Tandem Club - South East London - 2009 Events


All tandem riders (and bike riders interested in tandem riding)
are welcome on any of our rides.
PLEASE NOTE, PARTICIPATION IN RIDES IS AT YOUR OWN RISK.
We aim to start all rides promptly at the published times.


Note: Please contact ride organizer before attending a ride.
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February May August November
March June September December


Sunday, 18th January 2009

Ide Hill, Sevenoaks, Kent
Joint ride with the Kent group
start time: 09:45 for 10:00
approx. ride distance: 35 miles
organized by: Cliff & Pauline
telephone: 01732 750885
email:


The weather forecast was not good and heavy clouds and a light drizzle started the day but seven tandem teams turned out to meet in the Ide Hill car park, whereupon the sky started to clear and the sun came out. Although cold, it was a lovely day for cycling with clear views from the tops of all the hills we climbed (and there were quite a few)!
At the top of the 'stiff' Brasted Hill
At the top of the 'stiff' Brasted Hill
photo: Neville Frost


We started in a northerly direction and after the rise to Ide Hill village, we descended to Brasted and then up the stiff Brasted Hill to a welcome coffee stop at Cooling's garden centre, Knockholt where we were looked after very well.

As we left Cooling's, Ian's (or rather Maureen's) wheel made a "pinging" noise and something started to rub; they carried on, with various comments and advice being given by the rest of us, until finally Ian decided it needed looking at and a broken spoke was discovered: the offending spoke was cut out and Ian made a very good job of truing up the wheel. Continuing on through Eynsford, where the ford was extremely high, we then turned south and up the long drag where the next stoppage was caused by Nick's chain breaking. All mended again, we continued up and down dale to The Bell, Kemsing for an excellent lunch in a room of our own.

After lunch there were lots more ups and downs, across Seal Chart, along the southern edge of Knole Park and across the top of Hubbard's Hill to Salters Heath, where we did a dog leg back south and a long climb back up to Ide Hill.

Tandems were loaded and cars brought back to our leaders' house where tea and some excellent honey cakes were enjoyed to help us recover from a rather tiring 31 miles.

Report by Tricia Anderson

click here for pictures

Summary
Tandems: 7
Solos: 0
People: 14

Distance: 31 miles
Height Gain: 844 metres
Climb/Distance Index: 27.2 metres per mile (1.69%)
High Point: 240 metres
Low Point: 41 metres




Sunday, 22nd February 2009

Charlton, London SE7
start time: 09:45 for 10:00
approx. ride distance: 25 miles
organized by: John & Sue
telephone: 020 8855 1693
email:
This ride will be quite short (about 25 miles) and will incorporate a visit to the Geffrye Museum in Shoreditch. Entry to the museum is free of charge and it will be our lunch venue.


Our February ride on Sunday the 22nd was a great success. The ride was organised by John Butcher (my dad) and had 29 people attending, starting at Charlton House. It was a twenty two mile ride, with two stops, and was great fun for everybody.

Gathering at the start in front of Charlton House
Gathering at the start in front of Charlton House
photo: Neville Frost
After five miles of easy riding we got to Surrey Docks farm where there were many animals and many horrible smells of animal mess. After we’d finished our snacks there, we headed off to our next stop the Geffrye Museum, going over Tower Bridge. Though on the way we ended up in road jams thanks to dad’s navigation, and I’m not sure he knew exactly where he was going.

At the museum we headed straight for the restaurant for lunch as we were late. Dad would only let me have a child’s portion of Sausage & Bacon pie, but luckily the waitress got them mixed up. After lunch most people went to look around the museum, except for Christopher who enjoyed the touch screen computer cameras & Dad, who was busy planning a route home.

Riding back was fun but quite busy at first as we headed through central London once again. This time we stayed north of the river Thames, making our way to the Woolwich Ferry. Excellent planning (according to dad) meant we rode straight on to the ferry and were soon across the Thames in Woolwich. Getting over the big roundabout was exciting and a short uphill ride found us back at Charlton House without a drop of rain, unlike last year.

Report by Heather Butcher

click here for pictures

Summary
Tandems: 11
Solos: 5
People: 29

Distance: 22 miles
Height Gain: 291 metres
Climb/Distance Index: 13.2 metres per mile (0.82%)
High Point: 49 metres
Low Point: 0 metres




Sunday, 22nd March 2009

Longfield, Kent  ride to Chislehurst Caves for lunch and group tour of the caves.

start time: 09:15 for 09:30
approx. ride distance: 30 miles
organized by: Neville & Tricia
telephone: 020 8325 8445
email:
The ride incorporates a pre-booked lunch and 45 minute guided hurricane lantern tour of the caves: 20 miles of passageways (but we won’t be touring it all!) for ancient chalk mining, used as an ammunitions depot for Woolwich Arsenal during WWI, mushroom growing, air-raid shelter during WWII, pop concerts in the 60s and 70s and film location. Charges are £5 adult and £3 OAP or child - may be a little less if there are enough of us.

Food orders must be placed before the day of the ride. If you wish to take part, please contact Tricia before Wednesday, 11th March so that she can provide you with the menu details.


For our Mother's Day ride from Longfield, Kent several of us took advantage of bacon sandwiches and even full cooked breakfasts in Dolly's Diner before 25 of us set out on a slightly cloudy and rather cool morning. Just over a mile further on nobody was talking about being cold after we'd climbed the rather sharp ascent of Scudders Hill! The sky cleared and the sun came out whilst we enjoyed the run along the top of the ridge before diving down to Horton Kirby.
Regrouping on the outskirts of Swanley
Regrouping on the outskirts of Swanley,
on the way to Chislehurst
photo: Neville Frost


We turned left just before the rather impressively tall viaduct at South Darenth and carried on along fairly pleasantly quiet roads, under the M25, turning left to go over the M20 and then turning west through Crockenhill to finally reach true suburbia at Petts Wood. To achieve a break from traffic and suburban roads we used the cycle path through Jubiilee Park and had fun getting the tandems, and especially Madeleine's buggy, through the barriers. A suspected puncture in a buggy tyre caused the ride to split so that the majority of us could get to Chislehurst Caves on time for an early lunch. All together again, the Caves café staff looked after us very well and ensured we'd finished our meals in good time for our Caves tour (though we did have a little difficulty persuading some "sun bathers" back into the gloom!). http://www.chislehurstcaves.co.uk

Although feeling a little chilly after the sun outside, Chris, our guide, told us that the Caves maintain a temperature of 9˚C all year round. We were issued with a good supply of hurricane lanterns to light our way along very dark passages, going first into the Saxon passages then to the deepest Druid passages, where Chris was very informative with some blood curdling stories of Druid sacrifices. It was here that Chris asked us if we'd like to experience "total darkness" and we were all very brave whilst he took our lanterns away and left us beside the sacrificial altar: it really was total darkness, even the white chalk walls of the cave didn't show up. On top of this there was a huge reverberating bang (Chris had warned us about this and later showed us the water tank he'd banged to illustrate the echo facility of the caves). Reunited with our lanterns we continued into the Roman passages and finally into the area that was used to house 15,000 people every night during World War II - there were pitch numbers on the walls and an example of the 3-tier bunk beds. The caves have been used for a variety of activities: pop concerts (Jimi Hendrix, Adam Faith, etc), dances and dinners, film location and even now a group of "players" (Labyrinthe Club) uses parts of the Caves for their role playing.
http://www.labyrinthe.co.uk

It was nice to get out into the sunshine again, though the immediate hill wasn't such fun! We went across Chislehurst Common, negotiated the busy A20 to get across to Hextable. A loud bang brought us all to a stop to inspect Rob & Hilary's rear tyre which had split. Luckily a new tyre and tube were available so whilst the problem was being resolved with help from our younger members, half of our number continued on to tea at Hawley Garden Centre as an advance guard in case they closed. No worries, we all got cake when we got there! Suitably refreshed we had to tackle another nasty hill out of Darenth but from there it was a lovely undulating run in the early evening sunshine, via South Darenth, back to Longfield.

Report by Tricia Anderson

click here for pictures

Summary
Tandems: 10
Solos: 3
People: 25

Distance: 33 miles
Height Gain: 602 metres
Climb/Distance Index: 17.7 metres per mile (1.10%)
High Point: 128 metres
Low Point: 14 metres




Sunday, 5th April 2009

family / easy ride
Redhill, Surrey
start time: 09:45 for 10:00
approx. ride distance: 25 miles
organized by: David & Caroline
telephone: 01737 766649
email:
The ride will start at Redhill, go up the North Downs to the Knight's Garden Centre at Woldingham for coffee, then to Crockham Hill (Royal Oak) for lunch. The return route is relatively flat, apart from Tilburstow Hill and the climb up from Nutfield.


This was a stunning ride in several senses of the word! The tracks and bridleways that David & Caroline had found for us were stunning in scenery terms: the hill ascents, both off and on road, were definitely stunning for me, though all the other fit people on the ride seemed to manage them well: the fact that we ended up doing 35 very hard miles was a bit of a stunner on this, our first for 2009, family/easy ride!
On the track from Redhill towards Nutfield Marsh
On the track from Redhill towards Nutfield Marsh
photo: Neville Frost
To be fair, David had asked that all those intending to join this ride should contact them one week earlier with their lunch orders and by this means he could tell whether the attendees could manage the hard and hilly ride he had planned; we did have two late entries though and we very much hope that we haven't put Joan and TJ off riding with us ever again, especially as TJ is still recovering from a broken wrist - they did very well and we enjoyed their company until coffee.

Our first excitement of the day was watching Rob & Ruth manoeuvre their VW camper van under the height barrier into the car park, the barrier sloped and really was a rather tight fit. So, to the ride itself: 7 tandems and 1 solo set off from Redhill station on a fine day and Dave very soon had us on tracks to avoid the traffic. Not long after, the "hill work" started and continued for the majority of the morning until our arrival at the Dene Restaurant at Woldingham for a rather late coffee stop. Another tandem had ridden there just to meet up with us for coffee but were having to return home due to work commitments. TJ's wrist was hurting him rather more than he'd anticipated and so they decided to make their way back home from there, reducing us to 6 tandems. There was a long slog to the top of the North Downs after coffee and a very speedy whizz down Titsey Hill and then yet more uphill, both off-road and on, to Limpsfield Chart culminating in another speedy whizz and an abrupt stop at the Royal Oak pub in Crockham Hill for lunch. By this time we'd done 21 miles and realized that there was no way this could be a 25 mile ride as advertised!

After lunch we were allowed a bit of a rest with no hills featuring for a few miles until the drag up Tilburstow Hill with a rewarding viewing stop at the top. Near the ride's end we stopped off at the leaders' house and all flopped into David & Caroline's easy chairs or laid out on the lounge floor and enjoyed Caroline's excellent cakes whilst watching Christopher type and run Basic programs with the advice and help of young Brendan and several others. A very enjoyable, even if a rather unexpectedly hard, day.

Report by Tricia Anderson

click here for pictures

Summary
Tandems: 7
Solos: 1
People: 15

Distance: 35 miles
Height Gain: 906 metres
Climb/Distance Index: 25.9 metres per mile (1.61%)
High Point: 274 metres
Low Point: 67 metres




Sunday, 26th April 2009

Locksbottom, Kent
start time: 09:15 for 09:30
approx. ride distance: 45 miles
organized by: Kevin & Jan
telephone: 01689 850114 (to leave a message) or for further information phone Neville & Tricia 020 8325 8445
email:
 
Kevin & Jan
Neville & Tricia
The ride will go to Woldingham Dene Restaurant for coffee and to Ye Old Crown pub at Edenbridge for lunch, finishing with tea at the leaders' home in Locksbottom. The morning is relatively easy but the ride gets hard in the afternoon as we climb back up the Downs.


This ride took place in the most glorious spring weather throughout the sort of countryside that made us feel glad to be in England.

From the start at Locksbottom, we took the shortest possible route out to the country via Keston and Nash from where we climbed to a high point on the North Downs at Warlingham using bits of National Cycle Network, Route 21 and then swept down to Woldingham Garden Village for coffee.
Tandem approaching Marden Park
On National Cycle Network, Route 21,
approaching Marden Park
photo: Neville Frost


From coffee there was only one way to go and that was up and we took the very pleasant quiet lane through Marden Park to another high point on the North Downs above Godstone Vineyard and then down to Church Town and up again to the top of Tilburstow Hill and then swept down again towards South Godstone. Now we were in easier territory as we cruised along to Edenbridge where we stopped for lunch at Ye Old Crown pub. We sat in the sun and didn't get cold!

We knew that the relaxed riding of the final bit to lunch would not last long afterwards and of course after passing through Itchingwood Common, we were soon climbing up the aptly named Pain's Hill on our way to Limpsfield and Titsey. Turning right at Titsey we followed along the foot of this part of the North Downs, enjoying the beautiful sunny view, until Brasted Hill. At this point, the agony could be put off no longer and we ascended Brasted Hill, which, for some reason, seemed steeper than usual... Perhaps we had enjoyed our lunch break too much! Then followed the amazing descent all the way through Cudham to Green Street Green at 30 mph (except for the incident with the frightened horse where we had to slow down!).

It was then a short distance back to the home of our leaders Kevin and Jan and tea/coffee and cake. It was only then about half a mile to the finish. It had been a truly excellent ride and, although quite hilly, was taken at a moderate pace which did not cause any concern. Many thanks Kevin and Jan – it was most enjoyable.

Report by Neville Frost

click here for pictures

Summary
Tandems: 3
Solos: 1
People: 7

Distance: 45 miles
Height Gain: 1029 metres
Climb/Distance Index: 22.9 metres per mile (1.42%)
High Point: 233 metres
Low Point: 41 metres




Saturday, 2nd May - Monday, 4th May 2009

Bank Holiday Camping Weekend Event
near Cambridge, Cambridgeshire
start time: probably 09:30 but will be agreed by attendees at the time
approx. ride distance: up to 40 miles each day depending on terrain - with easier options
organized by: Neville & Tricia
telephone: 020 8325 8445
email:
The site is 5 miles west of Cambridge and is a very pleasant family owned and run site. We plan to have approx 40 mile rides on all 3 days of the bank holiday, with some shorter options where possible. Please let Tricia know if you intend joining us.


Tandem group at the start
The group assembled at the start of Saturday's ride
photo: Tricia Anderson


Over the course of the weekend, thirty one Tandem Club members took part in this event. Everyone did not ride every day but most did.

We had the best weather on Saturday and on subsequent days it became less warm but with only minimal rain on Monday; we enjoyed a really good Bank Holiday weekend event, cycling in beautiful scenery and bright yellow Rape fields.

The ride routes had been plotted by Neville by computer in advance (with some suggestions by Ray and by David) and any questionable bits had been tested during the preceding days. Few routes (of which there were 6 planned for the 3 days) had been fully ridden. It turned out that some routes were a little longer than expected!


Saturday

Saturday's long route went to Waresley for coffee at the Garden Centre, Grafham Water for lunch and then via Conington to Boxworth for afternoon tea whereas the short route was very similar but missed out the large westward loop to Grafham, stopping at Conington for lunch and not stopping for tea.

The Turf Maze at Hilton
The Turf Maze at Hilton
photo: David Wilde
The long riders had lunch in the Fishermen's Lodge overlooking the lake and when finished, decided that they really could not leave the area without circumnavigating the lake via the 9 mile cycle route, thereby adding some additional mileage.

Both groups passed through Hilton where some time was spent investigating the ancient unicursal Turf Maze, originally cut in 1660.

Towards the end of both routes, we were fortunate to have been given permission to cycle through the impressive Childerley Estate thereby reducing the time spent on major roads.

In the evening most people availed themselves of the excellent Fish & Chip van that called at the site whilst a few went off for a Chinese meal.


Summary

Saturday - Waresley and Conington (short option)

Tandems: 7
Solos: 3
People: 17

Distance: 37 miles
Height Gain: 362 metres
Climb/Distance Index: 9.8 metres per mile (0.61%)
High Point: 74 metres
Low Point: 9 metres

Saturday - Waresley, Grafham Water and Conington (long option)
Tandems: 5
Solos: 0
People: 10

Distance: 61 miles
Height Gain: 646 metres
Climb/Distance Index: 10.6 metres per mile (0.66%)
High Point: 74 metres
Low Point: 9 metres


Sunday

Sunday's long ride was scheduled to be shorter than the previous day's long ride and no one chose the short route.

Our target for the day was Heydon, where we headed for the excellent Henry IV pub. En route, we first visited the Cambridge American World War II Cemetery less than 3 miles from our start point. It's hard to visit a place like this without being unmoved by the colossal loss of life. It was a very humbling and worthwhile visit.

Moving on - David, a Cambridge graduate, led us via Coton and some pleasant tracks into and around some of the sights of Cambridge and eventually after exiting Cambridge to the south, we stopped for coffee in the hectic Scotsdales Garden Centre at Great Shelford.
Henry IV pub in Heydon
Henry IV pub in Heydon
photo: Tricia Anderson


Continuing on our way, we travelled through Duxford and Hinxton to Heydon. Heydon is 100 meters higher than Hinxton and it seemed to take forever climbing the 7 mile rise from one to the other. However, the lunch was well worth the effort.

After lunch, now travelling northwards, we descended most of the height previously gained, in less than 2 miles with wonderful views ahead. We then took a track to the east (possibly part of the Icknield Way), an interestingly undulating ride which was great fun on this dry day...

Continuing in a northerly direction, we passed through Fowlmere to Melbourn where we had a tea stop at the Phillimore Garden Centre – a serene spot by comparison with the morning coffee stop.

The final leg took us up Chapel Hill, north of Barrington, an unexpectedly tough little climb, and thence back to base at Comberton.

The day was rounded off with a barbecue evening, most of us sitting out until it got quite dark (and cold).


Summary

Sunday - Heydon
Tandems: 11
Solos: 4
People: 26

Distance: 44 miles
Height Gain: 499 metres
Climb/Distance Index: 11.3 metres per mile (0.70%)
High Point: 140 metres
Low Point: 10 metres

 


Monday

On Monday, two ride lengths were on offer with distances of 50 miles and 25 miles. Three teams went off on the long ride and everyone else did the short one. Both rides went in a south westerly direction to Wimpole Hall and the long ride continued in that direction to Dunton, Edworth and Ashwell, returning via Bassingbourne, Barrington and Grantchester. The short riders did the same start and end but missed out the long loop to Ashwell.

On the way to Wimpole Hall, we took in part of the Harcamlow Way, a bridle path that had been well walked by horses when it was very wet. Now it was very dry and it shook the bones traversing it on a tandem. Three teams chose to bypass this section. Wimpole Hall, which the short riders visited for coffee, was very crowded and queuing for nourishment took some time. Fortunately, we had no time constraints for lunch so were not under pressure.
Lunch, sitting in the deck chairs of the famous Orchard Tea Garden in Grantchester
Lunch, sitting in the deck chairs of
the famous Orchard Tea Garden in Grantchester
photo: Tricia Anderson


After coffee, we headed towards Barrington and took again the sharp little hill from there towards Haslingfield – we were fresher this time than yesterday. On the way to Grantchester, there are some interesting looking radio telescopes but it's not possible to get near to them to have a close look. In Grantchester, we had lunch, sitting in the deck chairs of the famous Orchard Tea Garden.

The long riders arrived at Grantchester just as the short riders were cycling away towards Coton and to the final track of the weekend from Coton to Comberton. This track is adjacent to a military rifle range with scary signs stating: - "Danger Do not touch any military debris. It may explode and kill you". We didn't touch any military debris!

After arriving safely back at base, all that was left was to pack up, after this great weekend, and go home.


Summary

Monday - Wimpole Hall and Grantchester (short option)
Tandems: 8
Solos: 3
People: 19

Distance: 26 miles
Height Gain: 282 metres
Climb/Distance Index: 10.8 metres per mile (0.67%)
High Point: 84 metres
Low Point: 11 metres

Monday - Ashwell and Grantchester (long option)
Tandems: 3
Solos: 0
People: 6

Distance: 52 miles
Height Gain: 501 metres
Climb/Distance Index: 9.6 metres per mile (0.60%)
High Point: 83 metres
Low Point: 11 metres


Report by Neville Frost

click here for pictures


Sunday, 7th June 2009

family / easy ride
Lingfield, Surrey
start time: 09:45 for 10:00
approx. ride distance: 25 miles
organized by: Robert & Hilary
telephone: 01883 722067
email:
Hilary informs us that there are no tracks and only a couple of hills.


After days of beautiful weather, the weather forecast was dire for today and heavy rain until around 6:00 in the morning seemed to confirm the forecast.

However, six tandems and fourteen people took part in this ride. Four people were on the leaders' machine. We had a little rain just before noon but apart from that, the day was fine getting really sunny by the afternoon.

A small partly obscured plaque in memory of RAF Horne Advanced Landing Ground
A small partly obscured plaque in memory of
RAF Horne Advanced Landing Ground
photo: Tricia Anderson
For this family/easy ride, the pace was leisurely and hills were few. Despite prior publicity stating that there would be no tracks, we did in fact use a track by prior consent with those taking part, and it was a very good smooth alternate to the road route.

Starting from Lingfield, we headed west to Newchapel and then north towards Smallfield. On the way we stopped, as part of an occasional series of lectures on World War II Defence Mechanisms by Tim, to pay homage at the one time RAF Horne Advanced Landing Ground. All that is left now is a small partly obscured plaque.

Moving on, we continued to the windmill at Outwood where, after 8 miles of cycling, we stopped for a chat and discussion about types of windmill. Outwood Windmill was built in 1665, is a post mill and is the oldest windmill still working in Britain.

It was soon after this, that we took to the 3½ mile track northwards, passing through Lower South Park and South Park to the top of Tilburstow Hill, followed by a gentle westward whiz down to Bletchingley, where we stopped for lunch (and a play for the youngsters on the climbing equipment) at the Plough Inn.

After a relaxed lunch break, we headed in an easterly direction, retracing our steps to Tilburstow Hill and continued on to Tilburstow Hill Common, after which, we enjoyed the descent. During this time we passed many cyclists (heading in the opposite direction) who were probably taking part in the Reigate Sunday Sportive event. We continued eastwards via Hurst Green to Itchingwood Common and then looped around south and west to Staffhurst Wood where, after 22½ miles of cycling, we had a tea and home-made cake stop, sitting in the sunshine in the back garden of the home of our leaders.

The final leg was a pleasant 4½ mile sunny run into Lingfield, where we arrived having enjoyed a relaxed day out in the saddle and feeling that the weather (despite the weather forecast) had been very kind.

Report by Neville Frost

click here for pictures

Summary:
Tandems: 6
Solos: 0
People: 14

Distance: 27 miles
Height Gain: 440 metres
Climb/Distance Index: 16.3 metres per mile (1.01%)
High Point: 175 metres
Low Point: 46 metres




Thursday, 18th June - Sunday, 21st June 2009

Belgian Touring Weekend Event
Dover and beyond
start time: will be agreed by participants at the time
approx. ride distance: 40-50 miles per day
organized by: Alan & Wendy
telephone: 01621 818060
email:
Alan and Wendy have been to Belgium and sorted out the hotels, the routes and menus for this event. The first night will be spent on the Belgian coast at Westende, a few minutes from the beach, the second in Bruges and the third in the old town of Diksmuide. They are very pleased with the choices of hotels. We are confident that it will be a good trip.


Belgium tandem tour route
The tour route -
starting in Dunkerque, we travelled in a clockwise direction, stopping overnight at Westende, Brugge and Diksmuide
Belgium tandem tour profile
The tour profile


Thursday, 18th June: Dover to Westende via Dunkerque

The previous evening had been extremely windy, causing some qualms amongst some of us about our ferry crossing today. Fears were all unfounded though as the morning dawned calm and bright when the 12 tandem teams met at the Dover Eastern Docks Terminal. We soon passed through the port and onto the waiting Norfolk Lines ferry where our tandems were carefully stowed. We enjoyed a good crossing to Dunkirk where we landed two hours later. On disembarking we found that there was a diversion from the usual road used so we parked up on the side of the road to allow our ferry's load of lorries and cars to pass us before venturing on our way.
Waiting for a huge Chinese ship to pass through a lock
Waiting for a huge Chinese ship to pass through a lock
photo: Tricia Anderson


Alan & Wendy led us north up the coast, along a sea wall above a beautiful beach and through the Dunkirk Automaten Port (where we had to wait for a huge Chinese ship to be "tugged" through a lock) to find lunch in Dunkirk. After lunch it was off up the coast again to Koksijde where ice creams and refreshments were enjoyed on the busy esplanade: there were some amazing "cycle contraptions" available to hire, some of them seating up to 8 people - perhaps an answer to some of the enquiries received on the Tandem Club Discussion Board for charity rides!

We made our way along the wide and very busy esplanade before rejoining the road which took us to Westende Bad and the Hotel Splendid. Showers/baths and naps were taken before meeting up for pre-dinner drinks at the bar across the road where the hardy sat outside in the rather cool sea breeze whilst a select few braved the smoky but warm interior. Back into the hotel for an excellent dinner served by our hotel's charming and attentive proprietors; possibly rather too much wine flowed as our group became rather rowdy!

Friday, 19th June: Westende to Brugge

After a very good breakfast, at 9am we set off along the esplanade for a couple of miles before turning inland to follow the canal to Brugge where we arrived at the Hotel de Krakelle in time for lunch. Our tandems were stored in a very posh "lock up" garage across the street; unfortunately our rooms didn't live up to the same standard and were more like cabins on a ship!

Three groups formed: the walking tour of Brugge, the serious shopping excursion and the cycling trip across the border to Sluis, Netherlands. Ray & Alan were the leaders of the 7-tandem group and they managed to drop the rest of us almost immediately by running a red light and turning sharp left - we caught them though and then "raced" alongside the canal for 12 miles until we reached Sluis where we were very happy to have a rest and wander around admiring this busy town with its strange array of sex shops.

Back on the bikes we retraced our route alongside the canal to a "hand cranked" ferry, whereupon Liz wildly cranked the handle to retrieve the ferry and then cranked the first load of tandems and riders across the canal: Ray and Liz then both frantically cranked the ferry back for the second load and Ray hauled them across, whilst complaining of a bent wheel! We then used beautiful, quiet little lanes to take us back to our hotel. Several energetic couples then walked into Brugge for a look around, returning in time for pre-dinner drinks outside the hotel in the evening sunshine, where our separate experiences were shared.  
Torhout 'Maniken Pisa'
Torhout 'Maniken Pisa'
photo: Tricia Anderson
Diksmuide, St Niklaaskerk modern stained glass window
Diksmuide, St Niklaaskerk modern stained glass window
photo: Tricia Anderson


Saturday, 20th June: Brugge to Diksmuide

After a disappointing breakfast (we'd been spoilt by our first day) we retrieved our tandems from the posh garage and at 9am Alan & Wendy led us expertly beside the canal around the outside of Brugge before reaching little lanes. We found an open cafe in Ruddervoorde where we all got increasingly cooler sitting outside and donned jackets and by the time we left it was trying to rain. Lunch was found in Torhout where people were busily setting up stalls and a sound stage and where a very strange array of statues were found called "Maniken Pisa".

By now the sun was shining and coats were off and in Vladslo, after Wendy had persuaded the local cafe owner to open up for us, we all sat outside where copious amounts of iced tea seemed to be drunk by some!

We continued on to Diksmuide and our Hotel de Vrede situated in the impressive "old" square (we later learned that the whole town had been reduced to rubble in the 1914-18 war but had been rebuilt in its old style - amazing).
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diksmuide

After stowing our tandems around the back of the hotel and discovering our large rooms (a complete contrast to our "cabins" of the previous night), several people went on the walking tour of the town - the re-built St Niklaas church was particularly impressive with its beautiful modern stained glass windows. At pre-dinner drinks interesting information gained on the walking tour was shared amongst us and we then enjoyed a very good dinner.

Sunday, 21st June: Diksmuide to Dover via Dunkerque

We left the hotel at 9.30am and went for a ride around the 1914-18 battle ground area with a very quick visit into the lovely little commemorative chapel with a memorial to the Bombardier Cycliste Regiment. We then visited the Trench of Death Museum where the original trenches were preserved and finally reconstructed to give a feel (though without the mud, wet, rats, death and horror) of what horrors these Flemish soldiers went through.
www.trabel.com/diksmuide/diksmuide-trench.htm
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_the_Yser

Whilst here, we witnessed a Historic Tractor parade which just kept on coming by - forever! We encountered them again at our coffee stop in Stuivekenskerke. Apparently some of them had also been seen going past our hotel on the outskirts of Brugge the previous morning.

Continuing on our way, we entered Veurne's large square where we were greeted by loud fairground organ music playing constantly. After lunch there we continued alongside canals towards Dunkirk but left 3 teams trying to mend Mark & Liz's puncture whilst the rest of us carried on to Dunkirk for coffee. The puncture proved intractable, though was eventually fixed, leading to the 3 teams arriving at Dunkirk as the remainder were ready to leave. As compensation for these "refreshmentless" teams a handy ice cream van was found at the top of the sea wall where ice creams were enjoyed by some.

We arrived at Dunkirk Port in time to see our ferry arriving and were then again loaded carefully into the ship. Two hours later after shopping, eating and napping we arrived at Dover just after 7pm, were led by David along the red line through Dover Port and so to the end of another excellent adventure over the water superbly organised by Alan & Wendy: our great appreciation goes to them for looking after us so well and ensuring such a good trip only arrived at by their extensive research and personal cost. We await hopefully to hear whether they can come up with another venue for 2010.

Report by Tricia Anderson and Neville Frost

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Sunday, 26th July 2009

Tonbridge, Kent
start time: 09:15 for 09:30
approx. ride distance: 44 miles
organized by: David & Annabelle
telephone: 01689 835673
email:

This is a change to previously published information about this ride.

It will be a ride of two halves, flat then hilly. Stopping in Frant for lunch, then onto Haysden Park via Groombridge Hill. Will stop at the park for ice cream if hot, but intend to finish the ride at the swimming pool in Tonbridge for a cup of tea and a swim if anybody feels the urge and have got cossies. 44 miles.


Route profile
The route profile

Six teams set off from Tonbridge for David & Annabelle's ride which David had described as "It will be a ride of two halves, flat then hilly." Oh dear, he did get an awful lot of comments about the "flat" first half! In fact, if he hadn't added the "flat then hilly" bit he would have been pretty accurate in his description as the ride was a pretty fair split of half flat and half hilly terrain, just not quite in the order that people had expected. We climbed a little hill to get us out of Tonbridge and then it was all flat to coffee and cakes at Yalding Organic Centre.

After coffee we had more flat roads (approx 15 miles done so far) until we climbed up to Horsmonden. There were then lots and lots of hills, a few bits of very busy road and some lovely quiet, narrow lanes with superb views (rich payment for the hill climbing effort) to get us to The George at Frant and the highest point of our ride - phew, we were all ready for a rest and refreshment!

The hills weren't over yet as we made our way up the long drag north out of Groombridge to pick up the very pleasant track through Penshurst Place and finally down to the flat of Cycle Route 12 through Haysden Country Park and around the lake with lots of families feeding the geese. Tonbridge to Penshurst Cycle Route

An ice cream stop had been scheduled at this point but as it had started to drizzle it was decided to press on for tea and cakes at Café Zest at Tonbridge Pool where we had a good view of the activity in the swimming pool and complimented David & Annabelle on a very enjoyable ride, despite all the complaints! We only had a few yards along Tonbridge High Street to complete the 44 mile ride and say our goodbyes.

Report by Tricia Anderson

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Summary:
Tandems: 6
Solos: 0
People: 12

Distance: 44 miles
Height Gain: 865 metres
Climb/Distance Index: 19.7 metres per mile (1.22%)
High Point: 180 metres
Low Point: 9 metres




Saturday, 29th August - Monday, 30th August 2009

Bank Holiday Weekend Event
Mildenhall, Suffolk organized to coincide with Mildenhall Cycling Rally.
start time: 09:15 for 09:30
approx. ride distance: 40 miles on Saturday (less on other days)
organized by: Neville & Tricia
telephone: 020 8325 8445
email:
The South East London ride will be on Saturday to enable people to spend all day at the rally on Sunday and Monday if they wish. Additionally we may have morning rides on Sunday and Monday and get back to the rally around midday.


Once again we were based at the fascinating Willows Campsite situated at the end of the Mildenhall runway. Things had quietened down by the time most of us arrived for the Bank Holiday weekend but one of our families had experienced a long evening of a take-off every 3 minutes, with the large planes being very low over their campervan! Between that experience and the Saturday night stock car racing from the nearby stadium, they decided that the campsite wasn't the most peaceful they'd ever stayed at!

Saturday, 29th August: Clare

On Saturday we were pleased to be joined by John & Sheila Coy of the Suffolk Region and seven tandems and one solo set off on a rather cool and windy morning, though with plenty of sunshine.
On the see-saw
On the see-saw
photo: David Wilde
En route we collected (as pre-arranged) another two tandems at Red Lodge roundabout and all continued southwards to an "al fresco bring our own" coffee and cake stop outside the Affleck Arms in Dalham, where we were able to use their conveniently located tables and benches (although we'd enquired, they don't open until 12 Noon and therefore couldn't provide us with coffee). We were able to use pleasantly rolling country lanes for the majority of our southerly journey, apart from a loop of A road to circumnavigate some MOD land. We did a tour of Clare Castle Country Park and then the majority of us enjoyed a good lunch at The Swan Inn. The return route was slightly more hilly than the outward one with lovely lanes and views. Most of us stopped at Hargrave Recreation Field for a rest, some playing on the see-saw and slide, and to finish up the cakes (some "speedies" missed out and waited for us further on). Two tandems peeled off and the remainder continued on to Mildenhall Rally with our good pace enabling us to see several junior grass track races, finishing with an impressive number of trikes. The day was brought to an enjoyable end with a group barbecue back at camp, with the majority of us having completed 52 miles.

Summary: Saturday - Clare
Tandems: 9
Solos: 1
People: 19

Distance: 52 miles
Height Gain: 576 metres
Climb/Distance Index: 11.1 metres per mile (0.69%)
High Point: 122 metres
Low Point: 3 metres


Sunday, 30th August: Ely

Sunday was warmer with sun and cloud and still that rather strong wind. Five tandems and one solo set off using some very broken old drove roads which made for a very bumpy ride. To recover, we stopped and climbed the bank of the River Lark to check out what was the other side of the dyke that we'd been riding beside.
Ely Market Place sundial
Ely Market Place sundial -
a trifle disappointing without sunshine
photo: Tricia Anderson
In Ely we enjoyed coffee and cakes in Costa Coffee and then discovered the Sun Dial set out on the ground in the Market Place before going on through Jubilee Gardens to have a look at the big eel sculpture: a stop was also made for Christopher to inspect the sluice sculpture by the River Great Ouse. Soon after leaving Ely we cut east using a small road, using the Bypass around Mill Farm, to join up with the long, straight B road to Isleham, riding south west into a rather stiff and tiring headwind - no problem for 2 tandem teams who decided to attack the road by "time trialling" it! We achieved our aim of arriving at Mildenhall Rally in time for lunch and to watch a good selection of racing, including some surprisingly enjoyable children's cycle races. 31 miles completed back at camp. The dark clouds and cool wind curtailed the socialising though Ian & Steve's excellent dessert of campsite plums on a pastry base topped off our dinners nicely.

Summary: Sunday - Ely
Tandems: 5
Solos: 1
People: 11

Distance: 31 miles
Height Gain: 132 metres
Climb/Distance Index: 4.3 metres per mile (0.26%)
High Point: 25 metres
Low Point: 0 metres
Intricate painted ceiling inside the St Edmundsbury Cathedral
Intricate painted ceiling inside the
St Edmundsbury Cathedral
photo: Tricia Anderson


Monday, 31st August: Bury St Edmunds

Ken & Liz led Monday's ride to Bury St Edmunds and set a good pace for the following 3 tandems. Coffee and cake/scones were enjoyed in the Cathedral Refectory and a quick look at the intricate painted ceilings inside the Cathedral. The new tower was also admired. To avoid busy roads we crossed Tuddenham Heath and admired the heather, getting back onto the road at Tuddenham St Mary and arriving at Mildenhall Rally in time for lunch. From the rather cloudy and windy morning, now the sun really shone down making us very hot watching the excellent racing. Three families of our fellow campers left us to return home for work the following day with the remaining three families enjoying a beer in the sunshine on our return to the campsite. 36 miles cycled for those who did the ride and return to campsite.

Thanks for the company. Once again Mildenhall Cycle Club put on an excellent event.

Summary: Monday - Bury St Edmunds
Tandems: 4
Solos: (3 for part of the ride)
People: 8 (plus 3 for part of the ride)

Distance: 36 miles
Height Gain: 360 metres
Climb/Distance Index: 10 metres per mile (0.62%)
High Point: 81 metres
Low Point: 3 metres


Report by Tricia Anderson

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Sunday, 6th September 2009

family / easy ride
Birdham near Chichester, West Sussex
start time: 09:45 for 10:00
approx. ride distance: 30 miles
organized by: Dereck & Gail
telephone: home: 01483 411990, mobile: 07506 728963
email:

The route will be flattish and about 30 miles in length. There is expected to be some 2 miles of bridleway and about 4 miles on the Salterns Cycle Way, which is gravel. Otherwise it is on normal road surfaces.

The ride starts from a camp site, so why not make a weekend of it. Contact the organizers for more details.


Across Chichester Harbour by little ferry boat
Across Chichester Harbour by little ferry boat
photo: Tricia Anderson
Although not part of the official ride report, it must be mentioned that on Saturday afternoon 2 intrepid tandem teams set off on an "adventure" ride! Across Chichester Harbour by little ferry boat where, after delivering various "captains & crew" to their anchored "yachts", we were landed on the beach with the hunky ferry captain carrying our tandems for us down the steeply sloping ramp. Off the beach, onto a track and then road until we were confronted with the sea all over the road to Bosham - oh dear! A cyclist had made it through by carrying his bike and wading up to his knees so we did the same, then cycled through the sea and then finally had to take to the footpath to gain access to Bosham and the pub. Good eh?!

For the offical "easy" ride on Sunday, eight tandem teams set off from Ellscott Park campsite to take Cycle Route 88 through farms (& the attendant muck spreading tractors using the same track as us unfortunately!). We went to Manor Nurseries for coffee, scones, etc and to Denmans Garden at Fontwell for an excellent lunch.

After lunch, we went up through the Lavants north of Chichester before joining the Centurian Way cycle path, through the western suburbs of Chichester and on to the Salterns Way Cycle route to the Chichester Harbour lock. We watched a posh yacht come through into the harbour and then we were able to go across the top of the lock gates to continue on our way back to the campsite, where we enjoyed tea and cakes in our leaders' caravan awning.

This was probably the near-perfect "easy" ride, being reasonably flat, mostly along quiet roads and cycle paths and with the 31 miles being covered at a fairly sedate pace. Its correctly advertised description tempted out a long-standing tandem team who haven't been riding with us recently due to poor health.

Report by Tricia Anderson

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Summary:
Tandems: 8
Solos: 0
People: 16

Distance: 31 miles
Height Gain: 207 metres
Climb/Distance Index: 6.7 metres per mile (0.41%)
High Point: 45 metres
Low Point: 0 metres




Sunday, 27th September 2009

Kemsing, Kent
start time: 09:15 for 09:30
approx. ride distance: 40 miles
organized by: David & Annabelle
telephone: 01689 835673
email:

The start will be in Kemsing then on to Aylesford for lunch and back via the lakes and Trottiscliffe. Tracks will be used from East Malling to Aylsesford and around Leybourne Lakes - surface generally type 2 sub base. Lunch is carvery only. Approx 40 miles


Fully occupied in Costa Coffee, West Malling
Fully occupied in Costa Coffee, West Malling
photo: David Wilde
Seven tandem teams gathered in the car park of Kemsing Tennis Club on a sunny and blue but rather cool morning. Young Jake stoked for our leader, David. We were soon warmed up by the first, rather draggy, hill of the day and then followed several more hills and interesting tracks to get us to West Malling. Unfortunately, the planned coffee stop was full up with Sunday Farmers' Market shoppers, so we repaired to the rather more expensive Costa Coffee.

After a quick look around the market, teasing ourselves with the delicious pastries and food stuffs for sale, we set off again, crossing the River Medway at Allington Lock, to Aylesford. We'd been told that this was our lunch stop and were somewhat dismayed to find that we went through Aylesford and started to ascend the North Downs - "Oh no!" we thought, but David had decided that we were too early for lunch after our coffee and cake stop and so took us part way up the North Downs in a loop which gave us a nice whizz back down to Aylesford and the Chequers pub for lunch in the sunshine by the river.

We crossed the old bridge out of Aylesford, from which we could see where we'd been sitting having our lunch, and soon took the rather narrow and rough cycle/pedestrian path beside the paper mill and railway line to New Hythe station. This wasn't part of the planned route but was embarked upon by everyone as a result of Neville misinterpreting David's stop at the end of the path (where he'd intended to turn left), jumping his tandem up the kerb and taking off along the path! Luckily we arrived at the intended entrance to Leybourne Country Park and were able to enjoy the promised ice creams whilst sitting in the sunshine beside a lake.

We had to climb to get us back to Kemsing and took some quiet lanes to get us up and over the Pilgrims Way, to complete a very pleasant and enjoyable 36 miles on, what turned out to be, a very warm day. One team had another 25 miles to ride to get home!

Report by Tricia Anderson

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Summary:
Tandems: 7
Solos: 0
People: 14

Distance: 36 miles
Height Gain: 696 metres
Climb/Distance Index: 19.3 metres per mile (1.20%)
High Point: 175 metres
Low Point: 1 metre




Sunday, 4th October 2009

family / easy ride
near Groombridge, East Sussex
start time: 09:45 for 10:00
approx. ride distance: 30 miles
organized by: Andy & Ruth
telephone: 01689 878089
email:


Operating the level crossing gates at Forge Farm
Operating the level crossing gates at Forge Farm
photo: David Wilde
The day dawned cold but bright as we started from Harrison’s Rocks Car Park. Five Tandems and a solo headed south to join Sustrans Route 21. We had to walk across a washed out bridle path by the A26 and shortly afterwards took a short diversion to see the hand operated level crossing at Forge Farm. Soon we were heading out along the old railway Forest Way trail to Hartfield, the only flat section of the ride. At Hartfield we left the cycle trail and headed for St Ives tea room which was to be our morning tea stop, the arrival of 40 walkers had put the shop into disarray so we left and went instead to Holtye Golf Club where we were made most welcome.

The next leg of the ride took us via Cowden, Markbeech and White Post to Smart's Hill and the Spotted Dog for lunch.

After lunch we headed into Tunbridge Wells and the Pantiles for afternoon tea, with a short stop at Toad Rocks for some climbing.

Following tea, it was a short run as we returned to Harrison’s Rocks accompanied by views of Thomas the tank engine through the trees.

Report by Andy Brooker

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Summary:
Tandems: 5
Solos: 1
People: 11

Distance: 33 miles
Height Gain: 813 metres
Climb/Distance Index: 24.6 metres per mile (1.53%)
High Point: 141 metres
Low Point: 34 metres




Sunday, 25th October 2009
British Summer Time ends today (fall back 1 hour)

Redhill, Surrey
start time: 09:45 for 10:00
approx. ride distance: 35 miles
organized by: Rob & Ruth
telephone: 01737 354545, mobile 07816 827166
email:

There will be a coffee stop, lunch at Newchapel, tea at Godstone and one stiffish ascent after lunch.

Today's ride took place on a bright, breezy autumnal day that was mostly sunny and with the trees beginning to turn into golds and browns. Fifteen people took part on seven tandems and one solo.

View to the south from the Wiremill Inn
View to the south from the Wiremill Inn
photo: Tricia Anderson
Travelling southwards from Redhill on the only flattish exit from Redhill, via National Cycle Route 21, we passed through Whitebushes and, after only four miles of cycling, stopped at Redhill Aerodrome for coffee at their first-rate café, where we sat in the sunshine beside the airfield.

After coffee we travelled, mostly along quiet country lanes, in a south easterly direction via Outwood to Newchapel, spotting the famous windmill off to our left. We stopped for lunch at the unusual lakeside Wiremill Inn. Our only puncture of the day was experienced by our leaders on this leg of the route.

After lunch, we headed northwards, passing through the edge of Lingfield to the promised 'stiffish' ascent of Tilburstow Hill. The climb was worth the effort as the whizz down into Godstone was great. Just after Godstone we stopped at Knight's Garden Centre for coffee where the 'no more cycling' sign was worrying... until we realized it was only Adrian messing about! It was about recycling really.

After tea we just had one more climb to do (on what had been a pretty flat ride considering the location). Travelling westwards now, on the A25, we just had a mile and a half climb up to Bletchingley before turning off to the north for the quiet way into Redhill via Nutfield Marsh.

As we rode into the car park at the end of an excellent day's riding, gentle rain started to fall.

Report by Neville Frost

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Summary:
Tandems: 7
Solos: 1
People: 15

Distance: 35 miles
Height Gain: 524 metres
Climb/Distance Index: 15.0 metres per mile (0.93%)
High Point: 171 metres
Low Point: 47 metres




Sunday, 22nd November 2009

Redhill, Surrey
start time: 09:45 for 10:00
approx. ride distance: 35 miles
organized by: Adrian & Caroline
telephone: 020 8660 1753
email:

If you arrive early, teas and coffees will be available before we set off at 10:00 to Newdigate for coffee break. Lunch will be at Denbies Vineyard in Dorking, and then we will start making our way back towards Reigate and Redhill via Box Hill after lunch. Time permitting, we could stop off for tea at a Knight's Garden Centre on the way back. The start car park is being left open for us to retrieve our cars.

If people would like to contact us for details of the start venue, I can also let Denbies know how many we are likely to be for lunch, and they will reserve tables for us.


Today was going to be wet - we all knew that but even so, seventeen people took part in this ride and all arrived promptly at the start in time for the pre-ride coffee supplied by the YMCA. We were pleased to welcome new members Nick and Daphne. There were eight tandems and one solo and it wasn't raining as we set off.
It was quite a wet day
It was quite a wet day
photo: Tricia Anderson

Starting in a southerly direction along the quiet Cycle Route 21, we soon turned to the west along real roads and passed through Woodhatch on the outskirts of Reigate and then Leigh before heading south towards Newdigate. It was about here that the rain started, not too seriously at this point. South of Newdigate, we stopped for coffee at Tanhouse Farm - a popular watering spot for cyclists. Most of the seating at Tanhouse Farm is under a canvas extension and whilst we were there, the rain poured down and the wind blew the walls about making the thought of getting back onto our bikes very unappealing.

After waiting as long as we reasonably could however, we did get back onto our bikes after the worst of the squall had passed. We even spotted a patch of blue sky in the distance. We headed northwards towards Dorking using mostly quiet lanes and by the time we reached our lunch destination at Denbies Vineyard, the sun had begun to shine.

After a pleasant lunch break the sun was still shining! We headed back to the east, knowing that we had the only real hill of the day to contend with - Box Hill. Wet weather invariably results in punctures and the first one of the day occurred just after lunch, before the ascent of Box Hill. We were soon back on our way with some people powering up the hill and others plodding gently up and we regrouped at the top for the obligatory group photo.

We descended from the heights of Box Hill down Pebble Hill to Betchworth but had to take things carefully as the roads were very wet. More punctures occurred after Betchworth and whilst repairing one of them near a flooded part of the road, those not actually working on the puncture were entertained by young Christopher (age 10) testing the depth... After the final puncture and with only 4 miles to go, the group split into two as it was beginning to get dark and the stragglers knew the way back.

We all arrived safely back at the start point and agreed that it had been a good day's cycling and the weather hadn't really been anything like as bad as we had expected.

Report by Neville Frost

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Summary:
Tandems: 8
Solos: 1
People: 17

Distance: 34 miles
Height Gain: 852 metres
Climb/Distance Index: 18.9 metres per mile (1.18%)
High Point: 215 metres
Low Point: 42 metres




Sunday, 6th December 2009

Woodlands, West Kingsdown, Kent
Christmas ride and Lunch - Woodlands Manor Golf Club, Woodlands, West Kingsdown, Kent.
start time: ride - 09:45 for 10:00; lunch - 12:45 for 13:00
approx. ride distance: 15 miles
organized by: Neville & Tricia
telephone: 020 8325 8445
email:


As we left home, the rain was lashing down and it was still lashing down when we arrived at Woodlands – our ride start location. We remarked that we were only here because of the other people that also said they would be on the ride. If we'd been on our own, we would have looked at the weather and stayed indoors! All of the teams that said they would ride, turned up and at ten o'clock, as we lined up for the group photo, the downpour suddenly eased. After two miles the rain had stopped and in five miles, the sun was shining. By this time, we had had 3 stoppages – one broken chain, one puncture and one tinsel complication where the Christmas decoration had decided to engage itself in the rear wheel mechanism. Undeterred but slightly delayed we continued on our way.

Woodlands Golf Club, our start point, is situated at the head of a steep valley in the North Downs. To travel south from there, necessitates the ascent of a very steep climb before the swooping descent to the south. After crossing under the M25 and over the A25 we arrived at picturesque Ightham, where we turned to the east and passed through Basted and Crouch. The sun was now shining and the cycling was great although there was a multitude of puddles, large and small, to be avoided if possible. After Crouch, we headed northwards towards Wrotham Heath, where, after 10 miles of cycling, we stopped at the busy Oakdene Café.
It was quite a wet day
Preparing to leave the Oakdene Café in Wrotham Heath
photo: Tricia Anderson

After suitable refreshment, we were soon on our way towards Wrotham, from where we took the westerly route via the St Clere Estate to Heaverham. That left just the final steep ascent of the day back up the North Downs followed by a final swoop down to Woodlands.

We were joined for our annual Christmas lunch by a further fourteen tandem friends who had not cycled today. The meal was excellent and was concluded by presentation of the Steggles Trophy to the Wilde-Hobbs family for their support throughout the year. We were also treated to a short recital on flute by Heather.

Thanks to everyone who has supported us in our endeavours to keep tandeming alive and fun in South East London.

Report by Neville Frost

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Summary:
Tandems: 6
Solos: 1
People: 13

Distance: 15 miles
Height Gain: 435 metres
Climb/Distance Index: 29.0 metres per mile (1.80%)
High Point: 230 metres
Low Point: 63 metres




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