Essex & Kent Branches Head to Ryka’s

We met up at Thurrock Services for a 9.30am departure. At all times social distancing was maintained. We set off over the Dartford Crossing and headed for McDonalds in Otford to meet up with 4 Kent members. Dave was going to lead us from Otford to Edenbridge where we would have our morning coffee stop in Costa Coffee. Following our morning stop we set off again. Upon setting off again we came to a corner that was marked, but one of our members missed seeing the marker and went straight on. I was in front of the tail end Charlie and called out to him to mark the junction whilst I went after our member and brought him back. Returning to the junction the tail end Charlie wasn’t there. It later transpired the Tail End Charlie hadn’t heard what I had called out, not surprising as we had helmets on and bikes running. We set off down the road hoping to catch up with the group, but alas we didn’t. I wasn’t aware of the route that Dave was taking and somewhere along the road I turned left when I should have turned right. We were on some very nice back roads, none of which I had been on before and all the villages I had never heard off. It dawned on me after a while that we were heading in the wrong direction. Taking stock of this I turned my SatNav on and followed it towards Dorking. From there I knew the way to Ryka’s Café. We arrived sometime after the others, who had eaten already. It was quite busy at Ryka’s today. We had a good old natter over drinks and watched the bikes coming and going. The Kent guys set off for home first whilst we were still finishing our food. We thanked them for their help today and for showing us some lovely Kent roads. Time came for us to set off for home. I lead us back to the McDonalds in Otford for our afternoon pit stop. Here we said our final farewells as people would be peeling off as necessary on the route for home. After the Dartford Crossing Ashley Marian and I split from the group and went our separate ways. It was whilst we were riding up a road, we saw two cyclists on the floor on a pavement. As we had gone past them, we turned around and went back to them. It was a father and son. The son had come off his bike after sliding on loads of small stones on the pavement. He had suffered grazing and some cuts to his leg, arm and shoulder. I got my first aid kit out and we dressed his wounds. The lad perked up and to help perk him up some more I allowed him to sit on my bike whilst his Dad took his picture. Ashley had a squeaky toy on her bike which she gave to the boy. This helped cheer him up a bit more. As the lad was ok now, we went our separate ways and headed for home. Another good day riding with good company on great roads. I had completed 192.2 miles today, door to door. Until the next ride, ride safe.

Roland Murphy.

Essex Branch Secretary.