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Convivial Cycling – We don’t suffer with rigor mortis of the tongue!

What a fantastic bike ride today! Good weather for early December, and great company.

I was leading the 10.00 medium ride from Braintree Railway station. My group was Benita, Claire, Julie and Peter R. We pedalled off down the Flitch Way and immediately following a couple of runners. I saw they had running shirts with a black/white union jack (and without my glasses) I thought I could see a fuzzy blue line across it – probably a police running club, I thought. Then I realised we were not catching them! They were really striding strongly up the Flitch Way. I pushed forward and they were running uphill at about 8mph! (An average club runner will do c10 minute miles on the flat). A conversation with them informed me that they were doing a sponsored 10k to raise funds to support the family of a policeman (Matt Ratana) recently killed on duty. (After I got home, Aidan Kelly had put a comment on the Braintree Easy Rider FB page, stating he did a personal best for 10k – 49 minutes).

We left the Flitch Way at Rayne and headed down to Felsted. The conversation ranged over all sorts of subjects today. We had a big debate about cold hands – Raynauds disease gives symptoms of cold extremities, but the pain is infinitely worse when cold hands start to warm up. We debated different types of gloves – I’m a big fan of Gore Windstoppers – expensive (£40-50!) but worth it. Other riders liked to wear two pairs – a thin, close-fitting pair, underneath bigger, puffier gloves. Julie was suffering with cold fingers so ended up borrowing my fingerless gloves to wear underneath her full gloves.

We pedalled down Mill Lane, and I showed the group how to tell if a road is regularly flooded. On the right hand side, where Mill Lane regularly floods, there is a raised concrete footpath with a hand rail, which starts and stops at exactly the point at which the flooding occurs. Since I’ve noticed this feature, I have become aware of other concrete walkways where flooding regularly occurs – at Bulford Mill for example. We rode up to North End and crossed the B1008 at Onslow Green.

We then looped round on really quiet lanes, to go through Pleshey, followed by skirting Howe Street to reach The Hub at Warners Farm – 15 miles ridden. To be compliant with the latest Covid regulations, we had to sit outside on a table, as we were not part of the same bubble. It was cold, but not unbearable, and we all tucked into hot drinks and sausage rolls.

We pedalled up to Littley Green, past the The Compasses, reaching the T-junction at Howells Corner. Here, Benita (the quiet listener in our group!) turned left to head home to Rayne, and the rest of us did a right/left to head to Youngs End, near the Green Dragon.

Because I was group leader, we took my preferred route back to Braintree along Cycle Route 16 through Great Notley. When I’m finishing a ride, I’m likely to be tired, and I prefer a quiet or traffic-free route, even if it is a bit longer. I just don’t like drivers tonking past me along London Road!

22miles, average 9.3mph, fantastic company and conversation on a cold, dry day, which left me in high good humour. Thank you to all riders!


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