Breaking Away: Tunbridge Wells Edition

The Tour de Insurtech is happening all this week, so IE mag took a road trip down to Tunbridge Wells to sample tea, lashing of cake and a mix of sunshine n showers. Yep, OK, we drove down rather than cycle 254 miles. So let’s hear from the guys who did the riding on this Stage.

Plus there’s a very nice video clip by Ed Halsey, which captures some of the miles of smiles from the Tunbridge Stage.

Big shout out to Andre Symes from Genasys Tech, who spent hours n hours organising this event and couldn’t make it along.

ROYAL WELLS TO CHIDDINGSTONE

It was Chris Carney from CGI who was ready first on the startline, with a very impressive lean, green racing machine. If there was an award for cleanest sprockets then Chris would have won that Concours trophy. Chris is a local and helped develop the Stage route, which looped through Crowborough, Groombridge, Ashurst, Hever and other very scenic locations, commenting;

“It’s a bit of a lumpy one with a few cheeky bits in there, so it should be good fun.”

L-R Paul Reading, Alex Langridge, Sean Jones, Chris Carney and Lin Berry.
Ready for the off at the Royal Wells Hotel.

As IE’s Marketing guru Lin waved the riders away into the Tunbridge Wells commuter traffic, the sun was peeking out of the clouds and the localised monsoons of the previous day were thankfully not going to repeat themselves.

Now if you have never visited Kent you might think it’s a bit flat, but there are some steep climbs and very twisty, quite narrow roads. On the upside, villages like Groombridge or Chiddingstone, where the Tulip Cafe rest stop awaited, are stunningly beautiful. If you get the chance to cycle these lanes just do it, wonderful countryside.

The village of Chiddingstone has a general shop/Post Office that was originally a local tithe and tax collection point about 600 years ago by the way, the wooden floor beams were hewn and assembled back in the mid 15th century and you can see them as you walk underneath on your way to the Tulip pitstop.

Racing bikes are stripped down function, form & sculpture

JUST BRING A ROAD BIKE

George Stokes from Claim Technology had brought along a road bike, rather than the super lightweight racing machine favoured by the real Tour de France racers, and keen amateur sportive riders. But you know what, that’s all good because as fellow Claims Tech colleague Michael Lewis noted; “Cycling really is for everyone nowadays, especially after Covid.” That’s 100% true, as your IE editor has an electric commuter, which may well be made from wrought iron, but offers fun cycling to Aldi for those essential 29p bags of midget gems.

Always time for a banter.

Paul Reading from TIF Group was looking forward to covering the 46 mile route;

“Some beautiful countryside ahead, and a super lunch at the end of it. I starteed riding years ago on a Raleigh racer, had a break from two wheels but then got back into it a few years ago. You can’t think about anything else but what you’re doing, and that’s the wonderful thing about cycling, you have to focus on what’s right in front of you.”

Paul also thought that the international travel sector will eventually bounce back from the Covid pandemic by the way – yeah even though it was an awayday from the office, we still got round to talking shop.

Chiddingstone shop & Tulip Cafe beneath the oak beamed archway.

Alex Langridge from Per Ardua Associates was another local Kent-based rider, who was taking this Tour de Insurtech event with zen-like calm;

“The ice cream van at the top of Blackhill and the Tulip Cafe cakes are the only reason I’m here. Should be great fun.”

That was the spirit of the day, a peloton of people from the world of insurtech doing that work/life balance thing. In these times, that’s a welcome chance to recharge your batteries and let the good times roll.

Here’s Ed Halsey’s excellent video, enjoy;

 

 

About alastair walker 6452 Articles
20 years experience as a journalist and magazine editor. I'm your contact for press releases, events, news and commercial opportunities at Insurance-Edge.Net

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