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Clockwise to Greenstead Green

I had a reduced group to lead this week – just Claire and Diane. I gave them the choice of us riding the route clockwise or anti-clockwise, and they chose clockwise.

We pedalled off through Braintree, across Weavers Park, down River Mead and past Braintree College. As we’d chosen the clockwise route, we had to grind up the hill to Beazley End. Conversation flowed well – there were debates about favourite films (Apollo 13 was mentioned); parental cooking; and different houses we’d lived in, and reasons for moving house and where we aspired to live in the future.

We rode across to Gosfield, with a left, then right turn, across the main road, before taking the right turn to White Ash Green. Here I was talking too much (surely not!!), and paying attention too little, because we had to retrace our steps from White Ash Green to take Russells Road (which heads south past Russells Farm). We took another left/right turn to cross the A131, then took White Horse Road to start heading towards Greenstead Green. The café was open, but not busy, and we sat outside in bright sunshine and a cold wind for our tea break.

Recently when I was out on my bike, I was on a tiny country lane, listening to the birds singing, when I thought I could hear something behind. I glanced behind, and I was being quite closely followed by a black car – an electric car – and I was quite astonished at how quiet it was – virtually silent! I pulled over to let it overtake me, but it made me aware it could be quite a creepy experience being followed by something you can’t really hear.

Claire, Diane and I remounted our bikes and departed via Burtons Green (mostly to avoid pedalling up the steep hill south of Greenstead Green at Bourne Brook). We skirted the top of Stisted and headed towards Braintree. Here we admired some English Bluebells.

Health & safety tip for today is about the app What3Words. When I ride my bike, I have my OS map with me, and if I need Jim to pick me up for fatigue or mechanical reasons, I give him the grid reference, and he will find me, using his map. However, this means you both need a map, and the rider needs the map with them! However, now we all have mobile phones, the What3Words app means you can precisely locate your position, and it’s much easier for partners/emergency services to find you. Very useful when you’re not sure where you are, out in the open countryside! So, as practice, here’s the location of the English Bluebells. Drape.toast.option. Where are they and which side of the road are they on?

We pedalled down Bocking Church Street, then Claire headed along to Braintree College to go home, and Diane and I went via Panfield Lane and the cycle paths to Rayne Road home.

24 miles, 8.7mph average, and fantastic company all the way round.


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