Took the road bike out today. It’s been a while. And I’ve not done much riding apart from work riding since getting back from Scotland a couple of weeks ago. Put together a route from my favourite bits of “close to London” Kent. Although couldn’t face the ride through Croydon so took a train to Coulsdon and started ride from there. Farthing Down, through to that tangle of lanes south of Bletchingly, Oxted with lovely odd names, Guildables, Dwelly, Dairy. Up Trevereux Hill, which must be the smoothest best kept bridleway anywhere. Through Limpsfield Chart, those wooded lanes golden glowing green at this time of year. Used Clacket Lane to get back up to the Pilgrims Way, brief coffee stop at The Velo Barn
Parked the Sabbath September outside amongst a fair smattering of carbon. Pinarellos, Colnagos. You know that sideways, speedy glance we all cast over another rider or group of riders bikes when we think the owners aren’t looking? The Sabbath got a few of those. Often slightly puzzled ones as I’ve removed all trace of what it is from the frame. People tend to think it’s an old gun metal grey steel road bike. it’s the down tube levers I expect.
Back on the road for a lovely roll along the Pilgrims Way. Perfect day for it. Made my way to the Otford turn off, then chose Filston Lane to head to Shoreham and then up Fackenden Lane to Magpie Bottom. Bumpy rough descent and climb, descend and climb and finally twisting and turning through another tangle of old Kent lanes till I got to Knatts Valley. Perfect day for that. Then Farningham, Sparepenny Lane and in no time at all the green lanes became lined with houses and shops with a brief respite in Jubilee Park . Before you know it you’re in Bromley, Beckenham Place Park then home.
60 miles. Good day to be back on road. A real Londoners Kent Classic
Below this post are Barry mason’s original FAQ’s for the ride. Most of it still holds true, apart form the details about the coaches, which wont run this year, too much uncertainty around level of Covid restrictions to organise, and the great Waldingfield feed stop. This no longer exists. But other pop up feed stops along the way. Check the Facebook group for these.
Barry was instrumental in keeping this ride going towards the end of the last century when it was almost dropped because the numbers booking couldn’t cover the costs. His solution, reduce the organisation to a minimum , make it a turn up and go ride with one feed stop, no other support, let folk sort themselves out. And they did just that. He also got the coaches organised, back then with Greenwich Cyclists and later with Southwark Cyclists. He was coordinator of both groups in his time as a cycling campaigner. He had terrific and infectious energy, a love of both the natural environment, and the city and a belief that if we try hard enough we can make our communities safe and healthy spaces to live for everyone, preserving the best in the them and creating better spaces where needed.
Ten years this month since he died, too young and too soon. The Dunwich Dynamo is now one of the most popular night rides in the country. And that original model has since been copied by others, notably the Ride to The Sun from Carlisle to Cramond and the Exmouth Exodus, from Bath to Bristol. If Barry was still with us, you can bet he would most likely have been riding those two this year, as well as the DunRun. I’ll be raising a glass to him at le depart this year. London Fields 24th July 2021
With respects to Barry Mason, (5 January 1950 – 2 June 2011)
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