A very cold Thursday morning saw eight Windmillers – Maurice, Andrew, Sandra, Chris, two Johns and both Brians – setting off from the Fox & Duck, Therfield, for a 32 mile excursion around Sandon, Cromer, Puckeridge and Buntingford.
It being such a cold morning, we were looking forward to hill climbs as a means of warming up. Even so, it took us the best part of an hour to regain the feeling in our fingers.
There was ice to contend with in the shadier lanes. But it was reassuring to know that should the worst happen, Sandra – her bike now equipped with front- and back-facing cameras – would be there to capture our final moments on video. Thankfully, nobody came a cropper.
Once warmed up, we started to enjoy the Hertfordshire countryside and its wildlife; we saw deer, fieldfares, woodpeckers and red kites, not to mention a couple of alpacas and the odd abandoned boat.
After 18 miles we were grateful to park up, dismount and tumble into the Something Lovely Tearoom. It was at this point that John B’s strong aversion to caffeine meant he vanished into thin air and we didn’t see him again until we got back to Therfield. The rest of us enjoyed a warm welcome from the ladies who bake and tucked into their ever excellent coffee and cake.
Thawed out and refreshed, we mounted up and set off on the return leg. With the wind behind us and the roads now mostly ice-free we soon covered the last 14 miles back to the Fox & Duck, where we were delighted to find Ken and Vernon joining us for lunch. The beer was good and the steak and stilton sandwiches excellent.
All in all, another great outing. Thanks, Maurice and Andrew, for organising everything.