A windy,cold but very sunny start from Yalding,with 11 riders.Tony Palmer graciously offered to lead and headed off for a very traditional ride to Chiddingstone,into a very brisk headwind. Without incidents thankfully ,the route went out to Hadlow and Hildenborough.On arrival at the post office cafe,Chiddingstone,the lady owner came out to say they were refurbishing,so Tony came up with plan B ,which was Penshurst Place.To get there entailed quite a few lumps,but sitting with the warmth inside,and the bright sun streaming through the window made it a good stop.The return journey was a lot flatter,and made even better with being wind assisted.Tony led to Leigh,and then skirted Tonbridge,and on to Golden Green and East Peckham to the finish.A distance of 40 miles at 13.3 mph average. Thankyou Tony for a lovely ride.
On a day that was dry,and with a hint of warmth in the sun,16 riders started from Chestnut Street,and with Richard leading headed off towards the Isle of Sheppey.Doing the usual route through Upchurch and Lower Halstow,but on the bridge approach,then turning back to Iwade .The road to Newington was closed, due to a large amount of fly tipped waste ,but it was ok to get around for cyclists.At Newington,the group was held up by a very large traveller type funeral courtage.Several with open backed vans decked with flowers and memorabilia.From there it was only a short distance to the break at the A2 Tuck Inn transport cafe.Always a great stop,and managing to get in just before it became fairly packed.On coming out,Russ had to leave for a meeting with the Maidstone cycling forum,and Philip also peeled off,as he hadn’t cycled recently.The return went off in a different direction to Queensdown Warren,where yet again the road was completely blocked,with fly tipped waste,necessitating the riders to carry their bikes around .(Please see the photo on the group photo section).it was then up to Bredhurst for a big loop on country lanes before returning to Bredhurst,and then into Parkwood,Rainham and the M2 services,before the descent to Hartlip.The final stages had a couple of hold ups with Chris Moon getting a slow puncture,Tony M having problems with a mudguard and with 100 yards from the finish Tony P also getting a puncture.A distance of 35 miles at about 12 mph average.
With storm Elenor passing through,it was surprising that 10 riders still turned up at East Malling.Although extremely windy,it was dry.Richard led after deciding to go to a new cafe stop at Longfield.It was straight into challenging and gusting westerly winds,Trying to remain to fairly sheltered roads,the route went to West Malling,Offham and Crouch,before Borough Green and Wrotham. Russell,who had still not got over his flu bug,decided to peel off ,whilst the remainder took the path up the side of the A20 Wrotham Hill,and getting onto the quieter lanes of Ash to Fawkham Green and the break at Dolly’s Diner,Longfield.This was a New stop,and a very good reasonably priced one.The prospects of a wind assisted return leg was appreciated,by going to Meopham and Cobham,then down to Cuxton.The final few miles was by way of Snodland and Birling to West and East Malling.A distance of 36 miles at about 12 mph average,without incident
Due To the atrocious weather,everyone was far too sensible to ride or even turn up !
A good turnout of 17 for the start at Ditton Community Centre,including Steve having come from Deal,and Peter from Wye.Fortunately a mild although damp morning and with Richard leading headed to Gravesend.Firstly going through Aylesford to cross the M2 bridge and into the large Strood estate,where Ralph got a puncture. Carrying on to Higham then the Lower road to Chalk,and up Thong Lane to Nell’s cafe which always provides good service,value and blow out fry ups. The return took in a more direct route by going out to Gold Street,where Del left to take an alternative way home,whist the rest carried on to Cuxton,where Richard’s Rear gear cable snapped,so at Snodland he peeled off,leaving Tony M to lead,intending to do a loop back to Ditton,but very soon Sarah got a slow puncture,so with time getting on,especially for those having distances to travel home,the ride was cut short.By good luck the route passed Tony’s house,so Brigitte who knew the way back took over,and Tony put Sarah’s bike on the back of his car and drove her to Ditton.Thankyou Tony. A ride of 36.3 miles at 12 mph average and approximately 2000 ft ascents.
Six intrepid riders turned out to meet at Lenham for a ride despite a bad weather forecast. Richard V unwell so it was left to Russell to lead to Bethersden as suggested by Ralph. Out skirting Lenham by Sandway to Lenham Heath and Charing Heath. Taking a right turn before reaching the Charing to Pluckley Road to avoid it by going past Newlands Stud and Pilvington Mill. Through Pluckley and left along Malmains Road to get to Bethersden for the puncture of the day befalling Brian O, quickly repaired opposite the tennis courts. Taking a right (not left - get it right next time Russell!) to join the busy A28 to get to the Garden Centre for a welcome break. South along the A28 again to turn right into Cripple Hill for a right turn into a closed road (thanks workmen for shepherding us through) to get to Pot Kiln Lane and then a left to Smarden. Left into Mill Lane, right into Water Lane then on to join the Smarden Road past the Big Cat reserve. Just into Headcorn to get to Ulcombe for a right to Grafty Green. Taking a loop to avoid the Headcorn Road to get to our first and only climb of the day to Boughton Malherbe church. Back through Lenham to briefly join the A20 to arrive back before the rain came down. All back safely after some 'Are you sure, Russell' moments. 35.3 miles at an average of 12.8 mph with 1532 feet of climbing.
Route on Strava
A dry mild morning ,and 17 riders ventured to the station car park,Yalding,briefly joining about 6 who do their weekly ride from there.Tunbridge Wells seemed like a good idea,so with Richard leading and informing the group tha it would be a bit of a lumpy windy route.Starting on the flat out to Tudeley,before getting up to Bidborough. via Vauxhall Lane.A bit of confusion there,due to the new road lay out,and workmen telling us about the cycle/ footpath being constructed that will go to Pembury.Must remember that for a future ride.The lumps continued after Bidborough Ridge,which must have some of the best views across the Weald,then onto Speldhurst,and into the Wells,via Langton Green.The stop was at the Calverly Park Cafe,,overlooking the ice rink ,which was very quiet as it was school time.service at the cafe was excellent,except I think they forgot Angie’s Soup.A flatter ride back was promised,which took the group out around the rear of Dunorlan Park to Pembury.From there to Five Oak Green and skirting Paddock Wood To Laddingford back to Yalding.A distance of 34.5 miles at about 12.5 mph average,without incident.It was good to have Andy T.V and Phil Gerry join the ride.
After the large turnout of the previous two Wednesday’s,a smaller group of 10 arrived at Chestnut Street.All wearing winter clothing to combat the icy northerly wind,Russell and Richard did a joint lead on a very traditional route to Faversham.The way out as usual went via Borden,Bredgar and Teynham.The puncture devil struck just after Luddenham,surprisingly wuth a new Swalbe Marathon tyre on Tony M’s bike.With Gary on hand,(as always thank goodness),to help fix it,Russell led half the group on to the Swan cafewhilst the rest remained to assist,and later joined them.The stop remained as good as ever,even if the service was a bit slower than normal.A usual return leg to Painters Forstal,when the puncture devils mate struck again,this time for Brigitte,but no prizes for guessing who was on hand to help.Good old Gary..There must be some SFA CC award for the puncture supremo.Perhaps we ought to put it to the committee!. After that it was fairly uneventful,through Newham,Tunstall and Borden.A distance of 33 mikes at a steady 12 mph,in the dry.
Another great turnout of 21,this time from East Malling, on a very blustery,but lovely mild sunny morning.Again,because of numbers,it was thought it better to do two separate rides.Ralph stepped forward and took a group of 12 out to Lenham. They went out via East Farleigh and Boughton Monchelsea .then along the Ridge.To add an alternative to the straight road,they tried getting through Sutton Valence,but due to road closures ,had to retrace their steps.Following the break at Lenham,the return route went out to Headcorn,Yalding and Wateringbury,by which time 5 riders had dropped off,and the remainder arrived back at East Malling ,having done 45 Miles at 13 mph average Read more below
Richard led a group of 9 to Otford,going out via West Malling,Borough Green and Ightham.Then carrying on along the Pilgrims Way through Kemsing to the Pond Cafe in Otford village.Sitting in the cafe with the sun shining strongly through the front window,was most pleasant.The return was again uneventful and went to Heaverham,Wrotham,Trottiscliffe,and Birling,before the final leg through estates to East Malling.A distance of 31 miles at about 12 mph average. Matthew Gregory wanted to get extra miles in ,so he cycled home to Ashford.Well done Matthew.!.
When a really large group of 19 turned up at Wrotham,it was thought that it might be too many for a single cafe stop,so Ralph volunteered to lead an alternative ride,intending initially to go Poll Hill garden centre,and 6 others opted to join him.Very quickly however,it was thought that it was not far enough,so Del then took the lead and they went to Hawley garden centre.Uneventful except for Brian getting a puncture on the way back along the Knatts Valley,and a road closure further on,but Andy sweet talked the workmen to let them through.A distance of 30 miles at 13 mph average. Read more below
Richard led the other ride,and with a group of 12, headed off to Paddock Wood.Nice to have some new riders joining,ie Philip,Briget and Angie on her first Midweekers ride.The first part was a bit lumpy going up to Ivy Hatch and Shipbourne,,before the flat of Hadlow,and Tudeley to the Top Nosh cafe on the Transfesa estate.Amazing how some cafes can be so great in service and value,without being phased by numbers.The return took the group through Laddingford ,and Hadlow,then the lump of Gover Hill,where Peter got the days puncture,but Allan was on hand as always to help,and with the CO2 cartridge frightened Peter to think the tyre had burst,only Joking!.it was then a quick run back to Wrotham,,and the delight of Allan’s flapjacks.A distance of 37 miles at about 13 mph average.