Slip, Sliding Away! 10/01/2024
Braintree Easy Riders assembled at our January departure time of 10am in Weavers Park. It was bright and sunny, cold with a 12mph easterly wind. No weather warnings, and the temperature was forecast to be 3C when we departed at 10.
There were 2 groups, heading for Cressing Temple and Cornerstone Church, Black Notley. Riding out of Braintree, the roads were dry but cold. We headed down to Ranks Green, and discovered there was slush and ice at the roadsides, as outside the town centre the ambient temperature had dropped below freezing.
Our ride leaders had chosen a lovely route across quiet roads south of Braintree, sticking to the higher ground. However, with water running off the fields over several days, lower temperatures in exposed areas, high hedges and earth banks, and the sun low in the sky, the countryside roads were well-iced in places where the water drained across the road and was also in shadow. Two of our riders came off. One landed hard on his back and winded himself, and the other person came off sideways, hitting shoulder, elbow, hip, and ankle. Neither was seriously hurt, but both were well-shaken. When I fall off, I always end up in tears through fright and pain, so both parties are more robust than me!
Having paused to re-marshal our resources, both groups took the shortest route to a café (Cressing Temple was advised we would not attend due to inclement weather). Cornerstone Church gave us a warm welcome, heat, and refreshments – and stayed open a bit longer than their closing time, for which we were grateful and relieved. The rider who fell sideways did a hip inspection and reported she was going to have a spectacular bruise, as it was developing nicely.
Ride Leaders adapted their routes and took the shortest route home. It’s a good example of how to adapt ride plans in the face of inclement weather conditions and incidents. It made me aware of just what a townie I am, as I’d not anticipated the weather conditions across open fields. Well ridden by all parties.
6.2mph average, 15 miles.