Sunday Ride to Layer de la Haye 24th November 2013


We set off from the Town Hall heading for elevenses at Perrywoods in Tiptree.  With the annoying building work at Channels disrupting the route I would have chosen we instead went via Little Waltham to get to Terling.  In Witham we took NCR 16 alongside the railway to cut through to the road to Rivenhall, thereby avoiding traffic on Braintree road.  A useful cut though but it does involve dismounting to cross the Braintree branch line.

At Tiptree our group morphed into a much larger one with a total of 13 Chelmsford riders plus half a dozen from our sister CTC group in Colchester who joined us for the next stage.  We decided that Rowhedge was a bit too far given the short daylight hours and instead headed for the Donkey and Buskins at Layer de la Haye where we were very well served.


Riders preparing to leave Perrywoods (Photo thanks to Malcolm)

For tea we stopped on our return trip at the new Woodlands café South of Tiptree where sadly I couldn’t resist the delicious lemon meringue pie despite my best intentions.

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The residual group leaving The Woodlands (again thanks to Malcolm for the photo)

We arrived back in Chelmsford in the gathering gloom after an enjoyable 53 miles.

Here is the link to my Strava record


Sunday Ride – 10 November 2013

It was a cool, bright and breezy morning, contrasting sharply with the antecedent week, which had been dull and wet. I’d had a “late night” letting off fireworks and letting in wine. The blinding sunshine tempted out a dozen riders but the waterlogged lanes harboured the dreaded puncture fairy. My rear tyre suffered first, with Dave’s only a few hundred yards afterwards.  We gained Phil along the way and Beryl at elevenses (Heybridge basin) where I think we numbered fourteen. Despite initially running late, the Bell at Purleigh was reached by 1 p.m. Some riders opted to carry on from there without stopping. It was noted at lunch that Dave’s hands appeared to have been doing some coal mining (aluminium rim debris, actually was to blame). The final eight of us had afternoon tea at Bunsay Downs, returning home after a mercifully leisurely outing  – personally, I did 42 rather hazy miles at a very modest pace.

The route may be found here, (courtesy of Martin, thanks).

All the World’s a Velodrome

My son, George, aged 11 and occasional rider with our group, writes:

We have been studying the ‘All the World’s a Stage’ speech from Shakespeare’s ‘As You Like It’.  We had to write a poem with our own extended metaphor, so I wrote one called ‘All the World’s a Velodrome’.  Here it is.  I hope no-one is offended by the ‘Old legs in lycra…’ line!

All the world’s a velodromevelodrome_1

And all the men and women are merely cyclists.

They have their wins and their losses

And one man in his time wins many races,

His acts being seven stages.

At first, the toddler sans pedals, sans brakes

Watching his older brother, parents as stabilisers.

Then as a child being pushed off Into the dangers of life,

Parents ready to catch him when he wobbles and falls,

Tears and tantrums when they didn’t get there in time.

Then the dreamy  teenager keen to be out in the wooden ‘O’,

Taking to the boards in front of the crowd,

Arms aloft, ‘Look Mum, no hands!’

And then the angry  ‘rookie pro’ pedalling in fury

Dizzily circling, tumbling and splintering.

Each time a needle match, the whole world his rival.

Next the experienced ‘trackie’,

A perfect blend of man and machine,

Balancing on the steep banks, slowing,

Then sprinting , winning, national anthem playing

Into his 30s, time to retire!

Winning days over, Sunday cycling beckons,

Old legs in lycra, stopping for elevensies,

And finally, the last lap of life,

Watching his  younger grandson,

Now too old to cycle, sans pedals, sans brakes, sans bike.

Sunday Ride – 3 November 2013 – Thaxted and Henham

A very windy sunny morning greeted ten riders for today’s ride to Thaxted and Henham.  The day started inauspiciously when Eric had a puncture about 200yards into the ride, but after that we never looked back as we rode via Littley Green, Lees Priory, Felsted, Stebbing and Lindsel to our elevenses at the excellent Poppy’s Tearoom in Thaxted.  Having quenched our thirsts and downed a variety of toast, scones and toasted teacakes, four riders returned to Chelmsford.

Riding into the strong West-Southwesterly wind was tough at times on the more exposed sections, particularly as we headed for lunch at the Cock Inn in Henham where we were made very welcome.  A unanimous vote resulted in a decision to forego a tea stop and we headed back to Chelmsford via Takeley and High Easter.  At this stage the ride leader (me) rather lost any control he may have had, with the speed ratcheting up and the group getting stretched out at times.  On arrival at Chignal Road Dave looked at his watch and commented we should be getting back by 5pm not 3pm!  I’ll try to do better next time Dave.

Here is a link to my Strava record: