It was only six weeks ago we visited Matching Tye but the pub is very good.
With no access to the car I headed out of Wickford with the SEG but soon turned off for Blackmore to meet up with the Chelmsford Group. Six riders led by Dave Southin arrived about five minutes after me. Dave Russell was looking at this lady in Lycra and asked how can women look so elegant when we look like a load of tramps? I got his point and I don’t think Adrian has ever described himself has svelte!
Dave S took us on a short route to Matching Tye, which involved riding a bit of the A414. We arrived at The Fox early but the garden was already full of bikes. The six of us had to split up to find seats. I went for the smoked salmon sandwich and a Spitfire, which was quite expensive (£10.45) but as they say, I’m worth it! As we were leaving we noticed one group was from the Central London CTC. I found out later their ride was train assisted i.e. from Harold Wood and then back to Romford. Their route can be found on https://www.centrallondonctc.org.uk/map?m=1044
There was no interest in an afternoon tea stop so we headed back on a fairly direct route with me veering off at Willingale. I got home without having to use my lights and did about 10 miles more than the London group.
The day started well with six of us riding out of Chelmsford and I had the song Perfect Day playing in my head! Our route took us across Stow Maries Aerodrome where we met a large group of cyclists from Leigh on Sea.
I failed to get our group to The Fig Tree by 11 o’clock so we stopped about a half a mile short for two minutes silence.
John D and Dave R joined us at elevenses. After refreshment we all moved off with Eric and Heather intending to leave us on the way. Unfortunately at the bottom of Cromwell Hill Heather took a tumble. She made light of it and told us to continue.
We arrived at The Alma about 13:15 to find they were only doing Sunday roasts and they were full. After a brief discussion we decided to head for Perrywood Garden Centre. There we had light snacks (mainly scones) washed down by tea. With this being the 2nd ride in a row with no alcohol I’m becoming to wonder if we are becoming a temperance group!
After a combined “lunch” and tea stop we made our various ways back home. I had accumulated 62 miles when I got back to Chelmsford in failing light.
A beautiful clear blue sky but what an icy wind!
Eight riders assembled in Chelmsford and were led by Martin on a 23 mile route to Timbers at Blake End. The place was so popular the queue came out through the door. The Chelmer CC was in front of us and they had followed the Bishop Stortford CC. We got away just after noon and Martin selected a shorter route up to Finchingfield. On the way we met several other cycling groups including one rider wearing shorts!
Sadly our nominated pub, The Red Lion, was found closed so we decided to have lunch at the Wilkin Tea Room (Bosworths). Normally the village is awash with bikers but only the hardy ones were out today. It did mean the seven of us found a table easily.
By the time we were leaving the forecast rain had arrived. We left John D arranging a cover over his lawn mower like attachment and made our way to Rayne. It was only 14:35 when we got there so we decided to carry on to our original tea stop suggestion The Owls Hill Tea Room at Terling. It was a relief to get out of the cold and wet. There was some interesting discussion on the former use of the building and also on The Monkey opposite. This is the nickname of The Rayleigh Arms currently being refurbished. Lord Rayleigh’s coat of arms features a monkey!
When we came out after tea the rain had stopped. We dispersed in three different directions and by the time I was back at my car in Chelmsford I had done 59 miles.