Back to Club !! MCC Ride to the Kentish Horse at Markbeech

Big step today – back to Club!!

Today it was the MCC  Ride to the Kentish Horse at Markbeech – a favourite Pub of ours.  It was busy there too.  I had an idea I would go with a slower group, but in the end you cycle with your mates, don’t you?  We had a big group – 10 or 11 riders.  Dave B was the ride captain for the day and had plotted a very pleasant route (not too hilly!!) out to Markbeech.  It was very pacey though – we arrived at an average of 14.2mph, which is very pacey for us.  Outbound it was 1700ft of climbing in 24 miles – so not flat!

We came back up Ide Hill…. Ugh  Need I say more?  Fabulous view from the top though.

That’s where Team GBR people whizz up and down to improve their fitness.  It absolutely kills us !!

I was amazed I could do the outward run and keep up.  Given that I had a fair amount of knee problems as recently as Sunday – this was very, very good.  Planning to do the Giro de Capital in the Vale of Glamorgan in mid June so I need to get the miles up!!

MCC Ride from Dunton Green to The Rising Sun at East Malling – 37 miles, 12.2-12.4mph

The Rising Sun is stuck in a little time warp, but we love it there.  We seem welcome for a start, but it’s on a narrow street and you carry the bikes through a smart door and along a covered hallway to park them in the garden!!  Had a sausage sandwich – which I confess was excellent.  The beer fans were very keen on the beers too.

A smashing little day, captain’d by Ron so the pacing was consistent and good.  About three pretty heroic climbs on the way out including Long Mill and the Teston Climb (Red Box Hill). I reckon “Long Mill” is a mis-print on the sign for “Long Hill”….

Being an idiot, I forgot to set the Garmin going as we left Dunton Green (until we got to Brittains Lane). So the ride data is a bit short – but I reckon it was about a 37 mile day in total for me.

Full Winter Kit !!!


MCC Ride to The Green Man at Hodsell Street

I think this is the second time we’ve ridden to the Green Man in the last year or two.  Nice pub!  The route though from Polhill had a couple of staggering climbs, including my Nemesis … “Knatts Lane” .  If you look at the climbing profile below, you’ll see that it looks like we went vertically upward around mile 14.  That’s because we did go almost vertical.

Last time we rode that I had to stop – my heart rate hit 177 and I thought I was goner!! This time I was more measured, but just as the nasty part started, a Royal Mail van came down.  I rode into the soft leafy mush at the side, my wheel sank and I stopped.  So I pushed until past Her Majesty’s mail van, then found an overhanging tree to allow me to get clipped in – then finished it off.  Very hard.  Will have to re-gear my cassette to 11-34T I suspect.  That’s what our ride leader has done!

Just noted the SS score on Garmin!! (see above in red!!)

There were about 1600 feet of climbing in 20 miles – but it felt like 3600 feet.  Honestly!

The ride back with David was pretty quick – we took the quick flat option (see above!) along the Pilgrim’s Way from Wrotham.

We started in about 3 degrees and it got to 5 or 6 degrees I think …  New winter boots meant “toasty toes”. Fab!

MCC Ride to The Plough at Leigh

A really nice ride to Leigh today.  Quite a short run (not much daylight!) but the pub seemed really great!!  The run out was about 20 miles. We did 12.4mph on the way out and 12.1mph  on the run back – plenty of PRs though.

Bike ran very smoothly (!) – David, our ride leader, had planned a pretty easy route, down from Ightam Mote, through Hildenborough to Leigh.   Weather was about 6 degrees – I was pretty warm apart from my toes. Must investigate replacement of my overshoes!

We had a large peloton of 12 riders, but the pub brought the food very quickly – fish finger sandwiches sold well !!

MCC Ride from Polhill to The Spotted Dog at Penshurst….!!

A pretty crisp day – 5 degrees at best and preceded by sleet – but was OK!! Well, 2 degrees when I got home and I must admit the toes were chilly – note to self “5 degrees is a trigger for over-boots!!”

The ride was to The Spotted Dog at Penshurst – haven’t been there since my son was a kid – long time!! Pub unchanged!!  Steve led a peloton of 9 riders on a 20 mile route outward and 16 back via Ightham Mote.  Modest speeds really (12.0-12.5mph) but we did have one 5 mile lap on the Garmin which came up in 20 minutes … so 15mph average for that !!

The major feature of the day seemed to be the climbing – which at more than 2,900 feet in 36 miles was quite a lot.  The last little stretch just before the spotted dog, I swear was vertical….

Nice sausage sandwich for lunch and the service was very quick !!



Quite few PRs knocking around in the results too…

MCC Ride : Dunton Green to The Old Jail at Biggin Hill.. 2600ft of climbing and at 13.0mph overall !!

The Return to Club Riding!!  To the Old Jail pub at Biggin Hill !!

(look at those climbs!)

I felt I was up to a shot at riding with the A Group of MCC today – it was an appealing route – 25 miles outwards to The Old Jail at Biggin Hill, then an amazing 10 mile blast back to home… How could that be ??  Well, the route planned from Dunton Green to Biggin Hill (8 miles as the crow flies!) would around all over the place to stretch out the miles to 25 !!

Look on the map and see what I mean – after an hour of upping and downing, we came to a sign saying “Dunton Green 1 mile” and that’s where we’d started from !!

So very good – body held up to the pressure.  We climbed 2000ft on the outward leg.  That’s quite a bit for us!!  The pub was great – a good old fashioned proper pub.  Good! Packed with trade too.  Good.

With all that climbing, I thought we did well at 12.4mph.  Then with the blast back at 14.4mph, the speed for the day came out at 13.0mph – with 2650ft of climbing.  “Good performance, Body”  !!


MCC Ride to The Crown at Old Oxted (Fab Pub)… can it be “too hot”??

I’ve drunk about two litres of water and nothing’s come out!!!  It was 81F on the outward ride, and 84F (29C!!) on the way back!!

Yes – today was a lovely MCC Club Ride from the Green Park Cafe to The Crown at Old Oxted.  A 40 mile round trip, about 2300ft of climbing, so not really flat…. but did you see that speed ??!!!  According to Garmin, 14.0mph on the way out and 14.2mph on the way back!! And that included a long dawdle behind a hedge trimmer tractor!!

Our leader was Chris, but we only had three in our group – England were playing in the World Cup today !!!  Chris plotted a fabulous loop to get off the Bromley Plateau, then emerging south of Oxted, via Haxted Mill and looping back up. A really pretty ride. Loads of cyclists were out of course.

The pub was lovely and a late change of mind. We had the round table that you can see in the photo and the menu was trying very hard to be interesting!!

Stats are very good.  We came back along the Pilgrims Way – Titsey Hill being the only climb on that route.  That was enough though!!

MCC Ride Lullingstone to Penshurst Castle

A simply gorgeous blue sky day, 28 degrees. Yum. Millions of cyclists out, some large club pelotons too.

We cycled out to Penshurst in a wild crazy loop!!  After an hour out of Lullingstone we arrived at Oxford – very near where we started!!   We went up Ide Hill the back way, from Braested, then down the way we normally come up.  Simply lots of cyclists out doing the Toys Hill and Ide Hill Pair. (insane)

We came down the way we normally come up – ever so fast.  I chickened out at 35mph but Ron managed to clock 41mph!!  A police car came up the other way, blue lights flashing at about 60mph – so Ron wasn’t so keen when I pointed out that their relative speed of approach was about 100mph!!

Anyway – millions of cyclists out but we beat the rush at Penshurst Cafe.  It’s actually called the Porcupine Pantry but was great nonetheless – bike racks outside and everything. Mega Parking in the grounds – free I think.  Outdoor tables , indoor tables and quite a nice little menu – boutique beer from the fridge too.  It lies just outside the gardens of the castle in very smart wooden buildings.  Might be good just to drive out in the car for a quiet saturday lunch sometime.

I sadly missed Martin’s last ride last wednesday (pressure of work) as he has now moved to Bexhill.  The story goes that he applied to one of the local large cycle clubs down there and was rejected for being “too old”.  Now Martin is a 14-15mph kind of rider who can do a hundred before feeling tired…..  amazingly poor reaction from them… is it legal behaviour now to reject people for anything because they are “too old”???!!!  One to think about – and made us treasure our Club. Suppose we ought reject an applicant for being “too young” just to balance the books!

Quite good ride stats, especially outward (13.7mph) – about 3000 feet of climbing, so not a flat one. About 40 miles.

MCC Ride to The Kentish Horse at Markbeech – and Ide Hill on the Way Back !!

Had a severely lovely ride out to Markbeech from Knockholt this morning. About 38-39 miles round trip – 26-27 on the way out.  As winding as can be, but what a morning for it!!  Chris was ride leader and I’ve actually no idea how we got off the Knockholt plateau and down into the Weald – but we did cross the M25 via the bridge at Clackett Lane – which everyone will know.

Only five of us in the group this morning. Quite a good speed though – pretty uppy downy but 13.9mph.  Ended up (somehow) cycling past Haxted Mill – they are regritting the whole road there – we had to stop for five minutes once passed it to dig the flints and chips out of our tyres!!

The pub at Markbeech is called the Kentish Horse and very good it is too (and popular)!  We ate out in the garden and actually that was a lovely choice.  Being an ancient village, the church was right next door to the pub – a wedding was under way and beautiful choral music drifted out to greet us. Fab!

Came back up Ide Hill.  grrr!!! It was that or Baileys Hill !!!  13.2mph overall, so not bad considering.!!!