Wet and Windy 20/12/2023
Plenty of Easy Riders turned up, after days of rain, to make the most of a sunny day, with a stiff northwest wind. The whole Easy Rider group were meeting for their pre-Christmas coffee stop at The Blue Egg, and all ride leaders had been instructed to get there by 11am. So, there were prompt departures at 9.30, 9.45 and 10am.
I started the medium group by taking them along the new one-way cycle path through the centre of Braintree, from Sainsbury’s roundabout through to the bottom of Panfield Lane – only about 100m, but it makes such an easy departure when heading west! There are a couple of words of warning though – some of the cycle route is at pavement level, with a kerb that would be easy to ride off, into the oncoming one-way car traffic, and apparently in the evenings, Deliveroo riders ride the wrong way along (ie., heading east) along the cycle way, and head on cycle crashes would be very easy!
The medium group turned right in Rayne, heading up to Bardfield Saling, where we found the previous day’s rain had left a flood. Bill Baker was watched and then followed by three other intrepid riders through the water. The rest of the group and I erred on the side of caution and pushed our bikes along the elevated verge.
Health & safety tip for the day is to be aware of extended braking time when your bike rims are wet. Although the weather did not rain on us, I took longer than expected to stop at the Bardfield Road, and nearly ran out into the more major road!
We arrived at 10.50 to find the long group had arrived ahead of us – they must have been averaging about 15 mph to be there so soon! They were also hardier than the medium and short groups, as they chose to sit outside! The rest of us snuggled up inside in the warm.
I’d planned to take the medium group back via Waltham’s Cross, which was passable when I recce-ed it 4 days earlier. But having had torrential rain the previous day, I amended the route, and we returned to Braintree, along largely the same route.
Note for members planning to ride on Wednesday 27 December – All rides start at 1000 – please let Ann know if you plan to ride. The Stables café, at Gosfield Antiques, is opening especially for us – and as I’m one of the ride leaders, I’d like there to be plenty of us, so it is worthwhile for them to open.
Merry Christmas to all our riders. Thanks for the good humour and good company throughout 2023 from ride participants, ride leaders, support riders, first aiders and administrators.
22 miles, 9.5 mph average