We started with a reminder from Mick about his email about observation. Succinctly: look around before manoeuvring; indicate your moves clearly to other riders and traffic; tell other riders of hazards. I’m aware that I am not flexible and find looking behind difficult, so Jim is going to fix a new mirror to my helmet and see whether this helps. As it will be close to my eyes, I hope I can focus at such close distance.
We pedalled off down the Flitch Way, turning right onto Gatewoods Lane just after Rayne Station. We rode north on Pods Lane to Saling, then headed south to Blake End, where we did a left/right and took the bridge over the A120. We took the concrete farm track to Graunts Court to do a section on the Flitch Way, before joining Mill Lane south of Rayne. Mick led us past Rayne Station, and on to Queenborough Lane, crossing the A131 to Bridge End Lane where we went to a new venue for our tea break. I tried their bacon sandwich and was quite impressed – well-filled with plenty of bacon. (Shout out to Panners Coffee Bar)
On leaving the café we pedalled east along the rest of Queenborough Lane. This was misleading – I had assumed we would end the ride in the centre of town, but I was wrong. We headed along London Road to the sliproad joining the A120 heading east. Here we took a path I’d never used before, bringing us out on Tortoiseshell Way, then a footpath to Lister Road. We wended our way along various footpaths and minor roads, in such an intricate way, that I can’t remember it. And I thought I knew this area well!
At some point along here we went along a low-lying area, partly flooded, but with plenty of molehills. This made me think about how one of my elderly aunts used to collect the soil from molehills for her potting compost. Apparently moles live and tunnel in soil that has a high earthworm population, and therefore rich in nutritious earthworm casts (yes, really!). When the mole creates the molehill, the soil has been worked to a fine tilth, and is fantastic for new seedlings and cuttings.
The group started to disperse as we returned towards the station. I think I came home by the Flitch Way, but all the riding on footpaths left me so confused, that I’m not really sure. However, I enjoyed the ride, on unfamiliar routes, in good company. See you next week!