Today dawned bright but with a cold north wind, considering it was the first Thursday in June. About 35 Easy Riders congregated on Drury Lane, behind Sainsbury’s, before dividing into 3 groups, for our ride, heading north. Adrian led the longest ride, with me as the tail rider, for our group of 13 riders. Mick and Bill led the shorter two group rides.
As we are becoming more aware of our public profile and our consequence compliance with the Highway Code, we obediently walked our bikes thorough the town centre, only mounting our cycles at the bottom of Panfield Lane, before taking the quiet route through the housing estate on the north side of Braintree. I think we were on Bailey Bridge Road, when we went past a group of youngsters participating in bike training, and I hope we were exemplary in our correct riding to the Highway Code. I gave them a wave anyway! We rejoined Panfield Lane and headed out to Panfield, Jaspers Green, Church End and Blackmore End.
The day was warming up by now and it was a delightful route on quiet roads heading towards Hedingham Road, north of Gosfield. As usual, Mick had plotted the route to include a short part on a bridleway, which was drying out after the recent rain, and was now a bit rutted, growing copious nettles. The sensible contingent of 4 women at the back of this group decided to walk and push our bikes, as none of us wanted to fall in the nettles! Ed - some of the men thought it was the outback!
As tail rider, I have to commend Brian, Ann and Jim D for waiting at the junctions until the last riders came into sight. It made it really easy for me as tail rider, as I was able to concentrate on where riders were, and other traffic, rather than chasing to keep up. Thank you.
We arrived at Yvonne's cafe, to find the middle distance group had arrived before us, and were already tucking into their refreshments. The Easy Riders are rebuilding our relationship with this café, as we have upset them in the past by turning up in one large group and overwhelming them. This time we successfully staggered our arrival time so they were able to keep on top of the queue length and waiting times. We need to keep different cafes onside with us as, particularly in winter, we need venues that are large enough to seat us all when we are cold and tired. As we left I wished them well and hoped they had made plenty of profit (that is their purpose after all!) and the staff member smiled and said she thought they had.
It was a shorter route back, but at one stage, Adrian led us along a long straight road, then turned right for about 100m followed by a U-turn, back to the straight road. Next he almost immediately went left for 50m and gave us another U-turn, then back to the straight road. Gael sagely observed that perhaps Adrian was trying to write his name (Pitt) on Strava (route tracking IT) on the way home, and this little diversion certainly would have looked like a ‘t’.
Ed - we had a 10% casualty rate on the ride as we lost Compo - hard to miss I know. Apparently he carried on talking at the cafe and missed which way we went. The ladies at the cafe sent him the wrong way - what a good bribe that was ;-)
Another 24 miles in good company. A good bike ride.