January 21, 2020 at 4:05 pm #2024409
…forgot the Group “A” riders who joined us at the first black ice incident were AdamD (leader for the day), RussK, SimonV, JulianS, GrantR and AndyMc, making 8 of us including JohnC and myself for the remainder of the ride…
January 21, 2020 at 9:16 am #2024408
Here it is the Winter gritting route in reverse, thank goodness for Google for assistance in how to reverse direction and save it!
Winter gritting route in reverse
January 21, 2020 at 8:57 am #2024407
The Saturday ride was quite memorable and is perhaps a good time to reflect on the last few months since I have got back in the saddle in any significant way since my 20s. It is a great format to be able to turn up early and be done by 10.30/11.00 leaving the rest of the weekend free. I still consider myself the newbie, but have picked up lots of tips and seem to have fitted in to the GSA well.
Back to last Saturday, 12 of us turned up, well actually 11 as RussK was a bit late so group B (ClaireC, SimonC, AshleyP, JohnC, SteveB and myself) were sent on our way with a view to seeing the others further down the road. We made quite quick progress up Rushmore and down Star Hill, then right and up towards Pilgrims, there were a couple of guys in front who we were catching then got away again. The we came around a bend to see one of them on the deck and slowed to a halt, and almost as soon as we had stopped ClaireC ended up on the floor too and it became apparent that black ice was a big problem. Claire decided to call it a day and was joined by Simon, Ashley (and I think Steve too) and the rest of us made our way slowly on foot past the worst of the puddle that seemed to be the issue, then a mixture of walkers and riders until we felt we were past the worst of the ice, although there were another couple (or more) of slow speed fallers (Grant+?). Regrouping at the Brasted Hill crossroads we decided the head down to the A25 and after some scratching of heads decided we could do the winter gritting route in reverse, but depending on progress we could can it early if we wanted to. We made our way down towards the A25 where yours truly ended up on the tarmac on another section of black ice, one hole in the kit and a few scrapes and bruises, surprising how much it takes out of you even a low speed! So regrouped again it was straight along the A25 through Sevenoaks, Seal, B Green, Wrotham, then up the A20 London Road where I met up with the remainder having fallen off the back. After that a straight run up the A20, through Farningham and up to Crockenhill. I had lost the group again and after some head scratching followed a route from a few weeks back up Church Road through Well Hill and into Chelsfield. The others had gone along more main roads, coming into Chelsfield from a different direction and we all met in the village and headed back down Warren Road for a well earned coffee and chat at Belmondos.
We were joined by NickP who we allowed to join us despite not having ridden and wish him well in recovery from his shoulder op, and also by Claire and Simon – it was good to hear they made it home safely. Despite the tentative progress and section walked the speed was still ~15.7mph for the main group, although a more sedate 14.2mph for myself not helped by the fall at the beginning.
Lessons learned: if it’s possibly going to be icy the winter gritting route is a must, and there was some agreement that it worked well in reverse so that gives us 2 options for variety, I wonder if there are any other versions anyone has come up with. And secondly I need to get myself on the Sat WhatsApp group!
PS Next Saturday is looking cold so a suggestion that we stick to the winter gritting route (please)!
January 19, 2020 at 6:03 pm #2024406
G1 today was led by Martin ‘ski goggles’ Rowling – don’t ask, you had to be there 🙂 In attendance were Jomo, GaryP, SimonH, HamishB, MattW, ChrisM, RichardE and yours truly.
Due to the frost and minus temps it was agreed the ride would start late at 10am, to allow the sun to drag temperatures up a bit.
After 3 riders from the Saturday crew coming off yesterday this seemed a sensible decision.
We kicked off cautiously and kept speeds low given the conditions and the fact that not all of us are fighting fit after the
excesses of Christmas and the number of nasty lurgies around at the moment. Important to get the group out and anyone who fancied
an interval could crack on while the others could sit in and get on with normal group riding and meeting any breakaway riders at the
So out onto the A21 we hooked a left at Locksbottom and headed out towards West Wickham. After the Layhams Road climb we came across
a couple of riders who warned of black ice and one had been down as a result. We tippy-toed the next mile and got though a few patches of ice unscathed. Odd feeling turning the pedals and your back wheel spinning. We made it through and after that stayed on slightly bigger roads.
Non stop out through Oxted, Edenbridge, Chiddlingstone and back via Plaxtol, Seal, Dunton Green and up Poll Hill to finish.
Since there were 9 riders today we occasionally split into two groups to stay safe and not get in the way of too many cars, and at other times stayed in a single line where the cars started queueing. Not always easy and didn’t always get it right but did ok today.
There was a stop for a quick bar/gel and a comfort break for those who wanted it, but generally was non-stop ride to stay warm with a welcoming poppies at the end of a social focused winter ride.
Average around the 17mph mark with 3,200ft of climb. Focus on safety today and we all made it round so that was achieved.
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