Whitstable Wobblers Wide With Wet Weather, Wough Woads, and Wrecked Wides!August 27, 2013
Well, thats enough of the words beginning with “W”. I’m sure a few of you can come up with some others (especially those that were affected with mechanicals and punctures), but I’d prefer to leave them out.
The bad weather started Friday evening, drizzle with interludes of heavy downpours. I don’t think it let up until about 0730 Sunday morning, so maybe deciding to head all the way down to Whitstable via alot of the Pilgrims Way was always going to mean that we could end up with a couple of punctures.
I hadn’t counted on just how many, and to ensure that we made Whitstable before Bank Holiday Monday, we would have to push on when the terrain allowed us to.
We all arrived at the usual meeting place, and it was great to see that a large group had gathered to get a long one in for their efforts in London to Paris next month. They would set off via an alternative route towards a similar destination, and I just hope they didn’t suffer the problems that we encountered.
It was great to see 6 new faces join us for the ride….guys I apologise now for not getting to know all your names, but I struggle to remember mine most days. We set off shortly after 0900 and headed off towards Well Hill at the back of Chelsfield. Phil Puttick was the first to swing off, having taken a call from his son, who required his help…down to 10 within 4miles.
We punched our way up Well Hill, but someone was missing!. Mark Morrison rode back down the hill, and found that one of our newbies had snapped his rear mech hanger, and was going to wait for a lift home…9riders….5miles covered.
On the next stint through to Shoreham, one more swung off to get back home for a family BBQ….8riders
We then managed to cover a whole few more miles before arriving at the Pilgrims Way near Otford. Another puncture along here, with one having had a gutful and deciding to pull the plug on his ride..7riders left now. We managed to continue a few hundred meters before another puncture…but once fixed we pushed on.
As we approached Borough Green, a bit of hard braking on slippery rough roads, had another one of the new guys throwing himself on the deck…thankfully no damage other than to pride…so we continued once he’d dusted himself off.
We decided to avoid a few rough roads around Crouch, so headed out to the A20. Another puncture meant that the mental toll was playing havoc with heads. One more rider gave up, with one staying back to lend a hand, and thereby ending their rides. 5 riders left to keep the original plan on track.
Well I’ve had enough about typing about the loss of riders so far, and thankfully that was the last.
Alex, Mark, Lol, Andy F and newbie Liam. Alex said that it would be wise to push on using the road towards Aylesford, so taking it in turns we hussled at speeds of 25-30mph. Clearly it was hurting as a couple slowly lost contact. We slowed up and made sure we rode together. Once at Aylesford the group voted on if it should continue or give up and stop at the Priory – but as the weather seemed to have turned for the better, it was an easy decision to go the distance.
Thankfully other than a couple more punctures on route, there was no more incident to report on. The wind had picked up, making the last 20miles or so a real fight, but with some strong turns put in by Lol and Alex the group was dragged through to Seasalter.
It might have been that Mark M came through and did a turn somewhere during the ride, but it was such a short one, no one really noticed.
We ended up at The Royal on Marine Parade and tucked into a roast dinner before heading home. Covered in mud, down a few inner tubes, but stronger for the experience.
I ‘ll lead another ride down there, hopefully this year, but might employ the services of the Met Office before planning it…just to make sure the sun is on our side.