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Longer rides on Last Wednesday of the Month 29/05/2024

As it was marvellous weather for cycling, there were plenty of Easy Riders in Weavers Park. We had two new riders: (another) Andy, a friend of Dick; and Angelica, who has ridden with Ann on Breeze rides. The Long group rode to Maldon; the medium group went to Paper Mill Lock, and the short group went to Greenstead Green.

As we pedalled thorough Great Notley, several Dakota (?) aircraft flew over us, heading first east, then north. According to Neville, aircraft are assembling at Duxford and Cherbourg, and possibly North Weald airdrome too, as part of the D-Day 80th anniversary commemorations next week. Neville is taking his Sea Scouts across to France next week, so is fairly well informed about timing of events, even if he’s not expert at identifying aircraft types flying overhead.

We headed south through Ranks Green and Fairstead. Approaching Terling, one of Peter’s group punctured, and it was the usual team effort to get it sorted out. Health & safety tip for the day is about ensuring you have the right repair kit for your bike when you go out. My observation is that the group will always have the skills to fix a puncture etc between them, but riders need to carry a spare inner tube which is the right size for their wheels, and the right pump for the valve on the inner tube. I’m always impressed by the team spirit of the Easy Riders when there is a mechanical. There is always someone with a strong enough grip and skill to get the tyres on and off! (and it’s never me!).

My group then took the lead and, but we were delayed at Hatfield Peverel station, so Peter’s group overtook us again. Peter took his group on a longer route round to Woodham Walter, before sailing down the full length of North Hill to arrive at Paper Mill Lock.

Angelica and I took a short cut to Paper Mill Lock, and on the way, I discovered she works in IT, and as she works from home, is very aware of the need for social contact, which she gets through cycling. At the tea stop, I discovered our new rider, Andy, comes from Halstead, had hitched a car-ride with his wife to get to Braintree, and was planning to cycle all the way back to Halstead.

We pedalled back via Terling and Fuller Street. As I’m regaining strength after illness, I sent our stronger riders on ahead, so I was slow on the hills. They rode well - spreading our group out and waiting at junctions. It was a good ride back to Braintree, and as ride leader I was glad not to have to sit on the front for the whole ride.

Well done team.

Cathy MacTaggart



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