A '10' for starters

There was a heavy mist as I left Willows Green for the first Friday short ride that the group have organised. We weren’t sure if anyone would come, but members had requested shorter rides and this was a chance to try one out. The ride was scheduled to take place alongside the longer monthly Friday ride and if popular will continue to be a monthly option. These rides would also be suitable to those newer or returning to cycling who are unsure about starting on a Wednesday.

The forecast was great and in fact 8 members were to enjoy one of the best sunny days of the year so far.

A gentle pace was requested and kept to about 8 miles an hour, with Gifford leading a ride of around 10 miles. That gave us plenty of time to chat and enjoy the quiet roads. We headed out of Braintree via the station and London Road, to meander through Great Notley village. To Blackley Lane and back through Willows Green, but now the sun had well and truly broken through the mist. On through Bartholomews Green and to the Station café at Rayne which was our stopping point. All good so far, especially for Mave who was trying out a borrowed bike to help keep some weight off her wrists. Also with us, was Gavin, our first rider on an E-bike – I’m sure he won’t be the last as more of us start to complain about aching joints! Seriously though, an e-bike can enable even those struggling with health and fitness to get out and enjoy the countryside and the all important social aspect of our group rides.

Continuing on from Rayne station we waved goodbye to Ann and Mike turning right into Fairy Hall Lane and across the bridge into the Discovery Centre. For John it was reminiscent of his attempts to improve his park run times on a Saturday morning, but today the area was heaving with children and families enjoying time away from school. There was a buzz of excitement from the high ropes apparatus as we passed by. Through the underpass and back into Great Notley, the remaining 6 riders progressed along the cycle paths joining Queenborough Lane and then London Road and into Braintree.

This gentle ride was an ideal start to the cycling season. The pace was relaxed and with the Spring flowers making an early appearance the beauty of the surrounding could be fully appreciated.

Our thanks to Gifford for planning and adapting the ride to suit those who braved the early fog in search of sunshine.

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