For the fourth consecutive year,Mike Lambourne , dressed in a full Santa suit has been good enough to lead a festive Pre Christmas ride from Marden to Headcorn. Twenty two riders from both D Groups and members of the B+ group supported his fancy dress bikes and costumes ride. This included Pete with his Penny Farthing demonstration around Marden Sports Centre Car Park before the ride. Following very heavy recent rain with fields and rivers badly flooded, Mike led off, with three distinct groups trying to avoid all the puddles. He took a flat route to Headcorn via Staplehurst, having to negotiate a massive flood across the road at the River Beult Bridge, Hawkenbury, which resulted in wet boots for everyone. On arrival at Headcorn , and approaching the stop at the George and Dragon pub, the riders gave a rendition of “We Wish you a Merry Christmas”, which went down well with the locals. At the pub, Mike performed his Father Christmas presentation of the best dressed festive person,which Brigitte won,and duly received a tin of chocolates from Santa’ s bag. Following the stop it was across to the War Memorial for Carol singing,which again attracted friendly responses from passers by. With rain threatening,it was then a direct route back to Marden, without any incidents. A really fun ride at a gentle pace and thoroughly enjoyed by all. Thankyou Mike.
9 of us set off from Brookland Lake car park Snodland on a sunny morning and gently meandered over to Offham and Plaxtol, then on to Tonbridge. As we entered Tonbridge the heavens opened and a squally storm blew up so we were pleased to take refuge in the Humphrey Bean Wetherspoons . After the break I went a bit wrong trying to find Postern Lane and we ended up going along a busy road but found Hartlake Rd and were back on course via Hadlow, Butchers Lane and West Malling. 35 miles at about 11.5 mph
With low mist in many places, it was a relief to start off from Wrotham in sun and blue sky. Richard led with a group of 8, and went up the A20 to Ash, then down to Hartley and Longfield. He had intended going to a cafe at Swanley,but found it closed on arrival, so plan B was Hawley Garden Centre, which was reached via Hextable. It turned out to be a really nice stop. It was inevitable that any return route back to Wrotham was going to be hilly, and for most of the way it was uphill from Horton Kirby,and Mussenden Lane to Speedgate.,then finally Billet Hill and Terry’s Lodge Road,before the lovely descent of Exedown Hill to the finish,without incident. A distance of 30 miles at a moderate pace and about 1760 ft ascents.
Chris, Matt and seven ladies set off from Marden. It was nice to see Rachel cycling again after her back problem. The group ventured through quiet lanes to headcorn where we did a seven mile loop round frittenden to arrive at the cafe 19 miles completed. Good food and coffee served quickly and off again towards Staplehurst, out to Curtisden Green for the only hill of the day which Donna seemed to not notice and waited for us at he top. A perfect ride apart from heather getting a puncture 1/4 mile from home. 32 miles, average 13 mph
Nine of us left the King and Queen pub towards Aylesford. We continued on through Burham then joined the cycle path along the M2 and down to join Bush Road to cycle through Cuxton. At this point we chose to make a detour towards Sole Str to avoid Cobhambury Rd and then on to Nell's Cafe for a well needed break after 20 miles. After a quick lunch due to the speedy service we cycled back across the M2 to join Church Street. At the Golden Lion on Luddesdown Rd we joined Cutter Ridge Rd cycling up hill towards Great Buckland and then ended up at the bottom of Lockyer's Hill!! After that it was a relief to cruise down Birling Hill and c then through Birling, Ryarsh and West Malling to arrive back at the start. Thanks to Richard and Clive for their help! Definitely a more challenging D ride sorry having completed 34 miles, an average speed of 11.9 and climbed 1700 ft
A group of 15 set off from Mote Park on what proved to be a pleasant sunny but chilly morning. The route headed via Boughton Monchelsea and Hawkenbury before arriving at the Headcorn Aerodrome Cafe for the coffee stop. As the group approached the vicinity of the Aerodrome John warned everyone that he often takes the wrong road so extra care was taken. Even taking extra care there still ensued a discussion over which road should be followed that resulted in several changes of direction! Eventually the group arrived at the Aerodrome to find a busy cafe but service was still very good. Following the coffee stop the group headed via Grafty Green and then tackled the climb at Church Road, which proved to be easier than the alternative of Ulcombe Hill. The route continued via Platt’s Heath and Kingswood before returning to Mote Park.
Distance 31 miles, Average speed 12mph, Elevation 1115ft
With weather warnings and a rugby match to compete with John, Colin and Mike met at Yalding for the D groups weekly ride. With strong winds and torrential rain it was a close call. " lets do it" won the day and we were off. The roads were flooded at the sides but the lack of cars enabled us to cycle in the middle of the road and avoid the hidden potholes and hazards. The group travelled to Hadlow College for their break via Hunton, Marden, Claygate, Laddingford, East Peckham, and Golden Green. Arriving very wet we enjoyed our lunch and the warmth, but left leaving large pools of water for which we apologised. Heading back we took the shortest route and sprinted all the way with a tail wind. Total 26.5 miles 13.9mph average in strong winds, "we nailed it!"
A windy,but dry morning welcomed 5 male and 5 lady riders at Paddock Wood. Richard led and headed for Wateringbury. The route took the group out through Five Oak Green and Tudeley towards Hadlow, where Tony M got the only puncture of the day, picking up a thorn from hedge cuttings. Following a repairing joint effort,the group set off again to West Peckham and Mereworth,where unfortunately some at the back became detached and took a hilly run to the stop via Butchers and King Hill,while those in front went straight along the A26. The cafe, Where Memories Meet At Wateringbury Cross roads was a new one, but they looked after the group well. With the prospect of rain not being too far away, the return was fairly short ,via Yalding and Collier Street,just before it started. A distance of only 26 miles at about 12 mph average.
A Group of eight met up in Headcorn for a ride to Singleton Ashford. Richard being the efficient back marker, thank you. Along Bedlam Lane onto Shepway Rd onto Crockenhill Road to Egerton Forstal and onto Rock Hill Road. Until this point the group were moving very swiftly and with ease. The ease of the ride changed as we climbed the short but steep Rock Hill to Egerton.
Then onto Pluckley before heading down to Bethersden. Unfortunately Sarah had a puncture but was swiftly sorted out by Bob and Richard. We then joined the very busty A28 for a short burst onto the hilly Mock Lane then down to the Footprints Café. Great service and we were honoured when given our own room, great food also.
We then headed down to Great Chart, up Ninn Lane onto Hothfield . A lovely climb back to Pluckley turning left and down onto Munday Bois Road for a lovely open countryside ride back to Headcorn. 31.35 miles, 352m climb at 14.1 mph pace. An excellent ride enjoyed by all.
Mike Paul Darren Kevyn and Chris left Aylesford on route to the Legends Café at Rochester via Ditton, East and West Malling, Offham, Trottiscliffe, Ryash, Snodland, Upper Halling, Cuxton, M2 bridge, Borstal and on to Rochester. In total a distance of 23.3 miles, arriving at 12.30 following Kevyn's puncture which was repaired in good time. Following a good feast the group returned to Aylesford via Burham and Eccles a distance 7. 5 miles. Statistics 30.8 miles 1873 feet of climbing 12.6 mph weather wet We wish Jo a speedy recovery, she was meant to lead this ride but had to pull out due to illness. Good luck Jo
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