Julian led us on a route taking in the Kentish section of the North Downs, including some fairly technical lanes and on through Rochester and thence to the Isle of Grain. We diverted down a short section of unmade road to take in the view over the mouth of the Medway to the Thames, with Southend in the distance and a number of sailing barges progressing past with their red sails. Although it was low tide, no-one felt inspired to walk out to Grain Tower, a nineteenth century fort about four hundred yards from the shore.
We stopped for lunch at the Ship Tavern in Upnor, a hospitable and unpretentious establishment where a section of the car park had been coned-off for our use. After lunch, we made our way via Cobham(Kent), Longfield, Brands Hatch, Eynsford and Otford to Westerham where the ride ended.
Contrary to sceptical suggestions that we should be followed by a breakdown van, all the bikes ran well. Julian noted an air leak in his inlet manifold and a temporary running repair to this was made. John S’s brake light ceased to function, a matter to be problem-solved following his return home. These are the kind of issues that classic bike riders take in their stride. I always carry tools and cable spares on the Strada but fortunately only had to use a couple of inches of insulating tape.
While we rode in full compliance with the system, progress was steady rather than brisk. That gave us time to take in the scenery and get in to the relaxed spirit of a classic bike ride. There should be room for different styles of riding within the group and all have their place. We hope to make this an annual LAM event and hopefully more members who have older bikes tucked away in their garages and sheds will be inspired to join us next year.
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