Yes, the flying bicycle.
Today marked the first opportunity that I had to try out my new steed. However the weather forecast had not been promising, threatening storms with heavy precipitation and a strong westerly breeze. As there is nowhere to go from Deal in an easterly direction without getting seriously wet I changed the route at the last moment and planned for a train journey to Sturry, near Canterbury, as this would put us immediately on Route One where we could coast wind-assisted home. As Bill V turned up at the station saying that he didn't fancy a train ride, and as the weather forecast was so far not being realised I was tempted to revert to a circular ride in the locality but, as Bill K had already rung to say he would cycle to Sturry to meet us, that was not an option.
So David R and I boarded the train for what turned out to be a very efficient journey, with just one change at Ramsgate, that took about 45 minutes in all. Even the Ramsgate platform change we facilitated with the help of the lift. On arrival there was Bill K waiting patiently having cycled nobly into wind and up hill and still was at Sturry 20 minutes afore us.
Now came the first test of my new bike as we cycled through Fordwich and up the long steep hill as directed by Route One. Hill? What hill? Easy peasy! Well actually it was a bit of a struggle but I did make it to the top without dismounting, but not as quickly as Bill. However, so did David, albeit a bit behind me. Once at the top we turned towards home and felt the reassuring presence of the wind up our tails as we passed through the extensive wooded area on the ridge overlooking the Stour valley. Soon I was oblivious to the world's problems as man and new machine gradually got to know each other and it took Bill accelerating to catch me up saying "have you got battery assistance in that pannier" to bring me back to earth. But I was definitely enjoying my birthday present.
We had anticipated rain and the first drops began to strike us just as we pulled into Preston and headed straight for the shelter of the Garden Centre Cafe. David then endured a good half hour of musical reminiscences before we re boarded our steeds and pushed on towards Sandwich along peaceful lanes and happily no more rain. We made such good time to Sandwich that it was decided to head straight to Deal where we descended upon Bistro Oregano for an excellent lunch. A most enjoyable wind-assisted run with only one serious hill which I felt vindicated my choice of route for the day. 22 miles plus for David and I, and somewhere near 40 for "Bill the Bicycle Boy". (JG)