On my arrival at Ladywell just after eight on Saturday morning I was wondering if anyone at all would be bothered to join the ride with the weather forecast being so grim, but Jane was already there and, as I ate my roll, in the greasy spoon cafe across the road from Delice I watched as a trickle (if you’ll pardon the pun) of cyclists appeared.
Six of us left Ladywell at half eight with the shout of “your all mad” ringing in our ears as a slightly saner member of society toddled off towards the gym.
As we went through the local park the rain decided to give us a little taste of what was to come throughout the day. Reaching Bromley South Station we found Alice and Karen waiting for us sheltering from the now steady rainfall.
At this point I offered everyone the opportunity to call it a day and go home if they wanted to; I would not have blamed anyone for doing so but everyone wanted to continue. So we saddled up and headed into the storm. We made our way through Norman park carefully picking our way past the hardy runners taking part in the Park/Run Event which happens every Saturday and made a steady pace out to Chelsfield, up Crockenhill and out to Eynesford.
We made our way out to Longfield for the long drag up the Holmesdale Hill then onto Cobham where we had a comfort break and wrung out our sodden clothes and gloves the best we could.
Feeling no drier but a little colder we then whizzed down the hill at Cobham into the Medway Valley and over the Medway Bridge that has a cycling lane segregated away from the traffic roaring down the motorway.
We then turned out of the valley heading toward Aylesford and here we met a strong head wind which combined with the rain made the going even tougher than usual.
Just outside Aylesford most decided to lunch in a pub called the Red Bull while three of the group went onto the Aylesford Priory for a visit.
After a good lunch and warming up a bit, we rode onto meet the Priory visitors on Aylesford Bridge with the weather getting even worse.
Here Alice and Karen decided they wanted to get a train back to London as they had got very cold and they were joined by Fiona who had come off her bike before lunch and her knee was beginning to stiffen up. We said our goodbyes and started our journey back to Otford in very heavy rain.
Many of the lanes with any sort of rise in them had torrents of muddy water streaming down them splashing into or up above our shoes making it even more uncomfortable. We reached Otford just after dark and standing on the platform we were all looking forward to a long hot bath or shower when we got home.
This is a smashing ride with some heroic riders, but I think this one should be put to bed now until warmer and longer days are here again. Thank you to everyone who come out but I think Trevor is right; we are all mad.