After a fierce storm during the night we were left wondering come 8.00am whether there would be a ride or not on this cold January day. But thanks to careful planning and organisation by Maurice and Deputy Dawg Andrew, the signal was given to assemble at the Fleur de Lys in Widdington at 10.00am instead of 9.30 by which time it was expected the storm would have abated and indeed it had. Furthermore, Maurice had planned a cunning circuit which would keep us sheltered from headwinds on the way out but taking full advantage of the wind on our backs for the return leg.
And so it was that six hardy Windmillers – Maurice, Andrew, John B, Sandra, Brian and Martin – set off on a ride of just 23 miles to ensure we were back in time for the all important lunch. The route took us via Elsenham, Ugley Green (avoiding one of John B’s favourite off road muddy stretches), Hazel End, Farnham, Stocking Pelham, Rickling Green and then back up the busy main road (due to the northbound M11 being blocked) before turning back to Widdington.
Here is the route taken:
Although there was enough wind to make Martin, who was distinctly unfit after Christmas and New Year excesses, feel that the 23 miles was more like 33 miles, the day turned out to be sunny and glorious, albeit a bit on the chilly side at 5C. But as we all had ample layers of clothing, no mutterings about the cold were to be heard. John B was the most stoic, still suffering from a bruised / cracked rib following a fall before his recent ski trip to Les Gets.
There had been talk of a coffee stop at The Cricketers in Rickling Green but as we were almost back by then we left John B there and pedalled on, Martin achieving his first puncture of the year just yards before the Fleur de Lys, where we were joined by Chris and Ken for lunch at our usual round table. Sandra had us roaring with laughter with her tale of woe about helping a lady to change a wheel on her car, or not helping as it turned out and losing both a wheel nut and a heavy drain hole cover down the drain in the process……
Over lunch, Maurice produced a copy of his magnificent Windmill Club Ode, modelled on Rudyard Kipling’s famous and moving poem, ‘If’. This sums up so well the spirit of our club:
And here are two letters received from charities we supported following our record breaking fund raising of £1,500 in 2017:
Thanks, Maurice, for planning such a good route, Andrew for assembling us and Brian for the pics.