With Mel having kept this blog going for a few weeks (thanks Mel!) it’s about time I did my bit again.
Wow – what a wonderful day it was today with clear blue sky all day and only a light easterly wind. Maybe the slight early frost put a few people off which is a shame as we had no problems with slippery surfaces at all. Consequently only 4 of us started from the City Hall.
The trip to elevenses at Bretts in White Roding is a bit short for the first leg, so I put in some loops south and north of the A414 before taking our normal route via Birds Green and Abbess Roding.
About a mile before we got there I stopped briefly to fiddle with my GPS which had turned itself off. I didn’t need it for navigation but it was recording the route so I wanted it on again. However it was a bad move as Dave S looked round to see what I was doing and promptly fell off after an altercation with the verge. He was fine but his front mudguard had become detached and took a bit of re-fixing.
At Bretts we were seriously outnumbered by about 50 riders from the Crest CC. Fortunately we had arrived slightly ahead of them and our service was not affected.
The ride to lunch at Monk Street took us close to Hatfield Broadoak then via Takely, Molehill Green and Broxted. We kept up a reasonable pace despite my relatively poor performance on the hills which are significant around Broxted.
Lunch at the Farmhouse Inn was a cosy affair as our numbers had now swollen to 6 with Dave R and John D having joined us. It was very busy and we were lucky to get a table in a nook opposite the bar.
Having finished by about 1.20 we decided to head off to Chelmsford. Unfortunately by doing so we missed John B who unbeknown to us arrived to join us at 1.30.
The ride back was via Lindsell and Felsted with Dave R and John B peeling off at appropriate points to head for home.
I arrived home around 3.15 with 56 miles on my computer.
Here is a link to my Strava record:
It was only six weeks ago we visited Matching Tye but the pub is very good.
With no access to the car I headed out of Wickford with the SEG but soon turned off for Blackmore to meet up with the Chelmsford Group. Six riders led by Dave Southin arrived about five minutes after me. Dave Russell was looking at this lady in Lycra and asked how can women look so elegant when we look like a load of tramps? I got his point and I don’t think Adrian has ever described himself has svelte!
Dave S took us on a short route to Matching Tye, which involved riding a bit of the A414. We arrived at The Fox early but the garden was already full of bikes. The six of us had to split up to find seats. I went for the smoked salmon sandwich and a Spitfire, which was quite expensive (£10.45) but as they say, I’m worth it! As we were leaving we noticed one group was from the Central London CTC. I found out later their ride was train assisted i.e. from Harold Wood and then back to Romford. Their route can be found on https://www.centrallondonctc.org.uk/map?m=1044
There was no interest in an afternoon tea stop so we headed back on a fairly direct route with me veering off at Willingale. I got home without having to use my lights and did about 10 miles more than the London group.
The day started well with six of us riding out of Chelmsford and I had the song Perfect Day playing in my head! Our route took us across Stow Maries Aerodrome where we met a large group of cyclists from Leigh on Sea.
I failed to get our group to The Fig Tree by 11 o’clock so we stopped about a half a mile short for two minutes silence.
John D and Dave R joined us at elevenses. After refreshment we all moved off with Eric and Heather intending to leave us on the way. Unfortunately at the bottom of Cromwell Hill Heather took a tumble. She made light of it and told us to continue.
We arrived at The Alma about 13:15 to find they were only doing Sunday roasts and they were full. After a brief discussion we decided to head for Perrywood Garden Centre. There we had light snacks (mainly scones) washed down by tea. With this being the 2nd ride in a row with no alcohol I’m becoming to wonder if we are becoming a temperance group!
After a combined “lunch” and tea stop we made our various ways back home. I had accumulated 62 miles when I got back to Chelmsford in failing light.
A beautiful clear blue sky but what an icy wind!
Eight riders assembled in Chelmsford and were led by Martin on a 23 mile route to Timbers at Blake End. The place was so popular the queue came out through the door. The Chelmer CC was in front of us and they had followed the Bishop Stortford CC. We got away just after noon and Martin selected a shorter route up to Finchingfield. On the way we met several other cycling groups including one rider wearing shorts!
Sadly our nominated pub, The Red Lion, was found closed so we decided to have lunch at the Wilkin Tea Room (Bosworths). Normally the village is awash with bikers but only the hardy ones were out today. It did mean the seven of us found a table easily.
By the time we were leaving the forecast rain had arrived. We left John D arranging a cover over his lawn mower like attachment and made our way to Rayne. It was only 14:35 when we got there so we decided to carry on to our original tea stop suggestion The Owls Hill Tea Room at Terling. It was a relief to get out of the cold and wet. There was some interesting discussion on the former use of the building and also on The Monkey opposite. This is the nickname of The Rayleigh Arms currently being refurbished. Lord Rayleigh’s coat of arms features a monkey!
When we came out after tea the rain had stopped. We dispersed in three different directions and by the time I was back at my car in Chelmsford I had done 59 miles.
What a difference a week makes two riders out last week 10 today. Sadly one rider is unlikely to ride with us again. Peter Turner is moving off to Devon but has threatened to attend the Southend Forty Plus Christmas Lunch.
A rather chilly morning until the sun got higher in the sky. Our outward journey took us through Channels where you never know how much traffic you will have to dodge crossing the A130. Remarkably there was nothing!
Coming up with an original route is difficult to do but on the Silver End to Kelvedon section several said they were unfamiliar with those parts.
At Perrywood we met up with Ken, Dave R and John D. Like other garden centres Christmas has truly arrived.
The ride to lunch was anything but direct and there were some who thought the leader had lost the plot but we arrived at the Wetherspoons in Maldon at about the right time. John D mistakenly started supping a stranger’s drink so we’ll have to keep an eye on him!
Throughout the ride Ioan was pushing one of Martin’s bikes along at speeds that it has rarely seen! Fortunately he was sensible enough not to get too far ahead and get lost.
We are nearly at the time of year when an afternoon tea stop becomes optional. Four of us put into Butts Green GC where I was shocked to find a pot of tea now costs £2.50. Granted they give you a large pot but it is quite a task to put fours cups away. The other shock was the sauna like conditions inside.
Back in Chelmsford I had done 48 miles so more like a short winter ride but it is the company of fellow riders that matters more than miles.
The early morning rain prompted my wife to ask me what I would do if I got to the start for this ride which I was down to lead and found nobody there. I said I would probably come home, thinking it would probably be still raining. Her question proved prophetic and I was on my own at the start but as I really wanted the exercise and the rain was easing I decided to follow the route I had planned anyway.
With elevenses at Blackmore it’s a bit tricky to make the first leg long enough, but by looping around a bit I arrived there with 18 miles on the clock. I’m glad I carried on because Mel arrived there at the same time to join the ride, asking where the rest of the group was which I couldn’t explain. Particularly so as the forecast proved correct and the weather was now dry and bright.
Mel and I then had a very enjoyable ride to the Fox Inn at Matching Tye with some welcome wind assistance. This hostelry is really excellent for a cyclist lunch stop with good beer and no fuss about not having a Sunday roast.
Heading for The Snug at High Easter for threeses we took in the attractive link past Matching Church then via Matching Green to White Roding in bright sunshine.
We managed to dodge a nasty black cloud which passed us to the west as we made our way back to Chelmsford in dry conditions. I had 55 miles on the clock on arriving home at 4pm after a good ride with good company. Thanks Mel – without you I might well have gone home from Blackmore.
Here is a link to my Strava record, although it was switched off from Blackmore to Stondon Massey!
Ioan Bogdan and I rode to Thaxted yesterday. Bogdan made video and you may recognise some the locations in this edited version.