Forest Row Bike Club

Ride Report

Lamberhurst - 9th March 2008

Kate and Don dance, Hilary and Jane provide the accompanimentA changeable day. Spirits were high as we cycled along the level, one-time railway, track to Hartfield and on to Groombridge. We chatted as we rode, we relished being on our bikes, it was the beginning of the ride. The day lay ahead.

So too did Lamberhurst, our destination. There's a vineyard in Lamberhust. There's also a public house where exotic meats, such as antelope, are on the menu. However, we weren't going either to the vineyard or to the pub. No, we were going to a café, one which was off a main road, itself close to Lamberhurst. But it was the beginning of the ride, we were young, we could think about the café when we were closer. And so we continued beyond Groombridge into what was obviously deepest Kent. The only thing to do was to keep pedalling, to follow the leader. And so we did.

Kate Don and ChristaWe were not only in deepest Kent, we were in hilly Kent. The High Weald is aptly named. Whilst we could be mistaken in thinking that the ascents were more frequent and longer than the descents, what was clear was that every welcome descent, when the bikes rolled down, was followed by an ascent. Yes, we paid for our downhill rolls. There's nothing for it on those ascents but to drop down the gears and to keep pedalling.

The countryside roundabout? We were in deepest Kent (and hilly), remember, and we could have been anywhere. By now Lamberhurst had something of a faraway destination, somewhere farther on. Don has asked the llama where the café is, the llama asks the horse, but only the leader knows!At a cross-roads, we stopped to ask a llama about the whereabouts of the café, but the llama was new to the country. So we wondered just how long the llama or the llama's ancestors had to be in Kent before he was entitled to be regarded as a Kentish llama (or, for that matter, as a llama of Kent).

More ascents, and a few descents, the joys of signposts which pointed towards Lamberhurst, and the complete joy of the café which was open, which was welcoming, where the breakfasts, and all else, were full and the tea was hot and was replenished.

We settled into the return ride. With scarcely any notice, the rains came. And went, and came again. The rain was heavy as we cycled into Tunbridge Wells, but there were blue skies to mark our ride along a familiar road towards Groombridge. the gang stop for another chat, any excuse for a rest!What a difference the warm sun makes. Alas, our acquaintance with those blue skies did not last. Instead, we cycled along the onetime railway track towards Forest Row in intermittent rain. Settle in, keep pedalling. Just keep pedalling. It's the only thing to do. Forest Row. A short stop. Then, the concluding, steady ascent to East Grinstead. For those who completed that ascent, it had been more than a 50-mile ride.

We had had a full day's biking. There had been level stretches, and there had been the ups and downs. We had been rained upon. But we had been in each other's company. We left Forest Row as a group, and as a group we returned there. Many thanks for our leader who led us out and who led us back.

Don.


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