Tandem Club - South East London - 2005 Events

Sunday, 23rd January 2005

Charlton, South East London
organized by John & Sue

Twenty-four people gathered in the car park of Charlton House for our first ride of 2005. The day was sunny but very cold. The Butcher triplet led an impressive string of 9 tandems + 3 solos through Greenwich Park to the Greenwich Foot Tunnel (beside the Cutty Sark), where the down lift was working but the up lift was not - thus necessitating bikes to be carried up the numerous steps on the north side of the River Thames. Our morning "work out" done, we set off around the western side of the Isle of Dogs to the friendly Wall Café in Shadwell.

From there we made our way along Leadenhall Street and Cornhill, passing many fascinating old and ultra-modern buildings, to pass St Paul's Cathedral (part cleaned and sparkling) and then back to the south of the river via Blackfriars Bridge; weaving our way past the Tate Modern, The Clink Prison Museum, Borough Market (closed), Southwark Cathedral, The London Dungeon and Tower Bridge to arrive at the Mayflower pub in Rotherhithe for an excellent lunch.

After lunch it was a fairly speedy trip around Limehouse Reach to Deptford and Greenwich and back up the hill (the only one all day!) in Greenwich Park to return to Charlton House (21 miles) and stand and chat in the sunshine for a little while longer.

report by: Tricia Anderson

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Sunday, 27th February 2005

West Wickham, Kent
organized by Neville & Tricia

We had an excellent turn out for our February ride when 23 people (1 triplet, 9 tandems & 2 solos) gathered at our house in West Wickham. There'd been deep snow and very icy and snowy roads for families trying to get to us from Ditton in Kent, Eastbourne in Sussex and Essex but everyone successfully made it. It was very very cold but the roads were clear and we were all soon warmed up by the climb up to Keston Church, then the icy north wind burned our faces as we sped along Shire Lane to gratefully turn east to climb again up to Downe village and on to Down House. We'd arranged group entry for our visit to Charles Darwin's former home and we were very well looked after, with the 5 children being given quiz sheets to do whilst going around the house.

Our pre-ordered soup and sandwiches were enjoyed in the café. Although a very small house, we all found quite enough to do to fill 2½ hours - the Schoolroom with educational "doing" things (matching skull parts, matching DNA, "discovering" fossils, etc) filled quite a bit of time for both children and adults! The weather had kept changing between snow blizzards and blue sky and was still very cold so most of the children took the straight route back home whilst the rest of us did a fast paced loop incorporating Biggin Hill: about a mile from home we spotted the slower group ahead and so were able to arrive back home all together to bundle into the warm house and enjoy tea and cakes, having achieved a grand total of no more than 15 miles!

report by: Tricia Anderson

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Sunday, 20th March 2005

Ditton, Kent
organized by Mark & Liz

There was a good gathering in the Ditton Community Centre car park of 8 tandems for our joint South East London and Kent ride. The day was disappointingly dull and cool after the summer-warm Saturday preceding it but we were soon warmed up by the climb up and over the North Downs to a café opposite Rochester Cathedral. On leaving Rochester we cycled along the Esplanade, below the castle ruins, up a very nasty steep hill to join the main road before turning off along a cycle path to cross the Medway River beside the M2 motorway. Then through lovely country lanes, up and down the hills to our lunch stop in Ryarsh, returning via West and East Malling to our leaders' (Liz & Mark) house in Ditton for tea and cakes after cycling 33 miles.

report by: Tricia Anderson

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Sunday, 3rd April 2005

family / easy ride from Reigate Hill, Surrey
organized by David & Caroline

The weather was warm and sunny for this ride and eleven cycles took part. There were 9 conventional tandems, 1 tandem trike and one solo - making a total of 22 people, 4 of whom were children. The route took us in a northerly direction across the M25 and looped around via Chipstead and Banstead to Epsom Downs using many off-road tracks and lanes and then via Leatherhead to Bockets Farm at Fetcham where we had a relaxed open air lunch in the sunshine.

After lunch we climbed the long hill up to Walton on the Hill and then crossed Walton Heath and back across the M25 and along the top of the North Downs, with clear views to the south, and back to Reigate Hill - a total ride distance of 27 miles.

From Reigate Hill we travelled to the organizers' house in Redhill for tea and cakes - some travelling by car and some by tandem - depending on how they had arrived at the start point.

report by: Neville Frost

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Sunday, 24th April 2005

Stoke Goldington, Bucks
organized by Mike & Anne

Two parties of riders converged for this ride just to the south of Stoke Goldington, at Gayhurst. It was a pleasant sunny day and we had an excellent ride along many cycle specific routes in the area.

Lunch was at the Bell Inn in Winslow where we were joined by a tandem team with a buggy for their first tandem trip as a threesome. We now had 7 tandems (1 towing a buggy) and a solo.

The final leg was to Stoke Goldington via the many cycle paths in Milton Keynes for tea and cakes at the organizers house.

report by: Neville Frost

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Saturday, 30th April - Monday, 2nd May 2005

Weekend Event
Isle of Wight
arranged to coincide with the Isle of Wight Randonnée - 100km, 55km & 30km options
organized by Neville & Tricia

We based ourselves for the weekend at Seaview, some people camping and others in holiday chalets.

On Sunday morning 7 tandems and 2 solos set off together for the start with some intending to do the full 100km circumnavigation of the island and others taking the easier 55km option.

There are several start points for the Randonée and we all chose Bembridge, some 5 miles distant from where we were staying. The weather, which started dull, improved as the day went on and became sunny and very pleasant.

We all achieved our various targets and a great ride was enjoyed by us all.

report by: Neville Frost

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Sunday, 22nd May 2005

Marden, Kent
organized by Ernie & Betty

Seven tandems and four solos met at Marden Station for one of Ernie’s excellent labyrinthine routes around the flat but picturesque lanes of mid Kent.

With a coffee stop, after 10 miles of cycling, barely 2 miles from Marden, lunch in Capel and tea in Yalding we accomplished 45 miles in pleasant weather conditions.

report by: Neville Frost

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Sunday, 12th June 2005

Joint S&S/SEL family/easy ride from Cranleigh, Surrey
40 mile and 25 mile options
organized by David & Caroline

We all met at Cranleigh Leisure Centre car park for the SEL family ride and the S&S average ride. The average ride decided to head off whilst the family ride waited for Liz, Mark & Jake to negotiate their way from Ditton in Kent via Guildford! Four tandems and a very interesting solo, a Pedersen ridden by Tim, headed off north into the Surrey Hills via Ewhurst with a long drag up past the impressive Duke of Kent School and then several nice rolling downs and ups to take us to Horsham Park Café for lunch. Here we found the family ride, comprising 5 tandems, 1 with a trailer bike, and 9 year old Jake on his solo, had got there before us by way of the Downs Link.

After a leisurely lunch we all set off together to Capel Church for tea and delicious cakes, returning to Cranleigh via Ockley and Ewhurst with a nice bit of bridle path thrown in for good measure. It was an excellent day out with the family ride group achieving a rather longer than planned 34 miles and the average ride doing 43 miles.

report by: Tricia Anderson

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Saturday, 18th June - Tuesday 21st June 2005

French Weekend Event
Newhaven, East Sussex to Dieppe, Normandy, France (and on to Neufchâtel en Bray)
4 days cycling in France
organized by Alan & Wendy

Saturday: Twenty people on 10 tandems met at 07:00 at Newhaven port for what turned out to be a glorious weekend of cycling in France.

We landed in Dieppe just after 13:00 in brilliant sunshine and after a meal in the town, set off on the Avenue Verte (a beautifully surfaced one time rail track) to Neufchâtel en Bray. Arriving in time for a leisurely shower and pre dinner drinks before enjoying an excellent meal in the open air.
Mileage today: 25

Sheltering from the heat

sheltering from the heat
Sunday: The planned route for today was to have been 60 miles long but because of the very hot weather we did a completely different and shorter route, to the south of Neufchâtel in a clockwise loop, with a wayside 'coffee' stop in Conteville (where those that could fit, sheltered from the heat in a bus stop). We lunched in Forges-les-Eaux some people picnicking and others using restaurants. The afternoon route took us through Bradiancourt and Massy.

Some 10 miles from base, Liz's suspension seat post snapped, leaving just enough metal for it to still be usable as a shorter rigid post. Jane, who didn't need such a high post, volunteered to use the shorter post and Liz used hers for the remaining journey.
Mileage today: 44

Monday: The cycle shop in Neufchâtel en Bray doesn't usually open on a Monday but the proprietor seemed quite happy to do so in order to supply Ken and Liz with a new seat post. And so, after a

emergency refilling water bottles in Bully

refilling water bottles in Bully
slightly later start than planned, we set off in a westerly direction passing through Quievrecourt and Bully before stopping in the town of Saint-Saens for coffee.

We had a picnic lunch in the village of Cropus, utilizing a small green beside the school and sheltering in the shade of a large tree. The afternoon's forested route was deliberately chosen because of the shade that it would offer, so we travelled via the Forêt d'Eawy, stopping off on the way home in Bully for emergency refilling of water bottles.
Mileage today: 45

Tuesday: Time to go home. Those who wanted, travelled homewards all the way along the Avenue Verte (retracing their wheel tracks from Saturday) while the others took a different and more picturesque route to the west, leaving the Avenue Verte at Bures-en-Bray and taking to the hills to the west and returning to the valley at St-Vaast-d'Equiqueville for coffee in the town. After coffee, we returned to the hills for the return to Dieppe where we had time for lunch before returning to the ferry.
Mileage today: 25 for some and 33 for others

travelling homewards

travelling homewards
Conclusion: The terrain in the area is undulating. There are no particularly steep or very long hills but lots of gentle ones. Throughout the weekend, the weather was sunny and very hot with very little wind - making the cycling a bit 'sticky'. The whole weekend was well organized by Alan and Wendy with help on routes from (ace map reader) Liz.

report by: Neville Frost

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Sunday, 3rd July 2005

family / easy ride - Virginia Water, Surrey
organized by Andy & Francesca

We had a low turnout for Andy, Francesca & Emily's excellent family ride - 4 tandems, 1 towing a trailer bike and 1 solo (10 people). We set off from Virginia Water village and for the majority of the ride we were on lovely quiet roads and tracks. On arrival in Egham 2 tandems (+ trailer bike) chose the steep track up Cooper's Hill to bring us out to the Air Forces Memorial where we met up with those who'd chosen to come up the hill via road: we spent some time looking around this remarkable memorial to 20,000 2nd World War fallen air force heroes with no marked graves.

The view from the top was wonderful - Windsor Castle to the left and the new Terminal 5

Tandems in Windsor Great Park

at the top of The Long Walk
with Windsor Castle in the distance
for Heathrow Airport being built to the right with the River Thames down below us and several large reservoirs. From here we went into Windsor Great Park and had our group photo taken by a Crown Ranger at the top of The Long Walk with Windsor Castle in the distance. Out of the park to Windsor via another path, to walk over the pedestrian bridge into Eton and our pub lunch destination, the excellent Waterman's Arms.

From there we used yet more tracks to arrive back in Windsor Great Park where we were able to see a bit of polo being played before returning to the start having cycled 27 miles. The weather could have been better as we were drizzled on for a while and it was quite cool but we all enjoyed ourselves and it was a good day out.

report by: Tricia Anderson

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Sunday, 17th July 2005

Milford, Surrey
organized by Dereck & Gail

Eighteen people on 9 tandems took part in this ride on a glorious summer’s day. Meeting at the leaders’ house in Milford, Surrey, we headed in a north westerly direction via Shackleford and Puttenham to Seale where we stopped for coffee at the Manor Farm Craft Centre and then on through Runfold, Badshot Lea, Weybourne, Tweseldown and Ewshot to Crondall where we stopped for lunch. A total of 3 punctures delayed us only slightly…

After lunch, we continued our anti-clockwise circuit passing through Bentley and Rowledge to Tilford where we stopped at the very popular picnic spot for ice-creams. Finally, back at Milford after cycling 40 miles in gently undulating terrain, we were treated to tea and cakes in our leaders’ back garden having enjoyed an excellent day’s cycling in wonderful weather.

report by: Neville Frost

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Sunday, 7th August 2005

family / easy ride - Forest Row, East Sussex
organized by: Anne & Tim

Family Day Out

Eleven cycles started at Forest Row (comprising 8 tandems [one of which was a triplet] and 3 solos) and went a few miles into the Ashdown Forest, where we stopped at Pooh Bridge for a game of Pooh Sticks. For ecological reasons we all went equipped with our own sticks.

climbing at Harrison's Rocks

climbing at Harrison's Rocks
After leaving Pooh Bridge we split into 2 groups in Hartfield: 2 of the children and some adults stopping to play in the play park before proceeding to Groombridge along the flat Forest Way: the rest of us, including young Jake on his solo, opting to take the hard route to Groombridge which entailed some very steep hills.

We all met up in Groombridge and supplemented our picnics with crisps from the local shop and then made our way to Harrison's Rocks to enjoy our picnic lunch in the sun. Tim and Anne had come prepared with various climbing paraphernalia, including ropes and harnesses and Tim rigged ropes on a couple of the very smooth rocks for people to have a go at climbing under both Anne & Tim's very able supervison: being forewarned about not damaging the rocks, non-cleated shoes were worn. We were joined here by 3 friends on their way home from the International Tandem rally in Denmark, 2 of whom quickly showed off their agility.

Whilst all this activity was taking place we were also able to enjoy the sight of the Spa Valley Railway trains shunting past hauled by diesel electric locos on their special diesel day.

After we all recovered we headed back along the Forest Way to Forest Row to end the day with ice creams, with a total ride distance of 21 miles.

report by: Neville Frost & Tricia Anderson

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Sunday, 28th August 2005

Weekend Event
organized to coincide with Mildenhall Cycling Rally - Mildenhall, Suffolk
The rally lasts all weekend
The South East London ride will be on Sunday
organized by Ken & Liz

On one of the sunniest Sundays of the year, six tandems and twelve people left Mildenhall Cycling Rally for a 38 mile clockwise circuit via Exning, Burwell and Soham. We stopped for an al fresco coffee, home-made scones and cakes at Exning with all the ingredients hauled to the location by our leaders.

We had an excellent lunch in one of Burwell’s many pubs and then continued on our way to Soham where the route was enhanced by several bridle paths which took us back to Mildenhall Cycling Rally where we were able to enjoy tea, cakes and ice-cream and were also able to visit the many trade stands and watch the exciting Grass Track Racing.

report by: Neville Frost

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Sunday, 4th September 2005

family / easy ride - Seasalter, Kent
organized by Henry & Maureen

Eighteen people met at Seasalter for this family ride. We had 6 tandems (one with a tag-along and one with a buggy) and 2 solos with tag-alongs, making a total of 13 adults and 5 children. It was great to be joined by 3 families that we haven’t seen for a while.

On this beautiful late summer’s morning we left Seasalter in an easterly direction keeping to the coast as closely as possible, passing through Whitstable, Tankerton and Herne Bay to Reculver where after 13 miles, we stopped for coffee.

Leaving Reculver, we headed in a southerly direction around the edge of Chislet Marshes, crossing the Great Stour at Grove Ferry, and on to the Red Lion pub in Stodmarsh where we stopped for a very relaxed lunch in the sunshine.

For the final stage we skirted around the northern perimeter of Canterbury, climbing the steep Tyler Hill to Blean and then descended through Dargate and Yorkletts and back to Seasalter where we enjoyed ice creams, sitting on the sea wall.

Surprisingly, we had covered 38 miles.

report by: Neville Frost

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Sunday, 25th September 2005

Headcorn, Kent
organized by Ernie & Betty

Ernie & Betty led this joint SEL and Kent ride from Headcorn, Kent and achieved an excellent turn out from all 3 South East England regions (Surrey & Sussex being the third) making a total of 21 people on 10 tandems and 1 solo.

Unfortunately the morning's weather quickly deteriorated and we arrived at Great Chart Golf Club extremely wet: the hand driers in the toilets were utilised for drying purposes and even some golfing towels were purchased to remove the worst of the wet: coffee warmed us up and by the time we left, the rain had stopped and for our next leg we were able to better enjoy the little lanes and views before arriving at the Red Lion in Biddenden.

The sun even came out for us for our afternoon's riding and after a stop at High Grove garden centre for tea we finally returned to Headcorn after cycling 43 miles.

report by: Tricia Anderson

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Sunday, 2nd October 2005

family / easy ride - Oad Street, Borden, Sittingbourne, Kent
organized by John & Sue

For our final family/easy ride of 2005, on a cool but sunny day, 11 of us (3 children) gathered at the Oad Street Craft Centre cafe for "coffee" before finally setting off along lovely quiet little lanes through Bredgar, Doddington and Newnham to reach The Alma pub at Painter's Forstal and to enjoy an excellent lunch and a play on the pub's "caterpillar" climbing frame.

Our leaders: - John, Evie & Heather on their triplet with Mum, Sue, on her solo

Our leaders: - John, Evie & Heather on their triplet
with Mum, Sue, on her solo

From there we went to Tonge Mill pond to feed the ducks. Back via Rodmersham, Tunstall and the wonderfully named Heart's Delight for tea at the Oad Street cafe having ridden a very enjoyable 28 miles with our leaders: - John, Evie & Heather on their triplet with Mum, Sue, on her solo.

report by: Tricia Anderson

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Sunday, 23rd October 2005

Sandling, Maidstone, Kent
organized by Peter & Sally

For this joint South East London and Kent ride, 12 people on 6 tandems met at Peter's works north of Maidstone, Kent on a beautiful sunny autumn morning. Unfortunately only after the first (rather sharp!) hill one of our number felt ill and so we were down to 5 tandems to continue along the Pilgrim's Way to Cobham Manor Riding Stables for morning refreshments whilst watching a horse dressage competition.

Onwards to climb some more hills to get us over the North Downs to arrive at The George Inn, Newnham for lunch. We retraced much of our way on our return route, still in glorious sunshine and experiencing lovely views to arrive back at our start point after 33 very enjoyable miles.

report by: Tricia Anderson

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Sunday, 20th November 2005

Oxted, Surrey
organized by: Rob & Hilary

A frosty and bright start greeted nine tandems, two half-bikes and one trailer for the ride from Oxted. Starting from the Tandridge Leisure Centre

On a bright, frosty morning in north east Surrey

On a bright, frosty morning in north east Surrey
we headed south through Holland (Surrey not Netherlands!) and into the lanes towards Edenbridge before turning west again for elevenses and toe-warming at the Audsley’s house.

Heading south again we passed through Haxted and the single track to St. Piers in Lingfield. Skirting Lingfield we headed for lunch at the Red Barn. Re-fuelled and warm again, there was a brief interlude at the kids playground to allow puncture repair on the trailer.

Returning north we passed through Blindley Heath before turning east at the bottom of the steep hill leading to Godstone Farm. As the autumn sun dipped to the horizon we headed through Merle Common and back to the Audsley’s for more tea and cake. The loop finished with a dark run back to the Leisure Centre to make 32 miles.

report by: Robert Audsley

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Sunday, 4th December 2005

Christmas ride and Lunch. Darenth Valley Golf Course, Shoreham, Kent.
organized by Neville & Tricia

Having suitably adorned our tandems with various Christmas "danglies" and even lights, 13 of us cheerfully made our way from Darenth Valley Golf Course, Shoreham, Kent up and down an assortment of rather steep hills, skirting the east of Orpington and Chelsfield to arrive at Cooling's Garden Centre for coffee and cakes.

Refreshed and warmed we "sprinted" back to the Club House to conclude 16 miles of pleasant country lane cycling on a fine winter's day.

Ken & Liz with their awards

Ken & Liz with their awards
Washed and changed we joined the rest of our group and 32 of us sat down to an excellent Christmas lunch with lots of noise being made by "squealing, flying" balloons (provided by the venue-not us!). Thanks were made and announcements read out and then the Steggles Most Rides Trophy was awarded to Liz & Ken for the second year running, together with a specially commissioned pottery and wire replica of them and their tandem.

report by: Tricia Anderson

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