This Wednesday’s ride was to Cressing Temple via a route I’d never done before. Mick preceded the ride with a reminder about the email he had sent, focussing attention on safe riding style, about Communication Skills. Pay attention to what is going around you, shout messages forward and back, and obey ride leader’s instructions.
The middle group set off heading west from The White Hart, and turned right through the medical centre car park on Rayne Road. We skirted the back of the hospital and wound our way through to come out at the bottom of Bocking Church Street, heading east along the Bocking Nature Reserve. I’d never been here before, and there were lots of people out and about, often walking dogs, on a lovely day. I spoke to Bill Twinn and asked if this was the nature reserve that he volunteered with. His nature reserve is the Blackwater nature reserve, and he said that they are always looking for volunteers to litter pick or take on more energetic activities (like planting schemes).
Mick led us on the footpath across the A131, through Stisted and Pattiswick, before crossing the A120 towards Perry Green and Silver End. As usual when riding west from Silver End along Temple Lane, I could smell gas. If you smell gas when out and about, ring 0800 111999, and the Gas Board will come to investigate. When I was a shift worker, walking home at about midnight when the weather was still, I frequently used to use this number. I’d give the address of the nearest house, and the following day, the Gas Board would be digging up the road (often where the pavement had recently been disturbed by cable laying!) to repair a damaged gas pipeline. Silver End has had a gas supply for a comparatively short time. When my brother moved to Silver End in 1982, the main fuel was from a communal oil supply, originally set up by Crittalls. Gas was only laid on through Silver End in the mid 1980s and if residents took up the supply when it was laid, it was a reduced rate to have installed from the main pipeline to each house. As gas was so much cheaper than oil, my brother accepted this with alacrity!
Health & safety tip for the day is about the 5 feet safe passing distance for vehicles. This applies to cyclists as well as vehicle drivers. Twice on this ride (in Cressing and White Notley) our group came to a halt where a flatback lorry was delivering building materials, and had to reverse into a driveway. On each occasion, as the lorry carefully started to reverse into a narrow entrance, one of our riders sped through the gap in front of the vehicle, as soon as there was space to squeeze through. This is really dangerous. If the driver had needed to reposition his vehicle, by going forward and back again, he could not have seen a rider within 2 feet of his front bumper! I am quite agitated by our cyclists’ behaviour because I have seen the consequence of this, when I was on the top of a bus in the centre of London one day. A foolish cyclist had tried to cut between traffic when one vehicle had done an unexpected 5 point turn (rather than the expected 3 point turn). The cyclist really did come off worst and it was a horrible thing to see. So please, ensure there is a 5 foot passing space when you go past other vehicles.
Mick took us left and right out of Cressing Temple, past Cressing station, turning right up the hill. We turned left before Black Notley, taking the lane and footpath to Dagnets Lane. We dispersed to our various locations as we rode back into Braintree town centre.
21 miles, average 9mph, a glorious ride in beautiful weather, which was totally unexpected on the last Wednesday in January.