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