Paper Mill and back...

Today the Easy Riders had several start points. I was tail rider for Adrian’s group, and had no difficulty in maintaining my position as last – I rode like a slow blob! Today I was experimenting with different ways of keeping my water bottles cool. I had two identical water bottles, both containing fridge cold water. One was in a wet sock, and the other was not. I was dubious whether it would make any difference in temperature to the contents.

We pedalled straight down London Road, picking up Route 16 at Ranks Green through Fairstead, turning right at the start of Terling to the ford. I started toiling at the back when we climbed the hill from the ford in Fairstead. The group waited for me at the top, and a dustcart came past. When I admired the driver’s beard, he asked that I put his best side on the blog. Which I have.

We continued on Route 16 to cross the A12 at Crix, and flew down the hill to Paper Mill Lock. Here we met up with Gifford’s group, and Bill & Mick’s short group.

While at Paper Mill Lock, Mick and Peter announced the barbecue at Peter’s place on Saturday was cancelled, due to the weather forecast of a 6 hour gale. They will let us know for a rearranged date.

Adrian’s group came out of Paper Mill Lock before the short group and pedalled up the hill. There are some lovely roads for cycling around here, and we turned right and left bringing us back to Hatfield Peverel. Here we had a minor detour by turning left onto the main road, then right, to reach a no-entry sign for the A12. Oops. Back we went to main road, and retraced our steps (rotations?) as we should have turned right then left. This delay meant we were mixed up with the short group. As we pedalled back towards Terling, we were rather bunched up on the winding road. We need to improve our communication skills within the group. I shouted forward that we had traffic behind, but only a couple of riders pulled over on the grass verge, which meant there were still about 9 riders close together that the lorry and cars had to pass. If you are in a column of riders, please pass the messages along to the front, so they know there is upcoming traffic.

All the way back, I was struggling. We got to the hill up to Ranks Green, and I had no impetus to get up the hill. I dropped down the gears and spun slowly up the hill. Mick and the short group caught up with me, and made it look easy getting up the hill. Fortunately Adrian’s group waited for me at the turn after Ranks Green, at the wonky sign. (Ed - what did Compo do??)

Throughout the ride, I had compared the temperature of my two water bottles. The plain bottle of cold water soon warmed up and was unpalatable. The bottle wrapped in a wet sock was noticeably cooler later in the ride, and even on the way back, was cool enough to be drinkable. I was surprised how much difference the wet sock made.

By the time we were back, my bike computer read 29 miles, average 11.1mph and 2 hours 39minutes pedalling time. Given that I was hanging off the back of the group most of the time, and they waited for me regularly, I suspect they averaged 12mph. Well done them!

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