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Cycling Back to Happiness, woopah, oh yeah, yeah 08/05/2024

(with apologies to Helen Shapiro and Walking Back to Happiness!)

After not riding for 8 weeks, I was really glad to be back out riding with the Easy Riders. Ear infections are truly not to be recommended! There were plenty of riders – Gifford had 11 in the long group, Ann split the medium group into two groups (one mostly boys, one mostly girls), and Bill had about 6 in the short group.

Health & safety tip for the day is about how to prevent your legs being stung by stinging nettles growing alongside tracks, now we are starting to wear shorts rather than leggings. Try applying cocoa butter body lotion (or similar) to your legs. The stinging fibres at the tips of nettle leaves don’t penetrate a heavy-duty cream.

We pedalled off heading west to Rayne, and soon reached peaceful lanes, heading to Shalford, Beazley End and across to Gosfield. As my fitness was shot after my 8 week lay-off, I struggled up and down the hills (we did about 900ft of climbing!) Peter S was an excellent ride leader who regularly checked the group and waited for me and tail rider Peter M to re-attach ourselves to them.

At the tea stop at Gosfield, both Ann’s and Peter’s groups were glad to see Ann Noonan come to meet us. She’s not riding because of a knee problem but had driven out to see us. While I’ve not been riding, I’ve been very aware that the Easy Riders play a large part in my ability to ‘stay busy, stay active, stay social’. So, it’s really encouraging to see various BER members, who can’t ride for whatever reason, come out and meet us at the tea stop.

I’d ridden out with the boys, and decided to ride back with the girls, as I’ve so missed having a chat with everyone. I was happily looking at the bluebells at Lyons Hall Road, when I realised, I was contentedly singing to myself. Riding with the Easy Riders had made me happy, and I was tootling ‘Cycling back to happiness, woopah, oh yeah, yeah’. I thought the lyrics were wrong, but it made me smile. Do other riders have songs they link to riding their bikes?

People started to disperse to their various locations as we reached Braintree, and at one point we waited for Claire to catch up. She’d realised that there were mega pot-holes along Church Lane as we headed into Bocking. She read the road, and realised it was safer to slow down, rather than pull out suddenly into centre of the road for pothole avoidance when vehicles behind could not see why she was moving into their line of travel. Good call Claire!

It’s great to be back!

24 miles, average 9mph


Cathy MacTaggart


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