CTC bike maintenance sessions in November

In the summer, I posted about the popular ‘entry level’ rides for everyone organised as part of the CTC ‘Cycle Champions’ initiative.  Regular rides still leave Riverside Ice and Leisure on Thursdays and Saturdays.

Richard Monk has emailed with news of CTC bike maintenance sessions run at Riverside on four dates in November:

  • Saturday 2 November – 9.30am – 12.30 (beginner)
  • Tuesday 12 November – 6pm – 9pm  (beginner)
  • Saturday 16 November – 9.30am – 12.30 (beginner)
  • Monday 18 November – 6pm – 9pm (basic plus)

Bike maintenance session 1 Nov 12 - 12 compressed

He says ‘The beginner sessions cover:

  • Tips on maintaining your bike
  • The basics of brakes
  • A full run-down of fixing a puncture – and you get to have a go (promise: I can do it so anyone can)

The basic plus sessions are aimed at people who can already fix a puncture and just want more of an introduction to brakes and gears.

We have funding from Essex County Council Highways and have been able to keep the costs down to £15 for the beginner and £25 for the basic plus.

For more details, contact Richard Monk on 01206 506412 or email.

We will be running more in the New Year, so if you want to be added to the list of interested people get in touch. Or what about getting a voucher for your loved-one this Christmas?’

More details are available about these sessions, and about other ‘Cycle Champions’ initiatives around the county, from the main CTC website:


And finally for now, this is an interesting and meticulous bike lights test from road.cc.  What you want to see is what you get, and this lets you do just that and easily compare one against another:


Stage 3 Tour de France – Monday 07.07.14

Thanks to Martin for the prompt ride report with the picture that nicely answers the question, ‘What can you do that is safe and legal next to a disused red telephone box on a blustery Sunday morning?’ OK, admittedly not a question you hear very often.

Peter and I took more or less the same route back from Sawbridgeworth, just without the lunch stop loop. Peter turned off right towards Ingatestone; I continued to Roxwell and Writtle:


The big news this week was the announcement of the route of stage 3 of ‘le tour’ from Cambridge to London.  Fairly well buried on the official site, this is it:

Click to access 2mb-version.pdf

What great news for every Essex rider who cycles these lanes, to see the top 180 pro-tour riders thundering through from Saffron Walden to Finchingfield, Felsted, Great Waltham, Roxwell and off towards Ongar before heading for the capital. Not for them elevenses at the Blue Egg or the Station Cafe at Rayne. They don’t know what they’re missing!

Sunday Ride – 27 October 2013 – Allens Green

Horror stories in the media of an impending hurricane and torrential rain must have weighed heavily on our regular riders as there were only four of us at the start for today’s ride to Allens Green.  Of course another explanation may be that they turned up at 9am BST rather than GMT!

The early morning rain had stopped and we set off in bright sunshine, led by Dave on an excellent route of about 20 miles using the lanes to Hatfield Heath for elevenses.  Some sections into the strong squally SW wind were quite tough.

Peter had a puncture in Hatfield Broad Oak which he and Dave fixed in next-to-no time.


A quick puncture repair job at Hatfield Broad Oak.  Left to right: Phil, Dave and Peter.

At Hatfield Heath the teashop was overflowing with cyclists and there was no chance of finding a table so we headed on to the excellent Shed café Sawbridgeworth.

Only Dave and I were able to continue to lunch at Allens Green, following which we headed back to Chelmsford.  Rain squalls for the first 7 miles or so were not too pleasant but with the wind behind us after Birds Green we had an enjoyable fast run back into Roxwell.

We arrived back at about 3.45 having covered 56 miles.

Here is a link to my Strava record of the ride: http://www.strava.com/activities/91637141


October 20 Ride

The morning was mild, windy, overcast and threatening to get wet. I’d set off in the dry but when the rain arrived, it was hard and sudden, as if I’d ridden into a car wash by mistake. Thunderstorms and strong winds had been forecast. I stopped immediately and put on my jacket. Completing the ride-to-the-start I was just thinking, “no-one will be out in this weather” when I spotted Diana, Dave, John and Martin who had also failed the intelligence test and were sheltering in the doorway of the Civic Theatre.  We waited for the squall to blow over, then set off for Perrywoods. The sun and rain alternated, causing me to take off/put on/take off my jacket and my new “rain legs”  – mildly testing the patience of the others.

The weather turned fine and mild. The late start, delays and Diana’s puncture would have seen the group a long way behind schedule, however, the propulsive tailwind, shot us to elevenses only 15 minutes late. The savoury scones were superb; I had “stilton-and-walnut”. We met Beryl at Perrywoods, so six of us went on to a revised lunch stop at The Old Queens Head, Ford Street, a good choice as it turned out, providing light meals and baguettes as options. After lunch we battled the head-wind home, omitting a possible tea-stop at Coggeshall to save time as the sky blackened ahead. It was to no avail; we incurred a proper soaking on the final leg, before getting home to dry out with 58 autumnal miles logged in my almanac.

Adrian LeedsImage

Sunday Ride – 20th October 2013 – Ford Street

Five of us gathered at the Town Hall despite the appalling weather. We took shelter under the theatre canopy whilst we decided whether we really wanted to cycle in these conditions.  After 15 minutes the rain subsided and our leader Adrian led us off on the long route to Boreham  via Sandford Mill and Hammonds Road.  Our persistence was paying off and we enjoyed a dry sunny morning. We headed by the normal route to Tiptree in the course of which John and Adrian did the climb to Wickham Bishops twice.  Diana had a puncture at the bottom of the hill but they hadn’t realised this and carried on to the top before turning back.

Beryl met us for elevenses at Tiptree and joined us for the rest of the ride. We decided to change the lunch destination in view of the rain expected later and headed for Ford Street via Messing and Copford.  We decided to abandon a tea stop as we could see the gathering dark clouds approaching and thought we should get home asap. As it turned out if we had opted for a tea stop at Notley Golf Club we might have sat out the rain.  Instead we got a soaking for the last 8 miles into Chelmsford and of course the rain stopped as soon as we arrived!

Anyway we had a mostly very enjoyable ride – 57 miles altogether.

Here is my Strava  record of the ride:



Ride to Horseheath (Cambs) Sunday 6 October 2013

Nine riders assembled at the Town Hall on a fabulous sunny morning and we were very pleased to see Helen out for her second ride with the Group. Our elevenses destination was Finchingfield, and we took a less than direct route using minor roads via Little Leighs, Rayne and Shalford. The countryside looked idyllic in the autumn sunshine. An idiotic young driver going far too fast round a blind bend on a narrow lane forced me onto the verge and narrowly missed the rest of the group.

Finchingfield was swarming with bikers and cyclists, no doubt encouraged by the warm sunshine. Luckily we had arrived just in time to avoid the rush in the café and were pleased to be joined by Peter T who came on to lunch with us at Horseheath.


Chelmsfordcity CTC riders at Finchingfield today (excluding myself of course!)

(Note: if you click on the photo you can see the full-sized version)

The Old Red Lion at Horseheath is highly recommended with great food and service. Even though they really focus on the carvery on Sunday they still made up some excellent meat sandwiches for us and the soup I had was top-notch.

We returned via Ashdon ,Radwinter and Thaxted (taking in an excellent off-road but very rideable section near Wimbish Green) and stopped at the Tilty Church flower festival for tea and cake.
We returned to Chelmsford by our usual route having clocked up 73 miles.

Here are my Strava records:

AM http://www.strava.com/activities/87252650

PM http://www.strava.com/activities/87330509