Sunday Ride to Elsenham and Monk Street 19 September 2017

The Farleigh Hospice charity ride had no doubt had its impact on our group but only 4 riders set off on our scheduled ride led by John B. The weather was chilly and dull with the overnight mist having lifted into low cloud.

The ride to Elsenham Golf was along familiar roads which were busy with cyclists. Just after High Roding we were overtaken by a swarm of Essex Roads riders which was slightly intimidating. As one passed me he said “sorry mate” – I’m not quite sure what he had done but it was a nice touch!

Near Great Canfield two of the charity event riders were dealing with a puncture. As we passed we asked if they were OK but they were not. They had no spare tubes and no pump, just two gas canisters which had both been used. After supplying a tube and a pump, they were back on the road and we continued to Elsenham.

At elevenses some debate took place about the original lunch destination, Wendens Ambo and we all agreed to head for Monk Street instead. The pub there is great – good beer, friendly reception and the sort of snack food we like at lunchtime.

After another debate we agree Rayne station as the tea stop. By this time the sun was out and the world was a much nicer place. The route was via Lindsell, Lubberhedges Lane and for Dave R and me a good stretch on the Flitch Way. John and Dave S chose the road route but we arrived simultaneously at the tea stop.

Back at Chelmsford my computer showed about 57 miles. Here is a link to my Strava record:



Sunday Ride to Abberton Reservoir and Copford 6 August 2017

A lovely sunny morning but only four of us turned up for the ride today. The first leg to Abberton was a little longer than our normal ride to elevenses at about 24 miles. This is slightly longer than the minimum distance but I wanted to avoid busy roads where possible. However we made good time and arrived at 11:07. The Essex Wildlife visitor centre has a very good café and we enjoyed sitting outside overlooking the reservoir.

The next leg to Copford was hard to plan as it’s only about 5 miles away but we managed to make it 9 miles! There we were joined by three more of our colleagues for lunch at the Alma which is now serving the lighter snacks again on Sunday lunchtime.

As we had not used it before I identified Cressing Barns as our tea stop and we rode there via Great Tey and Coggeshall with an increasing but manageable SW wind.

Having fuelled ourselves with cake and copious tea we set off for Chelmsford and I arrived back with about 63 miles on the clock.

Here is a link to my Strava record of the ride:

And you might find this an interesting presentation of it:



Sunday Ride to Nayland 11 June 17

Only five of us gathered at City Hall for this ride with numbers reduced by various other events and holidays. The weather was bright and breezy and we were pleased to welcome a new rider Ravi for his first outing with our group.

Marks Tey was our destination for elevenses which we reached via Terling Whitam Kelevedon and Messing making a first leg of 26 miles. With a bit of wind assistance we managed to get there just after 11am.

At elevenses there were a dozen members, which was very nice but a bit of a shame that more of us had not ridden there together. Six of us set off for Nayland but John B had to peel off en route to get home. At the Anchor Inn we were well served, if a bit slowly due to the number of customers there.


Preparing to leave The Anchor Inn at Nayland

The return to Chelmsford was hard going due to an increasing SW wind. We had a pleasant tea stop at Paycocks NT in Coggeshall and I arrived home with 72 miles on the clock.

Here is a link to my Strava record:


Sunday 8 January – Ride to BHN Pot Plants and Maldon

Despite a typical drab early January day 8 riders turned up for the start. Our elevenses destination at BHN Pot Plants is too near for the first leg of a full day’s ride so I led the group on an indirect route via Writtle, Loves Green, Fryerning, Ingatestone and Hanningfield reservoir. We took in the lane via Warren Road and Chalk Street which makes a nice alternative to the relatively busy road to South Hanningfield.

At elevenses we met up with 4 more riders but 3 went home before the 9 remaining set off for lunch at Maldon. I had been off cycling for 4 weeks, so I was not on peak form and even in normal circumstances that peak is pretty low! So I rued having included in the route the demanding hill up Edwin’s Hall Road to the radio masts. The rest of the group had already been encouraged not to stay behind me and duly waited at the top.

At lunch our numbers were boosted further when we met up with Brian and John D at The Rose and Crown. By the time we left the sun was shining and the dull day had turned into an exceptionally pleasant one for the time of year.

Gradually the group dispersed on the return to chelmsford with 3 riders having tea at Bunsey Downs.

I arrived home with 49 miles on the clock.

Here is a link to my strava record:


Sunday Ride to Monk Street – 4 December 2016

With Mel having kept this blog going for a few weeks (thanks Mel!) it’s about time I did my bit again.

Wow – what a wonderful day it was today with clear blue sky all day and only a light easterly wind. Maybe the slight early frost put a few people off which is a shame as we had no problems with slippery surfaces at all. Consequently only 4 of us started from the City Hall.

The trip to elevenses at Bretts in White Roding is a bit short for the first leg, so I put in some loops south and north of the A414 before taking our normal route via Birds Green and Abbess Roding.

About a mile before we got there I stopped briefly to fiddle with my GPS which had turned itself off. I didn’t need it for navigation but it was recording the route so I wanted it on again. However it was a bad move as Dave S looked round to see what I was doing and promptly fell off after an altercation with the verge. He was fine but his front mudguard had become detached and took a bit of re-fixing.

At Bretts we were seriously outnumbered by about 50 riders from the Crest CC. Fortunately we had arrived slightly ahead of them and our service was not affected.

The ride to lunch at Monk Street took us close to Hatfield Broadoak then via Takely, Molehill Green and Broxted. We kept up a reasonable pace despite my relatively poor performance on the hills which are significant around Broxted.

Lunch at the Farmhouse Inn was a cosy affair as our numbers had now swollen to 6 with Dave R and John D having joined us. It was very busy and we were lucky to get a table in a nook opposite the bar.

Having finished by about 1.20 we decided to head off to Chelmsford. Unfortunately by doing so we missed John B who unbeknown to us arrived to join us at 1.30.

The ride back was via Lindsell and Felsted with Dave R and John B peeling off at appropriate points to head for home.

I arrived home around 3.15 with 56 miles on my computer.

Here is a link to my Strava record:


Sunday ride to Matching Tye 16 October 2016

The early morning rain prompted my wife to ask me what I would do if I got to the start for this ride which I was down to lead and found nobody there. I said I would probably come home, thinking it would probably be still raining. Her question proved prophetic and I was on my own at the start but as I really wanted the exercise and the rain was easing I decided to follow the route I had planned anyway.

With elevenses at Blackmore it’s a bit tricky to make the first leg long enough, but by looping around a bit I arrived there with 18 miles on the clock. I’m glad I carried on because Mel arrived there at the same time to join the ride, asking where the rest of the group was which I couldn’t explain. Particularly so as the forecast proved correct and the weather was now dry and bright.

Mel and I then had a very enjoyable ride to the Fox Inn at Matching Tye with some welcome wind assistance. This hostelry is really excellent for a cyclist lunch stop with good beer and no fuss about not having a Sunday roast.

Heading for The Snug at High Easter for threeses we took in the attractive link past Matching Church then via Matching Green to White Roding in bright sunshine.

We managed to dodge a nasty black cloud which passed us to the west as we made our way back to Chelmsford in dry conditions. I had 55 miles on the clock on arriving home at 4pm after a good ride with good company. Thanks Mel – without you I might well have gone home from Blackmore.

Here is a link to my Strava record, although it was switched off from Blackmore to Stondon Massey!


Sunday Ride to Lamarsh 1 May 2016

A frosty start to the day, but by 9am the brilliant sunshine had warmed things up nicely and six of us set off from the City Hall heading for elevenses at Greenstead Green farm shop.  We kept up a reasonable pace and arrived there just after 11am.

Sadly the service there left something to be desired with the orders arriving incomplete and cutlery only provided as an afterthought (and with some prompting).  My toasted teacake was the worst I have ever had – dry and leathery.  You could say ‘stale’!  I registered my opinion with the girl at the till who said she would inform the chef.  Personally I can’t imagine any chef having played any part in creating such a teacake!

Norman went back but we were joined by John on his recumbent trike for the next stage to Lamarsh via Pebmarsh.  At the Lion Inn we had excellent service, great beer and an enjoyable lunch with no ‘sorry we only do Sunday roasts’ to cope with.  This really is a great pub for a lunch stop with excellent views across the Stour valley.


The narrow back-roads I had chosen for the ride back to White Colne were not really ideal for John’s trike but luckily we didn’t meet any oncoming traffic on the narrowest sections.  John had inadvertently taken a route of his own down into Earls Colne but we all managed to meet up again for tea at the Paycocks NT property in Coggeshall – a new watering hole for our group and an excellent one at that.  The garden looked spectacular with a wonderful display of tulips.


Tom and John left us to make their ways home and the rest of us made our way back to Chelmsford via Kelvedon and Wickham Bishops. 

A great day’s cycling under sunny skies.  I recorded just over 60 miles.

Here is a link to my Strava record: