I was pleasantly surprised that five riders had turned out and the six of us made our way out of Chelmsford in a light rain. I think there were groans about me taking them up Swan Lane to Stock but there would be plenty more hills to come! The good news was the rain had given up and moved off.
The route to the Café in the Park at Brentwood was based on that used by the Southend Section of the Forty Plus so easy on the memory. After refreshments in the almost empty cafe Martin decided to return home.
Our exit from Brentwood took us through the new housing on the old Warley hospital site. It is a confusing route and at one stage I did get confused! It was soon sorted and we crossed the A12 and the M25 getting into unfamiliar territory. The two things we noticed was the increase in the amount of traffic and the terrain had got rather lumpy.
From Chigwell Row onwards I was familiar with the area and knew we would encounter more traffic.
Charles Dickens was a frequent visitor to Chigwell and declared it “the greatest place in the world … Such a delicious old inn opposite the church … such beautiful forest scenery … such an out of the way rural place!” Things have changed and even the old pub he renamed The Maypole in his literature is now a Turkish restaurant.
Loughton High Road was one big queue of motors, which we filtered by to get to The Last Post. The Wetherspoons pub was once the town’s post office. As always the food and drink was good value especially considering the previous Sunday I was charged £4.70 for a pint of beer on the SEG ride to Dungeness in Kent.
Our escape from Loughton involved a steep hill immediately after lunch! By the time we got to Theydon Bois I think everyone had worked out the likely route back. There was less traffic but still stupid antics from some drivers. Today’s bigger cars on the same narrow roads results in several broken door mirrors in the gutters!
Blackmore Tea Rooms was our afternoon stop. The ride post mortem declared it was different! It was difficult to judge whether the traffic level was the usual for a Sunday or higher because of Father’s Day or the getting into position to the watch the football World Cup. I go along with the saying “Try anything once except incest or Morris dancing”