It may be November but it’s sunny, dry with crispness in the air that says get out on your bike before winter comes along. So eleven members and guests, some sporting shorts, gathered at the Angel for the ride to Penshurst, which I had billed as 65 miles. A quick there and back ride to Penshurst is 50 miles so some extra miles had to be worked into the route and as it was such a lovely day I thought a tour around the North Downs would be appreciated. How wrong can one be?
Having warmed up on the climb from Outwood to Bletchingley and worked our way through Hurst Green we were faced with climbing Pains Hill up to Limpsfield Chart and the road to Crockham Hill lined by beech trees with the sun shining through their golden leaves. From Crockham Hill the road climbed once again to pass Chartwell followed by a long fast descent. Now present any cyclist with a long fast descent and they have only one thought on their mind. How fast can I go? Unfortunately they all missed the left hand turn, which meant carrying on and taking an alternative route to get back on course.
This involved climbing Toys Hill, which may have decided three of the group to return home early before the best part of the ride. We slogged our way up Toys Hill then went across to Ide Hill where we stayed on the ridge before dropping down to Sevenoaks Weald where we took the road to Penshurst and our tea stop at Quaintways where we were soon tucking into our beans on toast or pumpkin soup followed by cake and tea. Our return journey took the direct route home and avoided climbs and the like as comments from the peleton suggested that they had found the outward leg a little testing.
Perhaps it was one of my more adventurous routes but with winter coming a good ride before conditions force us to have shorter rides was in order. We covered 68 miles and were back at the Angel at 14.40 after what I thought was a most enjoyable ride.