6 October. Tooled Up in Suffolk

“There’s the problem,” said Andrew, using pliers to extract a piece of wire from Maurice’s tyre, a puncture having brought us to a halt on a quiet lane between Little Saxham and Hargrave. Left to his own devices, Maurice could have fixed things and been on the road again within five minutes – but with seven Windmillers helping it took nigh on half an hour.

Brace yourself, Maurice, this won't hurt a bit
Brace yourself, Maurice

We had set out earlier that morning from the Packhorse Inn at Moulton – Maurice, Andrew, Sandra, Martin, John B, Ken, Tom and Brian – on a 30 mile circuit of the countryside between Newmarket and Bury St Edmunds. It was a chilly start but the stiff climb up the hill from Moulton soon warmed us up.

Gazeley, Cavenham and Lackford went by in a whirr and – before we knew it – it was time for a refreshment stop at the West Stow Anglo Saxon Village café. Thankfully, they didn’t expect us to wear loin cloths or apply woad; lycra would do fine.

Coffee stop for Anglo Saxons
Anglo Saxon coffee stop

It was on the next stage that Maurice had his puncture. Why is it always the rear wheel? No worries; between us were carrying more tools than an RAC patrolman, not to mention latex gloves and wet wipes.

Once re-inflated, Maurice led us off again and we completed the ride by lunchtime, returning to the Packhorse hungry, thirsty and with remarkably clean hands.

As ever, the barman queried our order; did we really want one lunch less – and two beers more – than the number of people in our party? We always leave it to John to explain.

The beer was good – Wherry good – and the conversation wide ranging, though some important questions remained unanswered:

  • How many Windmillers does it take to fix a puncture or change a light bulb? It might be as many as eight.
  • Have we ever seen a muckier bike chain than Maurice’s?
  • Are wet wipes as good as Swarfega?
  • Why does Martin carry child size rubber gloves? Sometimes it’s best not to know.

    A Wherry good lunch
    A Wherry good lunch

Thanks to Maurice for leading us once more on an excellent – and virtually traffic free – ride.

We always stop to admire a round tower church; this one is St Nicholas, Lower Saxham
We always stop to admire a round tower church; this one is St Nicholas, Lower Saxham
30 mile circuit from Moulton


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