Today’s ride dawned on a day that was mercifully cooler, c25C, than the last few. There were plenty of Easy Riders (35) today, so we split into 3 groups of 11/12 each. Adrian led the first group, tailed by Mave; Jim led the middle group, tailed by Peter Skirrow; and Peter Short led the shortest group (Short by name, short by nature!), tailed by Ian.
Jim’s group pedalled south out of the town centre, crossing to Clare Road, over the walkway, down Guernsey Way and onto the Flitch Way. We went past Rayne station café and turned right onto Gatewood Lane (the last turning on the right before the bridge over the A120). As we cycled up the sweeping undulations of Pods Lane, Peter Skirrow said we were actually riding a section of the Tour de France, which came through Braintree in 2014. I have cycled this road many times, but Peter’s view was that it was a privilege to be able to ride a route that has the status of a Tour de France route. I’d not thought of our local environment in this way before.
At the top of Pods Lane, we turned left and right to cycle past Andrewsfield, then through Stebbing Green, followed by a right/left over the old A120. This brought us into Felsted from the north side, past the school, arriving at Felsted café. Our three groups arrived in well spaced groups, so the café was never overwhelmed by us. Ed – Adrian’s group split in to two due to a puncture so Alan, supported by Mave, led 8 Easy Riders on a ride out to Great Saling and around eventually to Felsted and Adrian supported Ann with her brother in laws puncture and then a short hop over to meet the rest of the guys at Felsted.
Section of 2014 Tour de France, Braintree section.
Safety tip for the day, is inspired by my new pedals. I’d worn out my old ones – indicated by a steady clicking as I cycled. So Jim ordered and fitted new ones – except these pedals and toe clips are metal, not composite, so they give a tinkling sound when the toe clip catches the ground, when I have not flicked them into place. It makes me very aware that I need to engage the toe clips promptly every time. I find toe clips useful as they give me more propulsion. I’ve tried cleats, but I’m not in favour of them, as I fall off too often! I have reduced rotation in my left ankle, and I can’t get my foot out quickly enough when stopping. However with my new metal pedals today, I noticed I position my right foot correctly, about half an inch from the union of the pedal/crank. However my left foot seems to be snug against the crank, and I have to fiddle around to correct the position. Maybe it’s making me aware of the need to be symmetrical on the bike.
After our tea break, we headed west, then turned south towards the old brewery. Before the brewery we turned left to Cock Green, and then headed north again back to Rayne Station where we dispersed to individual routes home.
I’d also like to make an appeal for more blog writers. I’d particularly like to hear from riders from our shortest group because I like to hear from the perspective of other riders. (In case anyone is worried about what to write, I normally describe the route, give a bit about an interesting conversation I had with someone, and a safety thought for the day – one of the ride leaders may give you a steer here). Ed – hear, hear Cathy more writers welcome
23 miles, 1 hour 48 minutes pedalling time.