12 of us set off as I instructed my team that ‘everyone should be a back marker’, in a successful attempt not to lose any riders this time! We went to Headcorn via Wierton Hill (have I ever mentioned that it’s my favourite hill?) and along to East Sutton, Stickfast and Crumps to pick up a lovely long flat run into Headcorn. The biting cold wind made The Village Café very welcome. Our route back was delayed by a hail storm which we sat out in the café. So much weather in 31 miles and 1100 ft and all nicely under worked in anticipation for the SFA Sportive on Monday.
A Group of fifteen gathered in glorious sunshine in Headcorn. Split into two groups we headed for the Footprints Café, Ashford. We headed up Ulcombe, along Crumps Lane before heading down Lenham Road cutting across to Egerton Forstal. This was a very easy route to here but we then had Rocks Hill to climb to Egerton. Despite Alison’s chain coming off all 15 cruised to the top, with considerable ease.
Then via Pluckley we headed down to Bethersden, joining the very busy A28 for a short burst to the Footprints Café. Service a bit slow but good nose bag all the same.
Our intended route was blocked by locked gates so we had to add a mile or so to the scheduled distance. A lovely climb back to Pluckley before a lovely open countryside ride back to Headcorn. 35 miles, 420m climb at 14mph pace. An excellent ride enjoyed by all.
John led six of us from Aylesford on a blustery Saturday;
Through Ditton, East Malling, Kingshill then DOWN Butcher’s all the way
UP to Spadeworks at Offham where we had a fantastic break
Before riding through Ryarsh and Birling, digesting the cake.
Some had even tasted the cafe’s amazing flapjack,
Which clearly improved our cadence on the way back.
We didn’t lose anyone! Despite Inci’s GPS having its own idea,
She stayed with us, admiring the bluebells which had begun to appear.
The sun shone over Peter’s Village as we pedalled up the ridge
Before speeding back to Aylesford over the medieval bridge.
A lovely ride but an incident at Ditton gave us quite a scare;
Alison was downed by a pedestrian who crossed without due care.
Luckily no damage was done and we finished the ride all smiles,
Having averaged 12.2 mph, climbed 1,743 ft and completed 31 miles.
Seven D plusses met in Aylesford on a cold Saturday;
Only five degrees and the threat of hail not far away!
John C. led out towards Ditton and as usual crossed the A20, where
Alison was knocked off by a pedestrian crossing without due care!
Thankfully, no damage was done to walker, rider or bike but, “Is this a record?" I hear you say;
An accident within ten minutes of a ride getting underway?
However, no other incidents occurred and the group rejoiced in the total absence of pain;
Whilst riding, nay flying, along Butcher’s Hill and Matthew’s Lane.
Because, you’ve guessed it, we were riding them both DOWN hill!
Afterwards we congratulated John on his route-planning skill!
(Luckily we weren’t following Inci’s ‘Ride with GPS’ route downloaded that day;
Because it kept insisting that she cycle the route in the opposite way)!
However, our joy was short-lived. After Dunk’s Green, Long Mill Lane loomed, a hill to remember;
But Sarah B.-V. had erased it from her memory, having climbed it in icy December.
However, we all pedalled up it fast, especially Colin, at least that’s what we reckoned;
Probably because hunger was setting in and a warm café stop beckoned.
On the way to Crouch a couple of horses and Ray’s chain delayed us somewhat;
But in a short while we reached Spadeworks at Offham, where they still serve tea in a pot!
The food was good and the service fast. We had a lovely break and plenty to say;
But after 40 minutes a photo was taken and then John led us on our way!
And, Quelle Surprise! Whom should we see in Addington but our friends, the Ds!
Although we only had time for a quick wave whilst pedalling fast in the strong breeze;
The sun was now out, as were the blossoms and flowers;
Kent looked amazing and we could have ridden for hours!
The last leg (after Ryarsh and Birling, where John, accidentally(!) almost gave Inci the slip);
Took us over Peter’s Bridge then down into the dip;
And back up the other side, into the wind and UP hill! What’s that all about?!
Then when the cycle path ended an inpatient driver nearly took some of us out!
However, the final mile saw us riding over Aylesford’s medieval bridge, what a lovely river scene;
And we arrived back at about 1. 40 p.m. happy that we had been such a good team.
Our statistics show that we rode within D+ rules, so SFA coordinators should be all smiles:
An average of 12.2 mph, 1,743 ft elevation over a distance of 31 miles.
With all the climbing before our break at The Bell and Jorrocks in Frittenden, we got off to a great start, huffing and puffing up and down from Paddock Wood to Brenchley, skirting Goudhurst with a final push past the prison to Frittenden. Our only mishap was a couple of crazy dogs trying to get Richard off his bike and Andy's puncture. The return ride was 'undulating flatly'. Easy. Or so I thought. In the last ten miles we met two tractors, and a carriage being pulled by a horse that spooked. Richard and Kevyn came to the driver's rescue which resulted in them losing us and taking a wrong turn. Tony went to look for them and when he didn't return, Jo went to look for Tony but came back empty handed. Somewhere along the line the B+ group gained a rider, and the other two turned up before us in Paddock Wood. How did that happen?! All good spirits, thank you everyone. 37 miles at 12.4 mph and 1700ft
Having met at Barming, 13 of us including 2 newcomers, Amanda & Nick set off in the sunshine towards West Malling. We continued to Offham then having found the 2nd group again, after some confusion, we cycled along Comp Lane until turning off towards Dunks Green and did a loop to Plaxtol. Our undulating ride then continued along the county lanes and up to Melia's cafe at Borough Green. Having enjoyed sitting outside in the sun, relaxing and eating nice food, two people then left the group and the rest of us cycled back down to the bottom of the hill. We turned off along to Basted and ascended our first hill after the break, back up to Crouch. We continued along the Hurst, on towards Mereworth and then up Butchers Hill ,through Kings Hill and via Lavenders Way to Wateringbury Road and back to the start. A total of 34 miles, 2400 ft at an average speed of 11.5 miles an hour
A Joint Group ride.Please see D Group report
Storm Gareth still had a sting in it’s tail,but at least it was dry. A group of 8 set out from Brooklands Lakes, Snodland. Matthew had already ridden from St Marys Island into a fierce headwind. With Richard leading,partly wind assisted ,the outroute via Cuxton ,where Matt peeled off,, and Cobham to Lower .Higham was pleasant.It was then onto Cliffe Woods and the break at the Salt Lane cafe.With trees creaking and flags billowing directly against the return route,it became a very challenging ride in the open countryside and cross winds,.It was quite a relief to get to the shelter of Rochester built up area. But tempered by finding the usual cut through from Commissoners Rd to Canal Road all shut and barriered off,but at least a temporary footpath was found.. The last leg,still battling into the wind,but at least flat ,went through Wouldham and over Peters Bridge to Snodland and the finish. A distance of only 29 miles at about 11 mph.
A really blustery morning,didn’t deter a group of 10 joining Russell, at Lenham knowing that it was going to be a lumpy,challenging ride to Brogdale.With the wind assisting ,Russell led his flock firstly up Hubbard’s Hill before some lovely descents to Newnham.Continuing on undulating narrow lanes in the Lewson Street area,a local parish nerd roared towards the group and everyone had to scuttle quickly into the hedgerows so as not to be used as skittles.However,carrying on,Russ took many loops bypassing Faversham and a very steep Coxetts Hill,where Sarah B.V. came out of her clips and feminally landed in the vergeside mud,but fortunately with only hurt pride.It was quickly onto the break at Brogdale,where Russ had reserved in big circular table accomodating all the group. The return,and inevitably everyone knew that the strong wind was going to be against virtually all the way back,and it was a steady rise to get to the top of the downs at Stalisfield Green,before a welcome relief descending Hart Hill,and crossing the A20 to Charing Heath and the final section back to Lenham.A distance of 31 miles at 12 mph and about 2000ft ascents,depending on whose Garmin was accepted.A much longer ride for Andy T.V who rode both ways from Ditton and wanted to get even more hills in!Great ride Russ,Thankyou.
The usual large turnout of 3 groups met at Wrotham,and Brian Kavanagh led a group of 10 on a D + ride. He took the group onto lanes through Ryarsh to Snodland ,then over Peters Bridge and into Wouldham.From there it was over the M2 foot bridge,where a lone cyclist with a puncture was very thankful for the use of Angie's pump. Brian continued by going down to Cuxton then the first climb up Cobhambury Hill to Cobham and the break at Shorne Country Park which was extremely busy ,so service was quite slow. The return route,and Brian went back into Cobham and down through Gold Street to Luddenham,before the climb back up to Harvei via Dean Lane.. Inci was feeling severe back pain,so Angie and Mo supported her to the finish at Wrotham. A distance of 31 miles at about 12 mph and 2150 ft ascents,without any incidents.and about the same time as the B+ and D Groups to meet up for a chat. Thanks Brian for a great ride.