Mick leading his last Friday ride before departing these shores must have had Australia firmly in his mind as he took us to the outback of Essex, Essex lanes that none of us had cycled before and even down under the A12 in several locations.
Starting as usual in Market Place Mick and the rest of us headed out along London Rd past Notley village turning towards Fairstead and then onto Witham.
At times we stopped to admire the wonderful colours that the late autumn sunshine had to offer across our English land. Trees giving up their leaves in various shades, farm labourers re-sculpturing the earth with their heavy machinery and seeing the new growth of fresh sown crops, crops that will feed us next year, swaying to and fro in the light breeze.
Stopping briefly in Witham whilst a new tea room was checked out we were soon back on the pedals going under the A12 to Nounsley and then onto Ulting causeway where a quick pit stop and rest break was had.
We were in unknown territory as Mick lead us up and down various lanes that none of us had cycled before, UP being the exact word as we eventually reached The Ridge in Little Baddow.
Knowing that we were having our lunch break at Great Waltham we all wondered how we were going to navigate across Chelmsford in the busy traffic, however, Mick in his wisdom and knowledge of tracks took us under the A12 for the 2nd time and onto a concrete track taking us to Chelmer Village where we joined the superb cycle paths that Chelmsford has to offer.
Under the old A12 to the Meadows shopping centre, through Admirals Park eventually reaching the point that we had to leave the cycle path network, another reminder to us all where Mick was flying off to as we cycled round the outskirts of the Melbourne District of Chelmsford.
Up the road to Mashbury and The Chignalls our lunch break was soon upon us as we zig zagged acoss to Great Waltham stopping at the newly opened tea room 30 odd miles to a great stop well worth the visit.
Leaving our lunch break stop the return to Braintree took us through Little Waltham crossing Regiment way and up Wheelers Hill towards Great Leighs with the ride terminating at Braintree train station. 47 miles to this point a great ride in some beautiful autumn sunshine, everyone supported each other and everyone in agreement thanked Mick for his dedication in delivering an exceptional ride. In Australian lingo ACE Mick!