Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Alan Imerson

I had an email from Alan cancelling the ride with the A group today, he had skidded his bike on gravel, it turned out he had dislocated his elbow, after 9 hours in A&E he is the proud owner of a cast for the next few weeks.

Get well soon


A group Mystery Tour

Twenty one of us set out for what was to be a very trying ride. My Garmin started to have a mind of its own from not far out. Travelling along Stonehill Road it suddenly showed that we had to turn right into Gracious Pond Road, I have since checked my Strava route and it does not indicate this turn.
It was at this point that help was at hand from Dave Vine and the first of many helping hands. Managing to finally get to Chobham and Bisley and then taking some estate roads Keith assisted to find a way through and we were on the Red Road and turning off to Deep Cut and the start of more wrong turns and lots of assistance, I had lent my map to Hans as he had suffered a puncture and said he would catch up or meet at the pub.
After much frustration and adrenalin help came from David and Brian and a little further on Mark came to the rescue with his phone and led us to the pub.

The food came out at a good rate after a little wait and was worth it, many thanks to the staff.

The journey back and the Garmin was still out of action, paper and knowledge came to the front again. The route back was fraught with frustration for Hans with further punctures, coming into Puttenham. It was time to get the group, led by Brian, to ride to Guildford for tea, no more having to wait. Hans, Colin and myself followed on as soon as the repair was completed.

To round up, the ride was not one I would like to experience again, although there was lots of encouragement from the group. Many thanks go to all of those I have mentioned above giving their help to rescue the ride and to Colin for back marking.


Tuesday, May 30, 2017

B Group tomorrow, 31st May

I shall be leading B Group to The Duke of Edinburgh at Woodside near Ascot for Lunch. 15 miles Elevenses to Lunch and then a possible 15 miles to Tea at Shepperton Lock. I'm hoping the weather is going to be as good as forecast !!!

Byeeeee Pam :)  :)

Various news from Tony Ashford

Further to the death of Eric Ashford Pam received this from Tony, Eric's son.

----Original Message----
From: ashfordanthony @
Date: 26/05/2017 11:06
To: "Pam Jones"
Subj: Eric Ashford

Dear Pam,
               Many thanks for your condolences, but don't worry, an email is good enough! But if you insist, you can send a card to my sister, Jane Parfitt at 239 Hartingdon Road, Brighton, BN2 3PA. As yet we don't have a fixed date for the funeral, but you are very welcome to attend if you have the time. It will take place in Kenley. Also you can extend this invitation to any Sou'Westers who knew my father.

We too have hired a Gite the week before the Dieppe run, somewhere between Varengeville s Mer and Etretat. Alec is now on a pedal bike, but we're still coming with the bike trailer in case he gets tired or loses interest! See you there

Best Wishes

Cartoon of the day

We are extremely reticent about putting anything political on the blog but I liked this cartoon in today's Independent:

~ Tim

31st March A group ride to Fleet

Good morning, thank you to all who have given me your lunch order, BUT isn't there always a BUT, if you are unable to get out on Wednesday would you please call me on 0795 047 4550 or email before 11.00 so that I can cancel your order.

The ride will take us from Weybridge out to Chobham, West End, Deep Cut and through to Fleet about 22 miles. The return will be via Weybourne, Runfold, Seale, Puttenham and Compton. Tea will be at Squires in Horsley, IF time is tight as Squires close at 4.30 we may head down to Ripley about 23 miles.


Sunday, May 28, 2017

A Group ride on 31st May

Here's hoping that we have as weather as good as Janice had on her ride.

I have started posting this blog very early for the food order wishes of the pub, if you know of anyone who may not visit the site but maybe out with us please would you draw their attention to the request.

Heading out from Weybridge we shall head for The Fox and Hounds in Fleet, the pub is situated besides the Basingstoke Canal, so if the weather is good we should be able to sit outside.

Due to the possibility of large numbers I have been asked to preorder BUT they have asked if  we are able to get them in on the day before, if you would be so kind to look at the online menu and get your  order to me at it may help us.(Would not like another Blue Ship problem)

The pub website address is as follows

Many thanks


London to Paris ... (Sort of...)

The NCN 20 crosses the top of my road, and over the last couple of years new signs have appeared saying 'Avenue Verte - London to Paris'.  There are even signs in Coulsdon High Street. Now I know the Avenue Verte from Dieppe Raids, but there was obviously more to it.

Reading around the topic I found that there is now a pretty decent signposted route from London to Paris, with associated guide-books and so on.  Talking to one of my sons, I found that cycling London to Paris in 24 hours was a fairly regular thing amongst his circle of friends.  The way they do it is to tip out of the office at about 1700 on a Friday, ride hell-for-leather to Newhaven to check in for the ferry at 2215, land at 0500 and ride to Paris.  Supper in Paris and home on the Eurostar next day.  Hmm.

Weighing all this up, I concluded that having left my office a number of years ago, 1700 on a Friday was of no significance, and that night boats were for youngsters.  What I really needed, I decided, was a weather window for an enjoyable ride.  And when Maggie offered to drive to Paris providing luggage transport and a lift back, the whole thing was looking a bit more sensible.

So, Thursday morning, after a good breakfast taken in the sun, I rode out of my garden gate and down to Newhaven.  I partly followed the Avenue Verte, and partly took my own route, as I'm fairly familiar with the country.  Lunch at the Hope on the seafront with Maggie, over to Dieppe on the afternoon boat and a good night's sleep in a pleasant hotel.

Friday morning, another good breakfast then off along the Avenue Verte.  Maggie was going to Giverny to see Monet's garden, and we would meet in Paris.  As I joined the cycleway in Dieppe the GPS said 'turn left in 26 miles'.  Yup - traffic free for 26 miles, and not much after that.

At Gourney-en-Bray the Avenue Verte went through the market square of the little town.  As it was market day I had to dismount and walk through the square.  It was a bit early, but I decided that an early lunch was better than no lunch, as a lot of the route is pretty short of people and shops.  A pleasant break in a warm square, then back along pretty lanes to Gisors.  Here you pick up the Eure et Bray cycleway, another well-surfaced track, for about fifteen miles before returning to quiet lanes again.  After this, I diverted from the signposted Avenue Verte for a bit, as it makes a number of diversions to take in sights and uses farm tracks in parts.  Nothing against tracks, but lanes are quicker.

Open wheat fields above Vaureal, and the headwind that had been troubling me since mid-morning got a bit stronger - but it was warm.  Then, going over a hill near Cergy, Paris was suddenly visible - better than the view of London that you get from Farthing Downs.  After this I stuck to the Avenue Verte, which was an excellent route crossing the Seine a couple of times on cycle bridges, running through parks and being generally as you would like it to be.  There had been a steady stream of cyclists all day, but now there were lots.  

Just before 1630 I arrived at the hotel where Maggie was waiting.  She had really enjoyed Monet's garden and wouldn't mind a return visit.  For me, beer, shower, clean clothes and later a very pleasant dinner in the courtyard of the hotel.  A gentleman's ride.

Carshalton Beeches, on the outskirts of London, to Newhaven 56.84 miles, 3,422 feet of ascent; Dieppe to Maisons Lafitte, on the outskirts of Paris, 110.67 miles, 3,869 feet of ascent.  Rolling average 13 mph. Bike was an Open Extralight, one bottle and no luggage.  

So it's not really London to Paris, and it's not really 24 hours either.  But it's a very good ride for a couple of sunny days.


Thursday, May 25, 2017

Laughing in the face of the forecast...easy riders 13 May

It has to be said...the easy riders stayed at home in droves last week. Liz and Bernard, laughing in the face of the forecast, were the only hardy souls to turn up at North Cheam!  Still, by coffee at Chessington there were a princely six of us.

Four set off for lunch -Liz, Bernard, Helen and John B - just as the deluge was starting.  Liz lead us by a fairly circuitous route to the Old Bell (established 1460)at Molesey, which we've often passed in better weather.  We were the first customers to arrive at just after 12. Nice welcome and good food and ale, and the pub was busy as we departed about 1.30.

We then toured salubrious parts of Surbiton, Tolworth  and Berrylands before making our way home by about 2.30.  Thank you Liz for a pleasant ride on an unpromising day!

Eric Ashford has died

Eric's son Tony has written this to us (via the Secretary) and to Mark Roy, an old friend and cycling companion of his father. In recent years Eric has been known to many of us as a veteran participant in the Dieppe Raid.

Dear Makhan and Tim,
I emailed you last year about the deteriorating health of my father Eric, a former member of the Sou'Westers and Midweek Wayfarers. Sadly my father died late on Tuesday night. It is too early to say how the funeral arrangements will be but you are both very welcome to attend (as is anyone else who knew my father from his cycling days).

Greetings to you both

Kind Regards
Tony Ashford

Photos from Janice's A ride 24th May

Photos courtesy of Janice.

B Group - 24th May

The weather forecast was excellent and looked perfect for a bike ride. We assembled at St Martin’s Christian Centre for elevenses.
Fourteen riders were up for the ride and we set off. We went eastwards along A25 on a path next to the dual carriageway towards Brockham. We turned off A25 towards Brockham and took a left turn before reaching Brockham. This is a minor road leading to Betchworth. We went through Betchworth towards Leigh, Before reaching Leigh, we turned left and went through Leigh towards Charlwood. Reaching Charwood we turned right towards Rusper. This area is some of the most attractive countryside in Surrey. Going towards Rusper, you pass into West Sussex. We went through Rusper turning right. Then there is a lovely descent for about a mile. Then we took a left turn onto a very minor road which eventually reaches A264. Again, the countryside in this area is very pretty at this time of year. Although A264 is a very busy dual carriageway with fast moving traffic, there is a margin at the side of the carriageway where it is possible to ride safely in single file. After about half a mile on the eastbound carriageway we reached The Cherry Tree pub, our stop for lunch.      
The meals and at The Cherry Tree were excellent (anyway, this is the opinion of the leader), and considering the number of people wanting a lunchtime service, the service was excellent too. Although the selection of draught beers was limited, the selection of lagers was good. I don’t think anyone was disappointed. I think that this might have been the first time that a Wayfarers group has visited The Cherry Tree (worth another visit in the future).
After lunch, we set off down A264 and turned off left and went through Faygate, then back to Rusper, then to Newdigate and Brockham. At Brockham, we took a track across Betchworth Park golf course. There was some speculation about how much the club fees might be, but we didn’t stop to find out. Then back onto A25, then through to Denbies’ winery for tea.    
Finally, I am grateful to Tim who backed-up for us. When we split the group during the afternoon, Peter Tiller volunteered to back-up the leading section. Later, Peter took over the lead because the designated leader was suffering with cramp. Then there were the volunteers who marshaled at corners, roundabouts and crossroads.   Getting good back-up and marshalling support is essential for a successful ride.
Peter Carpenter 

Peter used the Dorking start to lead us quite a bit further south than we normally go, a round trip of 33.2 miles and about 1492 feet of climbing.

Further to Peter's account of the ride we were pleased to welcome two new riders, Liz Neville, a marathon runner who has now seen the light and wants to prepare for triathlon events, and Brian Omarra who probably found our pace a little too fast in the hills but would have cycled, by my estimate, a good 70 miles by the time he got home. 

Note that for the measure of climbing done I have taken to importing the GPS data into RideWithGPS and refetching the elevation data, the data which is embedded in the google map. This eliminates the 'noise', the wild fluctuations which occur in the raw GPS data recorded by my phone. No doubt it introduces other inaccuracies but I am fairly confident that it is more reliable, though sadly less impressive, than the raw data.

~ Tim

A Group Ride from Dorking - 24th May

Twelve A group cyclists were blessed with glorious sunshine and little breeze for the reasonable paced ride through Surrey and Sussex lanes arriving early for lunch at The Half Moon in Warninglid.

Suitably refreshed and with one climb with beautiful views of the South Downs before descending Turners Hill the group arrived at Redhill Aerodrome for tea, after which it was time to head home by various ways.

Epsom to Epsom the ride was 68 miles and 3,789 ft of climbing at an average pace of 14.5mph.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

A Group 24th May

Janice led us on a very good ride at a cracking pace today.  An enjoyable al fresco lunch at Warninglid, and tea at Redhill Aerodrome, our first visit for a number of years.

Sunny, too ...


Monday, May 22, 2017

B Group ride on 24th

Peter has advised that his ride from Dorking will take us East along the A25 for a short stretch before heading down through Brockham and Betchworth to The Cherry Tree Inn near Faygate, about 18 miles. The return ride after lunch, about 14 miles, will bring us back to Denbies for Tea. Some hills, almost entirely on roads.

~ Tim

Sunday, May 21, 2017

A Group 24th May

Janice Dawes has asked me to post the attached ride description on her behalf:

' The A ride will be heading off for 21 miles and 1,450ft of climbing to arrive at the Half Moon in Warninglid for lunch. We'll then head back over 25 miles and 1,200ft elevation, stopping at Redhill Aerodrome for tea. An interesting stop as the wings of light aircraft taxi-ing to the runway pass within a couple of feet of the tables on the balcony. There's also an old bi-plane to be seen in the open workshop. 

The ride was a 70 mile round trip for me from Epsom. '


Wednesday, May 17, 2017

B Group Ride to Hurley

Light drizzle when I left home and it continued to 11‘s at Nibbles cafe Datchet. Pam, Terry, Dave W, Gill and Liz were already there soon to be joined be Peter T, John Scott, John D, Tony H and Steph, some had arrived by train and others had cycled.

Ready for the off from 11's

Coffee, tea, bacon rolls etc consumed and we were ready to set off. Liz, recovering from her broken wrist, headed home. About 400 metres later the rain increased and John Scott called it a day, waterproofs donned on we went through Eton, Dorney and Bray just after which we had our first visit from the puncture fairy, Peter T was soon had it sorted and on to White Walthan and onto NCN 4 where we had our second visit from the Horrid little nymph, this time she picked me. At this point I shortened the ride to lunch by a few miles as time was rapidly passing. Across the the Bath road to Burchett’s Green and into Honey lane passing close to the Drew Drop Inn and the decent to Henley Road and lunch at the Rising sun, not rising today!

 Mending a puncture in the rain

Settled in and dripping all over the pub floor we eagerly consumed our lunch, some not knowing the difference between a Baguette and a Ciabatta when it came to ordering or consuming!

Soaking wet and still smiling after lunch

Soon it was time again to don the wet waterproofs and head out again into the rain, no heavy hearts here, off we set and were soon amongst the puddles and onto back roads that were flooded. A nice un-metaled  road lead us to Switchback road North and the outskirts of Maidenhead. I decided to keep off the Bath road as much as I could and headed up to Taplow station hoping to cross back and into Marsh lane but the underpass was flooded so we continued to Lake end road and past the Pineapple pub, Eaton and back to Datchet almost dead on 4.00pm so we could still take tea at Nibbles cafe, again dripping wet. Drinks consumed everybody headed there own ways home.

Tea back at Nibbles cafe

A very wet but nice day out on the bike. I must thank all those who joined me and thank them for actually turning up on such a dismal day, B’s are obviously hardier than other groups, no turning back for us.


A Group decide to build an Ark, the flood was coming.

Eight hardy souls left from New Haw just as the rain started. By the time we reached Windsor we were soaked to the skin. A road side conference followed and we decided to go with Geoff's suggestion to ride towards home, a hot tea and an even hotter shower/bath. Ged wisely decided to take the train whilst the rest of us pretended that riding in a downpour was great fun. Optimistic observations that the rain was easing off were proved correct. By the time we reached Shepperton it was just raining, no longer a deluge. Well done to the magnificent eight. I'll keep the ride to Little Kingshill for the future, in better weather hopefully.

Monday, May 15, 2017

B Group 17th May

The ride starts from the Nibbles cafe at Datchet station. Please arrive early for a coffee in the cafe. We will depart at 11.00am as normal. Trains run from Clapham Junction to Datchet.

Lunch will be at the Rising Sun pub Hurley and afternoon tea back at Nibble Datchet.

Mainly on roads and a shortish section on good track.


Cycling the coast of Scotland - Again?

Yes, there is still more of it!  I am heading to Oban early tomorrow morning to continue my cycle ride round the coast of Britain.   Heading south to the Mull of Kintyre and the isles of Islay, Jura, Arran and Bute: there are plenty of hills and lots of coastline to explore.   If you are interested to follow my travels, visit my blog at
See you in June!

A Group ride 17 May to the Chilterns

Following last week's pilgrimage to Canterbury this week we are heading in the opposite direction to Little Kingshill in the Chilterns. Some familiar roads, small country lanes and one easy bridleway. Passing a couple of well visited pubs we are aiming for lunch at The Full Moon. On the way we will pass what is reputed to be England's oldest, independent ale house, The Royal Standard of England. 68 miles to lunch and back for tea in Sunbury. A number of hills but no serious climbs. Prompt start from New Haw please.

The Royal Standard of England

Isle of Wight short tour, 9th - 12th May 2017

A smaller hostelling group than usual (Pam, Tim, Tony, Ed, Vic and Terry) met at Woking Wetherspoon’s for 11s on Tuesday May 9th before catching a train to Brockenhurst. After a pleasant alfresco pub lunch there at the Foresters Arms we rode to Lymington (passing one of Tony’s old schools) to catch the ferry to Yarmouth. Tim had plotted a route from Yarmouth alongside the river Yar to the Youth Hostel at Totland - some of it was on roads, some of it was along an old railway track.

The warden at the Hostel is Bob, a very good, friendly chap - he ran Streatley Hostel for a year but we never saw him there. We had a ten minute walk up to The Highdown Inn for dinner - Bob had forewarned us of the size of the raspberry pavlova. We had a very good meal, Tim and Terry shared a pavlova but one member managed a whole one on his own. After arriving back at the Hostel Vic realised his wallet was missing.

Tony had plotted a route for Wednesday and after checking at the pub for the wallet (no luck) we headed for The Needles and the New Battery. The view was superb. We then headed in a clockwise direction, diverting slightly to admire the view from Sconce Point, then keeping to minor, deserted roads to 11s at Gossips in Yarmouth and lunch at The Waters Edge in Gurnard. Tony modified his afternoon route and after successfully navigating through Cowes and via a splendid ‘avenue verte’ (avenue wight?) to Newport, diverted slightly to see the entrance to Carisbrooke Castle. A somewhat undulating road (but a good fast final 3 miles) brought us back to the Hostel where we were pleased to hear Vic’s wallet had been found at the pub.  We had dinner with wine at the Hostel.

Thursday morning we split up - Tony wanted to see a model railway and Vic took Ed to hopefully see a rare butterfly, leaving Pam and Terry to follow Tim. His route was anti-clockwise on the coast road to Brook, then inland to Brighstone and on to 11s at a deserted Wight Mouse Inn at Chale. Another pleasant, undulating 8 miles and we arrived at Wroxall for a leisurely, alfresco pub lunch at The Star Inn. A series of quiet roads, farm tracks and cycle paths along former railway lines led to Newport and 3s, after which we returned to the Hostel via Shorwell, Brighstone and Shalcombe . Another very enjoyable day. Meanwhile Tony had found the railway closed, Vic and Ed had seen a few butterflies but they had flown by too quickly to be photographed. We had good dinners at the pub again, this time lemon cheesecakes were shared.

Friday morning we returned to Yarmouth by road to catch the ferry and having time to spare had 11s at the nicely converted Yarmouth station. It must have been wonderful when all railway lines were being used by trains.

J.Obsworth was driving the train from Lymington to Brockenhurst and he was only licenced to carry four cycles, so we rode to Brockenhurst. We soon noticed we were on English roads. After changing at Basingstoke we arrived at Woking about 1430 in time for a late lunch at JDW, after which we made our way home.

A great holiday, thanks to all for company especially Tony and Tim for route planning. The island was very quiet, roads good, motorists courteous and weather wonderful.

~ Terry and Tim

Sunday, May 14, 2017

CTC AGM Wesley Hotel Euston NW1 Sat 13 May 2017

For those that may be interested see my report on the SWLDABLOG.
Not sure if I will bother to go again so boring and such a non event but I did combine it with a visit to see a friend near the Olympic Park and came back via W'Spoons at the Tower, all in all a very good value Rail Card, £8.10 Zone 6 Tadworth to London Bridge, bike to AGM, bike to Liverpool St, train to Walthamstow, train back to Liverpool street, bike to London Bridge back to Tadworth by 9.30pm.

One very good thing about the AGM was the excellent lunch, top quality sandwiches, Deviled Prawns and Scallops on cocktail sticks and chicken a la the same, masses of fresh fruit and fruit juice.

Friday, May 12, 2017

B Group - 10th May

Steph has sent two photos from John A's ride from Caterham:

She adds:

"The ride today was beautiful and the pub at the top of Toys Hill a very pleasant place to munch al fresco. We were joined by Dave and Moira for a bit.

I opted to return via the back road from Bletchingley to Merstham so avoided John's final ascent - Wray Lane."

~ Tim

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Twickenham with a touch of Versailles: easy riders 10 May

A lovely bright sunny morning, after waving off a few of the As and Bs to Caterham from North Cheam, the Easy Riders headed to Hersham for coffee.  Shortly after arriving, we were concerned to see one of our members felt unwell.  Fortunately the experienced centre staff  took care of him, an ambulance was called and he was sent for medical attention.

From Hersham Lynda lead us to the White Swan at Twickenham, where we commandeered three tables on the lovely riverside garden terrace for lunch. The food was good and we enjoyed the warm bright sunshine.

Afterwards we headed back along the riverside path and into the little formal gardens, for a touch of Versailles; a fabulous 19th century water feature, with marble statues known as
 the naked ladies of Twickenham.  And some of us (well, me anyway) had believed the local brewery's ale was named after the autumn crocus!

From here it was a short ride through to Kingston Market Place for tea at Patisserie Valerie.
Thanks Lynda and everyone for a beautiful and enjoyable day's ride.

Easy riders 26 April

A much chillier day than expected, and some of us wished we had worn an extra layer or two as we made our way to Teddington Elleray Hall for coffee!  Liz Scrivens then lead the easy riders through byways to Isleworth, Syon Park and via busy Brentford to Kew Bridge. From there we followed a delightful towpath, with pretty cottages and even an allotment site overlooking the river bank, all the way to the Ship at Mortlake, in the shadow of the former Watneys brewery. We settled in the conservatory as the skies opened and the rain began, warm and comfortable indoors while we enjoyed our lunch and lingered on chatting afterwards -  definitely time well spent with friends!  The weather cleared for a pleasant ride through Sheen gate and across Richmond Park for home. No tea stop today. Thanks Liz for finding us an interesting and enjoyable route.

A Pilgrim's Tale

The key to a successful ride along Pilgrims' Way is the weather.  You need a long dry spell, followed by a good, sunny day, as parts of the Way will become impassably muddy with heavy rain and others dangerously slippery with even a short shower.  We were lucky enough to enjoy perfect conditions.

Rolling out of the Caterham Day Centre just after eleven we were soon enjoying the sunshine in the Woldingham Valley, and even the short climb up Ganger's Lane.  This is one of the two early diversions in the Way caused by 16th and 17th century landowners obliterating the route to beautify their estates.  Crossing into Kent we had a very short piece of the original surface, a harbinger of things to come, then past the peculiar duck-house at Otford Pond and along to Kemsing, where Brian left us to return home to fulfil domestic commitments.  Interesting bits of history here; Becket is said to have struck the ground with his staff at Otford and caused a spring to rise, and the knights who killed him spent the night at Kemsing on their way to Canterbury.

Here's our full route:

We were now properly on the Pilgrims Way, mostly tarmac lanes rolling through pleasant countryside, with a couple of miles of unsurfaced trackway just before Wrotham.  That strung the peloton out a little, but it did stage our arrival at lunch which turned out to be handy enough, and a help for the kitchen. 

We ate well in the sunshine, but slowly, and we left the pub later than I had intended, which turned out to be significant by tea-time.  Dave and Geoffrey left us here, heading back to London, and Ray Wren joined us to ride the Pilgrims Way as far as Lenham on his mountain bike.  The hard work of the day was now beginning, with a variety of surfaces and some excellent views over the Weald.

The Trials of the Pilgrims began on this stage, with a couple of mechanical mishaps and a minor 'off' for Dave B, which left some quite spectacular bruising.  Bloodied, but unbowed, we pressed on over the Medway at the fine new bridge, and back on to the trackway.  There's an interesting piece of trackway here where the surface is exactly the same as the track over the Mount, at Guildford, some fifty miles away.

The novelty of riding fast on rough surfaces was beginning to wear off as we approached Lenham, and, as another mechanical delayed us an advanced party set off to try to catch the tea rooms.  No luck; they were shutting as we arrived.  

Neil set off home from here, the rest of us enjoyed cakes, flapjacks and sugary drinks in the sunny village square.  That worked out quite well, and got back a little time. Ray Wren set off ahead of us, knowing that his mountain bike would be slower on the tarmac, and decided in the end to take a train back from Charing.  The rest of us rode hard, and very fast, over rolling countryside to Chartham, where we picked up the Great Stour Trail on a beautiful Spring evening for three long miles into Canterbury.  'Irish Miles', said Hans. The gravel of the riverside track now seemed laughably easy, and we set a very fast pace along the river and into the City.

We arrived at twenty past seven, about an hour later than planned, so Hans, Ged, Mike and Dave scooted off for the next train; the rest of us went to 'The Foundry', a well-recommended micro-brewery where the beer and the pies were exactly what we needed.

Here are the performance stats:

A pretty good showing.  Our speed on the gravel sections went up as the day went on - there's undoubtedly a knack to it.  As for the bikes, there wasn't much to choose between them.  Ray's mountain bike might have been a bit better on the trackway, but not markedly so; the light carbon jobs were quicker on the road, but again, not markedly so.  For this sort of mixed route it didn't seem to matter what type of bike you used.  Mike's tubeless tyres turned up trumps, sealing an improbably large cut; most people had no trouble at all.

My thanks to Simon for his sterling work as back marker, to all corner markers who kept us rolling, to Geoff and Simon for the photographs and to all of you for your help and cheerfulness on a long day.  We did well.

Carpe Diem, as they say.  We did.