We left the Redbridge Cycling Centre in orderly single file on the climb up to Chigwell Row. There were eleven riders, six on their first ever Redbridge club ride, two on their second or third club outing with us and three ‘old’ hands leading the way. Described as a tour of the lanes north of the London Boroughs of Redbridge we were soon enjoying the fine views of the countryside from Bournebridge Lane only a stone’s throw from London; thank heaven for the Green Belt.
After the climbs of Stapleford Abbots and Tysea Hill it was time to regroup. This we did in Navestock by a memorial to the Ice Age, a huge stone that had been squeezed out of the ground due to the glacial activities of that period and now sitting on a concrete plinth. Regrouped, we continued on yet more narrow lanes and at Sabines
Green and met Tony ‘fresh’ from his ride in the club Championship ‘10’ earlier in the morning. Our route took in refreshing views of the Valley of the River Roding and its surrounding countryside and after the steep winding descent of Mill Lane were soon crossing it at Shonk’s Mill, an old steam mill from ancient days.
Our new members were being introduced to joys of group cycling. Whether or not they believed that during the ride uphill on Berwick lane is another matter. But we had to haul ourselves out of the Roding Valley somehow and this was the route chosen. The summit was at the aptly named village of Toot Hill where we regrouped and continued on our way along the lane with more ups and downs than a helter skelter has at a fun fair. We stopped by the Moletrap Pub on Tawney Common to discuss a where we would have our refreshment stop. The bolts of pub were firmly closed, and the café in Abridge seemed too close to Redbridge so we all went for Jenny’s suggestion that the golf club near Hobbs Cross farm might be able to put the kettle on for us.
We tried hard to ignore the fantastic views of the Canary Wharf skyline from the top of Woodhatch, scene of the annual club hillclimb, for fear of meeting up with a pothole and after hurtling downhill, were soon supping tea and eating cakes in the clubhouse café. Refreshed, our route took us back over the River Roding at Abridge. Cara, getting ever fitter for her London – Paris ride next month said good bye to us here while the rest of us climbed Mile Hill out of Abridge eventually to reach the Cycling Centre via Lambourne End