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17 December. CAC ride from Chrishall. 30 miles.

Charles’s house in Chrishall was the focal point for this last CAC ride on a Thursday before Christmas, and what a treat there was in store for the Windmillers who took part. The sun shone, the birds sang and everything seemed right in the world, except for Covid-19 and Brexit of course but we could at least forget those for a few pleasurable hours in the saddle.

Feeling a bit idle, Martin took his car to Chrishall overtaking Brian and Ken on the way and egging them on with shouts of ‘Allez allez’ through his open window. Many others rode to their start point too, putting Martin (and Simon) to shame. Rod also drove to Chrishall but was let off as he had much longer to get to the circuit and also was still without his e-bike. Brian had started from Great Shelford, Ric from Harston, Howard, Geoff, Deborah and Jenni from Saffron Walden, whilst Graham and Mike did their own thing and took a roundabout route from Ickleton via Newton and also managed a trip to Poppy’s Barn again. The prize for the furthest distance of the day probably goes to Brian.

In addition to the aforementioned, Maurice, Andrew, Roger and Alan also took part making 17 in all, a fantastic turnout. Here is the route taken:

https://gb.mapometer.com/cycling/route_5189260

With groups of up to six allowed under the regulations in force on the day, this enabled several small groups to ride together or to join up with others en route. Rod, Simon, Ken and Martin set off together in an AC direction and it wasn’t long before the familiar figure of Ric caught them up on the climb to Duddenhoe End. It was good to see him out again and to hear about what was going on in his garden.

Simon, Rod, Ric and Ken in Brent Pelham

After all the rain in recent days, the roads were inevitably wet and muddy, nowhere more so than between Albury and Farnham, and perhaps Violets Lane as well near Brent Pelham, but Rod’s group chickened out and decided not to even attempt Violets Lane which is notorious for mud and water at this time of year. Ken peeled off towards Clavering and home at that stage leaving the remaining four to continue their journey.

But the sun more than made up for the wet roads. It was just glorious and provided great opportunities for Simon to get creative once again with his photography.

Agricultural junk appeals to Simon. This collection and that in the photo above is near Farnham.
Spiralling ivy disguises the silhouettes of some of these trees

Rounding a corner near Farnham two groups of Windmillers suddenly met and stopped for a socially distanced chat across the road:

A socially distanced lake between Martin , Jenni and Deborah
Brian, Howard, Rod, Simon and Ric amongst the puddles

Saying farewell to the other group, Rod’s group started to debate where coffee might be had. The Three Horseshoes at Hazel End looked dead to the world, The Yew Tree in Manuden likewise but thoughts then turned to The Cricketers in Rickling Green and hey presto, the lights were on and we received a very warm and efficient welcome as we ordered coffee for all and large slices of cake for Rod and Simon. Sitting outside was pleasantly dry and quite warm in the sun.

Ric snacking at the Rickling Cricketers. Try saying that after a few pints.
Simon doing the Windmill salute, with the heavy mob on guard.

Arriving back at Charles’s, Rod’s group realised they had not seen many other riders – perhaps most were going in the same direction or was it because of stopping at The Cricketers? Deborah and Jenni were just departing and so the great display of puppy bonding by Deborah was sadly missed, but here’s a pic of the happy occasion:

Deborah bonding with her new puppy – lucky girl! Envy all round

The magnificent sum of £100 was raised for our charity fund.

Thanks to Maurice for planning the route, Andrew for his organisation, Charles for hosting the charity box and providing beers, refreshments and biscuits (much appreciated) and Graham for hosting the evening’s Zoom session. A good time was had by all.

Martin

One reply on “17 December. CAC ride from Chrishall. 30 miles.”

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