What a treat to have a longer evening for the first time this year and to know that, if a leisurely pace was kept up, we could be at The Bull in Lower Langley at opening time. The weather was also unusually pleasant for a change and so there was no particular hurry as 5 Windmillers comprising Maurice, Andrew, Sandra, Keith and Martin set forth from The Pheasant some time after 4.00pm. Andrew devised the route which took in Elmdon, Arkesden, Roast Green (where Maurice took the short cut to The Bull), Lower Langley and then a choice of the road or John Bagrie’s off-road route back from Little Chishill to The Pheasant.
We struck lucky in Elmdon to find Simon working hard in his and Ollie’s lovely garden. He showed us his treasure trove of pictures, posters and photographs in his garage, some of which used to decorate the walls of The Pheasant, and his beloved Massey Ferguson 135 tractor which is in impeccable condition. He also confessed to having a shiny new bike which we hope to see him on in the coming weeks.
Ample time for studying the architecture of Elmdon, including The Elmdon Dial which should be opening again in the coming months
After bidding Simon farewell, having suggested we meet again later at The Bull, off we pedaled with time on our hands towards Arkesden via Long Lane, where Sandra, Andrew and Keith were already relaxing in the sunshine on the seat at the hilltop by the time Maurice and Martin arrived.
It was pleasant wasting time in the evening sun, knowing that there was still 45 minutes to go before opening time at The Bull, and so eventually we sauntered off towards Arkesden and Clavering, dodging the potholes along the way. Teresa, please note! At Roast Green, still with 20 minutes to spare, Maurice took the direct route whilst the others went via ‘Icy Lane’ and got there just after him, only to discover the familiar figure of John Bagrie also there, sipping a pint in the sunshine. And then Simon and Carl arrived and so a jolly time was had by all until it started to get chilly and so it was inside to warm up before the final leg back to The Pheasant.
There was much speculation as to whether John B’s off road route really was the quicker. Sandra, Martin and Keith took the easy but longer road route whilst Andrew screeched to a halt at Lower Chishill and took the high road, as Scotsmen often do. SMK pedalled for all their might but it was indeed Andrew who just emerged first from the lane before the final climb into Great Chishill, recording a total distance for the ride of 16.6 miles compared to the road route of 17.1 miles, half a mile shorter. In muddier conditions it might have been different but Andrew did say the ruts were deep. Not for the faint hearted! John B and Maurice eventually appeared sometime later, having taken the off road route too, but then they didn’t leave The Bull at the same time………….
At the The Pheasant we were given a warm welcome by Alison and Debs before devouring some excellent goujons and chips, all washed down with good ales.
Thanks to the Bad Dawg Andrew for organising the ride.