Last Friday Margo and I had a quick bike ride, resulting in a photo with a rainbow.
This week I woke up feeling like I had the energy levels of a slug! I looked out of the window and felt under-enthused at the thought of a bike ride in rain. But I was down to be tail rider, so I had to get on with it! I suspect other Easy Riders who felt similar to me just rolled over in bed and decided not to cycle, but those who came out had a wonderful bike ride.
Ian Bousfield led the long ride, and Mick led the medium, riding out to The Black Horse Café near Earls Colne. The short ride, led by Peter Short and tailed by me, went to Cressing Temple. Mick’s health & safety tips for the day were to be aware of slip hazards – wet roads; autumn leaves; mud; acorns; drain covers – and the consequential need for greater spacing between bikes as braking distances were considerably increased.
The short group pedalled out along Manor Street, correctly waiting in single file on the bike lane, at the give-way indicator, at the lights to cross Railway Street. A Beeston’s bus driver was gesticulating furiously at us as he turned, appearing to say we were going the wrong way on a one-way street. As tail rider, I had good visibility, and I can state we were riding correctly, within our designated area. I may give Beestons Coaches some advice about familiarising their drivers with their routes!!
As we pedalled down Millennium Way, the drizzle started to get a little heavier. We pedalled down Long Green, making a lovely job of spreading out well. Once I’m on my bike my spirits always lift, and despite the increasing rain, I felt joyful. Paul decided he was getting too wet and decided to bail as we entered Cressing. Peter led us round the back of Silver End, ending up at Cressing Temple.
A couple of ideas for keeping your saddle dry when taking refuge in a café during rain, is either to put a plastic bag or your cycle helmet cover over it. Fabric and leather saddles can absorb water, leading to icky sensations when riding on a damp saddle.
The staff at the Cressing Temple tearoom did not know whether to think we were mad or to be full of admiration at our bike ride in the rain. Whatever they thought, we fell on our tea and buns.
On the way back, Chris was telling me about his scouting endeavours. His home, at present, is full of Cub Camp gear. His scout group are taking 12 cubs to Thorrington camp in Colchester next weekend. At this time of year, it will be an indoor camp, with several indoor activities including a climbing wall. Three scout leaders, and three parents will supervise 12 cubs carrying out various activities. Chris is particularly pleased when parents participate, as it conveys just how much preparation goes into a weekend away – all scout groups need more leaders.
Then shortly after leaving Cressing Temple, Ann punctured. It was an admirable team effort to get the tyre off, inner tube replaced, tyre on and wheel back in place. I was very glad the weather had improved to mild and sunny, and the rain had stopped.
Once Ann was mobile again, Peter led us back to Cressing, and up Pickpocket Lane to cross the main road. We pedalled past Cressing Station, and down to Bulford Mill. As we rounded the chicane at the Mill, we came to a halt as the ford was a gushing torrent. We watched a car plough its way through, clearly indicating it was too deep to even consider riding it. We each dismounted and picked our way along a muddy bank, then pedalled up to Black Notley.
From Black Notley we took the track up to Dagnets Lane and pedalled back via Route 16, dispersing to our various homes.
Fabulous ride, despite the rain, putting me back in high good humour with good company and conversation. 19miles, 9mph and just over 2 hours pedalling time.