Monday, May 04, 2009

What The Dickens!

Francis Sedgemore joined me for a ride round Kent's Hoo peninsula yesterday.

Francis wrote about the ride on his Blog today:
Frisky frogs of the Hoo
Monday 4 May 2009 at 13:04 BST

I can hardly feel my legs today, following a 160 kilometre cycle ride on Sunday from Blackheath to Gravesend, then around the Hoo Peninsula, taking in Allhallows and the Isle of Grain. From there, I and a velopedist companion proceeded to Rochester for the Morris dancing at the Sweeps Festival, and finally I made my way back to the ranch via Gravesend and Dartford.

It was a excellent day out, and thanks are due to my friends from Bexley Cyclists, who I met up with in Gravesend under a heavy grey sky, which thankfully rose and cleared as we pootled up the northern side of the peninsula towards Cliffe. From there we continued to High Halstow, and a refuelling stop by the estuary near Allhallows.

Sheltering from a stiff wind in the lee of a bank overlooking Yantlet Creek, we could hardly hear ourselves talk above the racket created by a squillion marsh frogs going about their springtime courting rituals. If you’ve never heard the sound of these frisky amphibians, a sample of their throaty song can be found here.

The Hoo Peninsula is a most interesting place. Part industrial and part nature reserve, the Hoo is home to power stations and oil terminals, marshland and bird sanctuaries. Some of the land is reclaimed from the sea, and the area as a whole is testament to how much can be achieved in a relatively short space of time with a well managed environmental regeneration programme.

If, heaven forfend, you should find yourself holed up in London, and can afford to take a day out from your travails, I recommend a tour of the Hoo Peninsula, preferably self-powered on two wheels rather than a motorised four. Starting from Gravesend railway station, you can take in most of the area with just 50–60 km under the pedals.

I didn't cycle as far as Francis - only about 30 miles in all - but it was enough. I've been struggling with my fitness ever since last summer, so volunteering to lead a series of 30 to 35 mile rides may have been a little foolhardy. But after yesterday's enjoyable outing I look forward to many more, especially as my fitness can only improve.

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