With a forecast of 30 degrees and drenched in sun tan lotion, 16 of us departed from Orpington station on this glorious sunny morning, our destination, Whitstable. A fine turn out from the ladies today who made up almost 50% of the group. Our ride leader today Spencer.
We left Orpington at a steady pace and made our way through the country lanes of Swanley, Darenth and Betsham, before crossing the A2 and dropping down to the Riverside Café at Gravesend for our first stop. ‘Half an hour only please’ said Spencer, anxious to keep moving with still another 45 miles to go.
From here we followed NCN 1, winding our way through little paths, some a little bumpy, as we made our way towards Lower Highham. Quite a tough ride now, especially in the heat and as we approached Rochester two of our party decided to call it a day and head towards the station. So we said our goodbyes to Andrew and Albert and cycled on towards our lunch stop, which was to the the Pizza Hut at Sittingbourne. Everyone was quite hungry as we tucked into our pizzas, salads or ice cream and refilled our now depleted drinks bottles, ready for the last 20 miles.
Leaving the busy roads of Sittingbourne we now made our way through some of the pretty Kent villages, picking up some really beautiful traffic free paths through the local countryside. No punctures today, which I think is a first on the Whitstable ride, just a couple of stops to re-locate chains, but on the whole an incident free day.
The pace quickened a bit now as we sensed we were on the homeward stretch, heading now along the coastal road from Seasalter to Whitstable.
We arrived at Whitstable around 6pm and headed straight for the pub, where Stuart and Spencer treated us to a drink while we mulled over the events of the day.
Then it was off to the station in time for the 7.08 train back to Bromley South. ‘We might have to spread out a bit on the platform said Spencer, the train could be a bit busy.’ Busy wasn’t the word and as the train pulled in we could see it was standing room only. We moved further and further along the platform to try to get our bikes on board and at the last carriage we had almost given up hope, but the alternative was to ride back home so we squeezed our bikes onto the train.. A record twelve bikes in one carriage was a little more than we have managed before, but we got them in.
A great day out, enjoyed by all and a special thank you to our ride leader Spencer for a fabulous day out.