As usual the Easy Riders anticipated plenty of members riding, so we had two destinations for a stop.
The Short group went to a new venue Roundwood Nursery at the top of Bocking Church Street, where the tea room is staffed by people with learning disabilities. I think it is important to support these community ventures, and I hope our trip there was a success (Ed - cafe stop was excellent especially the tea cakes)
The middle group, led by Mick, pedaled out to Beazley End, up that long hill that has some undulations at the top. Here I started thinking about reading the road, while taking other group riders into account. When Jim and I crossed the USA on fully loaded touring bikes, we rode across the rolling hills of Missouri – which caused some friction between us. Jim would coast down a hill, looking all around him. He would coast along the base of the dip, and start to coast up the other side, again looking all around him. Then, as a strong rider, would lazily press on the pedals, to take him slowly up the other side. When I’m riding hills, I am aware that I’m not a particularly strong rider so I use momentum as much as possible. I pedal downhill using a big gear, race across the bottom of the dip and charge into the uphill, dropping down the gears to maintain momentum. If Jim was in front of me, I’d be shouting (surely not!!) at him ‘Ride on … Ride on …. RIDE ON!!!!’ to avoid crashing into him. To which he would respond, ‘Just touch your brakes’, which meant I lost momentum, and ended up pushing my bike up the hill. As you can see from the images, I could not overtake him because of poor visibility from oncoming as well as upcoming traffic.
So, as Easy Riders, we need to be aware of riders behind us as well as in front, and drop down the gears to optimise momentum. If we crank slowly up a hill in too big a gear, as it makes riders bunch up behind.
From Beazley End, Mick took us across some of much-loved tracks, which fortunately were not too muddy after the rain. I managed not to fall off, and did not yelp too much, but tracks make me a nervy rider – and when I fall off, it is always when I am going slowly! Cut Maple was our tea stop destination. I like these transport café venues – cheap and cheerful. I wished the staff a profitable day’s trading as we left.
The forecast rain started as we left Cut Maple. We pedaled down the A1017 and turned right at Gosfield. Here I thought about the Highway Code and safe passing distances. I regularly advised drivers to read the Highway Code and remind them of the 5 feet safe passing distance. However, I have to observe, as cyclists we also need to read and comply with the Highway Code. There was a post office van parked near the junction obstructing our side of the road, and traffic was coming towards us on the other side. Some of us gave way to oncoming traffic by waiting at the rear of the van, but some of our riders rode past the van, just as the oncoming traffic reached it. Cyclists did not give the oncoming car 5 feet of safe passing space. We need to read the road and ride within the Highway Code.
Despite the drizzle it was a lovely quiet ride back to Beazley End and Bocking, where we dispersed to our respective destinations.
21.7 miles, 10.7mph, 2 hours pedalling time. Many thanks to our lead and tail riders.