1 June 2017: Five Fords

It was such a lovely day, we hadn’t thought to bring our galoshes. Maurice was leading us on a circuit from Widdington to Puckeridge and back – but he had kept quiet about the river beds and farmers’ fields that lay ahead. We must have crossed at least five fords, maybe six, we lost count.

“We have bridges for this sort of thing in Fife,” explained Garry to Martin

To be fair, some of the off road sections were more John’s doing – in particular, a very bumpy one which Martin dubbed prostate path – but we followed resolutely and the occasional stretch of tarmac came as blessed relief.

It was another good turnout – twelve riders in all – a Dirty Dozen of Windmillers, namely: Chris, Martin, Maurice, Ken, Sandra, Lawrence, Vernon, Keith, John B, Brian, Andrew and special guest Garry – a pal of Andrew’s who’d come all the way from North Queensferry, Fife.

Windmillers bridging the River Ash at Hadham Cross . . .
. . . and the elusive John B

When it came to fording rivers, each rider had his or her own particular technique, though Andrew’s was particularly notable. Then there was Garry on his electric bike making the rest of us fearful of electrocution.

Too deep – even for Andrew
We don’t see many of those in North Queensferry. Is it an English capercaillie?

We pulled into our favourite tea room in Puckeridge, partly to dry out, but mostly for the excellent coffee and cake.

03-IMG_9549Restored, we set off on the return leg, but alas, just outside Braughing, we heard what sounded like a pistol shot followed by a very rude word from Lawrence; his rear tyre had blown out.

Fortunately, Maurice was nearby on his AA patrol bike

While those ahead carried on to Widdington – they could smell lunch and didn’t even look back – the rest of us did the decent thing and stayed with Lawrence. Maurice got to work and did the best he could with a tyre seemingly composed of perished rubber with a horsehair underlay. Lawrence had had them since he was a boy and they’d never let him down before.

They don’t make ’em like that any more

On the road once more, we did our best to catch up with the others and made short work of the final stretch uphill to Widdington and the very welcome sight of the Fleur de Lys.

Birthday Boy Ken bought the beer; good man!

Thanks to Maurice for planning and leading us on another delightful and truly varied route. We are looking forward to the next one, honestly.

Screenshot 2017-06-04 at 08.40.46
38 miles clockwise from Widdington


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