We gathered in overcast and gloomy conditions. There had clearly been a lot of overnight rain and it was cold.
Early bath today methinks as I join Eve and Franki. It was Franki’s first outing with us, having been the recipient of a lovely new Boardman bike from her family. Well done to Franki’s family – ‘Good Pressy’. Franki’s hadn’t cycled since childhood and so wanted to get some miles in to get a feel for the wonders of cycling once again.
We were soon joined by other regular riders Debbie, Emma and Isobel – Isobel also had a new bike which she was handling very nicely.
We set off as a single ride of twelve led by Spencer and just as we reached the A21 Lynn joined for a while; so fourteen in total, which considering the conditions was very respectable.
It was noteworthy that both Spencer and Jack had arrived on mountain bikes and wearing welly boots, which seemed a little odd! It wasn’t long before the reason for the boots and the bike selection became clear.
We paralleled the A21 along Chatterton etc and then followed the path around Bishop Justus School to Princess Plain. Here Spencer stopped the ride and gave very useful lesson on how to negotiate a kissing gate by upending a bicycle and guiding it through on the rear wheel, a very useful cycling technique.
Emerging in Lower Gravel Road we unusually took a left and passing a farm gate headed towards the woods. “This is a tarmacked path under a layer of leaves” announced our leader. A mile later with mud to the top of our wheel rims we were pretty confident that this was a case of misplaced faith. By this time Franki had sustained a leg injury which required a plaster, unfortunately our range of plasters didn’t extend to a blush pink which would have matched Franki’s outfit so we encouraged her to settle for a less than chic large white gauze patch, which we thought suited admirably and definitely reinforced Franki’s reputation as a cyclist.
We snaked through the woods and across the remains of the old TB hospital and eventually found our way into Petts Wood.
We stopped for a tea and a warm up at Maz’s café before crossing the footbridge and making our way back to Norman Park via Jubilee Park.