Easy Riders Holiday in Lincolnshire 3-7/10/22
18 Easy Riders have had a fantastic, sociable holiday, riding our bikes. Bill Twinn found us lovely self-catering cottages at Elm Farm, in Hubberts Bridge, near Boston.
The first day’s riding was really windy, and we headed north, across open, empty fields. We crossed a drain, and arrived at Chapel Hill. When I looked at Strava, Chapel Hill is 10 feet above sea level, and this was only 3 feet (!) higher than all the land around it. To call it a hill seems to stretch the meaning of the word! The next place, Dog Dyke Bank seemed a more appropriate name as it is on a dyke. We passed a gathering of swans, which led to a debate about collective nouns. The collective nouns for swans depends on what they are doing. When in the air, a group of swans can be a wedge or a flight. When on the ground, they can be a bank (as we saw). When swimming, they can be a regatta. Trumpeter swans, being very noisy, can be a fanfare. Swans also mourn when they lose their life partner, and then the collective noun for them is a lamentation.
The jets from the Coningsby airbase were out training, and did several, very noisy, flypasts and other manoeuvres over our heads. We arrived at Horncastle and fell on lunch in a bikeshop/café. Here, we were asked to hang our bikes from racks inside the cafe. Lawrence discovered that if you have a Garmin on your bike, there is a safety feature that sends an emergency signal to your emergency contact if your bike remains upside down for a while, because it assumes the bike is upside-down in a ditch and you have come off. Because he had hung his bike on a rack as requested, his Garmin sent an emergency code to his wife who was listed as his emergency contact. This rather worried her, until she managed to get through to him. So – Health & Safety tip No 1 - it might be worth checking how your Garmin (or other system) is set up, and what happens when your bike is upside-down. Alternatively you might just prefer not to hang up your bike!
We pedalled back, via New York and Bunkers Hill, names which appealed to Bill T because of the American connection as his son lives in New York. We pedalled 45 miles, average 10mph, with a continuous gusty wind, c18mph, but only climbed 435 feet. When there are no hills, there is very little to break the wind.
Our second day was a non-riding day due to the weather. It blew a 40mph gale all morning then rained all afternoon. Most of us started with an hour’s walk. Some continued walking in the rain, and others settled down for an afternoon of board games. Helen had brought a version of dominoes - Mexican Train. Much hilarity was had with this. We learned the rules when playing the first game, where I lost spectacularly by 50 points. The second game was played quietly and discreetly with lots of whispering (believe that if you will!!!), and I achieved rather more than in the first game. Helen had also brought a quiz, again something much enjoyed by all. Peter and Sue Short organised a barbecue for the evening meal, which was well-cooked and led to a sociable and gregarious evening.
Our last day started with fine weather, and with an overnight puncture for Claire. Immediately, various group members assisted with the repair, and she soon had a new inner tube inserted and was ready for the road. Ace team working by the Easy Riders.
Health & safety tip No 2 is for the people who don't like getting cold hands when they have to take off their gloves to use touch functions on their phone - try gloves with stripes on the fingers that enable phones to be used without taking them off.
Our group split into two, with Ann leading a shorter ride (24 miles) to Frampton Marsh and Kirton, and Bill leading a longer ride (32 miles), skirting Boston to Coningsby where there is an RAF museum at the airbase. As we cycled across the end of the runway, there were many plane spotters with high-end cameras, waiting for the aircraft to take off over them. We went in to their teashop, which had a lot of wartime nostalgia with photos of aircrew and planes. I found the atmosphere rather odd and felt other visitors were staring at us/me. Maybe it was just unfortunate that I had chosen to wear a windproof top, emblazoned with the German bike club logo ‘Berliner’, which I had won in a raffle.
We found lunch at a takeaway café in Coningsby and ate it on benches just outside the National Trust Tattershall Castle. Once again we pedalled home into a stiff headwind. I noticed that virtually every one of the sparse dwelling places had a large hedge of Leylands or other robust plants to give shelter to the gardens. Additionally, quite a few of the large vehicles that passed us were carrying domestic oil or calor gas cannisters to isolated homes.
Three days of good-humoured company and about 76 miles of riding. Thanks to all who contributed their skills – drivers, organisers, bike repairers, cooks & caterers, games providers, lead and support riders. A fantastic few days away.