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Listening to Blackcaps 24/05/2023

Easy Riders started assembling in Weavers Park from 0900, departing at 0930, 0945 and 1000 as usual. The medium group split into two, 7 riders led by Peter Sk and 6 by Ann.

Riding with Ann, we pedalled out via Great Notley. Here we met Ann’s husband, (another) Peter, on his regular exercise route. Last year, I thought he pushed over 1,000 miles around Great Notley. Truly admirable Peter!

We headed south to Terling and crossed at the ford, where we caught up with Peter’s group. We rode some idyllic lanes: quiet and virtually traffic-free. It had been forecast to be hot and sunny, and I had chosen to wear long sleeves so not to get burned. Wearing fluorescent clothing, long sleeves mean hand signals are clearly defined to drivers to the rear. However, I noticed hand signals are less clear with short-sleeved darker clothing in summer. So, health & safety tip for the day, is to choose fluorescent short-fingered gloves whenever you can. Then your hand signals are more easily seen.

We rode down Domsey Lane, and here I rode with Lawrence and Roger (our resident ornithologists!). They were not only riding safely within a group, but also bird watching (listening) at the same time. Roger told me he had just heard a blackcap – a summer migrant bird with a very distinctive song. The male has a clear black cap on its head, but females are much more drab brown. As our climate warms, some blackcaps are remaining here during winter, and not migrating. We weaved our way to Belsteads coffee shop and met up with Peter’s group.

There was some discussion before we left – Peter had a longer route back planned, bringing the distance up to 30 miles, and Ann returned by a shorter route, so those wanting a 24-mile ride with an earlier return time, were accommodated. Peter took us through Broomfield, and then headed north to Great Waltham on roads I’d not ridden for months. He arranged a pleasing stop at The Stores for ice cream, then we pedalled home via The Green Dragon and Great Notley.

31 miles, c9.2mph.

Cathy MacTaggart


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