Yet another hot Thursday ride was in store as eleven Windmillers gathered at 9.30am in the shade of the Fleur de Lys car park in Widdington. A tanker of water / beer towed by someone with an electric bike would have come in useful but, alas, Maurice was unable to make the ride. Andrew therefore organised it, assisted ably by John B who introduced a couple of off-road elements , and so with the others comprising Ken, Ric, Brummy Brian, Keith, Tom, Lawrence, Roger, Victor and Martin, the peloton set off in search of The Blue Egg near Great Bardfield. It was great to have Ric with us again on his first major ride since his accident earlier in the year and fully recovered, so much so that he rode also to Widdington and back to Harston clocking up over 60 miles in all. Furthermore, it had been Ric’s birthday a couple of weeks before and so there was the prospect on beers on him. Well done, Ric!
Here is the route taken:
John B’s first off road section was a splendid piece of smoothish farm track not far from Widdington which took us directly to the Thaxted road south east of Debden avoiding several annoying hills and busy roads in the process. Whether that was the cause of Victor’s puncture was not known but with help of Roger and Brian it was mended in record time and the group all met up again in Thaxted in the shade of the church spire.
Lawrence and Andrew speeding towards Thaxted with both church spire and windmill visible in the distance
The Blue Egg Café in Great Bardfield was the coffee destination, a place visited only once before and attempted on other occasions without success due to inclement weather. So it was good to be back at what is apparently one of Mark Cavendish’s favourite bike cafés, and understandably so as the coffee, cakes and all important scones were excellent and likewise the service. Someone even thought the bearded fellow biker near us was indeed Mark Cavendish but on closer inspection he was only a look-a-like.
Refreshed , but getting hotter, the peloton headed back via Bardfield Saling, Lindsell and Great Easton but were soon turning off the main road to explore John B’s second off-road section. We had to stop outside a wonderful wood carver’s cottage to admire, in particular, his carving of a bearded man with a pointed hat which we all agreed bore a great resemblance to Ric, except perhaps for the hat. Here he is taking pride of place in the photograph:
The off-road section was short, narrow and fine on a dry summer’s day, but probably left well alone on a wet Essex-mud kind of day. We exited onto a quiet lane and then continued on a mix of hot and shady lanes with only the occasional difficult Essex van driver to contend with. Thoughts of beer began in earnest around Henham, which John took advantage of, but the others had lunch in mind and continued towards Widdington with a final steep climb to the Fleur de Lys, which was a welcome sight after 34 hot miles in the saddle (and even more for Ric). An excellent lunch was had, washed down with some fine beers, courtesy of Ric. Thanks Ric! And it was good to have Vernon join us too, having ridden over from Melbourn. Let’s have birthdays every week.
Thanks also to Andrew and John for planning the route, and to Brian for the Strava map and some of the pics.. It was a great ride.