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The first ride of Advent 7/12/2022

As usual, Weavers Park started filling with Braintree Easy Riders from about 0915. There were plenty of riders for the long ride departing at 0930, led by Gifford and Andy P, heading to Cressing Temple. The medium group had about 10 riders departing at 0945, led by Steve B and me; and the short group departed at 1000.

Steve had found a great route down to Great Waltham – via Rayne, and Littley Green, with a loop through Little Waltham before reaching The Stores. As we rode into Great Waltham, I could hear a lorry behind me, and saw an adult doe and 3 smaller yearlings running towards us, across a field to our right. I saw the doe skitter away from a gap in the roadside hedge but start racing along the hedge parallel to us. I made a warning sign to the lorry behind me to slow down, and shouted a warning to riders ahead of me, that the deer would break through at the next opportunity. The doe broke through onto the road at the next gap, and we, and the lorry came to a standstill, as the 3 yearlings duly followed her, leaping in a panic across the road into a field to the left. Once the road was clear, the lorry (my favourite Finch’s Gravel Lorry!) overtook us safely and we continued our way to The Stores for their fantastic sausage rolls.

Today’s health & safety tip is about having the confidence to ask your ride companions for spare kit when you are cold. Many of our riders carry spare bits of kit when riding and are ok with lending them. I’ve nearly always got spare gloves, buff, helmet cover, and even a rain jacket if riders discover they’ve forgotten something or is clapped out and not doing its job. Always ask if you need more kit – cold riders with cold brains are more likely to have accidents. Even small bits of kit can make a big difference. Lobster claw gloves are good for people who have poor circulation in their hands, but as with most bike kit, you have to pay a fair bit for good quality gear.

Our route back was via Howe Street, then up Old Shaws. Here Steve took us on a new bit of route for me. There is a dead-end sign half way round Old Shaws, which turns into a track – a lovely bit of riding – then we pedalled east to Little Leighs and Great Leighs back to Braintree.

Apologies for the soft focus on this week’s photos – I had a fingerprint on the lens of my phone! Doh!

Fantastic ride, original route, good company. Well done, Steve. 23 miles. 9mph

Cathy MacTaggart


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