This week, there were about 35 Easy Riders, so we were divided into 3 groups of 11/12. We seem to have settled ourselves quite nicely into groups where the speed and distance suit the group members.
The middle group was led by Bill and tailed by me. The long group pedalled south from Drury Lane, and the middle and short group pedalled out north to Panfield Lane, where the middle group turned right down Rosemary Avenue, to ride through the housing estate to Deanery Hill. We made a good job of splitting into groups of 5 to ride north to the turn off for Panfield. Here I stopped for a brief chat with a volunteer litter picker for the area. I’ve wondered for a couple of years whether I should do my civic duty by the occasional litter pick as I get cross when I see a build-up of litter on the verges.
The ride then progressed through Jaspers Green, Shalford Green to Church End. Here we turned right and, well-spaced out, freewheeled down the hill, and took the little turning, Codham Mill Lane, to cross the River Pant. Codham Mill Lane has some sharp bends, and is a steep hill. Bill, as ride leader had dropped to the back, and commented that when he got lost on a 40 mile Friday ride, he came home this way, and was so tired he’d pushed his bike all the way up this hill. He was triumphant that all our group pedalled all the way up today. We headed due east towards Gosfield. Riding along this section, Bill spotted a group of about 8 deer, grazing a field and I saw a kite (identified by the deeply notched tail). I’ve seen kites around Beazley End a couple of times now.
Prior to turning right on to the A1017, running through Gosfield, Bill gave some good, clear instructions for safe riding up the hill to Gosfield Shopping Village. The fastest riders went first, riding south in pairs. As tail rider, it worked well for me, as although plenty of traffic came past us before we reached our turning to the left, there was plenty of space between the pairs of riders.
We arrived at Gosfield Shopping Village to discover the shortest group had arrived before us, and were tucking into their tea and buns. Our 3 groups staggered their arrival nicely and the tea room was never over-whelmed. I was very pleased to hear that several people have enjoyed reading my blog posts, as I rattle on about all sorts of light-hearted but largely insignificant issues. When taking plates and cups back to the counter, I commented to the assistant that I wished them profit. I was quite surprised when the proprietor came out and was appreciative of my views. I know I’m probably more outspoken than most people, but I do think it is important for café owners to make a good living from their business, as we need them to stay open. Particularly in winter when we need to get inside somewhere warm. Ed - could agree more ;-)
Bill’s group pedalled off east, riding a dog leg across the A131, up to Plaistow Green, down to Folly Green, turning right to skirt Stisted. We reassembled at the bottom of the hill, where I applied some lip salve. For some reason this inspired some gentle ribbing, as the group thought it odd for me to want to keep my lips soft and kissable!! We rode on through Bocking Church Street, and back through the familiar streets to Braintree.
26 miles, c 10mph, 2 hours 38 minutes pedalling time.