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Torrential rain turning into a beautiful morning 16/11/22

I stood under my carport with Andy, and listened to the rain hammering down. I silently wished I was not ride leader today, and that I could remain at home in the warm. As the rain lessened, we pedalled up the Flitch Way, to arrive at Weavers Park where a reduced number of Easy Riders were sheltering under a tree, all in remarkably good humour.

Easy Riders have some very innovative cyclists. I discovered that my new helmet had a larger visor than the last, and my helmet cover did not fit which made me pout a bit at the thought of a wet head. Andy resolved this situation by telling me the visor could unclip and be removed, and then the helmet cover would fit. Then, Tony, discovering he had not yet acquired a helmet cover for riding in wet weather, fashioned a water-repellent covering for his crash hat by wrapping it in clingfilm. What a fabulous impromptu solution!

Gifford took the long group out, with a slightly delayed start, once the rain had stopped. My medium group split into two, with Bill Twinn and Jim Dodge taking the lead roles for the second group. The earlier rain meant some instant route adaptation was needed, as I’d planned to use a couple of tracks, now likely to be muddy. We went out via Great Notley and Ranks Green (instead of Dagnets Lane and track), then down to White Notley. The sun appeared as we crossed to Silver End.

Health & safety thoughts for the day are around riding in wet weather. Particularly in autumn, wet leaves are slippery to ride over, and can conceal patches of mud. It’s a good idea to extend gaps between riders, as if a rider skids/falls off, there is some chance of taking avoiding action, so you don’t fall on top of them and aggravate the situation. One person coming off their bike is enough! Additionally people with a short mudguard on their rear wheel find that after rain, mud will be spattered up their back, but if they attach a short rubber mudguard extender, as shown on Peter Milner’s bike, they will wear less mud!

I’d planned to vary our route to Kelvedon by taking a bridleway and road, marked on Google Maps as Snivellers Lane, which comes out at the A12 off-slip road which leads into Kelvedon. This would have shown riders an alternative route to Kelvedon (occasionally the railway crossing is closed during Engineering Works). But wet weather meant we took the familiar route heading east to Kelvedon.

Kelvedon Sandwich Bar surpassed itself, turning out multiple sausage baguettes, plus some spectacular bacon and black pudding butties! The long group departed soon after the medium group (part 1) arrived, thereby making room for the medium group (part 2) who were half an hour later. They had been delayed by puncture repairs, but were pleased the new bit of kit – the tyre glider – had got the tyre off quickly.

We pedalled back to Braintree via Black Notley in glorious sunshine. In Black Notley we passed the post-box where a local resident is a keen yarn-bomber who is highly skilled at crochet (and anonymous). This time it was decorated with a Remembrance Day theme.

Riders were an outstanding group today – I caught various bits of enthusiastic conversation from different group members and lots of kindly remarks between riders. Peace and contentment reigned! And I was glad I had been ride leader.

25 miles, 10.2mph

Cathy MacTaggart


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