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Seven of us gathered at Knockholt on a sunny but brisk morning with only one no show. After a few moderate hills no-one was feeling cold. The Kent countryside was looking stunning with arches of golden leaves against a bright blue sky. We stopped briefly to honour Charles Darwin at his house in Downe then made the long slow climb to the top of the North Downs. On the steep hill down (which everyone appreciated not having to come up) Gerard misjudged a corner and slipped off on some wet leaves, but "only" suffered bruising and his bike was OK.

Service at lunch was slow so we had to rush off right after eating. The hills on the way back seemed worse than the morning but the map says they aren't. Most of us ended up pushing on the last couple of hills. We made it to Caterham at 3.50, in good time for sunset at 4.20, exhausted but exhilarated. Gerard cycled 27 miles back to Walthamstow in the cold and dark despite his bruising.




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