Distance: 53.4 miles. Elevation: 4166 ft.
As is typical of this beautiful Summer we’re having, it was a glorious sunny, hot day. I modified one of my existing routes around Wrotham Hill to take in Knatts Valley and, specifically, Lockyers Hill, which is one of the few ‘double-chevron’ hills around here (follow the link for more info about that).
But the discovery of the day concerns the title of this post. What a beautiful road it is that runs through Knatts Valley. It meanders gently like a river along the bottom of this wide shallow valley. For much of the way there are no houses or fences or other evidence of mankind. What’s more, it gently descends over its 4-mile length by about 300 feet; it’s barely perceptible, but you find yourself going very fast with little effort.
No cars passed me in either direction and for those 12 minutes I was in cycling heaven. 15 miles later I would be in cycling hell, as I climbed the 25% gradient that is Lockyers Hill!
Actually it wasn’t that bad at all – I just couldn’t resist using that dramatic link!
Also included on today’s ride was the ever-popular Cotman’s Ash Lane, which rises 200 feet in about 0.3 miles. That one only gets a single chevron on the OS map, indicating a gradient of over 14% but less than 20%.
I modified the last bit of the route, too, to cut through some byways and woods, adding a bit of off-road action, eventually emerging in Barming.
Then I plunged down the steep hill to the River Medway at Barming Bridge and climbed the short but sharp 18%+ Saint Helen’s Lane on the other side. And then home.
Don’t rely on movie for screen grabs
It’s not reliable/good enough – stop and take pics with proper camera
Tightening chain-ring bolts cured creaking
A persistent creaking from the bottom-bracket area (ooh-er missus!) when under load was cured by tightening the chain-ring securing bolts, after my having previously tried tightening the cranks and pedals
Contour handlebar mount is too shaky
…as can be witnessed by the videos on this page. Best success I’ve had was with cable-tying a camera tripod quick-release adapter to the bars
Old pedals cause numb feet
I changed back to my old pedals to see if it would cure knee pain (too early to tell yet) and instantly got numb feet syndrome, which I haven’t had with the new pedals, even after 91-mile ride.
Always wear mits
Didn’t wear my mits today, in an effort to try to even-up my tan – I have brown arms and white hands because of all the sunny miles on the bike! But I ended up with sore thumbs! So now I know why I should always wear mits!