New Year Ride

About a dozen Easy Riders congregated at Rayne Station for an impromptu ride organised by Ann on New Year’s Day. The plan was to ride either 12 or 20 miles. It was good to see Mave and John, for their first bike ride for a few weeks.

We headed off north to Saling, and past Andrewsfield. Here Mave and John decided this was enough for Mave’s first time on a bike in a while, and headed back to Braintree. The rest of us turned left just before Stebbing to head south across the old A120 to Felsted.

We went past a cottage that was having its thatch replaced. I was surprised that this work was being done in winter – I would have thought summer (with no rain) was the optimal time.

I’m not one for New Year’s Resolutions. But I was thinking about what I do well and badly when riding. I decided to identify 3 things I do well, and 3 things I do badly (and what I ‘might’ want to do about them!). Things I do well: I volunteer to step in as tail rider if there is an unexpected need on ride day; I have good observation skills for hazards; and I use my voice to call the group to attention for the pre-ride briefing and to pass messages up and down the ride group. Things I do badly: when frightened by traffic, I get really aggressive and shouty; when talking too much (surely not!!) I don’t pay attention to what is around me; I don’t look behind me enough (lack of flexibility). So what I’m going to try to do about it is to: damp down the aggression; spend less time talking/more time paying attention; and get a mirror for my helmet so I don’t need to bend my neck. If anyone else wants to reflect on their riding performance and share their intentions, please let me know, and I’ll publish it. (How’s that for a motivator to stick to it!?).

The weather was mild, but very damp, leading to some of our cyclists getting chilled quite quickly, and tired. We ended up spread out over quite a distance riding up the hill into Felsted. We headed south, ending up at the Compasses for refreshments where we fell upon hot drinks. Mick was pleased to see that the Compasses was doing a good trade, and noted that they seemed to attract a variety of customer groups – cyclists, motorbikers and local residents.

On the way back I was talking to Julie, who was pleased she had not had to work Christmas Day or Boxing Day. Julie works as a cleaner at Broomfield Hospital and over the Christmas season she has been working mostly in A&E – an area that is heavily used and has been crammed with attendees during her shifts. I’ve spent a fair amount of time with a sick friend at Broomfield over the last fortnight, and asked Julie to pass on my thanks to all her colleagues who carry out the largely unseen roles – cleaners, laundry workers, care assistants, receptionists. This week, I have been so very glad these staff have been on duty.

We pedalled back to Rayne via Thistley Green, where we dispersed to our various homes. 23 miles, 10.1mph, 2 hours 13 pedalling time. Just what I needed to get my circulation going.

Thanks to the group for their good company.

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