Friday Night Ride- Ashford Amble, 7 August. Ride report

StuAff

Silencing his legs regularly
Location
Portsmouth
Having written up last night's nocturnal pedalling, the thought occurred I ought to write this one up before the next one (I'm on the list for Whitstable this Friday)…

Like the Windsor ride, the slightly amended post-work routine was in effect. No 2138 train, so the 2208 (and changing in an actual changing room) it was. Trip up unfortunately blighted by a load of numbskulls (non-mask wearing, of course) who completely ignored the quiet carriage signs and made loads of noise for the entire journey. I resorted to drowning them out. Pretty Vacant was a rather apt tune for doing so…

Over to the NT to join Group 2, led by Tim. For this ride, there were two groups of six, and Group 1, led by Ross, went at about 1130. I was the last to arrive, and we left pretty much straight away. Early progress was fairly rapid, traffic lights being the main impediment. Unfortunately, I then brought the progress to a grinding halt in Bromley, when the squirming I'd been feeling in my rear tyre turned out to be a snakebite, and the tube gave up the ghost. The front tyre on the Viner is a Schwalbe One racing tyre with many miles on it, and a chunk of tread removed. So obviously, it was the rear Durano Plus, the Terminator of skinny slicks, that malfunctioned. Go figure. Only the third puncture I've had on a night ride. Tim made short work of the tube change, and we were on our way.

We eventually met up with Ross's group at our half-way, and it was an unexpected gem. The Parkfoot garage in West Malling proved to have all the desired mod cons. Tea and coffee machine, plus a free water tap- very handy indeed on such a warm sticky night. Reasonably priced food (in my case four quid for a cup of tea, pasty and a chelsea bun). Nice friendly staff. The antithesis of Junction 31, basically.

On we went, south into the Kent countryside. 'Flat as a pancake' said ride leader, after 'one last hill'. Oops. Our pace stayed steady, though we were never in any danger of catching up with Team Ross again. There was a water stop at a public tap, then after dawn a visit to a section of PLUTO (Pipeline Under The Ocean, which pumped fuel to Normandy after D-day) in Marden. On closer to Ashford, through Headcorn (and past the very nice pub I've eaten in before) and Smarden (impromptu pause in a pub car park when it precipitated briefly. I've been to that pub too, though can't remember when). Unfortunately, Tim's routing went a bit AWOL on the last stretch, so we got some extra miles and extra climbing. Nevertheless, we were at our breakfast stop, By The Tank (a cafe by a tank- a WW1 Mk IV female, to be precise) at about eight, as Tim had expected. Chris, Jenny and Amy were still there, before they rode on to Folkestone (chapeau). Cafe cheap and cheerful, and a decent breakfast, before I headed off to Itsnotinternational station for the one-an-hour trains (plural) home. First two trains again blighted by more obnoxious yoof (thankfully I was in a different carriage for the second)- changing at Hampden Park- footbridge, aargh- for a Brighton service. Only a short wait for a Southampton service, off at Cosham and home just before one. And a nap. A great ride, despite the deflation!
 
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Dogtrousers

Kilometre nibbler
a section of PLUTO (Pipeline Under The Ocean, which pumped fuel to Normandy after D-day) in Marden.
So that's what it was! We stopped in Marden on the Tonbridge Trundle. Saw it, and also saw the information board which I'm sure was interesting a few years ago, but now is not legible at all.

Nice that the Fridays are on the road again.
 
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