Reports submitted by the B+ Group ride leaders. 

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  • 18/02/2019 18:31 | Anonymous member

    Tony Palmer led seven riders out from East Malling in a Westerly direction with the promise of a lumpy route to Four Elms and a flatter return. The sun had been out most of the week; however, the group endured a total grey out all day. Undeterred, the group made good progress through the mist and damp conditions. Little Phil peeled off at Knole Park in order to get home early to enjoy (right word?) his fortnightly fix of Gill's football extravaganza. Tony elected not to exploit the panoramic photo opportunity, or lack of it, at Ide Hill and continued down straight down Ide Hill, so that Paul's request for an Americano could be met promptly.  Suitably nourished at the Elms Cafe, with its interesting objet D' art, the group made good progress on the return route to arrive back on time (for once). A distance of 41 miles at 13.4 mph average with an elevation gain of 2,894 feet.

  • 11/02/2019 08:42 | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Seven riders left the car park on a bright but still very breezy morning following Storm Erik the day before. A welcome to Julian on his first B+ ride. We were not out of the park's grounds when we encountered our first 'lake' of the day....not the only time our tyres disappeared beneath us on the ride. The route took us past Langley, down Ulcombe Hill and into the glorious farmland around Smarden. It was here we met the full force of the gusty westerly wind and it was quite a struggle at times, without a 'windbreaker' up front. Unfortunately, Richard Byatt had a nasty spill on the Biddenden Road. He and Keith had become detached from the other 5 rides and opposite Woodlands Park he came a cropper through a combination of the wind and crumbling road. Eventually we all met up at Silcocks Farm cafe, with Richard nursing 2 layers of torn clothing and a grazed shoulder. His sense of humour was still in tact although worryingly he counted 12 riders when we left the cafe. A special mention to Gary and Keith who patched up Richard's badly abrased front tyre.

    The route back benefitted from more interludes of a following wind. We navigated our way through the flattish roads of Biddenden, Frittenden and Headcorn before the slog up Wierton Hill. From there we zigzagged our way back to Mote Park trying to avoid the A229. The ride ended in unceremonious fashion as we had to carry out bikes around the works going on between the rugby ground and the car park. Quite damaging to the average speed. 

    We covered 42.5 miles at an average of 12.3mph and 2,200 ft of climbing. I should also mention I counted Tony yell lake, water, river, puddle, hole etc at least 150 times!

  • 27/01/2019 18:17 | Anonymous member

    An unusually mild January day greeted five riders out to venture from Chestnut Street along the North Kent Coast to Tankerton. Tony Palmer led the group on the sunny morning taking the customary route through Rodmersham, Bapchild and Teynham but missed a right turn to end up at Conyer Quay. Retracing their steps, the group made excellent progress through Oare, Faversham and Seasalter, to reach the café on Tankerton Cliff just before the lunch time rush. Tony thought that he would attempt a different route back which avoided Faversham. When he noticed a sign showing Canterbury 2 miles away it became obvious that something was awry. Another right turn had been missed and the scrutiny of a map was necessary to get the group heading back in a Westerly direction. Tony managed, somehow, to get back on a road, near Dargate, that was vaguely familiar to him. As Richard Byatt reflected, “We never knew where we were but wherever it was, it was very pleasant”. Nevertheless, this unplanned return ride was all recorded on Strava and Tony can put his errors down to personal experience, or lack of it! A distance of 54.3 miles at an average of 13.1 mph with elevation gain of 2,804 feet.

  • 21/01/2019 20:44 | Anonymous member

    Tony Wells led the group of five riders out from Headcorn Crossroads to Faversham Quay on a dry but cold morning with a gentle easterly breeze. Snow had been forecast on the higher ground: fortunately, the weather forecast was overly pessimistic. Even the rain stayed away. The group had not gone far when it almost lost its leader because a Polish lorry driver had forgotten that he was now driving in the UK. Undeterred, Tony kept calm (clearly drawing on years of experience) and slid neatly through the remaining gap. The remainder of the group followed whilst observing the apologetic Pole. Climbing Ulcombe Hill and Hubbards Hill ensured that the group stayed warm. The café at Quay was extremely busy; however, the wait for a table proved worthwhile. The route back through Sheldwich and Throwley was quiet and picturesque. At the Bowl Inn crossroads Brian and Anita decided to head straight home to Larkfield as they had ridden in to Headcorn and the miles had now clocked up significantly. The remaining three were left to complete the planned route which was marred by them seeing an injured motor cyclist laying on the ground following an accident involving two cars near Headcorn Station. This route is definitely one for the summer months as well. A distance of 43.1 miles at an average of 12.8 mph with elevation gain of 2,294 feet.

  • 13/01/2019 21:36 | Anonymous member

    The D Groups and the B + Group all met up on an overcast by dry morning at Aylesford Station Road to offer three different routes. Tony Palmer was unable to recruit some of the D Group riders because his planned route to Penshurst Place included ascents totalling 2500+ feet. Four undeterred riders set off towards Wateringbury in a very mild temperature of 10°C which necessitated the removal of apparel after climbing Bow Hill. Adrian, Brian and Anita took full advantage of Tony’s bulk by sheltering behind him as the group headed into the strong wind on their route to Tudeley. A warm welcome to Adrian Cole who contributed significantly to the conversation while we munched our bacon baps. Suitably refreshed the group tackled the remaining hills, notably Moat Road, on their return journey.

    Distance of 48.2 miles at average speed of 13.3 mph average speed with elevation gain of 2,666 feet.

  • 05/01/2019 17:17 | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The car park at Brenchley was heaving with riders looking to work off some of their Christmas stodge. Eleven left base on a cold but dry morning but this soon became ten as Darren peeled off due to a lack of recent riding. Having navigated the short stretch down the A21 we made our way to Ticehurst, passing Frant and the lumps of the A267 to Mark's Cross on the way.

    The Greedy Goat café normally closes at noon on Saturday but they stayed open for us and it was well worth the wait for our food. After leaving the café we skirted Bewl Water and made our way through Kilndown and on to Goudhurst. Riders were reasonably spread out at this point but we regrouped before the final climb up Castle Hill and back to the start, with Gary unleashed from his normal back marker duties and showing an impressive turn of pace up the climb. My stats were 35.5 miles, average speed of 13.1mph, and 2,657ft of elevation.

  • 01/01/2019 20:50 | Anonymous member
    For various reasons there were four different leaders on this ride comprising ten riders. Phil Harvey led the ride out, on a gloomy but still and dry morning, from Barming, through West Malling and Shipbourne, to Hildenborough. Paul hit a large hole at Underriver causing him to fall off and bend the cage plate on his rear derailleur. Gary’s excellent roadside assistance temporarily fixed the offending mechanism but the delay threatened Phil’s plans to get back early in order to get the Gills home game that afternoon. Tony, appreciating Phil’s unerring desire to watch the Gills, took pity and volunteered to lead the group on the return journey. All was going well until Yalding when Tony, upon hearing intermittent hissing noises, discovered a large screw stuck in his tubeless back tyre. While there were many volunteers eager to help the group did not get the tyre to sit properly on the rim. Russell then took over the lead from Tony at Kenwood Road, leaving Tony to wobble back slowly to Wateringbury. Russell then left the group at Barming Bridge so that he could cycle along the Medway towpath, as he had planned. This desertion left David to lead the group up South Street to arrive back at St Andrews Road. A distance 39.9 miles at 13.1 mph average with elevation gain of 2,152 feet.
  • 21/12/2018 18:27 | Anonymous member
    The B+ shared the start at Dickley Lane, Lenham with the D groups. As a decent morning’s weather was forecast, the turnout was excellent, with a fairly even split between the three rides. Rachel handed round the mince pies to give us an extra boost for the task ahead. We reversed the route so that we could pick up another three riders as we passed Lenham train station, so making eight in our group. The downside was a head-wind all the way out to Hartley, via Egerton, Headcorn, Frittenden and Cranbrook. Those nice people at Hartley Coffee had reserved a table for us. Brian partook in a very healthy bowl of beetroot salad, including chickpeas & onion… I decided to go even healthier with two sausage rolls, a local delicacy! Well it did come with a side of ‘mixed leaves’. Not surprisingly, but very welcome, we had a tail-wind on the return leg. Out via Benenden, Biddenden, Smarden Bell, Grafty Green, Platt’s Heath, over to Harrietsham back to Dickley. Just as we got back to the cars, it started to rain. What luck! I do like to experiment with navigating the odd ‘obscure’ lane or two, but today some said that we probably went more off-road than on! It was all to do with yesterday’s rain I’m sure. Just over 40 miles, 12.9mph average, 650m of ascent.
  • 21/12/2018 18:23 | Anonymous member
    Just like the football cliché, this cycle was a ride of two halves. Five set off from Snodland, led by Tony Palmer, on a cold day towards Swanley Village. The lanes through Cuxton, Istead Rise, Southfleet and South Darenth were dry: there was no ice but rain was forecast. While the five munched through various delicacies at the Oak Café Deli, worth visiting, the weather deteriorated with the wind increasing in strength and light rain falling. It was quite a battle heading into the wind up Knatts Valley and ascending Tinker Pot Lane was  treacherous. The thin veneer of muddy slime on the steepest parts of the hill caused the back wheels to spin: the only safe option was to walk. The raining got heavier and fingers in wet gloves became numb, which was not helpful as the group descended cautiously down Holly Hill. All were wet, bedraggled and cold but arrived safely back. A distance 43.0 miles at 12.1 mph average with elevation gain of 2,804 feet.
  • 03/12/2018 15:13 | Anonymous member

    Abandoned at 8:30AM due to wet weather conditions.

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