Sunday 23 June – Essex CTC Triennial Veterans 100 miles ride

Many of our over 50’s rode 100 miles on Sunday in the Essex Member Group CTC TriVets event.  72 riders in 6 groups took part, coming from various member groups in the Southeast and East Anglia.

We set off from Mountnessing for the first 25 miles to Aythorp Roding where we were served welcome elevenses by a small army of wonderful volunteers who were later to provide us with lunch and tea.  We are so grateful to you all.


“Feeding station” at Aythorp Roding

From Aythorp Roding we did two loops of 25 miles each before the final leg back to the start.

The oldest riders were in their mid 80’s and it’s great to see people of that age so fit and able to ride 100 miles.

The forecast bad weather did not materialise although it was very blustery at times.  A brief shower towards the end of the ride did not detract from the sunny periods which prevailed.

Sincere thanks to our members, Chris Mills and John Davis who masterminded the whole event, to Peter Moore who managed the registration and records on the day and not least to Margaret Davis who was very busy all day keeping us in order.

It was a brilliantly well-organised and highly enjoyable event.


Sunday 16 June – Nayland Anchor Inn

Our Group is giving true meaning to ‘gender equality’ with a group of 10 riders at the Town Hall for today’s ride comprising five men and five women.  It was great to see Delia and Geraldine back after a break.

Dave led us on an unusual (and slightly extended) route to Copford for elevenses where six more members joined us giving a total of 16, still split 50/50 men and women! Six headed for home and 10 of us went on to Nayland for Lunch at the Anchor Inn beside the river.  The pub was holding a beer festival for charity and seemed to be the destination for a large charity cycle ride.  The place was awash with cyclists which is always good to see.

We headed for the Dutch Nursery at Coggeshall for tea, but as soon as they saw us arriving at 3.25pm they shut the café.  However that turned out to be our luck as we went to the adjacent new Vineyard restaurant instead which was excellent with great service.  They even have 6 Sheffield stands for our bikes.  I think the nursery has lost our custom.

We arrived back in Chelmsford at about 6pm having covered 72 very enjoyable miles.

(With thanks to Adrian for the full explanation below of what was going on at the pub!)


Something for everyone!

I took my 10-year-old son, George, and his friend (also George – gets very complicated) to see the Tour Series cycling in Colchester town centre a couple of weeks ago.  The series of short, fast and exciting criterium races around UK town centres is well established and is building to a climax, with highlights twice a week on ITV4. 

We arrived early enough to see the women’s race.  This was our first glimpse of Team CTC, the women’s team in the middle of a busy first year, and they rode well.  It was a shame we hadn’t been able to participate earlier in the day in the CTC-organised Tour Series ride.  I met Martin, regular in our Chelmsford group, ride leader and Vice Chair of Council.  He told us about the success of the ride and there is a report here from CTC Local Cycling Development Officer, Richard Monk:

Thanks in no small part to Richard’s drive and enthusiasm, there is a lot going on this summer in towns across Essex, with the emphasis on inclusion and participation.  Chelmsford led-rides are now well under way.  There’s one every Thursday and  Saturday.  More details:

Thanks to Richard (again!) and Maldon and District Cycling Club (where professional Movistar rider Alex Dowsett, no less, was introduced to the art of time trialing) gentle rides have been organised for Mondays and Tuesdays from the town centre:

These led rides are an ideal introduction to the friendship and fun of group riding.  If you try one and enjoy it, you may want to go a little further afield (but still at a steady but relaxed tempo).  Our regular Sunday rides leave each week at 9.15am from the centre of Chelmsford and more details are available on our website: or on the Chelmsford page of the main Essex CTC website: 

Wherever you live in mid-Essex, if you have a bike, there really is something for everyone this summer.

My commute by bike

I enjoyed my commute today (Great Baddow to Thorpe Bay).  A chilly and overcast start when I started out at 6.15am, but I soon warmed up.  The start and end of the ride (Hanningfields and the flatlands around Wakering) are definitely the best parts of the route.  I don’t generally enjoy the main road through Ashingdon and Rochford, especially on the way home during rush hour.  Road surface leaves a lot to be desired, as does the room a cyclist is given by passing traffic.

Hawk Hill Roundabout – Cycle Path or Road?

Cycling between Rettendon and Battlesbridge requires the tricky negotiation of two roundabouts, the Turnpike and Hawk Hill:

Hawk Hill

I use the road.  I try to take up a central position within the lane and make as much eye contact as possible, especially with vehicles intending to join the roundabouts when I am on them.  And I try to make obvious and clear signals.  No road users are prohibited from using that road…and I am a road user.  I put up with the black looks and occasional head shaking.  I assume this is because those motorists think I should be using the cycle path.  So why don’t I?

Well, I have tried it.  But, it is, of course, necessary to cross each road separately at its approach to the roundabouts.  I have generally found I am less visible and conspicuous from the cycle path than waiting to enter from the road.

As a motorist, you are always thinking forwards approaching a roundabout, not to the possibility of cyclists crossing the road from the right or left, before you arrive at the junction, but to traffic you can see already on the roundabout over your right shoulder.

As a cyclist approaching the roundabouts by road, you only have to look to the right to make judgements about speed and distance before deciding whether it is safe to enter the roundabout.  Using the cycle path, you have to do this both for traffic approaching the roundabout from one direction, and for traffic exiting the roundabout onto this road coming from the opposite direction.  And, of course, many motorists do not indicate their intention to exit a roundabout.  They should do – always – but if they are in the left lane exiting via the next exit, many don’t bother.

There is an inherent risk factor as a cyclist when entering and exiting roundabouts  You are vulnerable and some motorists just don’t look.  I have just read about this case and the CTC’s excellent Road Justice campaign.  But at least motorists know where they are supposed to look.  Most motorists who exit a roundabout think they have done all their careful looking for the time being and are only thinking of accelerating through the gears.  Many haven’t indicated their intention to leave the roundabout anyway, and they are certainly not expecting cyclists to be crossing their path.

The path running adjacent to the roundabouts is a dual-use cycle/pedestrian one.  If it’s difficult to cross each road on two wheels, taking less than half the time to get from one side to the other than a pedestrian, one thing I will never do is attempt to do this on foot.

Risk is part of life, however you travel.  Despite these roundabouts (it’s very difficult to avoid them without adding several more miles to the route) my commute on two wheels is an enjoyable way to start and end the day, infinitely better than sitting on the A127 and certainly much better for the environment:

endomondo commute - 05.06.13

Sunday 02.06.13 – Fiddlers Hamlet (Part Two)

Thanks, Adrian – ride report for the rest of Sunday’s ride:

The ride to lunch took a scenic route, approaching via Toot Hill. From there on, was a real roller-coaster of fast sweeping descents and sharp following rises. Most of the group had packed sandwiches but the two of us who hadn’t found the soup-and-roll good quality and value. We ate al-fresco enjoying the warm sunshine. After lunch it was a retrace to Toot Hill through the cool, dark woodlands then on to Blackmore for tea, where we bumped into Graham and his daughter Natalie, out on a training-up mission.

Sunday 02.06.13 – Fiddlers Hamlet (Part One)

Seven of us gathered at Fairfield Road, deciding that another bright and breezy day looked promising.  Janette and Brian led us out towards Writtle, then Margaretting, Ingatestone, Mountnessing, and Hutton.

After a pleasant, gentle climb through the sun-dappled trees, we arrived promptly for elevensies at the Thorndon Country Park visitor centre (  Very reasonable prices, I thought, with a large lemon cake and coffee for £2.50.  An emphasis on sustainability, which you might expect, as it’s run by the Essex Wildlife Trust.  But that sits very nicely with the notion of using pedal power to get there.  I like the idea of stacking your used cup for recycling – Janette did the honours for all of us in a blink of an eye.

And this was where I turned back today with jobs to do before returning to work tomorrow after a holiday.  So I turned right back towards Hutton while the other six went on to Fiddlers Hamlet for lunch.  I’m hoping there’ll be a report to follow.

I pressed on for home – pretty much back the way we came and was soon heading up London Hill towards Galleywood Common.  Unlike last week, I’d only done a steady 30 miles or so this time, so it wasn’t quite so much of a struggle.  This was today’s route, then:

CTC Thorndon Park