Another lovely, bright, crisp, cold day for a bike ride. 33 of us gathered on Drury Lane, and Mick instructed us to split into 3 equal groups of 11. The middle group was led by Ian and tailed by Alan.
We pedalled off through the market, down to Millennium Way, and turned left half way along, taking the dual-use path to Cressing Road. We crossed the park and came out on Clay Pits, near Marks Farm Tesco. We followed the main road, until it joined the A120, where we took the footpath to the left turn down towards Stisted.
From Stisted we headed south, in brilliant sunshine, with the light bouncing off the wet road. I was glad I was wearing my sun visor, as the sun was low in the sky, and my blue eyes mean I’m sensitive to intense light. Health & Safety tip for the day, is to consider whether getting a sun visor would reduce the amount of refracted light entering your eyes and help you see clearly when you are on your bike.
We crossed back over the A120 and took the small country lanes to Silver End. Here today’s interesting conversation was with Steve, about different companies attitude to activity and exercise. He used to work for Lucas, who in the 1960s, were way ahead of their time for staff welfare. They started their working day with an exercise session, followed by a game of football! Then they had a tea break and started work. This made me think about other community football games I’d been involved in. As a teenager, I belonged to a youth club that had an annual football match with the local church. The youth team was the Saplings – and the older men from the church were the Venerables. One year we had an elderly clergyman acting as referee – who spent the entire game referring to the teams as the Saplings and the Venereals! No-one thought to correct him!
We arrived at Cressing Temple for our tea break, having only done 10 miles. The tea room had a different system to previously, and this worked really well. We ordered and paid at the till on arrival, and our orders were delivered to us at the table. This seemed to make the service very fast. Having warmed up and revitalised ourselves, Ian led us right out of Cressing Temple, then left so that we crossed the B1018 at a staggered junction, heading towards White Notley station. This brought us out at the bottom of the hill, to toil up towards Black Notley. I read somewhere that the name derivation for Notley is Nut Wood, and that when places have the prefix black and white, it means when there snow, black indicates the snow will not linger, and white indicates the area where it accumulates.
Before we reached Black Notley, we turned left, following more delightful lanes to pick up Route 16 back to the old A131. As we had only done about 16 miles, Ian offered to add a loop before returning home. About 5 of our group went straight home, but the remaining 6 turned left at Youngs End and returned via Bartholomew Green and Rayne, and my favourite Flitch Way back home.
Wonderful bike ride – 23 miles, 2 hours 27 pedalling time. Thank you to all participants.