It wasn’t difficult to arrange as I already had a route in mind – one of my favourite loops in Kent starting and returning to Goudhurst that also conveniently happens to have café stop about 60% of the way through the ride. Another plus of the route is that it’s not too hilly, which is great for a group of riders when you don’t know what kind of fitness they all have.
A date was set during mid April and I sent a bunch of invitations out for a social group ride.
The funny thing about arranging the ride was that some of the people I most thought would come didn’t and some of the ones I didn’t expect to come did but I guess that’s normal with any social event. On the day we had twelve riders (including myself) and it was fantastic to see everyone at the starting point with their bikes. I’m pretty sure it was the biggest gathering of NeilPryde’s to date in Europe. If there’s been a bigger one – someone please send me a photo!
It was a cold day and the temperature ranged from 6-10 degrees. We were lucky in that there wasn’t any rain to speak of and the group naturally split into a couple of groups.
As it turned out I was the only one with the route loaded on my Garmin, so the fast guys had to stop and wait on a fairly regular basis and this brought us all back together. Most of us were dressed for the cold – I had my warmest clothes on, but one plucky (or mad) rider appeared and rode in shorts. It was fair to say he was very cold by the end. A couple of riders rode from my place in Tunbridge Wells out to the start adding another 15km to the 90km. No one rode the extra 15km back.
Once we’d all had a snack and a coffee or two we carried on and it took a few kilometres for the warmth to come back into our legs. The first steep climb off the Military Canal soon fixed that and we started what was a gradual climb over about 20km back to the finish.
The last 20kms were pretty tough for the less fit amongst us and once the fast guys found roads they knew they pressed on to get the ride done.
Thanks to the cold weather, most people headed for home once we got to the end but a handful of guys came back to my house for home made cakes, biscuits and coffee (thanks to my lovely wife).
It was a thoroughly enjoyable day – great company – great roads, no incidents and the fun of seeing a bunch of NeilPryde’s out on the road together.
Thanks for reading.