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The team did a last training ride around East Kent last Sunday. If they are not ready now they never will be. Fortunately they are.

Last Training Ride with pub stops and Meeting
Profile of last training ride

As you would expect the idea was for the whole team to meet for final discussions and plans, with a little ride first. Sadly as is often the case the refreshments got the better of everyone and in any case no last minute arrangements needed to be made.

Dave will be thankful that other team members picked up his Helmet and Garmin which he left behind in the pub. Fortunately his head is screwed on so at least that wasn’t lost.

Main cause of the problem – a stop at the Cider House
Admiring the joinery
Goats on a Trampoline – who knew
Don’t ask
Tractor attractions

As is now traditional the team compete to see who can prepare the best cakes:

Some don’t rely on sugar alone

In fantastic news the sums collected for the charity have now surpassed 80% of our target.

A fantastic effort from all our contributors

The JustGiving donation page is here. Or use the QR code below. Help us to reach our target. Thank you.

QR JustGiving Page

Kobi/Barcelona Update 2

A quick update on the charity cycle ride to Barcelona which is happening in July for the benefit of Kobi, below, and the Slide Away Charity. All the details are here. The boys have been out and about riding. Next week they go on a more sustained training ride when they do a three day Tour of Wessex based on Yeovil and venturing around Dorset and Somerset or thereabouts.

They have raised £785 so far and are well on the way to the target of £4000. Many thanks to those who have donated.

Kobi – with facepaint

The JustGiving donation page is here. Or use the QR code below.

Training Ride

In preparation some of the boys when out for a little ride together. And a beer, of course.

Route of the training ride – pub stops not marked 🙂

RvR Day 11 Chelmsford to Dover

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RvR Route Day 11 Chelmsford to East Kent

Probably the best nights sleep of the whole tour night was had by all. More to do with how much work we had put in rather than plushness of the hotel. Functional would be more descriptive.

With a quick look at the route a collective decision was made to stick to the route for which we diligently and carefully prepared before we left.

It was possibly not the best decesion we made as we went through ploughed fields and had to strip off all the baggage on the bikes to get them over railway lines; not the easiest of tasks.

Then we hit the urban sprawl on the Essex side of the Thames and cycled through little used cycle tracks then on to the banks of the Thames. It was pretty disappointing really as the cycle path was in a bad state of repair with steep steps and locked gates which meant manhandling the bikes again.

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Crossing the Thames at Tilbury

We got past Tilbury Fort and then finally got to the Tilbury ferry pontoon. After a bit of lunch waiting for the ferry we got a cheery welcome aboard but had some difficulty getting all the bikes on. It was all sorted and within 10 minutes we were back in Kent; it may be the Kentish-Men side but the Men-of-Kent are on our way.

From Gravesend we followed the old Medway – Thames canal (never knew it was there!). However it made for a nice ride straight to Strood. We all regrouped to go through the Medway tunnel. It’s not great riding but it does cut out the stop/start riding going through the Medway towns.

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Always time for another beer

We were quickly through the tunnel and on way out of the busy towns, mindful that now it’s the Man-of-Kent side. Two rivers to cross now. We stopped for a beer at the Happy Mariner in Lower Tydall and then set off again through the apple orchards of rural Kent.

Mark had a little issue with his bottle holder and then we pushed on skirting Sittingbourne as much as possible. Then it was on to Faversham as we kept off the A2 until the Brindley corner. From here we quick spurted around and down the hill to Boughto and then on to Canterbury looking good as we all kept in a peleton around the ring road. Then up to Bridge for a final pint and a debrief.

Everyone felt good if not a bit tired. We had a few little niggles but nothing us ‘Athletes’ can’t handle. Then we left going on our separate ways home to various corners of East Kent.

Another tour finished. It was somewhat different from other tours but nevertheless it was excellent riding  and ‘guys, a pleasure and privilege to ride with you’.

Until next time, your calm collective tour captain, Dale

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Map of the whole Tour

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Home at last

RvR Day 1 Dover to Godalming

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Andy, Dave and Dale at the Longage rendezvous for and early start on Day 1.
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Well here we go again with an early start at Daves to meet Stubbsy. I’m met with an eery silance as everyone is just a bit apprehensive. Especially young Stubbsy as it’s his first tour. We have a quick photo-shoot and then we’re off to meet Bingo at Longage (Lyminge).

We soon met Bingo and with a quick hello we are off with Garmins buzzing like crazy as all of us are out of practise. It should be impossible to get lost in Kent and the plan is to head for Tenterden and then check where we have to go from there.

We even met a few lost sheep along the way making us feel like we are in Wales already.

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Coffee stop at Tenterden

It’s a lovely ride and we are soon at Tenterden for a little coffee stop. We reset the Garmins and off we go.

Guess what I was the first to get lost! Who said “It’s impossible to get lost in Kent”. I’m distracted by a junction pub but after 10 mins I’m back on line to meet up with the rest to the chorus. “How the xxxx did you get to Japan?”.

With a cheeky smile and word to myself I was reminded that if it weren’t for Linny I’d still be riding around Ukraine!

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Forest Way

From here we then had really good 20 odd mile along an old railway line with superb riding.

[this is the Forest Way which follows the old TunbridgeWellss/East Grinstead/Three Bridges railway line closed in the Beeching cuts of 1967. Plans are to link this to the Cuckoo Trail at Groombridge. This follows another old railway line south to Eastbourne].

This line follows the upper Medway valley, through the High Weald and passes close to Ashdown Forest made famous by A.A.Milne and Winnie the Pooh. No time for Pooh-Sticks though. All of us really enjoyed the track and it went a lot further than we thought.

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After that we stopped for a little food at East Grinstead and then carried on to Crawley.

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Through the forest

The urban sprawl outside Crawley was boring and in the end we crossed and re-crossed the M23 three times! As a bonus we went through a woodyard so that at least kept Dave entertained.

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Dinner stop in Horsham

We cracked on until Horsham  and had dinner in a Western themed pub. It was a bit strange but the food was very welcome and naturally we had a few beers.

Then we ambled the last few miles on to the first camp. It’s a nice spot but I made school boy error : I should have checked how the tent went up before this! Eventually got it up but then I couldn’t figure out how to open it to get in!

All good in the end. Sadly we had no beer! Dry tour this year. [Ed: who’s he kidding?]

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Settled in for the night

Ronde van Rhondda 2020

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Rough Map of the Route – Clockwise

Naturally the circumstances this year means the planned ride to Greece has been postponed.

Instead Dale has carefully planned a tour of Anglo-Saxon Britain which leaves the Kingdom of Kent (long live King Æthelberht!) and neatly circumnavigates Mercia by travelling through Wessex and Wales, skirting the borders of Danelaw before returning south via the borderlands between the Kingdoms of the East Angles and East Saxons.

Naturally there will be dangers. Not least in Wales where it is rumoured many long lost relatives still remain. Some attempts will be made to contact them though the language barrier may prove difficult.

At the northern-most extreme the party will seek refuge in a local hostelry somewhere in the vicinity of Lincoln. They will face certain danger here if they are tempted to stay too long.

From here they will scurry southwards through Saxon country before reclaiming the refuge of the Kentish.


Ronde van Rhondda 2020

Of course it’s not really a tour of the Rhonnda – it’s more of a circumnavigation of the old Kingdom of Mercia – but the tour will be passing through the Rhondda valley in South Wales and in particular the Little Rhondda valley and the village of Ynyshir. This is the Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau (Old Land of My Fathers). Our father was born here in 1933 and of course Nana and Grandad House lived here before unemplyment took them to the Pits of Kent in about 1936.

Over the years we’ve made family visits here in particular to visit Nan’s sister, Aunti Sis (a Great-Aunt really) and all her family. Her son Uncle Norman I remember very well. I’ve no idea what’s left of this family or the generations that came after. It’ll be interesting to see what Dale and Keith discover.

From South Wales they will head to Denbigh in North Wales and track down some other relatives who moved back to Wales from Kent (usually via Leicester). I expect they’ll drop in to see our father’s sisters Auntie Doreen and Auntie Irene along with Uncle Alan and no doubt a few of our many cousins!


Dambusters

From Wales the team will head east over the Peak District towards Lincolnshire where they will rendezvous at the Dambusters Inn in Scranton. The pub is managed by family friend and village compatriot Steve Plews. I fully expect a night of boisterous shenanigans. They will be lucky to escape alive.


Geting it together

On the ride will be Dale, Keith, Dave Austen and Andy Stupples, and of course as it’s a bike-camping tour there is no minibus support and driver.

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Dale’s bike all ready in the garden

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Dave’s bike already to go

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Keith’s kit ready to pack

Sadly no pre-tour photographs came from Andy Stupples.


Test Run to East Sussex

Here are some shots from a pre-tour excursion down to East Sussex to test out the bikes and equipment.

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