About 30 Easy Riders assembled on a bright, mild, February day at Drury Lane as usual. It must have been mild as I had shed my helmet cover and was down to half finger gloves. We divided into 3 groups: about 12 for the long ride, 6 in the middle ride, and about 12 of us in the short ride, led by Bill, tailed by me.
We pedalled off along Manor Street, on to Millennium Way to head down to Fowlers Farm. I asked the group to remember to ride in groups of 5, to enable traffic to pass us easily, and Peter S made a sterling job of keeping a gap in the middle of the group. We rode down Long Green to turn right in Cressing. Here, our group pulled over to let past a land rover with trailer, and had a pleasant conversation with the driver who was appreciative at the group’s behaviour. We went through Perry Green, crossed the A120 and went into Stisted. Because we had slowed to let a couple of cars through, I was nearly at a standstill at the bottom of the hill, did not get a good run at it, and had to drop to bottom gear, to slowly grind up the hill! Having reassembled near Stisted church and caught our breath, we proceeded on minor roads up to Greenstead Green, where once again cars passing meant I was nearly at a standstill before g-r-i-n-d-i-n-g up the hill, while watching the rest of the group pedal away from me!
We discovered both the other groups had arrived before us, and I was pleased to see quite a few people who had not been out riding for a few weeks. Ed - a warm welcome back to Steve and Mark in particular
On leaving Greenstead Green, we headed west to Plaistow Green, towards Lyons Hall. Here the group split up, with some taking the footpath to Broad Road, others taking the main road. I chose to go down Bocking Churchstreet and briefly saw some of the group at the Braintree College junction, before we dispersed to go home.
It was the first time I’d been out with the shortest ride group. What I liked about it, is that it’s a very nurturing ride. I found Bill to be an excellent ride leader – regularly stopping in sensible locations for the group to reassemble, checking with the tail rider that all is ok, ensuring the pace is appropriate for all parties. Paul said he rode with this group because it was the right distance, at the right speed. Others said it was the right distance for riding with a gammy knee. I had plenty of conversation with all different people, about all different things. One of my mantras of the moment, particularly when I’ve been low in spirit, has been ‘stay busy; stay active; stay socialised’. Today’s bike ride certainly achieved ‘stay active, stay socialised’ and I came home in high good humour. I hope others did too. 20 miles in good company, average 8.6mph