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Nine at the pier on a calm but cloudy day with a temperature that would make an ideal cycling day. John G, Lance, Mike's E, L & M, Bill V, Stan, Richard and Howard.
The Windmill Cafe at Whitfield was selected as the day's target and after a brief moment of chaos when Lance appeared to be heading off to France the plan was to avoid house building and stinging nettled by taking the slightly longer way round through Fowlmead, now known as Betteshanger Country Park. However before we even reached the rubbish tip Stan announced his intention of heading directly to Sholden via some hill or other. So eight of collected at the park entrance, but no Stan in sight.
We proceeded through Finglesham, albeit spreading out a bit, so we waited at the usual "collecting point", a stone's throw from the Blazing Donkey, only to observe two of our group in the far distance having taken another route, namely Richard and Mike E.
Six of us then made our way to the cycle path beside the Whitfield bypass, pushing up the gradual incline to our next "collection point", The Cider Works. However we had now become very spread out as the two "power peddlers" Mike's L & M, had streaked on ahead obviously intent on showing the two e-bikers what cycling was really all about. They didn't stop at Cider Works, which is today a sorry sight, entirely covered as it is by plastic sheets owing to a recent serious fire.
Lance and John G, the electric assisted individuals, did stop and wait, and eventually Howard appeared to inform us that Bill had given up the ghost. So we pressed on. But only a mile had passed when my phone rang - it was Bill informing me that he had indeed reached the Cider Works but was intending eat his sandwich and drink his water and then turn back for home. Thanks Bill for actually having and using your phone!
Lance and John arrived at the Windmill Cafe to find nearly all the day's rider already there, sitting and feasting, and proffering the hint of a sneer at having beaten the two e-TT-ers to the refreshments. Howard arrived gallantly, a few minutes later.
The return was even more split as some opted for a long way round return, starting with Singledge Lane, whilst others chose the direct route through Sutton but then divided as respective homes were approached. A modest but energetic 22 miles for me. (JG)
Following JG’s suggestion that we go to Whitfield via Betteshanger Park, or “Puncture Alley”, and alongside the Sandwich bypass. And, not wishing to go via Howard’s Way, now much overgrown, took the decision to go up Church lane and the new metalled track to Sholden. On reaching the Betteshanger roundabout turned left and went up Betteshanger hill to join the old Northbourne to Eastry road to the Sandwich bypass. At this point thinking the Finglesham gang was ahead of me pushed on to our intended destination. As it was I’d ordered my drink before the sprinter group arrived ahead of the power peddlers.
My return journey home was via Drum Hill (top of Deal on the Dover Road), Ringwould, Kingsdown and the pier. 29 miles for me. (SB)
From the Ham/Sandwich sign, Mike E and I chose to go straight ahead via Northbourne, proving once again that there are more ways to skin a cat etc or reach the Windmill Cafe if you prefer. En route via the imported oak avenue (a real dimity my wife would say) and Mike E' s favourite tree - an elm? Or was it a beech? - we navigated the dual carriage way rather than climb over the barriers, to be joined by Mike L on the climb to the High & Dry that was. Back via Singledge Lane and 38 miles in total for me ... (RL)
You may well have been surprised at my reaction when informed that we were on our way to Whitfield via a rather converluted route, mainly because on my part, I was getting used to going down to Langdon Bay or Stone lees. However all this was as nothing compared with the shock I received when all the electric bikes sped off - I really had to work quite hard to keep up! (MM)