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Easy Riders Last Ride Before Christmas, Winter Solstice Ride 21/12/2022

Today’s ride was at the winter solstice, 21 December, which is the shortest day of the year in the northern hemisphere. The word solstice is derived from the Latin sol (“sun”) and sistere (“to stand still”) and marks the extreme limits of the sun’s movements.

As usual we assembled in Weavers Park with the long group, led by Tim B and Andy P, leaving at 0930, and the medium group, led by Peter SK, departing at 0945. Julie G and I led the short group, departing 1000, and each group headed off on different routes to the Blue Egg.

Health & safety tip for the day is about winter kit. Julie had some new gloves, as she’s prone to cold hands. She had found some gloves that had individual index finger and thumbs, but with the other three fingers together in a pouch. See photo. They should be better at keeping your fingers warm than gloves with individual fingers.

I’d planned our route out via Panfield, heading north through Jaspers Green, then taking Littles Lane past Deersbrook Farm. On my recce the previous day, I’d discovered that although this road has a ford, it also has a pedestrian bridge (which I’d never noticed before). When I took our group along Littles Lane, I was delighted to find out that although most of our riders had used the lane, very few were aware of the bridge. I’m always chuffed when our riders learn something new because of the route I’ve chosen! We turned right onto Bardfield Road and made a sterling job of spreading out nicely so the upcoming traffic could pass us easily.

The medium group had arrived at the Blue Egg before us, so the serving staff were not overwhelmed. The long group were the last to arrive because Tim had punctured. Tyre replacement was slowed because of ice forming in the gas cannister used to reinflate it, and it all got too technical for me to understand! We also had some non-riding BER members join us, like Bill T, so for about an hour it was quite noisy in there, with all the conversation with 29 group members going on.

Pedalling back, the short group went via Bardfield Saling, and Pods Lane into Rayne. We dispersed to our various homes from Stebbing to Rayne and back into Braintree.

18 miles. 9 mph. Thanks to all riders and especially to my sterling support rider, Julie!

Cathy MacTaggart


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