Once again the sun shone in between many rainy days, and 16 all male riders started off from Yalding Station with Richard leading. An uneventful route via Marden to Grays cafe at Brenchley. Although a lengthy stop due to the numbers ,they coped very well and offered good value. On the return, Martin a new member’s chain snapped,and despite the Groups concerted efforts they were unable to fix it properly, Martin then left the group and walked with the bike to the cycle shop in Paddock Wood ,where it was fixed . For everyone else it was a flat ride back to Yalding via Golden Green and East Peckham. A distance of 30 miles at 13 mph average.
A pleasant sunny morning welcomed 14 riders to Yalding. Richard offered to lead and took a very looping route to Tonbridge, via Marden,Paddock Wood and Tudeley, They arrived just in time at Wetherspoons to take advantage of the breakfast menus,which was as good as ever. Getting back out after, and a shorter homeward bound route was equally uneventful via Poult Wood and East Peckham. A distance of 34 miles at about 13 mph average.
A really pleasant morning,and Russell suggested a ride to Whitstable. Eleven others joined his lead, and took a route out to Borden and Tunstall,then onto Rodmersham and Kingsdown to Painters Forstal. From there it was a nice wind assisted ride after Faversham to Graveney , Seasalter and a brief photo stop overlooking the sea wall. Carrying on along the flat ,the group found a new cafe stop in Whitstable ,aptly named Beach Cafe, which proved a nice value for money break. As usual on a seaside ride, Lisa found time at the break to go for a swim in the sea. ( Nuts). The return, and Russell took his group back through a Faversham to Teynham and Rodmersham again before adding a little loop through Oad Street to the finish,without any incidents or punctures. A distance of 44 miles and 2000 ft ascents at a modest 13 mph average.
A good turnout of 17 at the King & Queen on a dull, drizzly but thankfully not icy morning. Great to have Ron out with us with his e-Bike. A good pace with two groups the second led by Tony P through West Malling and Offham to St Mary Platt and Plaxtol. A smooth run through Tudeley and past the 'Save Capel' posters to Five Oak Green where Pete Searle peeled off. Into Paddock Wood for a great cafe stop at the Village Cafe with Ron and Tony P leaving us to enjoy it without their company. Andy TV's bike getting a fit of the sulks whilst we were in the warm greeted Andy on leaving with a flat. With Andy making his own way we had a good run back through Yalding and the final climb of Red Hill losing a few more riders who peeled off for their own rides home.
32.25 miles at an average of 12.8 mph with 1480 feet of ascent.
Route on Strava
Those who came along for the ride:
19 valiant riders were at the start, 3 having riden in. Just after setting off a nasty fall left one of the team having to abandon the ride with another kindly ferrying him home. The obligatory warm up of Hubbards Hill then a new for me left turn off Waterditch Road just so we could ensure we did not miss the chance of off roading along one of the muckiest lanes of the route. First puncture of the day just before Kettle Hill followed by Haywards Hill and some great lanes to Sheldwich but not before the second puncture. Some great vistas along new lanes for many to our stop at Badgers Hill Farm Shop at Chilham. Revised route back as a result of our delays took us on an unplanned loop before rejoining the A252 to take us, minus 3 delayed by puncture 3, back to Charing Hill and along the North Downs to descend Hubbards Hill as a final treat. 34 miles at an average of 11.8 mph with 2300 feet of ascent.
The first ride of the new decade welcomed 9 riders to a cold Yalding Station Really good to have Andy Wood back in the flock after a long absence. With a group of 9 , Richard led on a very flat route to Headcorn with very light traffic around. To get a few extra miles in, there was a longish route out to Headcorn,only to find the cafes in the village shut on the Bank. Holiday, but fortunately the George and Dragon pub was open, and looked after the group well. A more direct and equally uneventful return route took the group through Staplehurst and Marden back to Yalding. A distance of 35 miles at about 13.5 mph average.
With a turnout of 18 at East Malling, it was necessary to go to a location that would provide adequate coffee breaks. Russell suggested Paddock Wood,and led off with three individual groups. Following recent rainy days,some of the lanes past villages such as Offham,Crouch,Plaxtol and Golden Green proved very mucky with huge puddles. On arrival at Paddock Wood,the group divided to the Top Nosh and Station cafes, both of whom were very efficient. Some riders left before the return ,and Russell continued the lead to Laddingford and Yalding before the only climb of Red Hill back to East Malling, without any problems. A distance of 31 miles at about 12.5 mph.
Fortunately several cycled to the start,and others had problems due to a motorway accident,but eventually 18 riders set off from Wrotham with Richard leading and headed for Westerham In 3 groups. along the Pilgrims Way. Staying on quiet lanes it was on to Kemsing ,Otford and the Pilgrims Way again to Westerham. The group found two cafes, and divided which kept the break a lot shorter. The return route was quite similar, except for a detour through Dunton Green, and a cut through off road from Otford to Kemsing,then arriving back at Wrotham just as the heavens opened,which was unwelcomed by those who cycled in. A distance of 30 miles at 12.5 mph average and 2000 ft ascents.
Not a usual starting point, but initially 19 riders turned up at Wouldham car park On route several cycled in,which in part was still a bit icy,and Mick took a tumble but carried on. Then before setting off Brian O felt unwell and bailed out. Richard led on aroute that took the group to Rose’s cafe Middle Stoke. After going through Rochester, there was a detour to Lower Upnor and the Arethusa,for a bit of sightseeing and photo. From there it was on fairly quiet lanes past Kingsnorth and the massive newish Amazon distribution centre to the cafe. Due to our large number it was a very long stop, but pleasant. With time getting on, it was back on the bikes ,and at High Halstow, Jonathan had the only puncture of the day, but Brian K was on hand as Gary’s excellent stand in to help. Continuing thereafter, and without incident it followed a more lumpy route to Shorne and Cobham then over the M2 Bridge footpath and back to a very busy Wouldham just in time for schools turn out. A distance of 39 miles at about 12.5 mph and 1900 ft ascents.
After periods of really rain, suprisingly 11 well attired riders ventured out for a Lenham start. It was fairly inevitable that the roads were going to be pretty atrocious, but everyone was up for the challenge. Russell as usual stepped up to lead, and thought that going onto the North Downs maybe a drier choice. However with all the grot and puddles, everyone’s shoes and bikes were quickly soaked. A couple of slow falls and a puncture sealed the mood of the ride early on. Unperturbed however, Russ continued the lead, sometimes up to our peddles in slosh all the way to Wye, via Charing, Westwell and Boughton Aluph. On arrival at Wye,with the rain really starting, the railway barrier was as always it seems shut for almost 10 minutes, then to cap it all the cafe in the village was shut. Fortunately Russ came up with plan B, and we headed off to Perry Court Farm and Tea Rooms, a short distance out of Wye. It turned out to be really pleasant,and noted for further stops. On leaving ,our bikes were still soaked after yet another downpour, but resilianty the return was pretty incident free past Egerton and Lenham Heath before the second puncture and a huge lake of a puddle in Old Ham Lane. A distance of 35 miles,12.5 mph average and 2070 ft ascents.
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