Topped and tailed on the way to Greenstead Green

For a day with rain forecast, plenty of Easy Riders (Ed - 30 in total) assembled at Drury Lane for our Wednesday bike ride.

Health & safety tip for the day comes first. Gavin has a rear view mirror attached to his helmet. Much more convenient to use than a handlebar mirror (I need to angle my elbow inwards to be able to see anything other than my elbow in the mirror!). Helmet mounted mirrors are supplied with two stickyback Velcro fixings. In the UK, you attach the stickyback Velcro to the right hand side of your helmet. If you cycle abroad (Jim and I have cycled in France and the USA where they drive on the right), you attach the other Velcro fixing to the left hand side, and then the mirror can be moved to suit the traffic conditions.

Another health & safety comment from my solo ride the day before. I stopped to rest at the green triangle in North End. A car passed me – very close – and I scowled at him. But then it occurred to me that I had stopped on a blind corner, and I could easily have either pushed my bike off the road completely, or stopped on the other side of the triangle where there is good visibility. Poor consideration for other road users on my part! Must do better!

Peter Short led, and Peter Rhodes tailed the middle group heading out north along Panfield Lane, turning right at the first roundabout, across the housing estate, bringing us out at the far end of Deanery Hill. We rode up Bocking Church Street, to find a road closure, with the digger lorry comprehensively blocking the road. Some of our lead riders rode up to the very cheery workmen, and confirmed they were ok if we squeezed past the lorry. And it was certainly a very narrow gap we squeezed through.

We crossed the A 131, and flew along Lyons Hall Road, then north to Plaistow Green, arriving soon after at Greenstead Green. At the time I did not notice it, but we had a good tailwind, making the ride easy. Our group was the first to arrive, with the short group arriving soon after.

The longest group arrived quite some time after us, but this was due to them being delayed by punctures, and had the benefit that it staggered our demand on the tearoom.

Peter took control of our group very well and shepherded us out fairly promptly. He had kept an eye on the weather, and knew the wind was getting up. The forecast was for 40mph winds from 1pm, so he ensured we leapt on our bikes – now realising we were riding into a headwind – and took the same route back. This was a good decision on Peter’s part, as although it was directly into the wind, we were sheltered by hedges most of the way. I ride in a very upright position, so I always notice (struggle?) in a headwind.

As a group we made a valiant attempt to ensure one of the lead riders sat on a junction until the tail rider was past. Bill was very energetic in this role!

We arrived at the junction at Braintree College, and all riders dispersed to their destinations. Lovely ride. Well led and supported. Thanks to all parties.

PS Various group members have medical procedures coming up (you know who you are), so I’m sending healing thoughts to all of you. Be strong, heal well.

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