With 20 riders at Yalding,my thanks to Ralph for easing the burden with numbers.Richard led 15 on a flattish route to the Community cafe at Benenden .by going out via Marden, Frittenden and Sissinghurst.Although the cafe is small, they did well to accommodate and serve us. The return,in lovely sunshine, did a big loop around Hempsted Forest, before Staplehurst and Marden again.. A distance of 42 miles( Although Several riders rode in) at about 14 mph average.
As the numbers grew in the station car park it began to look like an inevitable split of riders would be needed. Following Richards request for an alternative ride group, Ralph volunteered to head up a splinter group. The five riders set off to The Chequers in Lenham Square. A jaunty pace was set as the group set off to Headcorn via Marden and Staplehurst. The only real climb was up to Boughton Malherbe, the five riders attacked the climb with aplomb and stopped to admire the view at the top (put our lungs back in to be truthful). Lenham wasn't far away so the pace was picked up and we were soon tucking in. Following tea and coffee the group set off back to Yalding via Sandway, Kingswood and Coxheath. At Boughton Ralph peeled off for home, which was part of his master plan, so as not to ride home up Yalding Hill. The B group accomplished 37miles at 15.4mph with 1122ft of climbing.
A nice dry morning welcomed 15 riders at Chestnut Street, almost all wearing the Fairies colours. Richard led and headed for Seasalter via a different route than normal by going through the Sittingbourne industrial estate. Thankyou Russell for helping with the Garmin directions through a new housing estate before getting back on the familiar NCR 1. It carried on along country lanes past Teynham and Luddenham to Faversham, before reaching Forget Me Not cafe at Seasalter. The tide was completely out,which proved a challenge too far even for Lisa to go for a swim. A traditional return took the group back to Faversham before heading to Ospringe, Painters Forstal and Tunstall with the final loop through Oad Street,where Russ helped again with the lead. A distance of 43 miles at about 13.8 mph without any problems. Brigitte then extended her journey by cycling back to West Malling.
A fine morning ,and 15 riders assembled at a very busy East Malling car park..A slightly delayed start,with a tyre problem,but thanks to James who provided an emergency sticky pad to cover the hole,and Gary as always. Richard welcomed Alison to the group and then led to Wetherspoons ,Tonbridge High Street. An uneventful journey by going to Offham,Crouch and keeping with lanes to Tudeley., where James’s local knowledge came in handy,by using a very quiet Postern Lane to Tonbridge,and thanks to Bob for guiding a pleasant route along the Medway towpath to the break. Wetherspoons is always great value ,with quick service and sitting in the warm courtyard was very sociable.However,too soon it was back on the bikes and the return by going up to Poult Wood and Mathews Lane to Kings Hill before the finish at East Malling,without incident.A distance of 33 miles at about 13 mph.
The blistering temperature of Europe certainly hadn’t reached Wrotham ,with overcast misty skies.Russell yet again provided his leadership skills and a group of 16 joined him for a long meandering route eventually heading for the Promenade cafe,Gravesend. Off the group went ,up Wrotham Hill and then through Ash and up Scrapsgate hill to Horton Kirby where John G got the only puncture of the day .The ride continued to Bean where Russell found a path that led onto NCR1 and the esplanade at Gravesend for the break,With apparent staff shortages,and our number,the service was quite slow,but as everyone was able to sit outside and watch activity on the Thames,it was fine.The return ,and continuing on NCR1 ,which is probably about the worst of the whole Sustrans network,it was on to Lower Higham along the old canal towpath.Fortunately everyone escaped further punctures.Basically From there ,the ascents started ,firstly up to Cobham and eventually to Harvel,before the downhill back to Wrotham,without incident. A distance of 35 miles at a moderate 11.5 mph,due to some pretty awful surfaced roads.About 2100 ft of ascents.A big Thankyou to Russ,and also James Gurney who looked after Roger on his first outing with the Midweekers
Due to probable thundery weather near the south coast,the Where To Away Day to Appledore was cancelled,in favour of a more local start. With the rain having stopped,4 riders turned up at Ditton Community Centre,Mark,Brian O, Chris M and With Richard leading ,they set off.By Aylesford,Chris had to drop out,due to derailleur problems and went back. The others carried on and went through the new housing estate at Peters village and over the bridge to Snodland and Paddlesworth where they popped into St Benedict’s Church,and Mark had a plink plonk on the old organ. With the weather being very kind still and getting warmer,they headed off to Trottiscliffe and Wrotham,before
the break at the village cafe in Borough Green,where they were lucky enough to sit outside in the quiet courtyard. The return ,and the route was via Crouch,and Offham to West Malling and the back roads to Ditton. A distance of 27 miles at about 13 mph.
Thanks to the 9 'green bottles' who joined me on what was to be an enjoyable mid summer ride. We lost Ray E before Lenham with a puncture, picked up Matthew G in the Square and lost Steve W at the top of Hubbard’s with a broken front derailleur and slow puncture. The hat trick of mechanicals was my broken chain on the Faversham Road at the top of Charing Hill, chain lost but found by Lisa S. I now know why you should keep your chain clean, it's to avoid an hour cleaning your hands. Thanks to the chain gang, newbie Debbie D having a chain splitter and me a clip link we were on the mucky road again. Slow progress to Wye but a great descent of White Hill. I excelled myself with a new PB obstacle course over what is left of the old bridge across the M20 at the construction site of the new Junction 10. Local, Matthew navigated us through this challenge. The reward was a quite run through Kingsnorth and south of Ashford to the Singleton Environment Centre with a table reserved for us. Matthew left us there as did Lisa. Marian B chose to make her own way back so it was just 5 in our group getting an absolute drenching on the flooded roads. At Pluckley we decided to keep to the main roads allowing Bridget to bail out at Charing Station leaving just 4 ‘green bottles’ to sail along the A20 to Lenham. Where were you Gary. We needed you. Debbie's first SFACC ride transpired to be such an ordeal but great to have her on board.
39 miles and 2000 feet of ascents at an average of 12.2 mph.
Route on Strava
Yet again ,Russell offered to lead,and with 12 others including James Gurney,who had been away from the Midweekers for a long time set off from Yalding on a dull morning. .After the initial flat,it was up to Gover Hill then up further to Plaxtol,and Ivy Hatch then undulations around St Julian’s and the back of Knole Park to Ide Hill. A plan B route was then adopted after some Garmin head scratching took the group to the cafe stop at Four Elms garden centre.It was pleasant sitting out and the service was fine. Russell relented a bit on the way back,by keeping to a flatter option taking in Hildenborough,to let Matthew catch his train,before a fairly brisk run to the finish ,via Hadlow,East Peckham and Laddingford . A distance of 42 miles at about 13 mph and approx 2300 ft ascents without incident.A lovely ride.Thankyou.
Richard led 15 riders from Chestnut Street on a dry morning and headed off for the break at The Klondike cafe,Halfway near Sheerness.The route out via Newington and Bobbing then over the bridge to the break.The cafe was empty so were able to provide quick service. The way back initially provided a similar route ,but into a strong headwind back most of the way through Iwade,Lower Halstow and Hartlip.A distance of 32 miles at 13 mph average
A large gathering at the King & Queen with a minute's silence for Richard Byatt. 21 then undertook Russell's lead out on what in parts turned out to be an assault course, nothing unusual there said some! Out via Aylesford, Eccles and the best bit of tarmac of the day to Peters Village. Closure of the north cycle path across the Medway bridge at Rochester was the start of the assault course culminating in footpath only diversions in Canal Road. Then Medway City Estate to get to Upnor. At Chattenden the option was declined to split the group into a shorter ride with a stop at Shorne Country Park and the longer to Buckland Lake Reserve at Cliffe. A telephone call discovered they were up to the challenge of feeding 21 cyclists, something maybe they later regretted. On to Hoo and High Halstow with the joy of the descent along Cooling Road. Cooling Castle then the cafe stop, so long that Richard V escaped before the last 9 taking his sheep homeward. The rest enjoyed a fast ride back with the delights of Cobhambury Hill before an unpleasant short stretch of the A228. to get to Upper Halling and back via Snodland and Leybourne Lakes. 44 miles and 2300 feet at an average of 12.6 mph.