It was a pleasure to see so many of our new members attend this year’s Club Dinner & Dance at Theydon Bois Golf Club. Over fifty club members enjoyed the meal, celebrated the trophy and medal winners (see the pics below), exchanged stories about their cycling exploits in 2013 and finally enjoyed dancing the night away to great music.
Thanks to Wendy for organising a great event. Scroll down to see five pictures.
Everyone having fun!
Approaching Fryerning from Beggar Hill
The winter sun shining through the trees in Fryerning Wood
Preparing to leave the Bake ‘Huse’
At last, the weather was kind to us. Crystal clear skies greeted the twelve riders assembled at the Cycling Centre for the ride to the Bake House Café, Cooks Mill Green.
Unlike the previous week the stiff westerly wind had now reduced itself to that of a gentle breeze and it made the ride out to the café through Navestock and Doddinghurst a very pleasant experience. The route took us through Fryerning woods just passed Mill Green, always an enjoyable road to cycle along but more so on this day with the winter sun shining through the bare trees of the forest.
We’d clocked up 22 miles by the time we reached the Bake House. A very pleasant café adjoining the newly refurbished Fox and Goose pub on the A414.
Heading out of Roxwell towards Shellow Bowells on the Tour De France Route
The return journey took in the lanes north of the A414 through Roxwell, following the Tour de France route to Moreton. From there we headed for Toot Hill, Abridge and the notorious climb of Mile Hill to the Cycling Centre.
On Tawney Common at the top of Banks lane
Words and Pictures Paul O’Kelly
Leaving the Shed
Just past Sheering
Near Matching Church
Nine riders set out from the Centre expecting roads full of water and wondering whether we’d ever make our objective: the Shed coffee house in Sawbridgeworth. Our fears were unfounded and after taking more main roads than usual we took to some lovely lanes after riding, in grand procession, around the huge roundabout at the M11 junction, close to the old Bull and Horseshoes – now a Macdonalds. Our route was a sort of rural bypass of Harlow and I recommend it for cyclists wanting to avoid its busy traffic clogged roads: Hastingwood, Foster Street, Hobbs Cross, Churchgate Street, and the original old A11 to Harlow Mill.
We reached Sawbridgeworth bang on 11.00am and soon were very warm and comfortable in the Shed; a largish weather boarded building alongside old multi-storeyed mill-like industrial premises very close to the river Stort. Full of lovely coffee and food we set off on our return journey in the direction of Sheering. The westerly wind had been no friend to us at all and now it was getting stronger. Riding with bikes at 80 degrees to the
Passing Matching Church
horizontal became the norm as we fought against the vicious side wind but, thankful for small mercies, at least it wasn’t raining. It fact, wind aside, it was a lovely day and any time our route went eastwards it was cycling perfection. The strong winds had dried the lanes and apart from weaving our way around some very large puddles we had a pleasant ride home past the hamlet of Matching with its lovely old Church and Meeting House, Matching Green. Moreton and Toot Hill.
Words and Pictures Paul O’Kelly
Setting off to Roydon
Hill courtesy of the M25 at Hobbs Cross.
The club rides leader allayed the fears of all those assembled that they would not be riding along muddy towpaths alongside the river Stort to the café stop at Roydon Marina. Everyone was assured that the route would go nowhere near any off-road track and that we would reach Roydon via Coopersale Thornwood Common and the tarmac bike paths of Harlow. Happy in that knowledge a large group of Redbridge Riders set off from the Cycling Centre and headed off through Lambourne End and Abridge towards Coopersale. Soon we were turning left off the old A11 at Thornwood Common onto Rye Hill Road.
On Rye Hill Road
Rye Hill Road is a delightful country lane. It dips and twists its way through the hamlet of Rye Hill dominated by a water tower. Furthest from the mind as you cycle along it is the scene awaiting you over the brow further on up the road: the conurbation of Harlow New Town with its many housing estates and the high rises of its town centre. Within five minutes we were amongst it, riding along one of its many cyclepaths towards Broadley Common and then back into countryside speeding downhill into the valley of the river Stort to Roydon.
In the Roydon Marina Cafe
The Café was in the Roydon Mill Holiday complex. It was a spacious pinewood building and overlooked the marina, home to hundreds of narrow boats and motor cruisers. Well-fed and rested we headed off on our return journey through Harlow and onto the cycle route to Old Harlow and Churchgate Street. Unscheduled stops for three puncture repairs delayed our progress along the watery and mud strewn lanes through High Laver, Moreton, Toot Hill and the usual route via Stapleford Tawney back to Redbridge.
Homeward via the Lavers
Words and Pictures Paul O’Kelly
Redbridge to Laindon (Or Langdon?) Hill and Brentwood
This is the club ride that takes in everything: London suburbia, the bleakness of a fen, steep hills and a crowded busy high street full of Sunday shoppers.
At least it made a change from the usual routes either north through Abridge or east through Navestock. The London suburbia was Collier Row, Hornchirch and Upminster giving way to the bleak expanse of Orsett Fen. The hills started with the toughest of all of the climbs; the narrow 1Km climb of Old Church Hill which reaches 14% in places.
Getting ready for the climb of Old Church Hill
All smiles before the hill
.. you wont be smiling further up the road!
We hardly noticed some of the best scenery in Essex on the climbs of Great Bursted and Botney steep because but by now tired legs were having a serious effect on progress to the point where we opted for the earlier café in King Georges Playing Fields on the south side of Brentwood rather than at South Weald. Refreshed we threaded our way through the busy traffic on Brentwood High Street and returned to Redbridge over more hills through South Weald, Stapleford Abbotts and Lambourne End.
Words and Picture