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Easy Riders out in force 21/09/2022

As usual Easy Riders started assembling in Weavers Park, prior to the 09.30 (long), 09,45 (medium) and 10.00 (short) departures for our respective bike rides.

Peter Short started his ride by being given his health & safety tip for the day, by Julie about the complexities of burger ingredients (he is organising the barbecue when we are away on the BER holiday in Lincolnshire). Julie explained that meat and veggie burgers are distinct categories. However gluten-free burgers can be either, but must not include gluten ingredients eg flour or oats. Julie, as a veggie, can eat gluten, and won’t eat meat, whereas a GF person could eat meat and veggie burgers, but the binding agents can include gluten, so they need burgers that categorically state they are gluten-free. A burger can be many things. A day out with the Easy Riders so often includes random education!

Tim took the long group out heading generally south east. Peter Skirrow split the medium group and took his half out to Coggeshall via roads north of the A120, then returned via roads south of the A120, returning via the Flitch Way, so that riders had completed three quarters of a circle round Braintree.

Ann, who had the rest of the medium group, skirted the north side of Stisted, and came south to Coggeshall past Holfield Grange. A Grange is a farm that supported a religious community. It turns out Holfield Grange was one of the original granges of Coggeshall Abbey, and grew grapes for the abbey wine in the Vineyards area of the town. By the mid 18th century it had become a manor house, owned by Hanbury, a Quaker, who was a leading light in plant introductions because of his contacts with America. In 1768, he planted two cedar of Lebanon, which are still growing in the grounds. We noticed some distinctive low-level brickwork alongside the road boundary. I discovered that this brickwork is actually a crinkle-crankle ha-ha (listed grade II!), comprised of 30 concave bays (150 metres) in redbrick from the south to north-west corner of the garden.

The medium group re-joined at Bakelicious in Coggeshall and fell on our tea and buns. We then pedalled home across the prairie. Ann’s group stopped to watch a light aircraft performing elaborate manoeuvres over the gravel extraction site – I think the pilot was doing victory rolls and loop-the-loops – whatever they were, I was very glad I was not up in the cockpit with him!

As we returned via Black Notley, I noticed the local community had yarn-bombed the local post-box with a crown, probably made for the platinum jubilee, and remaining in place for the Queen's funeral.

21 miles/27 miles depending on which route. Great day, mild weather and entertaining company.

Cathy MacTaggart


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