A large group of 16 set off from Brenchley to Headcorn on a crisp cold but sunny day. SBV was leading on her trusty steed, Rainbow, who was disappointed to note she was carrying an extra 5 lbs post-Christmas gorging! Somewhat scarily, we had 3 of the B+ racing snakes with us, but they might come in useful with some pulling ropes on the bigger hills. The ride was beautifully flat for the first 25 miles with all the hills being in the last 12 miles. The first half of the ride was textbook – no incidents and all happy travellers. Then the George & Dragon in Headcorn sadly let us down with 5 riders still unfed after 50 mins, having to make do with Tesco sandwiches or emergency Mars bars. Neal also had a puncture. So the group split up for the return journey. SBV mostly led from the back in her usual style for the worst of the hills and then lost 7 of the troop in the last 2 miles who missed a hand signal (error duly noted, fear not!). All ended up at Brenchley unharmed though, hill challenges met and in good humour. 37.8 miles. 1,463 feet. 12.5 mph average.
A crowded Barming meeting point, with 4 groups starting from there. Richard led the D + Group with a group of 14 on a dull but dry morning and headed off for a stop at Wetherspoons ,Tonbridge. On reaching Laddingford,Mick got a puncture,which on repairing promptly went down again, so Angie and him told the group to carry on and meet at the break ,which they did. Later on at Five Oak Green, a moron of a driver decided to keep stop starting in front of some of the group for no reason before gesticulating and roaring off. On arrival at The Humphrey Bean pub ,there was hardly a spare table to be found,such is the popularity of Wetherspoons,but they still managed to give good service. The way back, and Richard led the group out to Poult Wood and quiet roads,before the climbs up to Kings Hill via Mereworth,where a spoke In Neal’s wheel twanged, but he was able to tie it up and continue A bit of direct off roading thereafter to the North Pole pub,and back to Barming. A distance of 37 miles at about 12.5 mph and 1640 ft ascents
"Having been with the club for over 10 years, I had never been up Vigo hill, the advantage of leading a ride is that you choose the route." Mike lead an inspired group of 6 riders Andy, Ray, Matt, John, Bob and Colin, from Snodland towards Vigo hill on a dry blustery day. Warming up the muscles well, the first hitch - a puncture, 25 minutes later and feeling cold the ride continued. Another 2 miles another puncture another cold delay. There was just enough mileage left before Vigo to prepare, riding from the bottom without stopping the group ascended the hill and were rewarded with a sense of achievement and a flattish ride to Shorne Country Park arriving at 12.30. - 20 miles. The ride back was via Cuxton, the M2 bridge, Wouldham and Snodland. Stats 30 miles, 1800 ft ascent, 12.5 mph, 2 punctures, Vigo Hill and 7 very satisfied riders. Thanks guys.
Russell very kindly took over the lead at short notice,with a Lenham start and a group of 8 on a dry morning. .He soon got the legs pumping with Hubbard’s Hill,then onto quiet and often mucky lanes to Stalisfield and the top of Charing Hill and Challock,before the lovely descent of White Hill and into Wye.As usual the railway barrier was shut so everyone heaved their bikes over the bridge, through the ticket office before carrying on to the village. The next challenge was negotiating the new M20 roundabout at junction 10A,and being given duff information by a workman re cycle path diversions. Having found the correct route however meant slurping through muddy tracks which thankfully led onto a very quiet alternative roads and eventually carrying on to the Environmental cafe at Singleton, The service was very efficient,so the break was quite short. Having already done 24 miles, Russell promised a shorter return,which was uneventful getting back to Lenham via Great Chart and Pluckley. A distance of 39 miles at 12.5 mph average and about 2100 ft ascents. Thankyou as always Russell.
Six riders lead by Mike set off from Wrotham on a hilly ride to the Coolings Garden Centre near Pratt's Bottom. It was a cold crisp day as the group left from Wrotham, along the Pilgrims Way, turning right before Otford Manor and ascending the 14% hill towards Eynsford. At Eynsford passing the ford on to Crockenhill, Kevingtown, Chelsfield and Pratt's Bottom. Climbing Rushmore Hill a herd of deer (12) crossed the road in front of us an amazing sight, and the highlight of the ride! Arthur's a new café at the Coolings did not disappoint despite being extremely busy the food arrived in good time and to an excellent standard, we would give it a good recommendation for the future, and we will be back! The return was via Halsted, Shoreham, Otford, Kemsing and Wrotham. A total of 32 miles average speed 12 mph 2025 ft ascents..
A very dull November morning at Marden, but Neal Welch still gathered in a group of 10 to join him for his lead. A long outward bound journey of 26 miles took them to the break at Headcorn Aerodrome after some challenging lumps around Brenchley, Horsmonden and Curtisen Green, before the flatter lanes beyond Staplehurst and Frittenden. The cafe was very quiet,even though the B group were already there. With rain starting a bit more, Neal maintained a more gentle route along really quiet country lanes ,often quite mucky through Rabbits Cross and Stilebridge back to Marden, which was never quiet with Inci and Sarah B.V ,but remarkably without any punctures. A distance of 37.3 miles at 13 mph average and 1512 ft ascents..Brigitte however broke that duck when riding alone back to West Malling,but managed admirably to fix it.
Colin Tony Russell Richard Paul Ince Anita Brigette Ray and Mike set off in fog from Mote Park at 10.10 - one rider was held up in the traffic! After navigating the Park, Colin had to drop out due to a puncture in his tubeless tyre, fluid problems? Once out of the Park, Bearsted Water Lane and the Pilgrims Way was the route to Hollingbourne Hill. Ray who was using his electric bike for the first time made excellent progress on the Hill until he pressed the wrong button and we were able to reel him in. The group made good progress to the top and were rewarded with warm sunshine. It was the first climb of Hollingbourne Hill for a number of the riders. The next section was down hill until the A2 with a stop at Oad Street for Ray's puncture, the first on his brand new electric bike. A large piece of flint had penetrated the tyre taking a little longer than usual to mend. The group stopped at the Tuck Inn, Newington for a warm and refreshments, 21 miles. The route back was via Hartlip Farthing Corner, Bredhurst, Boxley, Detling, Weavering Street and Mote Park. The Stats - Made it back before the rain, 31 miles, ascending 2050 ft., 11.5 mph, 2 punctures and 9 happy riders!
With very strong winds and downpours of rain, Tony the leader was the only one to turn up at Yalding for his noon ride( most wanted to watch the England v South Africa rugby World Cup final,and probably wished they hadn’t) so the ride did not go ahead.
The Magnificent Seven – six lovely ladies (?!) and a very brave Adrian – set off from Paddock Wood to Biddenden with a stop at the very posh Bloomsbury Café – with Sarah BV as ride leader. We were honoured to have 2 racing snakes from the B+ group with us in the form of Adrian and Anita. The regular D+ people were wondering if they’d be able to keep up with both the pace and the banter, especially when Adrian fell off his bike in the first 2 miles (evil grin!). A few stops were needed en route to disrobe as it was far milder than everyone expected. Even SBV’s new neon pink overshoes proved too warm once the hills were underway. Everyone bravely tackled 1,300 feet of hills in the first 12 miles and then chilled for the remaining miles, which were refreshingly flat. In the final 20 miles, however, the weather changed for the worse and the Magnificent Seven were blown all over Kent in winds far worse than the iPhone’s weather prediction of “a light breeze”. 36 miles. 1,677 feet. Average speed 13.6 mph. No ‘bicycle injuries’ (we don’t use the 'P' word on our rides!).
John and Sarah had recced a lovely route from Aylesford to Knole Park,and a group total of 13 happily set off with them even though it was drizzly and chilly. John took a route out to Snodland then through Trottiscliffe and the Pilgrims Way To Wrotham., where Richard B discovered a staple sticking in a tyre. With great precision and a certain amount of trepidation it was removed with pliers,and to everyone’s relief hadn’t punctured. That elation didn’t last too much longer,when Bob shouted out that dreaded word “ Puncture”. Having quickly found the offending shard,it took 3 inner tube replacements and various pretty useless pumps and CO 2 canisters to get him going again. By this time everyone was getting cold ,so it was decided to cut the ride short and pop into a couple of cafes in Borough Green in order to warm up..The return route was quite short,with John leading through Crouch,Offham and East Malling back to Aylesford. A distance of only 25 miles,but well appreciated by everyone.