The clocks went forward in the night, it was a wet morning, the forecast was dire and I had a cold. Who in their right mind would even think about getting up an hour earlier and going out today? However when you are down to lead you have to make the effort. So I togged up with all my wet weather gear and ventured to the town hall expecting no-one to be there. I hadn’t counted on Dave R though so the two of us set off for Heybridge in the steady rain.
We took the cycle track to Chelmer Village and made for Little Baddow via Hammonds Lane, then Ulting and Doe’s Corner. Close to the former Wickham Bishops station Dave suggested I might like to see the old timber railway viaduct. So we parked our bikes and walked to the site of this very interesting and preserved listed structure.
Timber Railway Viduct
For safety’s sake I had taken with me from my cycle bag a small plastic bag containing my wallet. In order to take a few photos I temporarily placed this bag on a bridge beam, the significance of which will become apparent.
Having got into sightseeing mode we then went off-piste again to visit the disused ancient church, just off Langford Road. Dave’s local knowledge makes rides like this interesting and rewarding. I had not been aware of either of these historic buildings let alone having seen them.
Disused Church near Wickham Bishops
The same applied to Langford Park which provides an excellent off-road alternative to the B1019 to reach Heybridge. We continued the off-road theme taking the canal towpath to reach the scheduled elevenses stop at Heybridge Basin.
We were ready for our elevenses after 22 miles in the rain but as I went to get my wallet from my bag I realised it was still on the railway viaduct (assuming nobody else had found it in the meantime). I felt I had to turn back to retrieve it asap. Dave was very understanding and rode straight back with me in the wind and rain. It was a great relief to find it still there and the bag was not full of water either. From there we decided to have lunch at Oliver’s Nursery in Witham and then headed back via Terling and Channels to Chelmsford. The rain had stopped but the wind was very strong and gusty – mostly in our faces. My cold and this wind were taking their toll on me and I was exhausted when I got home even after a relatively modest 41 mi
Before writing a short blog for yesterday’s ride, I thought I would add a photo to complement Adrian’s report of the ride to Finchingfield last week and then a few links to recent Strava records which have not been noted before.
Here is a photo of John’s new recumbent trike taken at Finchingfield last week:
Finchingfield 22 March (tea at Andrewsfield version): https://www.strava.com/activities/272375554
Sawbridgeworth and Andrewsfield 15 March: https://www.strava.com/activities/268652053
Lamarsh 1 March (my version!): https://www.strava.com/activities/261614022
We had 9 starters despite the very chilly conditions. I took the slightly longer Waltham route only to learn that Belsteads Farm Lane is now once again open to traffic. After Stisted, it was through the lanes to Bocking and across to busy A131 to the Roundwood Garden Centre Café. I think its worth a mention that we received an enthusiastic welcome there and the tea-and-cake deal was amazingly cheap – £2.20.
John and Margaret had already arrived, so 11 had elevenses and out of those, 7 went to lunch. Going to Finchingfield I avoided the traffic by keeping to the small lanes via the aptly named Rotten End (if you are talking about the condition of the road surface), and Walthams Cross, arriving at the Red Lion in good time for a hearty lunch of baguettes so generously built that some shared one between two and those who didn’t were usually unable to polish them off. After lunch we paused briefly to admire Mr. Davis’ new recumbent – a very classy machine. Having fought off a headwind on the way out I was dismayed to find that it had turned around and was still against us on the return. Threeses was a matter of individual choice: some went to Andrewsfield and some straight home but three of us rode the 16-mile leg to High Easter for teas and thence home, stopping a few times along the way to pump up Mel’s slow puncture. An enjoyable run of dead on 60 miles for me – plenty enough in the cold breeze.
Here’s a different view of the same ride – just to prove I was telling the truth…..
Sunday Ride to Lamarsh 1 March 2015
It was a bright sunny morning with the wind pushing nine riders to elevenses. 20 miles later we met John D at Greenstead Green.
With two returning the remainder of us were led north by Adrian. This involved some mucky lanes but we were entertained by a number of deer charging across a field at one point.
The Lion at Lamarsh wasn’t doing sandwiches or baguettes but fortunately the soup was very good. Eagle eyed Dave spotted the bar was actually a piece of ex-church furniture. Good to see a bit of recycling going on.
On leaving the pub we were confronted by a number of hills but the views of Suffolk bathed in sunlight across the Stour valley were excellent. At Bures a couple of us arrived early and deliberately crossed the bridge to claim we’d been to Suffolk! Martin was last seen making a turn off Adrian’s route and didn’t reappear until threeses at Perrywood.
Coming back through Hatfield Peverel I notice my rear tyre was under inflated so did a pump up. I moved off swiftly and Jason got in front to take the brunt of the head wind down the old A12 through Boreham. At one stage we hit 20 mph but by the Boreham Interchange Jason had tired so I stopped for another pump up. Oddly, the tyre still seemed rather hard. With the others still not in sight we headed into Chelmsford.
With the ride being on three Landranger Maps I expected it to be a 60 miler and sure enough my computer clocked up just over 62 miles. (Mel)
As the saying goes, “a pinch and a punch for the first of the month”; the temperature did less pinching than of late but the punch was delivered for sure by a steady south westerly wind. The bright morning had lured out nine riders and we were whisked along in the direction of Lamarsh, making Greenstead Green in good time for elevenses, and meeting John there. Two turned back so eight remained to enjoy the wind assisted ride along the roller-coaster of lanes, (some very pitted and muddy) which led us towards lunch. Somewhere near Colne Engaine, we paused to admire a herd of deer, steeple chasing across a fenced paddock.
At the lion Inn there are no sandwiches on a Sunday but starters from the lunch menu did the job before we began the return journey into the wind. The fast run out had given us a good time margin, so Perrywoods was chosen for threesies with the massive cake portions making up for any deficiency in the lunch diet. The wind rose a little as the afternoon wore on and it was hard going in the final ten miles against the “on-the-nose” breeze but at least I got in before the heavy rain began. 63 miles and a mainly enjoyable winter run.