A ride with many surprises, on a leaders challenge

A ride, not as the ‘crow flies’, always throws up the unexpected, with one of Mick's planned routes. He always tries to achieve a new route and coffee stop with our regular extended Friday rides, brought forward by a week because of Good Friday being the last Friday of March. Talking of Good Friday, we were blessed with a dry warmer ride than of late with the roads dry but care being needed to negotiate the sporadic potholes that our winter has provided us with.

Heading out into a slight headwind through Panfield, along the B1057 to Wethersfield where we had a pre-arranged pick up for Gifford the ride continued in a meandering manner to Finchingfield, Gainsford end, Toppersfield, Stambourne onto Ridgewell, then with a quick loop around Tilbury Green to our stop, appropriately named for the announcement of Spring just a few days earlier, Petals at the garden centre. This décor of this venue is somewhat different to our usual type of stop, no bacon baguettes for Bill, but plenty of home baked produce which were easily consumed, with Karen and Ivan having arrived earlier and enjoying watching us as we refuelled.

On departing from our refuelling we headed to Tilbury Juxta Clare via the old airfield, onto Little Yeldham and North End where Mick had an off road surprise for about half a mile before hitting Kirby Hall road into Castle Hedingham with Compo acting as the wind break rather than his usual role of breaking wind. Heading towards Sible Hedingham and into Lamb Lane, very quiet but little used looking at the condition of the road, where a challenging climb was awaiting everyone. Some walked, mentioning no names Dick, until we traversed another disused airfield into Blackmore End having to again have a little walk and negotiating our way around road works on a road which is a ‘dead end’. Gifford left us here before heading home to Sible Hedingham. Onto Beazley End where we passed the house of ‘sick note’ Peter to drop a jacket off, Bocking and home.

Without Bill being able to consume his usual bacon refuel, as we approached Braintree his legs decided to complain.

A ride of 43 miles, only 7.5% over the advertised ride, with 13 riders enjoying the beginnings of Spring weather, flora and wild deer.

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