Barca 2 Home 02

Tàrrega to Morillo de Tou

Cooling off after a long hot day in the saddle
Route – Home 02
Profile – Home 02

Our host Ramon was true to his word, breakfast was served promptly at 7. It was just Bingo and I could not find the kitchen; honestly nothing to do with the alcohol intake. Crazy building with stairs all over the place, finally got there with our new Eric just for one day, great breakfast, then hit the road in the cool early morning sun.

Both made a mental note to ride early – it’s far more pleasant. We had a cracking first 3 1/2 hours on the back roads and farm tracks, an absolutely pleasure to ride.

Bingo got a puncture adjacent to an apple orchard – no issues just got on with it.

We rolled in into the town of Alfarras had a custard tart thing, a cup of sweet coffee and a few soft drinks. Knowing it was getting very hot again we moved on pretty quickly.

With the climbs starting, we just rolled on, without a care in the world. It’s a nice place to be.

Sure enough the temperature started to rise and we also had a tough section through an unmade road on rutted deep sand – only for a mile or two though.

With the temperature getting into the mid thirties we took some shade under some trees and decided to head to the village of Fonz. Lovely place, great architecture and the obligatory stork’s nests. Unfortunately it had no restaurant so we took refuge in the shade of a local bar.

We managed to book a room, roughly 26 miles away, so it seemed no problem however it turned out to be the toughest part of the day.

Climbing the last section in relentless heat it felt like a furnace. We met a really nice family from the USA having a ice cream in a fuel rest area – usual photo shot completed.

We carried on to the digs, its saving grace being its great setting and swimming pool. We also had a meal in the site’s restaurant.

Another tough 85 miles under the belt, with plenty of climbing still to do so an early night for us.

Lads, a big thanks to everyone of you for such a great tour. Special thanks to Dale and Keith, firstly for inviting me and secondly for all the hard work that goes in organising so a great trip.

Have a great ride home 👍🍺

Tonks

Kobi News

The contributions continue. Massive thanks from all the team. We’re all thinking of you Kobi!

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

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Barca 2 Home 01

Barcelona to Tàrrega

Home 01 – All set to leave Barcelona
Route Home 01
Profile Home 01

All change today, Glen, Steve & Jade, left really early in the morning, so said our good-byes last night.

Eric, Cathal, Linney and Marc, had the wonderful job of loading the van up this morning, really difficult, how they fitted everything in was amazing, they left around 10, with a cuddle and best wishes for a safe pleasant journey.

The rest of the contingent are leaving this afternoon, so they was all there to wave us off.

Not so dramatic this year as we opted for an Uber van to take us out of the main city, good choice as its manic, with traffic everywhere.

Both of us little bit nervous, as it’s totally different riding with big heavy bikes, but loads of fun, really!

Got the bikes out of the van, with the driver thinking these guys are mad, he probably has a point, but we are off.

The first 30 odd miles was so hot, 36 degrees and up hill all the way, told you it was good fun, but pretty tough going, with lots of traffic.

Having to take on more water every hour, coupled with ice creams, my not drinking alcohol starting off so good.

Finally finished the last big climb and as we came over the brow of the hill, there was a little restaurant, in the village La Panadalla. Bingo rode straight passed it, what’s going on! Only to realise he had spotted umbrellas further along. Well that finished the non-drinking session. Lasted just over 4 hours – pretty good.

After getting suitably refreshed we started again, far more pleasant now on the quiet back roads and tracks – this is what we wanted.

Heading for a pension hotel in the rural town of Tàrrega, so hot decided not to camp. Eat in a local restaurant, actually nice to have bit of an appetite after the shenanigans of Barcelona.

Cheers lads, it’s been a great tour! Hope everyone gets home safe and on time👍🏼

Rylan

Cannot thank all you lads enough. Enjoyed every minute of this ride great riding but more importantly fantastic company. Bingo & Dale you are both already legends in my mine and so many others enjoy, stay safe and hydrated.

Mark Moses

Dale and Keith hope all is good have a lovely couple of weeks all the best

Eric

Kobi News

The contributions continue. Massive thanks from all the team. We’re all thinking of you Kobi!

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

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