Further to their epic ride around Kent ysterday please read following from organiser, Dave Greenwood, Mens Captain.
Summer Solstice Ride 2021 19th June.
The Summer Solstice Ride is a single day ride of 200+ miles ridden on the closest Saturday to the Solstice day (June 21st). The ride is taken on by Barry Goodsell, Nick Wilson, Steve Gooch and myself (Dave Greenwood). In 2019 we rode the well known “Chase the Sun” from the Isle of Sheppey to Burnham on Sea on the west coast. Due to the pandemic our rides in 2020/21 have started and finished in Rye.
I have taken on the responsibility of route planning, route recce, route briefing and generally keeping order on the day. Barry, very kindly host’s the briefing at his Pub, The Crooked Shepherd. As the title suggests the route briefing is a detailed description of the route, planned refreshment stops and general points of interest. There is of course beer to drink, food to eat and fat to chew. Partners and guests are invited, however, they do not have the required clearance to be in the briefing.
This years ride.
We met up at The Cattle Market car park @ 0445hrs for a 0500hrs roll out. The start of the ride was the only flat part, taking in the bridge at Appledore then along the Marsh to Hythe. Our 19 mph average was soon sharply reduced as we took on inclines out of Sandgate, Folkestone and up past Dover Castle.
We followed the coastal roads and tracks from Dover to Deal . On route we came across an unplanned fallen tree obstruction on the country path between St. Margaret’s at Cliffe and Kingstown at which point there was no turning back, so we split either side of the fallen tree and passed the bikes through. After a quick dust down we were on our way to our first feed stop at The Gulf Garage on Ramsgate road east of Sandwich at 53 miles.
Turning inland through Minster, Monkton and Hoath, then back along the coast from Bishopstone to my Dads house in Whitstable. The idea behind this stop was to shed Gilet’s and arm warmers, but this was not the case. The temperature never raised above 13 degrees, mixed in with wet roads and a dampness in the air it made for a pretty cold day throughout.
Carrying on through Faversham, Sittingbourne, Iwade then Upchurch for our 100 mile planned stop, 7 hours in, with over 16 hours of daylight promised there is no need for rushing.
Next we tackled the Medway towns of Gillingham, Chatham and Strood, before heading back out to open roads up to the Cliffe Marshes.
A brief stop at the Cyclopark we then finally started to head southish, with “Toys Hill” on our minds. We hit the base of Toys Hill in Brasted at 145 miles for the 1.85 mile climb with an average of 5%. As we rolled over the top it was a down hill run to our only proper sit down café at Four Elms Nursery, and a joy it was to have sausage and egg muffins washed down with tea and coffee.
Leaving the café at 16:10 with 50 miles left of ups and downs to cover, we headed down to Frant, Wadhurst, Burwash and our final bidon refill in Battle. The passing traffic had picked up as we headed to Ore then our final climb up and over and down Battery Hill to Pett level.
Chain Gang mode kicked in for the final head wind push through Winchelsea beach then onto the finish at The Cattle Market Rye.
At the finish we were very gratefully met by Rebecca Wilson and Phil Riley with much needed beer, tea cakes and chocolate brownies.
Stats for the Solstice Ride 2021 were 201 miles with an elevation of over 9,900ft. Total time of 18hrs with a riding time of 12 hrs 30 mins.
Here’s to Solstice 2022.