Wednesday 9th May dawned bright and sunny and obviously inspired many Easy Riders to come out for a bike ride. There were 37 riders so we decided to seek 2 extra ride volunteers and split into 3 groups. Peter Short volunteered to be tail rider for Adrian’s long ride; Gifford stepped up to the mark to volunteer to lead the middle ride with me as tail rider and Gwen was tail rider for Mick on the shortest ride. It was crowded riding through the town centre, but once we were riding along Clare Road, the 3 groups separated. The middle ride set off pedalling along Rayne Road, and followed this down to the Stebbing turn. We did a loose sort of interpretation of the route, taking in lovely quiet roads to the north west of Braintree. Over the last few days I’ve been enjoying the scent of apple blossom in the garden, and have been sad to watch the last of the petals fall. So today I was out on the bike to see what other trees were coming into flower. We rode past quite a few cherry trees in full voluptuous pink blossom; yellow laburnum covered in bees; and the white froth of rowan just breaking bud. The horse chestnut trees were in full flower with most of them having statuesque white candles of blossom, although I saw a couple of specimens with pink blooms. The hawthorn hedges were just starting to break bud - this year they are late coming into flower, despite their common name being May. I also noticed a few orange tip butterflies and some small blue butterflies - I think these breed on holly. As a group we’re starting to get better at allowing traffic to get past us on narrow lanes. Gifford’s group pulled over into a layby on a single track lane when instructed, enabling a car to pass about 8 of us in one go. The three groups arrived well spaced out at the tea room in Felstead. Gifford led his group on an extra loop around the village, because he saw the group ahead of us had just arrived, and we did not want to turn up mob-handed and pressurise the tea shop. We had a speedy bike ride back through Bannister Green to Rayne Station and back to base down the Flitch Way. Well done all riders.