Barca 2 Prologue

Aylesham to Montreuil-Sur-Mer

The Kick-Off

Well here we go again again again, bring it on.

Woke up to a cloudy damp morning, birds singing and chirping. I was feeling a bit concerned, just hoping all the room bookings work out. It’s always tricky with a big group. I’m sure it will be fine, just me being a bit nervous. Naturally ‘Nothing can go wrong’.

First meeting for the the Aylesham contingent was at the Market Square. What a fabulous send off. Many thanks to Stacy, Kobi and all their caring family for taking the time to see us off, very much appreciated. Typical Aylesham send off – a big thanks.

Kobi and the Aylesham crew

Then we off through the lanes to Dover to pick up the rest of the lads adjacent to the White Horse pub by the church ruins, another team picture then down to the docks. Still the archaic procedures going through the numerous check points – finally on to the ferry.

All the crew at the White Horse meeting point
Eric and minibus on the Ferry
The team getting ready to roll-off into France

The Real Start from Calais

Finally off the ferry on to Calais Town Hall, starting are little warm up ride a gentle 45 mile ride to Citadel de Elle de Montareuil- Sur-Mer.

We made a small refreshment stop in the quaint market town of Samer at the cafe de agricultural. We had to as it was raining a little! Lovely ride through the small rolling lanes, very little went wrong though a little puncture about half way. Later I took little tumble on the wet cobbles up to the citadel, nothing serious.

The traditional start from Calais Town Hall
Refreshment stop on the way down

It’s a stunning place to stay and we have booked the whole place, so plenty of beds.

Eric was superb, very much appreciated mate, we could not do this without the support.

The Chateau at Montreuil where they stay the night
Relaxing after the ride
Well deserved
Evening drinks
The Prologue route
The Prologue profile

Kobi News

And last but certainly not least many many thanks to all that have donated. So pleased to be able to support a wonderful caring family, you are a credit to your self Stacy, Jason, Kobi and the whole family – respect.

It’s fantastic that the target was passed today on our first day on the road. Thank you to everyone who has made a contribution so far. Hopefully we can push on and raise a little bit more. We cannot thank you enough.

You can donate on our JustGiving page here. Or use the QR code:

QR for Kobi/SlideAway 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 🙂

Kobi/Barcelona Update 1

Kobi
Raised so far.

These lovely Gents out of the goodness of their hearts are riding for Kobi. Please donate if you can. Thank you Dale and the Gang.

Stacey Milton

Many thanks to those who have donated so far.

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

Details of the our Charity Bike Ride to Barcelona in aid of Kobi and the Slide Away charity can be found in the latest edition of the Aylesham InTouch newsletter. (or directly in pdf form)

Keith and Linford with the Slide Away bears in Ukraine, June 2019
The Slide Away bear at the Ukraine border, June 2019

KMT Day 11 Polegate to Wingham

Tuesday 7th September

Well it’s the last days cycling on this year’s tour. Elevan days without rain. Brilliant! Would have been difficult wild camping in the rain.


It was a lovely morning on the South Downs just outside Polegate and we hit the road just after 7 with the lads in fine form looking forward to finally having a shower.


We rode down to the coast just by Pevensey Bay, then hugged the coast all the way to Hastings. Dave and I got a little lost in Bexhill, but no dramas soon had it all under control.


After the climb coming out of Hastings we stopped for breakfast at Icklesham and had massive all English with duck eggs for the captain. It’s the first time ever we left two rounds of toast. It would never happen on Stubbsy’s watch.

We are back in familiar territory now, riding along the not too busy A259, though it was good to get back on the minor roads just after Brenzett. The pace picked up as we headed to the infamous West Hythe hill. It’s nothing like the climbs in Cornwall, but steep enough to afford liquid refreshments at the top. Hence the reason for the rush.

From here it was just a gentle run in to Elham, then follow the Valley to the final destination – the Red Lion in Bridge.

Early start
Tea stop at Winchelsea
Quick stop at the King’s Arms, Elham
Final refreshments at the Red Lion, Bridge

Cracking tour 👍 Thanks all for the memories

Dave

Thanks all for a great trip with loads of memories aches pains & smells like you wouldn’t believe. A special thanks to Dale & Keith for all their hard work in organising & planning on a faultless trip. Cheers guys 👌👍⛺🚴‍♂️

Mark

Another Tour over. Great stuff lads, it has been a pleasure and privilege to ride with you lot, here’s to next years Tour. Maybe Barcelona and back! Who knows

Dale

KMT Day 10 Bishop’s Waltham to Polegate

Monday 6th September

Another lovely morning and a good camp last night in the woods. We were all up and ready to roll just after 7, heading for Brighton and beyond.


Bit of a contrast this morning riding through the lanes from Hampshire into West Sussex, definitely used as a rat run for commuters and the school run, very busy.


Missed the normal Coffee and cake stop, as we did not pass anything, so had a meal deal in Tescos just outside Chichester, which we skirted around. The lanes did quieten down as we steamed to the coast, with it being so hot I was looking forward to having a swim. We headed to Bognor Regis, then on to Littlehampton, though the Marina and along the promenade all very nice. Then we headed on to Worthing and stopped for lunch right on the promenade. A liquid lunch for me. As the rest of the team had a meal I took the chance to have a swim and full wash in the sea. Very warm and refreshing and I felt brand new and clean.


We all knew Brighton was going to be very busy, however it was OK, and quite fun cycling through the crowds. Brighton is always an energetic vibrant place. We headed up Minera Drive on Brighton sea-front hitting the small climbs up to the South Downs and heading for Seaford. We had a beer in a pub and decided to head for Polegate, find a place to eat and then camp. When we got there we all sat outside the Horse & Groom pub and had a lovely meal. Afterwards we rode up to the windfarm above the town to find a camp. All done with ease.

Getting on the road

KMT Day 9 Castleton to Bishop’s Waltham

Sunday 5th September

We camped in a field with long grass and stingy nettles last night under clear skies. It’s Autumn and you could feel the cold at night – least the stings kept us warm. Breakfast was a bit weird as we ran out of porridge and so had to settle for a coffee and pot noodle – just like being back in China!

We made for a relatively early start in the morning and are on our way just after 7, riding through the country lanes of East Somerset. It was so quiet we met only three cars in the first two hours. However we did have an incident with a runway horse. Fair play the young rider did amazingly well to get it under control and we gingerly walked past. Even the Alpaca in the field came over to see what all the commotion was about.

It made for really nice relaxing ride and then we stopped in the lovely Semley Village Stores,a community run shop/cafe, for a pot of tea and the biggest current bun in living memory. It was here where we met a guy who had just taken up cycling after a 70 year sabbatical – lovely guy and very interesting.

The ride carried on as before rolling through the stunning countryside into the ancient capital of Wessex, Wilton where we had lunch in the Pembroke Arms (named after an old Earl bully for him) – nice pub though. We then rolled into Salisbury with its Gothic designed cathedral and the tallest Church sprire in the UK – seemed a nice vibrant city.

After that we crossed into Hampshire twisting and turning through the exquisite countryside on to Romsey. Here we had to say goodbye to Cathal and Stubbsy – family commitments meant they had to get home. We will miss them for many different reasons, mainly Cathal pulling us along with his effortless elegant style and Stubbsy for his ability to always find food.

From Romsey we carried on through the outskirts of Southampton on to pretty village Bishop’s Waltham. Unfortunately no food at the pub, but they let us eat fish and chips in the garden and the customers brought us a round of drinks. Good stuff.

We pulled out of the village at dusk and found a nice wooden area to set up camp. A very enjoyable day in the saddle.

View from the camp
Stubbsy is off
Sparrowhawk, at the roadside, refusing to leave its kill

KMT Day 8 Post Inn to Castleton

Saturday 4th September

We all woke up to a cooked breakfast and all the posh restroom facilities on hand at the King’s Arms in South Zeal. Superb!


The ride started with a 15% climb which is not ideal after a large breakfast but after that we settled into the ride and made good progress to Exeter. Conor mentioned how nice it was to be riding with very little climbing, a big mistake, as two very steep climbs as we approached Exeter. Then we rolled into the city and picked up a few supplies. After that we headed north on a small B road to Honiton where we stopped for lunch at the thatched GreyhoundCountry Inn just outside Fenny Bridges.


It was difficult riding for a while on the busy A303 for around an hour or so after lunch. Not ideal, but needs must. Naturally it was a relief to get off the busy road and back into the comfort of the minor roads and tracks. We stopped for refreshments at Fleu de Lis pub in Stoke-sub-Hamdon and then examined the route and decided we could possibly get to to Sherborne for something to eat and a camp.


It’s a very nice quaint town, pretty busy on a Saturday night. We got a table in an exclusion zone, as we have all been wild camping for a week now. For the first time Bingo could not finish his meal – it was huge. We left the bar just as it was getting dark, got back on on the road, and headed for the lanes for a suitable spot found with ease.

Ready for the off
Further Refreshments
Dave’s Old School
Camping near Castleton

KMT Day 7 Polgooth to Post Inn

Friday 3rd September

We woke up to a lovely, but dewy morning, in the construction site where we made our camp just a 1/4 mile from the Poolgooth Inn – that’s where we had our evening meal in last night. It was nice food and good company.

As usual we set off in the morning in the wrong way, but this was soon rectified!


Settled in to the very very steep climbs and technical descents in wooded areas with the sunlight breaking through. Absolutely stunning countryside. Rode to a breakfast stop just outside Liskeard full English. What can be better. We all reconvened and set of again heading for the Cornish / Devon border. The climbing did not relent on some very long climbs which we over course compensated by long decents. We all got together in a pub in Launceston for refreshments as we were still full from the breakfast. The lovely barmaid washed our waterbottles and filled them with ice and water.


After that we crossed the bridge into Devon. I got a little lost looking for a little track to the side of Blacksmiths Arms. I got distracted and spent 15 minutes going around in circles. Eventually I found it, and finally caught up with Stubbsy – spent the afternoon riding together. We had a bite to eat in a farmhouse at Lydford and checked the maps headed for the Granite trail. Here met a father and daughter doing a jog and had a bit of a photo shoot. It’s stunning scenery on this trail and beautiful scenery as we rode into Okehampton. We got a pindrop from the guys and all met together in Whitton Down. Unfortunately the place had no food.

So we back tracked slightly to the King’s Arms in South Zeal, which is a lovely thatched pub. They let us camp in the back garden and kindly arranged for a full breakfast in the morning. It had been a great but tough ride with a few beers to finish off the day.

St. Michael’s Mount (from yesterday I reckon)
Some downhill relief
Dale – bazookered

KMT Day 6 Tehidy Woods to Polgooth

Dale’s main group
Mark & Conor’s route

Thursday 2nd September

Last night we camped in the Tehidy Woods about 2 miles away from where we had eaten. It was underneath a Rookery so we imagined we’d be woken early by the noise.

We woke to a lovely morning with the dog walkers giving us weird looks as we were having our porridge mixed with Mars bar – this is a Cathal special.


It was a good ride out but got a bit busy heading into St Ives. Then we headed to the Gurnards Head Inn, following the route of the Tour of Britain. They come through next week. It was a bit early so had a coffee and cake and re-evaluated where the other lads were. We decided to meet up in Penzance.


All went well and we finally met up in Penzance. After that it went a bit pear shaped as Bingo and Dave fell off in the sand by St Michael’s Mount. The walkway was under repair for the forthcoming Tour of Britain.


Now we were seven, though sadly missing the “The Gentleman from Bleam”(TGB), with his constant chatter. But life goes on!


We pushed on out of Penzance through the Winsum mining district with plenty of old Engine sheds scattered about the hills. A few had been converted to dwellings (like Guildford Colliery) – they looked very smart.


After that it was along an old railway line into Turo, then up and up again into the little hamlets and old mining villages nestled into the stunning countryside. We had dinner in the Polgooth Inn but stayed later than normal. This meant we had to ride with lights to an old builders yard to camp – it was less than 2 miles so no worries.

The camp at Tehidy Park underneath a rookery
Heading for St. Ives
Cow Crossing
Classic Pub bollocks
Refreshments
Geevor Tin Mine
Cider Farm
Cornwall Panorama

KMT Day 5 Laucells to Tehidy Woods

Route of Dales Group
Route of Conor and Mark from Bodmin to the North Inn

Wednesday 1st September

Once again we had acracking camping spot last night; and it was nothing like the hound of the Baskervilles! Following the banquet we had at the Brandworthy Arms we sat around the burners drinking coffee and waxing lyrical and celebrating Glen’s last night.


A massive thank you to Glen it was a great pleasure riding with you mate, a really strong rider with a personality to match, always welcome on any Tour. He’s the lovely gentleman from Blean. Now, sod all this being nice stuff!

Dale


Back to the riding. We climbed over the top of the Bodmin Moor. A lovely spectacular ride besides being tracked by jet fighters – it was just like the Clash song “Rock the Casbah“.


Then down to the Snail Trail cafe before we hit the Camel trail into Bodmin.

Dale mentions a huge building here: not sure, it could be the Borough Arms which was a former station for the China Clay quarry. The Camel Trail of course IS the old railway track down to Padstow.

Ed


Then it’s down to Bodmin for final goodbyes to Glen (he’ll get the train home) and meet up with Conor and Mark (who arrived by train last night).


After that we carried on riding the up and down rolling hills of Cornwall and stopped at the Red Lion in Saint Columb Major for lunch. It was a lovely meal and the landlady was friendly too! Took the opportunity for a full strip bodywash in the restrooms.

At some point Conor & Mark seem to have shot off ahead. I think they may actually have detoured via Padstow. Anyway the two groups did not meet again, but will attempt a rendezvous tomorrow.

Ed


Off we go again heading for Newquay. Sadly we ended up on the main road which was not great riding for a few miles but hey ho eventually we got off the main road and were heading back on the tracks to Redruth past the remains of the tin mining industry at Wheal Peevor mines.


Nice meal at Robartes Arms in Illogan. We never did catch up wuth Mark & Conor but we’ll attemp to re-connect tomorrow.

Lunch stop at the Red Lion St. Columb Major
Lunch – Red Lion
Weird build in St. Columbs Major
Wheal Peevor Tin Mines
Fabulous panorama of the Cornish Moors