Mountains of Braintree – Thanks Cathy! 07/02/2024
On this mild day in February, 38 Easy Riders turned up to ride! 14 riders rode with Steve B for the short ride to The Hub, 9 riders rode with me for the medium to Greenstead Green, and 15 went out on the long ride to Braxted Bakery. It was great to see so many riders, including Tony, who’d returned to riding with us after taking on a short-term work contract over the winter. For his first ride after 3 months, he was terribly impressed that I took my group up and down every hill I could find!
Health & safety tip for the day was to watch out for potholes – there were lots around, and I was very glad I had done a thorough recce on Monday, so I knew where they were!
We pedalled up Bovingdon Road and noticed the snowdrops in full bloom in a copse. There was a sign requesting no litter tipping in the spinney, which made me wonder about the difference between a copse and a spinney. Copse means a small wood or thicket of trees growing close together. This is from the same derivation as coppice, where trees are cut back to ground level to produce multiple straight stems, historically useful for traditional building and fencing. Spinney comes from the Latin, spinetum, meaning thorny thicket, as favoured by game birds and other wildlife for safe roosting.
We made our way through Gosfield and up to cross the A131 at the south edge of Halstead. Leeches Lane is notorious for being a poor surface, so I gave a warning about potholes (more like craters) on the left-hand side, and sand and gravel at the bottom where Bourne Brook floods. My group rode in a sterling fashion – well spaced out – and we had no falls or consequential pileups! Then it was just two more steep inclines to Greenstead Green café (hope you enjoyed them, Tony!). We met Anne N at the café – she’d ridden up from Stisted, for her first ride in ages, and was interested in who’d been doing what over the last months.
We rode back via Burton’s Green, meeting all sorts of delivery vehicles on the very narrow lanes, then headed due west, coming out at Bocking Church Street where people dispersed to their various homes. On reaching Braintree Station, we met up with both the long group and the short group. Long group had had unexpected route diversions, as Long Green (near Macdonald’s roundabout) is closed for 3 months where a new roundabout is being put in. This is causing consequential congestion on alternative routes and should be considered by ride leaders. There is also a road closure at Bocking Church Street from 12 February for 2 weeks due to power network works. If riders find any other planned roadworks publicised, pleased note it on the BER Facebook page, so that ride leaders can plan accordingly.
24 miles, average 9.8mph, 1000ft climbing. Fantastic riding by my group of absolute gentlemen!