We are indebted to Alex Hills for today’s Kent, Our Kent contribution. Alex is CPRE Kent’s Gravesham district chairman and also a keen cyclist…
Today’s ride was to test my legs after a week off the bike and to test it out after the wheel was repaired.
From home it was a short run down the A227 and out along the cycle path to Thong. Then it was a drop down to Lower Higham Road, which is a bleak but beautiful area on the Gravesend-Higham border. This area is always winding, being next to the River Thames, but the light means the colours are always changing.
Then there were some big breaths before a lung-busting climb back up to the Cobham war memorial, which is one of my key local markers. The views from Cobhambury Road always recharge my soul and, with less air pollution, the views are better than ever.
I never tire of the beauty of the views despite my tendency to hit high speeds on this downhill section, which has no sharp bends or potholes so is very much cycling heaven.
Next is a short run along the valley floor, stopping off to check on a local badger sett. Checking on setts while on rides is something I try to do as often as I can as it means someone else does not have to make a special trip out and gives me a focus to the ride.
When I get to the now-quiet Golden Lion pub, it is down through the gears for the long climb up Henley Street, going past the very good beer pub The Cock Inn.
At the top of the hill a few lanes take me to Whitepost Lane, which leads into Nurstead Church Lane. This wonderful road covered over in trees looks different each time I go down it.
Even though this is a few minutes from my house and I cycle down it at least twice a week, I always look forward to cycling along this road. Near the top is the old Nurstead Church – I am pagan so have never been in it but the outside has a medieval feel about it.
After the church it was a dash across the A227 before a test of nerve down the steep, twisting Park Pale Road and then down through the gears for the climb back up the other side.
Heart pounding, lungs heaving at Stony Corner, I was rewarded with a great view. From there is a short drop down the very dangerous Walnut Hill Road before another short run and a final climb home.
Living on top of a hill means tired legs always have one more climb before a welcome brew and rest. People say you take for granted the beauty on your doorstep, but I never have, which is probably why I fight so hard to protect it.
Since the lockdown the speed of cars has increased – please, please keep your speed down. Driving in the countryside, you must never go faster than you can stop and around every bend you must assume there will be a horse, cyclist or walker.
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Tuesday, May 12, 2020