill successfully and it was then a short ride back to the start.
Distance 29.5 miles, average speed 11.9 mph and elevation 1247ft.
With heavy rain,it was decided to cancel the ride.
Having seen the wind forecast, SBV changed the ride on the morning from 32 miles and 1,100 feet to a more palatable 24 miles with less climbing. Fortunately, 7 people were on board for that, so off we set with a not often seen 50/50 gender split. Very nice to have Sarah (as in Bob & Sarah) back with the group. The trusty iPhone had predicted a “light fresh breeze”. We may have used slightly more colourful wording to describe the conditions. Dodging various puddles, branches and what seemed like 50 pot holes on Peens Lane, we arrived at the café intact to a warm welcome from Mr Teapot. The D+ reprobates, led by Brian, were just a minute behind us, having allegedly cycled further, and at breakneck speed (yeah, whatever!). It was a better return journey as the sun came out to play. The general feeling was that 24 miles and 700 feet felt more like a mini audax due to the wind. A surprisingly nice ride, though, with an even more surprising (and totally in breach!) average speed of 13.9 mph over 24 miles and 750 feet.
Due to Storm Dennis an alternative route was planned so that we were back in East Malling by midday. Seven of us left the car park and headed off towards Ightam via Comp Lane. Unfortunately due to technical difficulties Phil soon had to drop out so the six of us continued along the quiet lanes. Thankfully it stayed dry for the 2 hours we were cycling but on the homeward stretch along the pilgrims way towards Wrotham the wind started to pick up as predicted. Without any incidents thankfully seven of us arrived safely back at the start just after midday, after Phil rejoined the group at West Malling. Approx 21 miles , no speed recorded, but assisted by wind!
A group of 14 set off from Mote Park, the men were really outnumbered by the ladies, poor chaps! The route took us through country lanes and down Ulcombe Hill. At the bottom of Boughton Hill I had a puncture so had to leg it to the top. Lucky Bernard fixed it for me while I had a little nap on a nearby bench. From here the lanes were really mucky and full of potholes. We had a lovely stop at the tea room in Lenham where we met Sarah and Bob. Homeward bound to Harrietsham and along Pilgrim's Way. My first lead ride. Thanks everyone for your company! 33 miles, just over 2000 ft and 11mph. Author Lisa Smith, posted on her behalf by RC!
Back in the saddle at last, I jumped on the chance to take a lead off Sarah BV from Yalding to Headcorn. First task was to phone the Village Cafe to change the booking from 10 to 20, always obliging, no problem and we set off for the hill. ONLY one, I promised. But it was Wierton Hill, apparently not everybody’s favourite. But we all got there eventually, and it was great to get it done before the break. At the Cafe Valerie and Sarah W were there to join us for breakfast. The lightly undulating ride back would have been more enjoyable if it hadn’t been for the head wind. Thank you Bob for giving me some respite from it. 32 miles, 1130 ft. Great to be back!
A small but perfectly formed group of 6 followed Sarah BV from Headcorn to Susie’s Kitchen in Tenterden on a very cold but dry day. SBV ‘stole’ a ride previously led by racing snake Brian Kavanagh a few months ago – thanks Brian! The route comprised mostly pretty country lanes – via Frittenden, Biddenden, Strood, then the stop at Tenterden and home via Benenden Rd and Smarden. Note to self – possible stop at Smarden pub one day? Richard B (having cycled in to Headcorn) peeled off at Tenterden to visit a local friend. An incident free ride until the final section, when Chris Moon sadly suffered a deflating moment. He volunteered to fix it with Mrs Moon’s help, then meet us back at base – which they did. 32 miles, 1,500 feet, average 12 mph.
Eleven riders assembled in Lenham as the alternate ride to the Away Day in Hothfield. Misty and cold, we all needed to be wrapped up well. We were heading to a favourite café of mine Footprints Café in Singleton, Ashford.
We headed onto Broughton Road via the Headcorn Road and up to Grafty Green where the cold bodies were now warm and going great guns. Heading to Pluckley was a lovely flat ride travelling along Crockenhill Road and Mundy Bois Road. We avoided the Hill and cut across to Station Road heading down and past Bethersden to the very busy A28. Safely manoeuvring onto Chilmington Green Rd and up Mock Lane. Always a surprise that lane after such a long flat on to its 8% climb!
Nice café stop, great service and very reasonably priced ‘nose bag’.
Our trip back was met with a sudden drop in temperature, however, we braved it, and headed back to Pluckley via Hothfield and Little Chart. Along Pluckley Road onto Charing Heath Road and along the rolling surface to back to Lenham.
A very pleasant ride with very pleasant people, which clocked up 31 miles, with an average pace of 12.7mph and 1434 feet of climbing.
A smaller group, Mike Kevyn David and Michael, set off from Barming to Rochester 3 days after Christmas The conditions were good and in the main the roads quieter than normal for a Saturday. The route out was via West Malling, Offham, Snodland Wouldham and Borstal to Rochester. Being a small group and still being in the festive spirit we were able to chat and catch up with our news as we had not cycled together for awhile. The festive spirit continued at the legends café stop with David explaining how he rebuilt his bike that he was testing today. The route back was via Burham Eccles Aylesford Allington Lock and Castle Road. Stats 30 miles 11.5mph ave. A good Post Christmas breath of fresh air!
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