On a bright and sunny day, with a cold north-east wind, 31 Easy Riders assembled on Drury Lane. The middle ride was topped and tailed by the two Peters S, leading to our group being named Two Ps in a Pod – does that make the bikers’ collective noun a Pod?
We pedalled off out of Braintree on a somewhat circuitous route – down past the station, across Notley Road, and through the park, out on Tortoiseshell Way, under the bypass, following route 16 down past the Green Dragon, and through Ranks Green. We turned left and pedalled up to Witham Road, heading to White Notley, riding up to the junction with the main road.
Here, some experienced cyclists passed us, on their flash bikes. However, I was left absolutely speechless (surprisingly!) because one of the riders, was wearing his helmet, but unfastened! This makes it absolutely useless! If he came off, the helmet would fall off immediately, with no protection at all for his head!
Health & safety tip for the day is about how to wear your helmet correctly. The chin strap should fit snugly under your chin. If you open your mouth, when the clip is fastened, you should feel the pressure on the helmet on the top of your head. If you vary whether or not you wear a hat underneath your helmet, you will need to adjust the fitting. Also, ensure your helmet sits about two finger widths above your eyebrows, and that is sits horizontally on your head (ie not tilted on the back of your head like a bonnet).
This image shows me after falling off my bike, when I caught my chin on chipseal while crossing the USA. Had I not worn the helmet, I’d have smacked my head really hard, and if the chin strap had been loose, I’d have scraped my cheekbone as well. As you can see, 5 days later it was not a good look, so I was glad to have only scraped my chin, and not my cheekbone too. So take note, get your helmet fitted correctly!
We pedalled across to Silver End, south down Western Road, and turned left towards Kelvedon. We were riding quite well here, spread out in 3 or 4 groups so traffic could pass us, and we also had riders waiting on the junction, for the last riders (often me and Peter). We were very conscious of catching the headwind here, and I felt I was riding like a slow, unfit blob. My only consolation was that several other riders felt the same way! We made our way to the café on the main street in Kelvedon, only to find we had been so slow over our 16 miles that the Short ride group, and been and gone! But at least this means the Easy Riders had staggered their arrival at the café. And Adrian had the best ever sausage and egg sandwich!
We pedalled off heading the quickest route home, feeling somewhat tired, but benefiting from the tailwind on the way home. Ann had rung ahead to her husband, Peter, to meet her at Wyevales so she could hitch a ride home from there. We rode back through Kelvedon, up to Silver End, once again spread out nicely along Western Road. We rode along Temple Lane, turning right to Cressing, ending up reaching Fowlers Farm, where we paused before dispersing. However, at this stage, one of our tail riders caught up, with the news that Ann had punctured (Ed - I assume you mean her tyre ;-), and was being assisted by Gifford, Gavin etc. I scouted around the car park, and duly found Peter. He had started wondering where we had got to, and was cheerfully reassured that Ann would with him soon.
By the time I was home, the speedo registered 26 miles, average 9.7mph, 2 hours 45 minutes pedalling time. I found it a hard ride, made enjoyable by conducive company.