It was another large group of Easy Riders who assembled on Drury Lane, for a bright, cold, sunny ride on wet roads. The sun bouncing of the wet roads was absolutely dazzlingly bright. We had no ride leader for the medium group and Tim, who was aware of the route, stepped into the breach. Mick led the short group, tailed by Bill and Adrian led the long group.
The short group pedalled out along Manor Road, giving way at Railway Street. As we had an altercation with a bus driver here last week, I carefully inspected the road markings - which were virtually invisible. I reported this on the Essex Highways website (Reference Number: 2642604) when I got home. We pedalled along Cressing Road, and along Long Green, making a good job of spreading well out as we made our way to Cressing.
Most of the time I rode at the back, with Bill, and discovered he’s been contributing to his community by working at his local wildlife reserve. In spring, his wildlife group planted over 80 hedgerow plants, as advised by the local Woodland Trust. In the next few weeks, they will plant another batch of trees, once again timing the planting as the Woodland Trust advise.
We pedalled around the back of Silver End, coming into the village past the Catholic Church. Pedalling down Boars Tye Road and Western Road, there was a bit of traffic building up, particularly at the temporary traffic lights. We could have ridden better here, as we ended up all bunched up together on undulating roads, with traffic trying to get past us. Mick had a bit of a think about this, and came up with a new idea for the way back.
It was glorious weather as we turned east to head towards Kelvedon on Park Gate Road. We crossed the railway lines and then took the first left, so we rode through the housing estate avoiding most of Kelvedon main street, to arrive at the Kelvedon Sandwich Bar. I like these cheap-and-cheerful places.
During our tea break, I discovered there had been a bit of an incident with a horse being led, with the medium group. This will be the health & safety tip for the day. As far as I can make out (sorry if the details are not quite 100%), it was a nervous horse being led, who was spooked when a group of our riders wearing hi-vi went past. As a suggestion, our riders need to read the behaviour of the horse. If it is nervous, shaking its head, or clip-clopping about, stop where you are, because horses are unpredictable – and strong. I really don’t want to be kicked by a horse, and as my horsey friends have observed ‘both ends of my horse kick, and one end bites’, so I keep my distance, because I don’t want to be hurt. And just like we cyclists, they are legitimate road users. I’ve also been advised to allow the nervous horse and owner to walk past you, before you pedal on.
When we took to the road to pedal home, Mick led us east on Kelvedon High St, then north past Kelvedon railway station. Mick put our group into an order where our strongest/fastest riders were at the front, and slowest at the back. I thought this worked really well, and it spread us out into several small groups, all highly visible because we were mostly in hi-vi. Just before reaching Coggeshall we turned west to ride along Cuthedge Lane. This was beautiful, open cycling, in bright sunlight. Fantastic. We pedalled back to Cressing, again spreading out well up to Long Green. From Fowlers Farm, we dispersed to our various home locations.
24 miles, 9.5mph (fast for the shortest group) 2 hours 40 minutes pedalling time.
Thanks to all ride leaders and tail riders. I always come home in singularly good humour!