3 May. Sleepy Essex and Suffolk lanes. 30 miles.

The lanes of North East Essex and South Suffolk were at their best on this fine Spring day as seven Windmillers set forth from the Fox and Hounds in Steeple Bumpstead for a clockwise tour. Our maestro Maurice led the way and his six faithful followers were Andrew, Ken, Keith, Brummie Brian, Ric and Martin. Ric, as usual, had cycled all the way from home in Harston and so would have clocked up 70+ miles by the end of the day. Well done Ric, you put the rest of us to shame!

Here is the route taken:

30 miles clockwise from Steeple Bumpstead.png

Other than a very short stretch of the A1017, Maurice’s route took us through very peaceful lanes with hardly a car or DPD van in evidence. That gave us time to admire the scenery which was a mass of vivid greens, yellows and lilac. There were churches galore and, of course, potholes.

Windmillers admiring potholes near Hundon
Is the village of Steeple Chase the origin of the type of horse race? Probably not was the general opinion.

Besides the abundance of usual tree species, a particularly unusual tree sporting preloved walking boots was spotted near one junction:

No sign of birds nesting in the boots – too smelly?

All was going smoothly until Martin felt that familiar bump bump from his rear tyre which signalled his second puncture of the year, and more suggestions to ditch his recently acquired Schwalbe Evolutions for something tougher. However, it was so easy to remove the tyre that some thought a new record might be created for a puncture repair, until the replaced tyre took on a decidedly wonky profile, necessitating deflation, adjustment, reflation and then a prayer or two before hoping for the best and carrying on to Clare, resulting in no new record. However it was a good team effort, which might lead to an offer to work for a Formula 1 team in future, if word gets around.

Team members hard at work on Martin’s puncture, whilst others look on

Then it was on to coffee in the waiting room of the disused railway station at Clare, where the coffee was fine but the scones might have been better described as rock cakes. As Wikipedia states : A rock cake, also called a rock bun, is a small fruit cake with a rough surface resembling a rock. Rock cakes originated in Great Britain, where they are a traditional teatime treat, but are now popular in many parts of the world, particularly in Clare, Suffolk at the previous railway station.  Anyhow, Maurice got his money back and so he was happy and was none the worse for the experience.

Soon after leaving Clare it was back into Essex for the final run back to Steeple Bumpstead via Ridgewell, with very few hills to tax us. The new management of the Fox and Hounds greeted us warmly, in a traditional landlady sort of way, and a good lunch was had in the garden, washed down with some interesting ales including an old fashioned mild from Wibblers Brewery.

Thanks, Maurice, for devising such a peaceful route. Next week, expect a record turnout as it will be drinks on Andrew to celebrate his birthday. And thanks to Brian for the map and some of the pics.



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