Some Ride reports

Sorry I haven’t posted for a while – here are some ride reports. You guys with the cameras can supply the images if you have them:

Chelmsford Ride Report 29 December 2013

Following a spell of mild wet weather the sharp overnight frost had spread an icy layer over most of the ground. Half expecting the ride to be off, I arrived at the start to find four others who had also failed the intelligence test. It was agreed that we would use gritted roads as far as possible, and abort the ride if conditions proved dangerous. Over the years I’ve had a few tumbles in the ice and seen others badly hurt having theirs, so I was particularly cautious as we began the untreated ascent of Wickham Bishops. The black ice at Snows Corner had me bracing the bike with my foot as I attempted to stop and by the time we reached Perrywoods my nerves were sufficiently jangled to call a halt to the proceedings. John and Margaret met us there having presumably travelled sure-footedly on their tandem trike. I was sorry to call a “safety return” on salted roads, but reluctantly, I did. We took the main road to Kelvedon and the (ice free) A12 cycle track back to town. As least wed had a run out.

Chelmsford Ride Report 5 January 2014

Would you Christmas Eve it? Another Sunday with another frosty start. Not so bad this week, however the main hazard was of course flooding. Nevertheless, four brave souls headed out towards Hatfield Heath taking the High Easter route to avoid the waterlogged lanes around Willingale and Birds Green, which I had reconnoitred earlier in the week and found to be impassable. Regular readers of my twaddle will recall that last year I suffered bodily injury and expensive damage to my bike at the hands of a submerged pothole, so imagine my delight when Dave S. put himself forward as “pilot” at the first long flood we came to. The floods seemed to result in the main from agricultural run-off onto the roads, combined with blocked ditches and could occur pretty well anywhere, and not in the most logical places. Thus the expected difficulties at the un-bridged ford near Canfield never materialised, however, the B183 between Hatfields Broad-Oak and Heath had a good deep covering due it would seem to an over-flowing moat (they have big houses out that way). After most welcomed Elevenses three of us tackled the ride to lunch, detouring around the anticipated inundated sections and taking ourselves up to the forty-two-mile mark in doing so. Again, Dave S earned a gallantry medal as we followed him through a long flood, which turned a blind corner. Approaching The Viper we met with Dave Russell coming the other way, stopped for a brief chat and transacted various items of CTC business. Arriving late at the pub had its good side: we got a table at which we sampled some very fine beer and home made celeriac soup. It all turned out OK in the end.

CCMG Ride Report 2 February 2014

In the wake of many days of torrential rain, ten optimistic starters mustered at the Civic Theatre. I was standing in for Diana who had received a bit of a bashing the preceding Thursday, whilst falling off her bike. I led armed only with a rough idea, making-it-up as I went, which a few of the more experienced hands soon detected.  Flood avoidance was the name of the game and I narrowly missed a deep ford with some guidance from behind, to arrive eventually at Blackmore with 20 miles clocked up. The weather was sunny and mild and a soft yellow light bathed the countryside in a stripy glow.

We met the SEG at Blackmore Tearooms, together with a number of other groups. The staff at this highly esteemed cycling Mecca struggled at first with the rush but coped well in the end. Diana met us there, too and took over the navigating. We detoured around Bovinger to miss the aptly named Watery Lane, arriving on time for lunch at the Chequers, Matching Green. This pub is flat-out gastro these days and charged £6.50 for soup and around £4 for bitter. On the plus side, you can get a decent bottle of Tattinger if you have the readies and the service and cooking standards are excellent. We had covered nearly 40-miles getting there, taking in several flooded stretches but those we were to meet on the final leg to Writtle were a good deal deeper and longer. Nevertheless, it was a pleasant afternoon and the Wilkins people allowed us in with 15 minutes to spare before their 4 p.m. closing time. It was 59 miles in my own case, with just a touch of trench foot to remember it by.

Adrian Leeds

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