This week, Bill Twinn and I were leading and tailing the 11 riders on the short ride, heading to Greenstead Green. The medium and long rides went out to the Black Horse café at Earls Colne.
Bill led us north to Bocking, and we toiled up Bocking Church Street, crossed the A131 and pedalled past Lyons Hall. Here Brian had some problems with his gear changing and the group were soon round him assisting with a repair. Between them, he was able to resume, but with only one gear option.
Bill took us at a steady pace up to Plaistow Green, and gave us regular rests to catch our breath on the hills to the north of Braintree. I caught bits of conversation between other riders – Peter R, a Francophile, was enthusing with Margot about the wonders of France, after Margot’s work/wine/football trip; and Mave was enthusing about collecting feathers to crown the sandcastles built by her granddaughter. I do like these light, wholesome, conversations.
It was seriously humid. So today’s health & safety tip is about maintaining hydration. When cycling, riders need to take on a lot of fluids – at least a whole waterbottle on a day like today (preferably two!), plus tea break. Many people do not know how to identify whether they are dehydrated. Cyclists need to drink enough to keep urinating, and look at their urine! Urine should be very pale. If your urine starts looking like apple juice, you are not drinking enough. Don’t worry about needing to water a hedge – it’s a sign you are healthy and hydrated (the nitrogen in urine is also very good for the hedge!). If you don’t need to use the toilet after our café break, again, you are not drinking enough.
We toiled up the last hill before the Greenstead Green café break. It was so hot and humid that I had an icecream instead of a bun. Lovely!
Bill led us on our way back – Andrew and Brian chose to return by the shortest available route, and the remaining 9 of us pedalled off towards Burtons Green. Mave and I cycled carefully past a horse and rider, making sure the horse could hear us, and were complimented by the rider as being the rare type of people who knew how to ride past a horse (praise indeed!).
As we skirted the north side of Stisted, Jim Y punctured. Our riders who were on a time limit rode on, and a splinter group from the Medium ride joined us. Jim made a good job of changing his inner tube. I’m always impressed by the practical ingenuity of group members – no plastic gloves available – no problem – use a plastic bag instead! (I’m a bit of a wuss when it comes to repairs – my solution is to ring my Jim to pick me up in the car).
We reached Lyons Hall and dispersed to various routes back home, either by the footpath to Broad Road or back down Bocking Church Street. A great time, in good company with people who are nearly always smiling. What not to like!
18 miles, 8.8mph, 2 hours 18 minutes pedalling time.