Beautiful Autumn Ride

This week’s ride was on a fantastic autumn day – cold and crisp, but with bright sunlight. Mick, leader of the short ride, who had thought he might not be fit to ride, was stoically hobbling; Gifford led the medium ride tailed by me, and the long ride was ably led by John.

Gifford’s group rode out along Manor Street, and we had a thought-provoking debate with a bus driver at the junction with Railway Street. A couple of our riders mounted the kerb, in order to trigger the traffic lights to allow us to proceed towards Millennium Way. The rest of the group were queued on the bike lane, to the displeasure of the bus driver. Originally I thought the bus driver was objecting to us facing the wrong way on a one-way road, when he had not realised we were on a bike lane. But with hindsight, he was negotiating a tight right-hand turn, and we were standing right at the front of the give-way lines on our bike lane. So the health & safety tip for the day, is that when the give-way lines are sited well back from the junction, be aware that this is to enable long vehicles like buses sufficient space to steer a long vehicle around a tight corner. Stay well back from narrow junctions!

We pedalled along Millennium Way, to Fowlers Farm and rode along Long Green. Here, I have to give credit to the Medium Group for exemplary riding along Long Green. Gifford crossed first, lifted his bike and stood on the verge (thus not obstructing traffic coming off the roundabout) and gave instruction when it was safe to cross from Fowlers Farm. Helen set off first towards Cressing. We spread out over about 200m – 2 pairs of riders, 3 solo riders, and Bill and me last. Traffic passed us easily and safely. We took minor roads on the south side of the A120, then pedalled up to Stisted. On the hills, our strongest riders went first, nicely spreading the group out, with slower riders like me at the back, and again traffic passed easily.

Our group rode in an orderly fashion past the horses, then continued riding up hill and down dale to Halstead, where we arrived at the Koffee Kanteen, in Halstead. The Long Group staggered their arrival about 15 minutes after us, thus giving them plenty of trade, but not overwhelming the café.

On the way back I had a couple of interesting conversations with Helen and Bill. Helen has a friend who works as an extra for film companies and finds it a fascinating job – so Helen has signed up as well. Helen – we look forward to hearing what it’s like!

Bill and I were discussing why restaurants seem to have stopped using the word gravy, but now use jus, and we were not sure of the difference. I knew the English word gravy is a corruption of the French term grané which means sauce, but I was not clear about what jus meant. So I asked my friend Darren (Phd student, and trained chef). It turns out that the terms are often used interchangeably and people use both to describe some kind of sauce for meat that is made from that meat. However, a more strict definition is that a jus is the meat juices from a cooked piece of meat. A gravy is a jus that has been thickened. Additionally, a demi-glace is a jus with wine and reduced.

Gifford’s group toiled stoically up the side roads on Tidings Hill, then followed the quiet lanes back to Lyons Hall Road and High Garrett. Intermittently we met up with the Long Group who took the longer back roads and were riding faster than us. From Bocking Church Street, we all dispersed to our respective homes.

Wonderful ride. Thanks to all rider leaders and supporters. Hope Mick’s back continues to improve.

20m, 2 hours pedalling time, c10mph.

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