There were five of us who met up at Orpington to do this ride to Teapot Island. This is a much better turnout than for the previous Orpington ride (to Tudeley) when there were only two of us.
Lewis Carroll would have called us Un-Southwark Cyclists. Unlike most cycling groups that define themselves as a set of people who live in a certain region, we define ourselves by where we don't live. Southwark! Testimony to this fact comes from the observation that there was not a single resident of the London Borough of Southwark on this ride, but there were representatives from Lewisham, Camden, Islington, Tower Hamlets and Waltham Forest. Why should anyone from Southwark come on our ride, when they have a perfectly good cycling group of their own?
We came across several big groups of cyclists from Team Sidcup Cycles (http://www.teamsidcupcycles.co.uk) and Bigfoot Cycle Club (https://bigfootcc.co.uk), but we did note that all the groups were going home whilst we were setting out for our ride. Once we got past Ivy Hatch there was no sign of any group cycle rides.
We tried to use a route across the North Downs that avoided the steepest of the hills, but the ride was still very hilly on occasions.
Shoreham Village was particularly picturesque. We stopped off for coffee at Ightham Mote and then continued past some fascinating buildings, including Hadlow Tower, until we reached East Peckham and the Teapot Island at Yalding. Balding was very busy and it was like a holiday resort with people walking around in the water
We decided to take the train home from Yalding, as all the hills had made the ride very tiring.