Tandem Club - South East London - 2004 Events


Sunday, 25th January 2004

Ride from Charlton, South East London
organized by Michael & Astrid

A glorious blue-sky, sunny day (after a week of grey skies and drizzle) greeted the 13 people assembled in Charlton Library car park on Sunday 25th January 2004 for our first ride in this new year. Astrid & Michael led us out to Greenwich Park where we met up with Tim & young Brendan, stoking the Pino tandem for his dad (their train from Crawley had been a bit late). Down the hill and through Greenwich to beside the Deptford Creek and then to work our way through the little roads, Thames Path, crossing docks, through Russia Dock Woodland to Rotherhithe and yet more little roads running beside the River Thames to emerge into Tooley Street, round Southwark Cathedral and at last arriving at our coffee stop at The Bramah Tea & Coffee Museum in Southwark Street where excellent coffee, crumpets and cakes were enjoyed.

We then walked our bikes over the Millennium Bridge (it's been fitted with huge shock absorbers to stop it swaying) amongst a great many pedestrians out enjoying the wonderful weather. Andy had ridden to Charlton from his home in Ashford, Middlesex and as he had done 25 miles just to get him to the start of our ride he decided to leave us here and head off home (unfortunately his faithful stoker, Emily, had a party to attend, leaving Andy to ride alone today).

We were then treated to a tour of the City, passing the Bank of England, Royal Exchange, Lloyd's of London and the new "gherkin" building before dropping back down to the Tower of London, past St Katherine's Dock, through Wapping and past some pretty housing set beside shallow mock canals, past the Limehouse Basin and on to the Isle of Dogs, through Millwall Park to reach the Greenwich Foot Tunnel. Both lifts were working today so we were spared the effort of carrying tandems down & up the spiral stairs as has had to be done in the distant past. Steve & Mark left us here and forfeited their lunch stop as they both had chores to do back home. The rest of us split up, some to go to the Noodle House and some to the pub.

Upon re-gathering we crossed the Dome peninsula to use the Thames Path to the Thames Flood Barrier, then turning south to climb up through Maryon Park and Maryon Wilson Park to bring us back to Charlton Library having completed 21 miles. Our thanks to Astrid & Michael for an amazingly researched and most enjoyable ride.

report by Tricia Anderson

click here for some pictures.


Sunday, 22nd February 2004

Ride from West Wickham, Kent
organized by Neville & Tricia

Eleven of us gathered for coffee and biscuits at our house in West Wickham, Kent before going out into the rather threatening grey and cold day. We were soon quite warm enough with climbing the 7 miles up to the top of the North Downs through little country lanes skirting round the back of and not even seeing "tower block" New Addington, to Chelsham and along the exposed top to Botley Hill. Continuing parallel to the North Downs Way, braving a brief rain shower and taking a very potholed unmade road to Hawley's Corner and on into a north-easterly headwind through Knockholt and Halstead to the ever expanding Polhill Garden Centre and its excellent café for our lunch stop.

We emerged from lunch to find that we had missed another rain shower and that the temperature had dropped considerably. Back to Knockholt and a very steep down to The Washneys, up to Cudham and another very steep down before an up to Downe (how contrary!) to make our way back to our house for tea and cakes having completed 28 miles.

report by Tricia Anderson

click here for some pictures.


Sunday, 28th March 2004

Joint ride with Kent group from Ditton, Kent
organized by Mark & Liz

Seven tandems and one solo started out from Ditton, Kent on the day the clocks "sprung forward" for this joint Kent and South East London regions’ ride. Liz and Mark led us through lovely lanes, ending with a good sprint along a surprisingly quiet dual carriageway to a garden centre on the outskirts of Paddock Wood. With excellent timing Betty and Ernie joined us here for coffee (they'd craftily missed out the hills) now making us 8 tandems for a while until Kevin and Barry left us.

After the coffee break, there ensured more little lanes, lambs, daffodils and primroses and then lunch at the Woolpack Inn at Benover. Betty and Ernie peeled off homewards before the hill and then the mobile phone rang whilst we were half way up the hill with Liz (of Ken & Liz) announcing that they'd got a split rim so would carefully make their way back to their campsite and miss out on tea. The remainder of us rounded off a very enjoyable 30 miles with tea and cakes at Liz and Mark's house.

report by Tricia Anderson

click here for some pictures.


Sunday, 4th April 2004

Family/easy ride from Reculver, Kent
organized by Justin & Jenny

28 of us, comprised of 12 tandems (2 with children on tag-alongs and 2 solos) had an excellent ride round the Viking Coastal Trail (Reculver, Margate, Broadstairs, Ramsgate, Minster) and we didn't get wet, just blown along!

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Sunday, 25th April 2004

Ashdown Forest, East Sussex
organized by Harry & Mary

Seven tandems and one solo met in Friend’s car park, high up on open heathland of the Ashdown Forest. We were soon swooping down and struggling up hills to arrive for an early coffee stop at Duddleswell Tea Rooms where we consumed various refreshments whilst sitting in the sunshine and chatting. Back on the bikes and admiring the verges sprinkled with wild anemone and primroses we made our way through Five Hundred Acre Wood (Pooh territory!) and up a particularly steep, but thankfully fairly short, hill towards Groombridge to get on to the Forest Way disused rail track which brought us to Hartfield for lunch in the garden of the Hay Waggon Inn. Our leaders were kind to us and took us back on to the Forest Way to aid gentle digestion of the large lunches, where we successfully negotiated the many cycling families and dog walking families to reach Forest Row. Back to the hills again towards East Grinstead before turning south, past beautiful bluebell woods, to cross the bottom of Weir Wood Reservoir and ending a lovely day at Mary & Harry's house in Nutley where scones and cakes and yet more chat were enjoyed.

report by Tricia Anderson

click here for some pictures.


Saturday, 1st May - Monday, 3rd May 2004

Weekend Event
Seaview, Isle of Wight
arranged to coincide with the Isle of Wight Randonnée
organized by Neville & Tricia

The rain stopped at Portsmouth on Friday afternoon and we arrived at Pondwell campsite near Seaview on the Isle of Wight in almost sunshine. We wondered why the huge camping fields were empty and then discovered them to be extremely water saturated and also covered in Barnacle goose poo! Despite these two factors it was a lovely site with a pub located extremely conveniently on the perimeter. Gradually people arrived, with the majority staying in the chalets and just a few diehards camping.

Saturday was dry with cloud and sunshine; a few late arrivals settled themselves in and people went off on their tandems for short rides or shopping sorties. 39 people gathered in the Wishing Well pub at 7pm where the tables had been arranged for us all to sit together to enjoy huge meals and we were excellently looked after by the young and efficient pub staff.

Sunday was the day of the "Round the Island (clockwise) 100K Randonée" and the weather was perfect - sunny with a slight cooling breeze. Our campsite was between two registration points and it was decided to register at Bembridge at 9am even though this would mean having to cycle past our campsite to finish at Bembridge by 6pm and would add another 10 miles to the official 62 miles before returning to collapse back at the campsite. The randonée is a very informal affair with free entry and 7 checkpoints spaced around the island to get your card stamped and a certificate upon completing the full circuit. The route uses as many quiet lanes as possible and is very hilly. The idea of being able to start and finish at any one of the 7 checkpoints means that there are never large bunches of cyclists on any one section of road but you companionably meet other cyclists on the way or at checkpoints. Our group did not cycle all together, most couples tackling the challenge separately with a couple of groups of 4 and 6 sticking together for most of the ride. The leg between Yarmouth and Cowes is quite long, although some of the flattest, but our group had a special tea stop put on by Tandem Club members Heather & Tony Blee in the garden of their house in Porchfield, the location of which was announced by a Tandem Club jersey being hung in a tree - a very welcome stop indeed. Meanwhile families with the youngest children in our group did the Mini Randonée of 30K which conveniently started and finished at Bembridge and incorporated some very hilly countryside. 7 tandem teams and 2 solos (Michael & Dave were without their ladies this weekend) officially completed the full 100K course (+ extra 10 miles), including 9 year old Emily stoking for her Dad who achieved her furthest distance cycled so far and another 4 teams did the route but not the extra 10 miles. The Butcher triplet (2 adults and 2 children up) and David and 4¾ year old Christopher on kiddy cranks officially completed the 30K course. Unfortunately two of our tandem teams were unwell and unable to ride but it was an excellent turnout and we were just so lucky with the weather.

Monday's weather looked a bit threatening so the tents were packed up in the dry and people made their way to the ferry and homewards. Others rode on the Island and got wet before the sun eventually came out and we all caught our ferries back to the mainland.

report by Tricia Anderson

click here for some pictures.


Sunday, 23rd May 2004

Ride from Milford, Surrey
organized by Dereck & Gail

Ten tandems headed south out of Milford, Surrey on a beautiful sunny morning. Gail & Dereck continued to lead us south through lovely wooded lanes, up and down rolling hills to finally reach our southernmost point at Petworth where we seemed to follow the walls of Petworth Park for miles before going through Petworth and turning north to our lunch stop at the Stag pub in Balls Cross. We enjoyed a good lunch in their pleasant garden and then continued back, admiring the many cricket games being played, to Milford and a superb tea provided by Gail. 3 punctures and 38 miles cycled.

report by Tricia Anderson

click here for some pictures.


Sunday, 13th June 2004

Family/Easy ride and longer ride from Lindfield, East Sussex
Joint ride with Surrey & Sussex group
organized by David & Caroline and Liz & Ken

Both groups assembled at the start point on a lovely sunny day.

Family Ride report

The family ride had two new combinations, Rob and Hilary with 6 month old Eleanor on her first trip in the Burley trailer while Sherriff had his wife on the tandem trike with the kids in a trailer. After the usual toilet stop, we made our way south out of Lindfield to Wivelsfield Green, however before we got there we had an unscheduled stop as Rob and Hilary repaired an unusual puncture. A little further there was another feeding stop before heading across to South Chailey then north through Oxbottom to reach Sheffield Park station on the Bluebell Line.

Everyone enjoyed themselves looking round the engine sheds, model railway and small museum. No-one decided to take the train to Horsted Keynes, so we all set off again, heading north to Horsted Keynes, then to Ardingly and South to Borde Hill for tea.

After much needed refreshments the family ride took the long way back to the start through Haywards Heath to avoid the bumpy bridleway.

Well done everyone for managing to complete a fairly hilly 26.4 miles and 2017 ft of climbing, especially Rob and Hilary who made light work of the hills and trailer despite not having been riding for many months.

report by David Wilde


Long ride report

Of the assembled tandemists, 6 tandems and 2 solos chose to come on our longer ride. The solo riders’ stokers were otherwise engaged – one with the count for the European Elections and the other with a gardening related bad ankle. We headed off, more or less on time, and after a nasty little climb out of Haywards Heath we bowled along various undulating lanes south-eastwards with lovely views of the South Downs. After we turned north to head for lunch came a puncture stop which also served as a welcome rest for those that weren’t involved in mending it. Sheffield Park was the lunch stop and we split here with some going to the café in the park itself while others bought a platform ticket and ate at the pub on the station. Here we also met up with the family riders and were able to spend some time looking at the steam engines.

We had promised that the afternoon would be slightly hillier than the morning and one crew opted to ride with the family group. We climbed steadily up to Nutley and through Chelwood Gate followed by some nice little steep lanes with a ford at the bottom. At the next junction another two crews decided to go a slightly shorter and less hilly route whilst the rest climbed to our highest point at West Hoathly where Darryl and Alison left us to ride back home to Redhill. That left just 4 bikes (were they trying to tell us something?) to carry on back to the tea stop at Borde Hill Gardens where we all regrouped again.

From here it was only a couple of miles, partly along a nice little bridleway, back to the start. We covered total of just over 40 miles and all day in pleasant warm sunshine.

report by Ken & Liz

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Saturday, 26th June - Monday, 28th June 2004

Weekend Event
Newhaven, East Sussex to Dieppe, Normandy, France (and on to Neufchâtel en Bray)
organized by Alan & Wendy

At 06:45hrs our 12 tandems and 24 tandemists were ready and waiting to board the seacat ferry at Newhaven to start our Region's annual continental trip. By chance we had chosen the same weekend as the "Dieppe Raid" and so were in the company of a great many cyclists. We were relieved to enjoy a very smooth (after the gales of 3 days previous) 2½ hour crossing to Dieppe, followed by an early lunch in Dieppe. We then joined the Avenue Verte about 5 miles outside Dieppe, which is a smooth tarmaced old rail trail, and which took us all the way to Neufchâtel en Bray (22 miles): the hardier amongst us left the Avenue Verte to do a hilly loop round to Neufchâtel en Bray. The owner of the Logis Hotel du Grand Cerf gave us an enthusiastic welcome and she and her staff looked after us very attentively during our stay there, providing us with aperitif and nibbles before each sumptuous evening meal.

Down to breakfast at 08:00hrs and then on the tandems by 08:45hrs to follow Wendy & Alan into the lovely countryside to cycle up very long gentle hills with some good long whizzes down before stopping for coffee beside the Sunday market in Buchy. On to Forges-les-Eaux, with its Club Med and casino, for lunch before splitting up for our return to base with some people taking the Avenue Verte option (48 miles) and others doing some more hills. Aperitif and nibbles were taken in the sunny rear courtyard before a regional speciality dinner of Neufchâtel cheese starter, canard avec pomme entrée, Diplomat dessert and cider.

On our last day we breakfasted at 08:00hrs, packed up and were able to leave our full panniers in the hotel before setting out for a lovely ride to coffee at Foucarmont. We returned to the hotel to collect our panniers and they were even good enough to whistle up lunch for some of us which we enjoyed whilst sitting in the sun in their courtyard. Final goodbyes said, we set off at 14:00hrs with most of us taking the Avenue Verte route back to Dieppe, which proved harder than expected against the constant headwind (what was the sea journey going to be like?), whilst a few fit types took to the hills yet again. 2½ hours later, by sheer chance, both groups found themselves cycling into Dieppe together for a much needed coffee. Although we did very different routes, we had all cycled similar mileage of 53 miles. The crossing back to Newhaven was considerably more bumpy than our outward trip which most people, young Christopher excepted, dealt with by napping.

We all enjoyed Wendy & Alan's excellent organisation and choices so much that we signed up for the same again for 2005!

report by Tricia Anderson

click here for some pictures.


Sunday, 4th July 2004

Family/Easy ride from Trosley Country Park, near Vigo Village, Kent
organized by John & Sue

Another very good turnout on a disappointingly dull, cool and drizzly day for John & Sue's family ride from Trosley Country Park, Vigo, Kent. 5 tandems, 1 triplet, 1 tandem trike, 1 tandem with tag-a-long trailer and 1 solo made up 21 people. Up and down these short, sharp hills we went to coffee and bacon baps, etc at Speedgate Stables café. From there a short ride to a playground stop in South Darenth, then back on the bikes to lunch at the Wheatsheaf pub between Betsham and Southfleet. As we emerged from the pub the miserable weather decided to actually rain for a while whilst we cycled past golden fields fringed with red poppies and then through dark woods but didn't deter us having tea and bread pudding underneath the table umbrellas outside the café back at Trosley Country Park. We'd cycled a pretty hard 25 miles - but then we'd never expect an easy or flat ride from John as he powers along his triplet with 4 up!

report by Tricia Anderson

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Sunday, 25th July 2004

Runnymede, Surrey
organized by Andy & Francesca

Whilst we enjoyed coffee and bacon sandwiches in the Magna Carta tea rooms at Runnymede, our leaders, Andy and young Emily, paid homage at the Magna Carta Memorial, thoughtfully provided by the American Bar Association! Four tandems and 1 solo then followed them, through Windsor, over the bridge to Eton, following several cycle paths we arrived at a "stile" through which the tandems were lifted, in order to gain access to Dorney Lake, Eton College’s rowing course, alongside which we cycled - a 2km 8 lane rowing course for which money from the extracted gravel has been well spent. Another cycle path led us to the footbridge over the Thames to Monkey Island. Then through Fifield and pretty country lanes to the Beehive pub at White Waltham where a good lunch was enjoyed sitting in the pub's front garden within sound and sight of a cricket match being played on the green over the road - very pleasant and most English.

After lunch we went “over the fields” and on almost to Marlow. To avoid the alternatives of a busy road or a path with lots of locked gates we made our way up the hairpin bends of Winter Hill, arriving at the viewpoint at the top where a welcome ice cream van was sited and the view was enjoyed whilst licking ice creams. Down we came to Cookham and, skirting busy Maidenhead, we went on to the garden centre at Dorney Court for tea and cakes.

After that we sped back, with the wind pushing us along, through Eton, over the bridge, then via Datchet to avoid the crowds in Windsor, and back to Runnymede to complete 42 miles and an excellent day out.

report by Andy Parsons and Tricia Anderson

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Saturday, 31st July - Sunday, 1st August 2004

Weekend Event
Olney, Buckinghamshire - Camping weekend
organized by Mike & Anne

Thirty four people travelled to Olney for this weekend event and most of them stayed at the Emberton Country Park in caravans, motor homes and tents. There were 15 tandems and one solo. One of the tandems was a trike, one of them was a triplet with four people aboard and one pulled a tag-along.

The weather was hot and dry all weekend and the rides on both days were excellently organized by Mike and Anne and although we were quite close to the busy town of Milton Keynes, they found some nice quiet routes and good food stops - not an easy thing to do with so many people needing to be fed.

Saturday’s evening meal was taken at the Lamb in Stoke Goldington, some 5 miles distant from the camp site. Those of us who cycled between the two locations had a brilliant ride back to the camp site after the meal on the very warm evening under a full ‘blue’ moon.

Time passed too quickly and the great weekend was over much too soon.

report by Neville Frost

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Sunday, 29th August 2004

Ride from Mildenhall, Suffolk - arranged to coincide with the Mildenhall Cycling Rally
organized by Ken & Liz

Seventeen people on 6 tandems, 1 triplet and 2 solos started from the Mildenhall cycling rally on a day that was forecast to be hot and sunny but in fact always threatened to rain.

Our leaders, Ken and Liz, provided coffee and cakes for an excellent coffee stop in the open air. At this point the triplet team, with two young stokers plus mum on a solo, returned back to base and the rest of us continued on to Barrow for lunch.

After lunch we did a further 20 miles with a half way tea stop at the West Stow Anglo-Saxon village for a total ride distance of 40 miles.

report by Neville Frost

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Sunday, 5th September 2004

Family/Easy ride from Sandwich, Kent
organized by Justin & Jenny

The majority of our group camped at Sandwich Leisure Park on Saturday prior to our joint South East London, Kent and Surrey & Sussex regions' family ride from there on Sunday 5th September. It was a gloriously sunny and hot weekend.

33 cyclists set off on an assortment of bikes comprising 8 tandems, 2 tandems with trailers, 1 triplet, 1 solo with trailer and 6 solos. Justin, Jenny and young Peter led us out via a cycle path south through Eastry and then along the old road beside the A256, turning east onto quiet country lanes (with rather a lot of ups and downs!) to take us to the Red Lion pub at St Margaret's at Cliffe for lunch in the garden where the children enjoyed the bouncy castle. One solo and trailer left us here as Mark had to catch a flight from Heathrow to Turkey!

After lunch we took a lovely downhill track (Otty Bottom) to bring us out to the coast road at Kingsdown, which we followed past Walmer Castle (official residence of the Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports, formerly the Queen Mother) and past Deal Castle to a brief stop on Deal Green to listen to the band playing before proceeding on to Deal Pier: several of us walked the 1026ft length of the pier to the café at the end to enjoy tea and buns and ice creams, whilst others enjoyed ice creams from a shop opposite the pier and went for a paddle in the sea. Once gathered up again it was an easy and very pleasant few miles along the toll road through the Royal Cinque Ports Golf Links to come out onto Sandwich Quay and return through the town to the campsite to complete 26 miles. The 2 youngsters, Jake 9 and Joshua 11, on their solo bikes had done very well in keeping up with us all and tackling the rather lumpy section of the route.

report by Tricia Anderson

click here for some pictures.


Sunday, 26th September 2004

Ride from Marden, Kent
organized by Ernie & Betty

This joint ride for Kent and South East London saw a very good turn out of 9 tandems. Ernie & Betty led us out from Marden at a fast pace, weaving around the quiet little lanes to arrive at Biddenden Vinery for coffee and cakes. These lanes are wonderful for social cycling as it is usually possible to ride 2 abreast and chat, whilst keeping a careful eye out for sharp corners coming up and the very occasional vehicle. We encountered a very well behaved horse, though his rider said "his eyes are out on stalks" at the sight of all our tandems, and also 2 horse and trap outfits.

We returned nearly back to where we had started for lunch at The Wild Duck Inn at Marden Thorn, where we were seated at a very long table in their rather posh restaurant with pretty pink table cloths and napkins.

After a leisurely lunch Ernie & Betty took us north towards Linton and up a little lane with a sign in Spanish at its entry prohibiting lorries: this was a "there and back" trip to gaze upon the splendours of a large house overlooking a lake with 3 fountains and many geese and ducks (there's a fruit distribution company next to this lane and we imagined the owners of the "posh" house must have got fed up with large Spanish lorries trying to find the correct access)!

We continued onwards for tea and cakes at Yalding Organic Farm before returning to Marden to complete 45 miles. There were a few slightly "numb bums" due to the fairly flat terrain of the day but we all had a very pleasant day out.

report by Tricia Anderson

click here for some pictures.


Sunday, 3rd October 2004

Family/Easy ride from Oad Street, Sittingbourne, Kent
organized by John & Sue

After coffee 17 people, on 6 tandems and 2 solos, set off from Oad Street Craft Centre in an easterly direction. We'd all set off from our homes in sunshine but unfortunately after only a couple of miles into the ride the rain set in for the day making us a very soggy bunch. After a little while we encountered the Sittingbourne Striders and friends near the beginning of a 10 mile run, who we encouraged on their way. John and his "powerful" girl-team - being 7 and 4 years old - (he exorts them to give him Heather-power & Evie-power!) powered up a very steep hill which had several of our number walking. The rain got steadily heavier and we were all very glad to arrive at Painter's Forstal and The Alma pub with its welcoming warmth where our pre-ordered meals were delivered speedily to our tables.

This was our last family ride of the year and we had 5 children out with us, none of whom complained about the miserable weather and even managed, in between the rain drops, some time on the playground apparatus at our lunch stop.

After lunch, it was decided to forego the visit to Tonge Pond to feed the ducks, even though bread had been brought especially along and after a slight delay whilst trying to extract the children from the playground we set off into the drizzle again taking the most direct route back to the Oad Street Craft Centre, completing 25 miles. After some towelling down and changes into dry clothes we all enjoyed tea and cakes in the café.

report by Tricia Anderson

click here for some pictures.


Sunday, 24th October 2004

Joint ride with Kent group from Bekesbourne, Kent
organized by Peter & Sally

It had been a very wet and windy day and night prior to our October ride and was still drizzling on Sunday morning, which we think must have put off some of our hoped-for participants. For Kent and South East London regions' joint ride 4 tandems and 1 solo met in Bekesbourne (east of Canterbury) station car park, by which time the rain had stopped.

Peter & Sally led us past Howlett's Zoo (we couldn't really glimpse the gorillas), through Littlebourne to the beautiful little village of Wickhambreaux. From there it was northwards along little lanes beside open fields before looping southwards through Preston (in Kent!) to our coffee stop just outside Wingham in The Railway Station Farm Shop (no railway line in evidence) and café.

We emerged to a light drizzle, which soon stopped, and continued along tiny, quiet lanes past fabulous houses eastwards to the Red Cow pub in Sandwich.

With the sun now shining we left the old streets of Sandwich to go past Richborough Roman Fort and weave our way along the little winding lanes beside Ash Level bordering the Isle of Thanet. Our ride had been very flat so far but Peter threw in a couple of steep ups and downs before our return to Bekesbourne, where, having cycled 35 very enjoyable miles, we stood and chatted in brilliant sunshine before parting.

report by Tricia Anderson

click here for some pictures.


Sunday, 21st November 2004

Joint ride with Kent group from Ide Hill, Kent
organized by Cliff & Pauline

For our joint South East London and Kent November ride we gathered in the car park at the top of Ide Hill wondering if we were all quite mad! It was misty with a cold wind blowing - no chance of seeing the wonderful view usually available from this spot. We even had a new family bravely joining us for the first time. 5 tandems plus 2 solos, one with little Sammy chuckling in his child seat, set off briefly uphill and then down to try to escape the cold mist and sure enough once we were down in the valley it warmed up considerably and we could see the remnants of the beautiful autumn colours, more leaves on the ground now than left on the trees. We went through the pretty village of Weald and then our leaders, Cliff & Pauline, told us to stop at Hildenborough Station and there was another tandem waiting to join us as pre-arranged, with another pair of first-timers to our group.

We made our way to Quaintways Teashop in Penshurst for welcome warming coffee, chocolate and cakes and found two other groups of cyclists already well ensconced - a very good teashop for cyclists. As we'd spent rather longer than we should in the teashop our leaders decided to cut short the stretch to lunch and so after only 6 miles we arrived in Cowden for a very generous and tasty roast chicken lunch in the Fountain pub. Through Hever and on to tackle the long drag of Ide Hill to find ourselves once more back in thick mist in the car park having completed 28 miles. Most of us then proceeded to Cliff & Pauline's house to enjoy tea and cakes in front of a blazing log fire.

report by Tricia Anderson

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Sunday, 5th December 2004

Christmas ride and Lunch. Darenth Valley Golf Course, Shoreham, Kent.
organized by Neville & Tricia

Five tandems (1 with only its captain aboard due to a late "happening" in the stoker's family) set off from Darenth Valley Golf Course. Most of the tandems were variously decorated with Christmas adornments as befitted the occasion. It was a mild, dry day though our leader got the urge to go through the ford at Eynsford (about 9 inches deep) thus ensuring that his stoker's feet got very wet and rather cold! After that excitement we had several hills to warm us up, arriving at Polhill Garden Centre for welcome coffee after 13 miles. From there it was nearly all downhill for 4 more miles back to the golf course to change into our "glad rags" and join our already assembled friends for our Christmas lunch and awards. Once again John entertained the children with his balloon animals, we were looked after very well by the restaurant staff and a good time was had by all.

report by Tricia Anderson

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