Colchester CTC 100 – Sunday 29 September

I opted today for the CTC Essex 100k event organised by the Colchester Member Group.

A scheduled 8am start at the Bricklayer’s Arms in Colchester meant dragging myself out of bed a tad earlier than I would have chosen after a late night yesterday. But the fresh sunny morning looked really inviting and we were blessed with almost unbroken sunshine for the whole event.

An excellent turn-out of 60 riders was a just reward for the planning and organising by the Colchester Group, particularly Malcolm Mitchell who was the prime mover of this first big event for the local group.

The route took us up to Clare then Finchingfield, Kelvedon and back to Colchester. A delightful route only tarnished a bit by the unremitting headwind across the airfield towards Coggeshall.

I was not concentrating and missed a critical turning which resulted in a detour to Belchamp Walter and clocked up 110km according to Strava. A couple of stops for drinks and sandwiches, but I had about 30 minutes in hand against the 6 hour time limit.

My Strava record is here:

Well done Malcolm! Many thanks for all your hard work as organiser of a very successful event.


Sunday ride – 22 September to Burnham-on-Crouch

10 members participated today in muggy overcast conditions for a ride to Burnham. Keeping mainly to cycle routes out of Chelmsford we headed via generally quiet roads through Butts Green and East Hanningfield for our elevenses at Purleigh Roundbush. I say ‘quiet’, but for a couple of minutes just before East Hanningfield we encountered a large cycling road race in the opposite direction with maybe 50 odd riders, complete with car and motorcycle escorts.

We closed our minds to the traffic around Latchington and made for the peace of the country roads in the Dengie, particularly the loop out towards the east from Southminster and back to Burnham.

Having braved Latchington again on the return trip we headed for tea at BHN Pot Plants near Rettendon before making our way back to Chelmsford. 62 miles altogether.

These are links to my Strava record, but unfortunately they are in two parts with a short gap between Cold Norton and Stow Maries. This was caused by a problem with my phone.

Onset of Autumn?

Chelmsford Ride Report, 15 September

Our planned ride to Hare Street happened to coincide with the first of the autumn squalls with definite forecasts of high winds and heavy rain. Six riders who either hadn’t seen the forecast or in any case weren’t too bothered by it mustered at the start. So it was that Dave, Martin and I were joined by three new faces: Chris, Helen and John. We took the slightly longer route to Elsenham Golf Club where it was decided by a unanimous vote that we would not chance the weather on the long ride. I sent a text informing Peter Tibbetts, who was by then heading for Hare Street from the other direction, and we returned to base via Brick End and Dunmow, ahead of the worst of it with a shortened 45-miler chalked up.

Adrian Leeds

Farleigh Hospice Cycle for Life – 08.09.13

There is no doubt that charity and sportive rides have become so ubiquitous that you could easily take one on nearly every weekend of the year, and not have to travel particularly far to do it.  They vary, of course, in length, terrain and philosophy.

The Farleigh Hospice ‘Cycle for Life’ event ( is well-established, traditionally offering shorter distances of 20km and 50km and rooted very firmly in raising money through sponsorship. There are no timing chips or gpx downloads of the route – the map and directions are provided in printed form on the day.  I like the philosophy.  It’s just £10 to register, for which you are sent an information pack and t shirt.  There is no minimum sponsorship – all participants are just encouraged to do as much as they can, a formula that seems to work.  I have enjoyed doing the 50km rides in 2011 and 2012 (in 2011 I did it with my son, George, who managed the distance aged just 9).

This year, I signed up for the new 70km route that was offered, although the two shorter routes remained, ensuring an even wider appeal to all sorts of cyclists.  I have been raising money in memory of my grandma.  As a retired nurse, the hospice meant a lot as her retirement was spent raising money with her neighbour and nursing various family, friends and neighbours during their last few weeks of life.

The organisation was better than ever this year.  Signing in was straightforward and the route map referred to above was clear, with every change of direction detailed.  As always, a mechanic from Cycles UK was on hand, offering free checks before the event started.  He was kept busy!  The new longer route seemed to have attracted a few who perhaps considered the 50km route too short, and numbers grew steadily as the 8.30am start approached:

2013-09-08 08.19.14I wondered whether the 70km would simply comprise the 50+20, but instead we headed further afield, via Willingale and some of the Rodings to Hatfield Broad Oak (the 50km route includes all 7 Rodings) before returning via both Easters, Pleshey and Great Waltham.  The weather was perfect, which always helps, but the quiet lanes chosen were a delight – a big thumbs up!  In the end, there was no need to look at the map once – all turns were clearly signposted and the more major junctions were manned by cheerful volunteers.  Water/feed stations were helpfully placed and well-stocked (although I refuelled on the go).

One feature of the route I particularly liked was joining up with the 20km participants for the last 6 or 7 miles.  This was a reminder that the event appeals to just about everyone, young and old, who turns a pedal, and it was great to see families, in particular, enjoying themselves and feeling a sense of achievement.

Every rider was cheered back home at Farleigh, adjacent to Broomfield Hospital.  I got back at 11am, 2 and a half hours after starting off.  Refreshments were on offer and a Hog Roast would follow, although I headed off after collecting the certificate.  An excellent morning and, even though it’s on a Sunday(!) recommended.

My phone spontaneously shut down after 36 miles, but this is most of the route minus the final descent down the hill through Pleshey and Great Waltham (click on the map to enlarge or click here

Cycle for Life 70km

And here I am post-event:

Cycle for Life 08.09.13

Ride Report – Sunday 1 September – Maldon

Things seemed to be looking up for our Chelmsford City Member Group when 13 riders lined up at the start, and altogether 19 members took part today.

A ride to Maldon may look a bit tame being only about 11 miles from Chelmsford but our leader Brian (propelled by Jeanette on the back of his tandem) made sure we had covered 20 miles before elevenses at BHN Pot Plants and 30 by Lunch at the Queen’s Head on Maldon Quay.

I was thrilled to find that The Queen’s Head now stocks Otter Ale from East Devon which is one of my favourites.

Our ears and lungs were assaulted by noise and fumes respectively as about 20 Lambretta scooters left en masse from the quayside, which didn’t do a lot for the ambience of the place! Otherwise we had a nice relaxing lunchtime soaking up the sun and watching a seal swirling about in the river.


Our Group on Maldon Quay (less Adrian and Phil who had to leave early and myself for obvious reasons!)

After tea at Great Baddow we headed for home having covered a little under 50 miles. A shorter ride but very enjoyable.

Here is a link to my Strava record of the ride: