Four Score

Octogenarians are like buses: none for ages then two in the space of a month ! Ken will celebrate his milestone birthday on Saturday, but in the meantime he’d organised this Thursday’s hilly ride and birthday beers from the Crown, Little Walden.

The last ride we took from the Crown, ice was thick on the roads and the mercury hovered near zero. This time, the riders were greeted by considerably warmer and brighter conditions so it wasn’t surprising to see 15 riders on parade. Since journalistic fact checking appears to be optional these days, I can claim (without checking) that its the first time this year that the entire peloton were wearing shorts.

Food orders placed, Ken, on his trusty non-e-bike, led the first of two groups away – only to return a minute later to lock his car then charge off again after his group.

It being the nature of the Crown’s location, the hill up to Hadstock common invariably features in any ride starting from there. As a wide open elevated plateau, its not surprising that Hadstock common was the home of RAF Little Walden / USAAF Station 165 during WW2.

After tackling a few of quiet lanes East of Saffron Walden we congregated at the Bonnefirebox cafe, Wimbish for coffee and cake. This is a new venue for the club and a welcome addition. From here, the route turned to the West of Saffron Walden – after negotiating a particularly congested Newport high street.

Passing the Axe and Compasses in Arkesden, it was good to see much progress being made to the fire damaged building and thatched roof. Unfortunately, it won’t be open in time for the Women’s pro peloton to drop in for a pint tomorrow on their ‘Ride London Classique’ UCI world tour event. In fact, Ken’s route traced a good section of their route – albeit in reverse.

We finally crested the aptly named ‘Windmill Hill’ before the run back into Saffron Walden. Here, mapping software was blamed for the variety of routes taken through the town until all eventually made it onto the Little Walden road and hence the pub.

Once at the pub, it was excellent beer directly from the cask and fine food plus the obligatory rendering “Happy Birthday to yoooooo”. Many thanks to Ken for an incident free, albeit hilly, ride.

Ken, Howard, Ric, Geoff, Martin B, Andrew, Rod, Alan. Brian, Iain, Jeremy, Paul, Maurice, Martin W, Graham.

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