Hawkhurst (SFA)

Distance: 51.6 miles. Elevation: 3291 ft.

Another club run with the Sunday Intermediates. It was a very mild, by recent standards, overcast day. There were nine of us this time and we rode a roundabout route to Hawkhurst Fish Farm for our brunch.

It was the first decent ride using my new bike. The bike was great; however, I suffered a bit on the hills with its 11-25 cassette. My other bike, with its 11-32 has two more lower gears. So I was going up hills in what I consider to be third gear! Not impossible, but a lot more effort. I’m definitely going to change the cassette to gain at least a 28 on the back. Two youngsters on the ride were telling me that you can go up any hill with a 25 on the back! I politely explained to them that when they get as old as me they will need lower gears! Regarding the electronic shifting, it worked flawlessly except for two occasions: at one point it dropped the chain off the front small ring, but I managed easily to re-thread it by operating the front mech towards the big ring; at another point in the ride, it wouldn’t switch to the big ring at the front despite repeated efforts on the levers – I ‘fixed’ this by switching to the small ring (even though it was already on it) and then back to the large ring.

The ride back after our food stop was particularly lumpy, and I found this ride pretty tough-going really. We achieved an average of 15.3 mph, which was good considering the amount of hills, some stops, an off-road section and getting lost a couple of times (blame the gps!). There was some joking about my new bike getting dirty and maybe scratched by all the stones flying around as we cycled off-road through some woods near Bedgebury!

As usual, despite the exertion, I still really enjoyed the ride.

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