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Happy New Year for 2023! 04/01/2023

I’ll start with a non-riding feel-good story to set us off on the right foot.

On NYE, Andy P and his sons opened their back door to watch the fireworks, and a tiny Yorkshire Terrier shot out of their back garden and hurled herself at them. No collar, no tag. She was terrified of the fireworks. Being good citizens, they had a wander round the locality to see whether there was a neighbour looking for a dog, but to no avail. ‘Yorkie’ stays the night, and to their dog, Dillon’s, chagrin, endears herself to everyone because she is such a friendly, adorable dog. On New Year’s Day, Andy’s son puts her photo on Facebook, and they have another wander around the area, seeking the owner. A dog-walker in Marshalls Park sees an elderly gentleman looking for a lost dog, checks FB and puts Andy and the gentlemen (non-FB user) in contact. It turns out ‘Yorkie’ is actually called Izzy and is less than one year old. Elderly gentleman is ecstatic that Izzy is reunited with him. The Pegrum household (other than Dillon!) is sad to see her go as she is such a friendly, nice-natured dog. Well done, Pegrums!

Our first ride of the year was on a mild and windy day. The 13 riders for the Long Ride went to Sible Hedingham led by Gifford and Andy P. The Medium ride went to Rivenhall Golf Club, 6 riding with Steve and 7 riding with me. Several of our riders were recovering from winter illnesses and injury, so some riders usually in the long group, joined the medium, to aid their return to full fitness. The Short ride was assembling as we left.

The Medium ride went mostly along Route 16, into a stiff headwind, down to Witham, where I learned a new bit of route. From Guithavon Road, we turned left onto the cycle way and followed it across Armond Road and took the first exit from the cycle way. This led us up Moat Farm Chase, which comes out on Chipping Hill, opposite the White Horse Pub. On previous rides, I’d looked at both ends of Moat Farm Chase and wondered where it went, and now I know! We pedalled up White Horse Lane and took our usual route round the back of the station to Cut Throat Lane and wended our way to Rivenhall golf club.

Health & safety tip for the day relates to stopping distances and occurred to me last week. When riding wet roads, stopping distances are increased. My group had a lot of riders from the long group, and they are strong riders. I stopped sharply, not realising riders were bunched up close behind me, and I nearly caused a crash! When any rider slows/stops, it is good practice to shout ‘stopping’, to preclude a pile-up. I spend a lot of time shouting warnings about various safety hazards – but I’d forgotten that as ride leader, I could be one!!! Warn following riders of your movements!

We rode back via Silver End and Mill Lane Cressing, before joining the B1018 to ride the chicanes to Millennium Way. We dispersed to our various homes.

Many thanks to Steve B, Peter R, John, and Bill B for ride leader duties. 23 miles, 9.5 mph. Great ride to start the New Year.

Cathy MacTaggart


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