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Whitstable – A Long Ride

Thursday April 16, 2009

With a week off work my plan has been to catch up on all the things I should have been doing over the past five months but also to get out on the bikes and get some exercise and fresh air.

The holiday didn’t start well with a cold kicking in on my first day off and a mysterious sprained ankle (?!) on day two – I woke up and could walk!  That lasted a day or two before it strangely fixed itself during another night of sleep.

Easter Monday’s ride was pretty good and got me into the swing of things.  It was the longest ride I’d been on in many years and being able to switch off from the hassles and stresses of everyday life was very nice.

Wednesday was forecast to be a nice day so I got up and prepared the Trek.  Sandwiches, bottle of squash, cash, sunglasses.  My Topeak Aero Wedge DX was fitted under the saddle with a spare inner tube, Topeak Mini 9 multi tool and other bits and pieces.

Today was going to be a BIG ride.  My destination was Herne Bay, which was a round trip of over 60 miles.

When I set off, it was foggy and damp but with a forecast for sun and a great day ahead  I set of in good spirits.  There were to be some big hills on the way and the first one was only a couple of miles away in Chatham so it wasn’t going to be an easy start.

The ride went well and although the roads were pretty busy the majority of drivers were respectful of my space and gave me a lot of room whilst overtaking.  Even when I slowed them right down on the steep climbs they were patient and ensured that they passed safely.  Only one driver, on the return journey, passed far too close and just missed my handle bars – dangerous and idiotic.  However, that was one in many.  So top marks for the drivers of the area.

I’d estimated around three hours to complete the journey and decided to stop on the hour to stretch my legs and have a quick drink for a couple of minutes.  Just under an hour got me to the A249 and I stopped on the bridge over the busy dual carriageway.

My next stop was at a Little Chef road-side restaurant on the A299.  This was a very busy dual carriageway with cars travelling at 70+ mph so it wasn’t fun!  At this time I was very hungry so I thought I’d stop at the Little Chef for one of their Olympic Breakfasts.  The restaurant was quiet and they had no objection to me wheeling the bike inside and propping it up next to my table.  The first thing the waiter said to me as I entered was “You look knackered!” – after a 26 mile ride, I was!

Heading away from the Little Chef, now refuelled, I passed a sign saying Whitstable 7 miles, Herne Bay 11 miles.  Hmm, I thought, Whitstable it is then!

Change of plan took me to Whitstable rather than Herne Bay so I’d have a little more time to relax at the destination prior to heading home.  I was aware of the time and was keen to get home before sunset so Whitstable seemed the wiser choice.

Having grown up on the coast of Pembrokeshire, Whitstable, and the Kent coastline in general, is too bland and flat for my tastes.  There was nothing photograph-worthy in my mind on the seafront.

The town centre itself was extremely busy and I was glad that I could nip through the traffic on my bike whereas the cars sat in near gridlock.  I found a small park with a refreshment hut and sat down to enjoy a well deserved Coke and choc ice.

Then I was off.  Back onto the bike and heading North to Rochester.  This time I was keen to avoid that busy dual carriageway so I followed the coast along the back roads to Faversham.  The sun had by now burnt away the fog and was working on my exposed skin.  I could feel myself dehydrating and all I could think about was cold drink.

It was a great ride.  It wasn’t leisurely, I pushed myself for the majority of the journey and at the end of the return leg I was very tired and began to slow down.  Reaching Rainham I was seriously running low of energy and I slowed considerably but I was still pretty positive and was still enjoying it.  The sense of achievement was great as I headed into my local area and finally reached home.

With the Cateye computer reading 58.88 miles, I dismounted at my house and I was home!  The computer only records actual cycle time and it read 5 hours 46 minutes – no wonder I was a little saddle sore!

The Trek had performed well – as had my now aching legs.

(Flickr holds larger photos from the day)

GPS Track

Coke and Choc Ice

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4 comments

  1. Hello Dave,

    interesting trip even if wasn’t made on Dahon :-C

    One picture taked my attention http://www.flickr.com/photos/dsquareduk/3446562043/
    The last city Ricany is from my country (see my national flag 🙂 and the city itself is really short way of my home.

    I tried to find the connection but wasn’t succesfull. The most interesting thing is that the Ricany isn’t on the cost simply becuase in our country isnt sea or big lake …


  2. Morning Mech.

    I couldn’t find much about the twinning either, only that it happened in 2000 ( http://www.whitstabletwinning.com/history.html)

    And it’s mentioned on both towns’ Wikipedia pages.

    Not sure if I would have managed the trip as quickly as I did if I was on the Dahon – especially up the hills.

    How’s the cycling going over there?

    David


  3. I found the same page but do not understand what is all about. Maybe my english isn’t good enough 🙂

    I’m just fighting in some discussion against the people who are believe that Dahon wit only 20″ is unusable for everything so please do not take me so much serious because I’m angry …

    I know that long trip will be difficult on Dahon an take much more time but It isn’t impossible.
    I like my Dahon like my personal frined so it’s my prefered bike for everything …

    Well in our country is very famous MTB+jersey for everything uncluding job commute. Personaly I hate this style I’m much more cyclechic oriented and trying to slow down on the bycicle like a prevention of my hectic life. So speed and the distance isn’t important for me.

    But as you can see in this gallery from easter saturday
    http://www.prahounakole.cz/2009/04/16/na-sobotnim-nabrezi/
    maybe the situaution will be better 🙂


  4. The Dahon is a great bike! It would would have coped with my ride on Wednesday but it’s just not as fast as a mountain bike or a racer. But then again a Mini is not as fast as a Ferrari 🙂

    The Dahon is a great bike and I wouldn’t want to lose it. There are times when the Dahon is a much better bike than my Trek mountain bike: more comfortable and more practical. It also has more character!

    I’m with you on your pro-Dahon campaign! Fantastic bikes! 😀

    Thanks for sharing the photos – looks like you had great weather over there too.



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