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25th November West Wratting to Cornish Hall End (and back, just about)

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.

Getting ready for the off
Rod unloads the e-bike, gadgets and accoutrements

Deborah is assisted by Brian in last minute preparations.

Suzann is ready to go.

We are still attracting good numbers of people considering the time of year and very soon two groups had formed and the ride started.

Group 1. Maurice isn’t in it since he does not hang around at the start
Our circumnavigation of Haverhill. Anticlockwise, the wind behind us for the first leg, but oh dear getting back was painful into the wind.

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.

E. P. Frost’s ornithopter in 1910.
I attempt take-off in honour of E. P. Frost, but with even less success.

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.

Brian demonstrates what may well be a paraffin pump? Might be petrol. Still in 20 years time we may have to explain to children what either one is (was).

A break before the hard ride back.

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.

There we go soup and a roll delivered with smile, definitely one of our best pubs.
Graham continues to grow his Father Christmas beard but hopefully won’t scare the children.

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.

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