Thursday morning in the Fox and Duck car park and Sandra was giving a safety briefing to the assembled Windmillers: Vernon, Ken, John B, John T, Chris, Roger, Lawrence and Brian. She would be leading us around a circuit of some 30 miles from Therfield through Sandon, Ashwell, Baldock, Weston, Cromer and Rushden, returning to Therfield for lunch.
There was a lot of interest in Vernon’s Quintana Roo. That’s not a medical condition but an Australian-made triathlon bike which he had shipped back from Australia some years ago. Like Vernon, it has been lovingly restored. Together with Roger’s Eddie Merckx, Maurice’s Claud Butler and Ric’s Mercian (more of that below) it joins our ever growing quota of vintage machines.
John B, ever the free spirit, opted to do his own thing while the rest of us enjoyed Sandra’s route. The day was dry and the roads were mostly quiet, though we did have an interesting encounter with a large tractor on a narrow lane. Both the tractor driver and ourselves saw the funny side; he pausing to take pictures of us pressed into the hedgerow and us taking pictures of him trying to squeeze past eight Windmillers.
We pulled in for coffee at the Delizia Italian Café in Baldock. Back on the bikes for the return leg, we caught up with John B at Sandon where we found him waiting for us on a bench. He persuaded Ken and Brian to join him on an off-road shortcut between Sandon and Therfield while the others, fearing a repeat of last week’s mudfest, thought it wise to stick to the road. John’s track proved to be pleasantly dry and both parties were eventually reunited at Therfield where we were delighted to be joined by Bridget, Lyn and Maurice for lunch.
14 June update: Three weeks on from his involuntary dismount, Ric reports that his shoulder is getting better and – crucially – his trusty Mercian bicycle is repairable. He knows this because has taken advice from the Mercian Cycles factory in Derby. He hopes to be joining us again in a few weeks’ time. Meanwhile he is becoming an accomplished one-armed gardener.