By this point in the year, it was getting cold. The wind was fairly strong and from the north. It was going to make the return journey quite taxing as things turned out.
The Chestnut Tree has turned into one of our most popular pubs this year. Coffee was indoors since we’re all jabbed.
We are still attracting good numbers of people considering the time of year and very soon two groups had formed and the ride started.
You may not know but West Wratting is famous as the home of E. P. Frost who developed an early form of flying, using flapping wings, called an ornithopter. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/West_Wratting
The logic was that in order to fly one had to mimic the birds and insects who accomplish this feat rather elegantly. The notion of fixed wings was much less intuitive.
Larger, manned ornithopters have since been built and some have been successful. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ornithopter.
The first human-muscle-powered flight using flapping wings occurred on 20 April 2006, with a flight of 64 metres (210 ft). It’s all about power to weight of course, but then fixed winged aeroplanes, ornithopters and helicopters are all fairly hopeless without engines. In fact there are considerable advantages in not having fixed wings, these include; manoeuvrability, vertical take-off/landing and excellent slow speed energy performance, as the hawks demonstrate for us on every ride. It is fairly easy to build a miniature ornithopter that works well when powered by rubber bands or springs. The record flight time for an indoor, rubber-band powered, wing-flapping machine is 21 minutes, 44 seconds. So maybe E. P. Frost wasn’t so daft after all.
Coffee and cake half way round saw the two groups meet.
The return half of this route into wind turned out to be a struggle both for myself and some other Windmiller’s. A fit human can output 300 Watts for a few minutes (0.4 mechanical horsepower) an insect produces the equivalent, mass for mass, of 8000 Watts, which is why we can’t fly. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/7810379/ This frailty became all too evident as I pushed on into the wind and towards the pub.
Having arrived and caught my breath, the Chestnut Tree staff were so organised and welcoming, which is why we keep coming back.
All in all a very nice ride, especially considering the time of year. Thanks to Maurice, Andrew and all those photographers. Let’s hope we can keep cycling during this winter spell.