Not done much riding over our awful winter we've had other than a 2.2 mile to and from work (even that stopped during the few weeks of constant rain) and riding about at work. Oh and the Romford to Rochester ride. So with not much riding done for a while, I was apprehensive about my fitness and whether or not I could reach Whitstable. At the least its warmed up a bit and the sun is out!
I set off at 0930 hours on Monday the 16th March 2010 and made my way through Romford, Hornchurch, Rainham and onto Thurrock where I went all over the place trying to find the road up to the QE II bridge at Dartford (including through a industrial estate and found myself on Lakeside retail park!!)
I eventually found the road and made my way to the control booth at the bridge, where I put my bike on the back of a truck and was taken across the bridge to Kent.
I made my along the road heading towards Bluewater and then into Greenhithe, Swanscombe,Northfleet and then into Gravesend.
Then this was where I got lost, trying to make my way to Rochester, whilst trying to avoid the A226. I ended up on an Industrial estate by the water and had to turn around and go back a couple of miles the way I came. I ended up having to use the A226 through Shorne ,Higham and then into Rochester.
Once in Rochester I became lost again trying to find my way into Chatham, Gillingham and the road out heading towards Sittingbourne whilst trying to avoid the A2. I eventually found the road out after having to backtrack a little and made my way into Rainham Kent and the road to Upchurch.
I stopped by Upchurch church a 14th century church. The church is also notable for its very unusual 'candle-snuffer' steeple: an octagonal pyramid appears to have been stacked on top of a square one as if they were a couple of inverted ice-cream cones.
From here I made another big mistake on navigation and turned left instead of right! I ended up going through Lower Halstow and into Iwade! and thinking what the hell am I doing by the water , I shouldn't be anywhere near the water!! lol After a correction I made my way through Kemsley and into Sittingbourne. Sittingbourne what a crap-hole, couldn't to get out of here ASAP!!! I was through the industrial estate and onto Murston and Tonge. I stopped by an old mill a few miles outside of Faversham.
Once in Faversham I passed by the Shepherd Neame Brewery founded in 1698 and stopped briefly by the St Mary of Charity, Faversham Parish Church ..
I then made my way on to Goodnestone, Graveney and then into Seasalter.
I have many memories here from when I was a kid as my Nan had a caravan here on the Blue anchor site which sadly has now closed although the pub is still open. My legs started to really give me problems about now and I thought they were going to cramp up, I walked a small stretch along joy lane to rest them, I was also seriously out of energy!!.
I eventually made it to Whitstable after 5 and a half hours riding and 69 miles, I had a well earned lager and a jacket potato with beans to restore some energy.
I then made my way home via train which took 2 and a half hours!! train to London Victoria, Tube to Liverpool Street and then a train home to Romford and a short ride home. Got home just gone 2000 hours. What a long day and to make things worse my phone went dead in Whitstable !! think that was down to constant use of GPS on the phone and taking photos!!
Looks like it may be time to think about a GPS for the bike!!