Meeting at The Bull, Lower Langley, at 5.00pm, Maurice, Andrew, Sandra, Simon, Charles and Martin set off on a southerly circuit taking in Clavering, Arkesden, Rickling, Manuden and the Pelhams. Sandra had already ridden 22 miles and so her total for the afternoon must have been nearer 50, whilst Charles rode from and back to Chrishall clocking up over 30 miles, dressed smartly in his long doggie socks which provide clear identification.
Charles also wore a rather fancy helmet with Bluetooth, a microphone and rear flashing lights, a present from a generous daughter it seems. Definitely one for the Christmas wish list this year.
This is where we went, clockwise:
The lanes were quiet – just the odd tractor and car but no Range Rover or Volvo mums screeching round bends coming back from the school run. However, Andrew did flag down one Volvo mum just as were setting off to point out that the jockey wheel on her pony trailer that she was towing was too low. Being the gentleman he is, he quickly adjusted it for her and she went safely on her way.
A tame buzzard was seen perching happily on some telegraph wires without a care in the world as we approached Rickling and Sandra commented that she had seen a herd of deer in the same area earlier. With at least half the harvest in, the countryside was already beginning to look autumnal in places due to ploughing and field cultivations.
A quick stop outside The Cricketers in Rickling was made to check on the renovation progress, which appeared to be finished and so a mental note was made to pay a longer visit soon. Being in charge of photography for the evening, Andrew then dashed off ahead on the way to Manuden to try and emulate Brummie Brian by taking action shots from a horizontal position in the long grass. Sandra reached him first and thought initially he had fallen off his bike whilst Martin’s first reaction was that he looked like a traveller of no fixed abode looking for somewhere to sleep. What we didn’t know was that he was busy taking some fine photographs of Windmillers huffing and puffing up a short incline:
A brief stop was then made outside Martin’s daughter’s house in Manuden to see if she was in but there was no sign of life and so we continued onwards through the Pelhams. At precisely 18.30 hours there was the sound of regimental music coming from what Martin thought was Charles’s Bluetooth helmet but it was actually his snazzy watch alarm reminding him to lock the chickens up. There followed a discussion about the Sussex Regiment and a somewhat poor rendering was given of another military favourite, Sussex by-the-Sea. Luckily the others were out of earshot.
Simon had told us during the ride of the poor health recently of his mother, who lives by herself in Worcester. The good news is that she is now better and out of hospital. Simon found himself in Worcester without any spare clothing, not expecting to have to look after his mother for several days, but solved the problem by paying a visit to local charity shops where he equipped himself with a complete new wardrobe including brand new shirts for £20! We did wonder if the smart trousers he was wearing had been part of the purchase but this proved not to be the case. (Not one to miss a bargain, Martin has since acquired a brand new lightweight jacket for a fiver from the Salvation Army shop in Saffron Walden.)
After a very pleasant two hour ride we pulled up outside The Bull once more where there was a fine selection of beers to choose from and nuts to chew on.
Thanks, Maurice, for a good route and Andrew for his fine photography and organisation.