FNRttC FNRttC to Whitstable 25 June 2021- ride report

StuAff

Silencing his legs regularly
Location
Portsmouth
That was a really dull evening, in the good ways. Perfect weather (after non-Maldon, I'm hoping the next wet one isn't for quite some time...), a near-total absence of mechanicals (one puncture in the first group), one retirement at the halfway…and a lot of happy smiling faces at the end. So, definitely not dull in any other way!

Pre-ride routine was back to abnormal. Usual train to Eastleigh ran at usual time in usual way. Usual work finishing on the dot. Usual making the 2138 train (quiet, a few unmasked morons), which (actually unusually) was slightly late into Waterloo. With Costa being closed, no point loitering there, so I went straight over to the NT. Very much not quiet, sadly…Due to the ongoing restrictions, we were running two groups of thirty (minus last-minute drop-outs and no-shows). Ross's group left at 2345, I was in ride leader Kim's group leaving half an hour later, the idea being to minimise if not prevent interaction between the two on the road and at half way. For the first time in what seemed like quite a while, @mmmmartin was back. @Domus ventured Down South again. And, for the first time in…how long is it? Sandra!!! Thanks (but no thanks) to all the palaver, Kim's safety talk was largely drowned out.

We left ever so slightly early (we were likely to be slower than the first group, and easier to slow down than speed up if need be). Large quantities of glass needed a warning on the first turn, but tyres remained unharmed. First part was, despite usual London late night traffic, uneventful. We did have the near-obligatory ride leader nav error (been there, done that…) in Woolwich, when Kim turned off the path alongside the river somewhat early. A large part of our group decided to clamber up and down steps rather than use the ramps immediately adjacent…Normal service then resumed. The call of nature stop at McDonalds (very few yoof at the underpass). Into Kent, the stretch of 50 mph dual carriageway being thankfully quiet, and ditto the Dartford bit (there's a Sainsbury's distribution centre that gets a lot of artics going back and forth, but we seemed to get through in a lull). As ever, once through Gravesend it was somewhat of a relief to leave suburbia behind for a bit of countryside.

Such was our pace that we arrived at the Strood Emporium of Cakey Goodness not only at the expected time, but we crossed paths with Team Ross, who were on their way out. Tim (solo this night, and he went for a century ride in the morning…!!) had as ever done the business RE catering. We weren't exactly short of choice, though nor were going to leave that many leftovers. He even kept the Victoria sponge to one side, so @wanda2010 got there first! I naturally did the carb-load for the breakfast sprint (two rolls, flapjack, two bits of bread pudding, fruit cake, and the last of the Victoria)…Martin was feeling the pace somewhat so withdrew to give Tim a hand clearing up.

On leaving the hall, there was another very minor nav error before we stopped by the Soviet sub for photos in the dawn light. Through Rochester and Chatham, and then back into quieter roads. The Sittingbourne Avoidance was as prosaic as ever (though, at least, Not Sittingbourne), and on to Faversham. Loo stop, and one last carb load, at the Sainsbury's. And then, The Best Bit. The sprint. Found the secret to getting the best out of a Brompton (three, actually) on that stretch…have someone on a road bike giving them a pull all the way :smile: TBF, Mr Orange did try and take the lead position a couple of times, but I wasn't having any of that :smile: Nearly four and a half minutes down on my best time (a decade ago, mind) but still just under 24 minutes, 17 mph average.

Made it to the Waterfront at about 8.15, and Team Ross had been waiting for them to open. Due to You Know What, a restricted takeaway menu, but the breakfast bap and a large cup of tea still hit the spot. I took my leave and went for the next fast train into St Pancras (Victoria-Waterloo is always a pain, even when the anti-vac numbskulls aren't marching on parliament), where the bike spaces became very crowded once Sandra and others made their way down the train at the next stop. Making the next Waterloo train proved Im Possible, so the noon train it was, followed soon after by a nap.

Thanks everyone. Brighton? Might as well, I've paid for the halfway food already :smile:
 

ianrauk

Tattooed Beat Messiah
Nice one Stuart and nice to hear Sandra is riding with the Fridays again.
 

Mr Orange

Senior Member
That was a really dull evening, in the good ways. Perfect weather (after non-Maldon, I'm hoping the next wet one isn't for quite some time...), a near-total absence of mechanicals (one puncture in the first group), one retirement at the halfway…and a lot of happy smiling faces at the end. So, definitely not dull in any other way!

Pre-ride routine was back to abnormal. Usual train to Eastleigh ran at usual time in usual way. Usual work finishing on the dot. Usual making the 2138 train (quiet, a few unmasked morons), which (actually unusually) was slightly late into Waterloo. With Costa being closed, no point loitering there, so I went straight over to the NT. Very much not quiet, sadly…Due to the ongoing restrictions, we were running two groups of thirty (minus last-minute drop-outs and no-shows). Ross's group left at 2345, I was in ride leader Kim's group leaving half an hour later, the idea being to minimise if not prevent interaction between the two on the road and at half way. For the first time in what seemed like quite a while, @mmmmartin was back. @Domus ventured Down South again. And, for the first time in…how long is it? Sandra!!! Thanks (but no thanks) to all the palaver, Kim's safety talk was largely drowned out.

We left ever so slightly early (we were likely to be slower than the first group, and easier to slow down than speed up if need be). Large quantities of glass needed a warning on the first turn, but tyres remained unharmed. First part was, despite usual London late night traffic, uneventful. We did have the near-obligatory ride leader nav error (been there, done that…) in Woolwich, when Kim turned off the path alongside the river somewhat early. A large part of our group decided to clamber up and down steps rather than use the ramps immediately adjacent…Normal service then resumed. The call of nature stop at McDonalds (very few yoof at the underpass). Into Kent, the stretch of 50 mph dual carriageway being thankfully quiet, and ditto the Dartford bit (there's a Sainsbury's distribution centre that gets a lot of artics going back and forth, but we seemed to get through in a lull). As ever, once through Gravesend it was somewhat of a relief to leave suburbia behind for a bit of countryside.

Such was our pace that we arrived at the Strood Emporium of Cakey Goodness not only at the expected time, but we crossed paths with Team Ross, who were on their way out. Tim (solo this night, and he went for a century ride in the morning…!!) had as ever done the business RE catering. We weren't exactly short of choice, though nor were going to leave that many leftovers. He even kept the Victoria sponge to one side, so @wanda2010 got there first! I naturally did the carb-load for the breakfast sprint (two rolls, flapjack, two bits of bread pudding, fruit cake, and the last of the Victoria)…Martin was feeling the pace somewhat so withdrew to give Tim a hand clearing up.

On leaving the hall, there was another very minor nav error before we stopped by the Soviet sub for photos in the dawn light. Through Rochester and Chatham, and then back into quieter roads. The Sittingbourne Avoidance was as prosaic as ever (though, at least, Not Sittingbourne), and on to Faversham. Loo stop, and one last carb load, at the Sainsbury's. And then, The Best Bit. The sprint. Found the secret to getting the best out of a Brompton (three, actually) on that stretch…have someone on a road bike giving them a pull all the way :smile: TBF, Mr Orange did try and take the lead position a couple of times, but I wasn't having any of that :smile: Nearly four and a half minutes down on my best time (a decade ago, mind) but still just under 24 minutes, 17 mph average.

Made it to the Waterfront at about 8.15, and Team Ross had been waiting for them to open. Due to You Know What, a restricted takeaway menu, but the breakfast bap and a large cup of tea still hit the spot. I took my leave and went for the next fast train into St Pancras (Victoria-Waterloo is always a pain, even when the anti-vac numbskulls aren't marching on parliament), where the bike spaces became very crowded once Sandra and others made their way down the train at the next stop. Making the next Waterloo train proved Im Possible, so the noon train it was, followed soon after by a nap.

Thanks everyone. Brighton? Might as well, I've paid for the halfway food already :smile:
We needed you for the little tow - as far as we could keep up with you that is. See you on the next one.
 

Domus

Veteran
Location
Sunny Radcliffe
Just landed home after an epic adventure to That London. Made a long weekend of it by booking three nights at the Premier Inn in Whitstable. A very unexpected, incident and hold up free drive on M62, A1, A14, M11, M25 and M2, was followed by Mrs Domus falling in the hotel carpark. After suffering two broken hips in the past she is paranoid about falling. Thankfully she suffered only a bruised foot and a grazed elbow. Her walking (and shopping) were only slightly restricted though, as several gifts for grandchildren have emerged from the car. Due to COVID restrictions I had taken the liberty of booking an early meal at an Italian restaurant online, all very efficient with confirmation by email and a reminder on Friday afternoon just 90 minutes before hand. Imagine my good humour to find the place locked up at the appointed time, I found out from the shop next door that a member of staff had tested positive for you know what. So off to Zizzi but as our progress was slow we were beaten to the door by a Hen party. About turn to Prezzo where to our surprise a table was available but as the pizza oven was not working, no garlic bread was available. One bowl of pasta later my stress levels subsided but only finally diminished when the train was on time and I was in the company of Kim our ride leader.
And relax. :wacko:.

The ride as explained by Stuart was brilliant. Thanks all for the warm welcome :hello:
 
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mmmmartin

Random geezer
Great report as usual, Stu, and it was wonderful to see so many old friends after such a long time.
This long time sitting around meant my fitness had disappeared and by Strood i was always at the back, no power in the legs, so opted to bail and help clear up, and was on the 6:04 train and home by about 7:30, guzzling a gallon of Recovery Tea. So - obvs - when i went to bed i had to get up a few times to rid myself of aforementioned tea.
A lovely ride.
 

hatler

Guru
My first FNRttC for well over a year, and in that time I haven't been commuting, so weekly mileage has gone from a steady 90 to an inconstant 30 (Sunday rides, that don't always happen). Ergo slightly anxious about this one.

There was, of course, no reason to worry. The weather gods smiled at us, the God of Mechanicals (or was it St Eligius ?) ensured nothing broke, and the puncture fairy swept the roads ahead of us.

That was my first FNRttC to Whitstabubble, and it was glorious. A route full of sightseeing. The inside of the Arsenal (last viewed by me in 1985), a fascinating route out of London, Chatham Castle, past the REME Museum (paying homage to St Eligius as we passed), a murmuration of starlings around the gasometer, the noisiest frogs I've ever encountered in the UK, the submarine, the Sikh temple, Harmer Street in Gravesend and great views of the estuary. Oh yes, and a full moon (which isn't always a given).

Four colleagues joined us (though two are now ex-colleagues) having experienced the delight of the sunny Shoreham ride in 2019, and they were not disappointed. We do, however, still need to persuade the bikeless one to buy a bike.

The perfect spot for brekkie, a beer or two and a good chat. (And the Guardian Saturday quiz - still waiting for the answers, Tim.)

From the caff I headed for the Crab & Winkle Way (courtesy of a GPX track from Citoyen of yacf and a really kindly and thoughtfully provided printed map extract from @mmmmartin ) to head to Canterbury for a train to Headcorn, and then another brief leg to Benenden for a slightly too boozy lunch.

After being chauffeured home by mrs hatler I crashed at 8.30 to sleep the sleep of the blessed. 85 miles for the day which is the furthest I've been in a long time.

Thanks to all involved, and particularly the Ops Team; Kim, Tim H, Adrian in Flight B and Ross, Gordon and Greg in Flight A. And, of course, Tim D for the half way stop. Bread pudding never tasted so good.
 
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ianrauk

Tattooed Beat Messiah
That was my first FNRttC to Whitstabubble
That surprises me
 

mmmmartin

Random geezer
The inside of the Arsenal (last viewed by me in 1985), a fascinating route out of London, Chatham Castle, past the REME Museum (paying homage to St Eligius as we passed), a murmuration of starlings around the gasometer, the noisiest frogs I've ever encountered in the UK, the submarine, the Sikh temple, Harmer Street in Gravesend and great views of the estuary. Oh yes, and a full moon
Friends, i give you in just one paragraph from @hatler exactly why the Fridays rides are simply wonderful.
 
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