12.11.18 – Chasing the sunset

With the start time 14.45, gradually creeping forward in the hopes of getting back to the pub before dark but not having to wait too long for opening at 17.00. Maurice and Rod (E-bikers), Andrew and Sandra (Purist peddlers) met at The Bull, Lower Langley. Rod having invested in some new Schwalbe Marathon shoes for his steed, hopeful this would prevent a repeat of last weeks thorn gathering experience. A promise had been made that the route would be swept personally by hand by Andrew, so that thorns wouldn’t be an issue this week. Meanwhile, Andrew’s shares in Schwalbe must have increased greatly thanks mainly to The Windmill Club, as he too arrived with an, as good as new off-road steed to try out, very nice looking too. Be prepared for some more off-roading in the summer!!

We set off to Little Chishill, Great Chishill, Heydon and Elmdon, stopping for a brief break to check the time and daylight situation, before setting off again to Strethall along a route where some hedge cutting was taking place, thankfully no-one succumbed to thorns this time. On through Littlebury Green and up to Duddenhoe End, picking our way through closed road signs and on to Arkesden, Clavering and Sheepcote Green. The daylight was really closing in on us now and a large herd of deer chasing across the road just before us, some choosing to pause in the field, always a worry, as you never know which way they are going to go but they stood fast and let us pass.

Back to The Bull with only a few minutes wait, as Sarah took pity on us and let us in out of the now chilling air. Great beer and Pistachios (the new healthier goujons!!).

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21 miles clockwise

Another great ride, thanks Maurice and Andrew for organising us.

Sandra

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8 November 2018: A Record Turnout for Vernon’s Birthday

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Happy Birthday, Vernon!

The prospect of free beer – courtesy of Vernon – heralded a bumper turnout for lunch at the Pig & Abbot. No fewer than 15 thirsty Windmillers, back from a 31 mile outing, raised a celebratory glass to the birthday boy while tucking into Landlady Pat’s excellent meat pies.

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Andrew on the starting grid

Setting out from Abington Pigotts, we had visited Bassingbourn, Meldreth, Shepreth, Barrington, Haslingfield and the Eversdens, enjoyed coffee at Bourn Golf Club, and returned via the Hatleys, Wendy and Shingay.

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Windmillers on Chapel Hill. From left to right: Vernon, Maurice, Chris, Victor, Andrew, Ric, Tom, Graham, Sandra, Ken, Lawrence, Roger and Rod. Simon joined us at Bourn – and Brian was behind the camera.

Even the RAF had turned out to salute Vernon. Pausing for a breather at the top of Chapel Hill, we were treated to a low level flyby – a pair of Apache helicopters skimming the hedgerow. One even acknowledged our waves with a quick side to side waggle; it was quite a sight.

 

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All in all, it had been another splendid ride on a lovely day. Thanks as ever to Maurice and Andrew for getting us all organised.

Brian

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31 miles anticlockwise from Abington Pigotts

05.11.2018 – Windmillers & E-Motion

A lovely afternoon/evening was in store. A bright glow in the air as I approached The Bull, Lower Langley, was it the Sun or the newly acquired High-Vis garments in preparation of cycling into the evening Sun, NO, it was the beaming grin on Rocket Rod’s face, showing off his shiny new E-Bike to Maurice!!

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It’s a thumbs down from Purist Andrew!!

Having only acquired this sparkly steed on Saturday, minimal road work had taken place, so this would be a good test amongst friends, none of us competitive at all!! Lets just say that Rod no longer requires a jetpack, as the battery pack has more than enough power for the local hills. On leaving The Bull, Rod took off into the distance, I managed to catch up with him, heading up to Little Chishill before dropping to Shaftenhoe End, where we stopped to regroup with Maurice and Andrew before heading up to Barkway, Rod’s orange glow took off up the hills into the distance briefly stopping at the top of one of the hills to take in the sun, suggestion of adding a solar panel on such occasions to add longevity to the battery. Passing through Barkway and pausing in The Tally Ho car park, checking the opening times for future rides, further investigation required here.

On to Nuthampstead, Anstey and Little Hormead before heading to Furneux Pelham and a little off road stretch down towards Hartham Common. Whether it was the off road section, the narrow road with recently flailed hedges both sides and well basically a mat of hedge cutting all the way along or the curse of new bike tyres (thinest material they can find), the wind was most certainly taken from Rods sails, well his rear tyre anyway!! With the light failing, it was decided to divert back to Lower Langley via Meesden and Maurice went back in his car to collect Rod.

In spite of the puncture (which I now know was a thorn), another great ride. Great to have you back on board again Rod after some time away.

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20 miles anti-clockwise

 

Thanks Maurice for organising the ride, Andrew for organising us and Rod for the refreshments, much appreciated, very kind.

Sandra

29.10.18 – Windmillers Autumn Watch

What a glorious Autumn evening, sitting in the sunshine waiting for Andrew and Martin to join me outside The Bull, Lower Langley, watching Red Kites circling, some even dipping in and out of The Bull’s garden.

This being the first ride after the clocks went back, meaning an earlier start of 15.00. Autumn certainly in the air, temperature dropping rapidly but Martin hopeful maybe that the sun would keep some warmth in the air, choosing to bare knobby knees, while Andrew freshly back from warmer climes and noticing the dramatic change to the weather after just ten days in the Mediterranean.

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Thirsty Dawg, still in cruise mode!!

We set off to Duddenhoe End then on to Arkesden, it wasn’t long before we came across a small herd of deer grazing the fresh crops, on through to Rickling taking in the vibrant Autumn colours. On leaving Rickling a young stag was spotted, hopeful of getting a picture against the setting sun and horizon, we slowed down but the stag was proving more difficult to capture and took off, running along side us for a while before cutting across the road in front of us, to a point where the photo would not have the same impact, I think this stag could have been John B in disguise, the way he managed to avoid the camera!!!

While watching this stag, we were fortunate enough to see a Buzzard drop out of a tree at the side of the road to catch a small mammal and devour in one go and then take off. All in a evenings Windmill Club Autumn Watch ride.

On to Berden and Stocking Pelham, where a comfort break would make an amazing discovery in a garden, a 5″ scale model railway line!!

 

On from here via Brent Pelham to Meesden Bury and Roast Green to Lower Langley, with a couple of stops to check Martin’s bike which had developed a strange noise, it turns out he’s been tinkering again.

The Bull looking fabulous, lit up to welcome us in. What better way to finish a ride than with Benny’s Best.

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19.5 miles clockwise

Thanks Andrew for organising and Martin for the photographs.

Sandra

22.10.18 -Hilly Herts, Cambs and Essex

With Andrew cruising the ‘Med’ and Maurice otherwise engaged, I was asked to organise this ride. Well the email went out for any willing/brave cyclists to join me!! Word clearly had not got around to Simon about my past exploits (storm Sandra!!), as he was the only intrepid cyclist willing to join me. The weather looked fine for this evening ride, not too windy and the sun looked set to join us, if maybe a bit chilly. Having a route in mind and knowing that Simon had yet to experience the notorious ‘Three Hills’, we set out from Lower Langley down through Little Chishill to then turn up to Great Chishill taking in the said hills, getting them out-of-the-way at the start of the route, we’d certainly warmed up by the time we passed The Pheasant, on through Heydon and dropping to Chrishall Grange before turning towards Ickleton before turning back to head up to Elmdon, yes UP again, yet another hill with a ‘nice’ (if that’s the correct term!) kick at the end, on through Elmdon dropping down and then heading UP again to Duddenhoe End, this time a hill I’ve only ever gone down before with the Windmillers (I now know why we’ve only ever gone down this one!), at this point it’s pretty much down hill all the way to the welcome of The Bull at Lower Langley, having done all those hills, the thoughts of adding the extra 4 miles passing ‘Chez Oliver’ at Butt’s Green went out of our thoughts, so straight back to The Bull it was, where Maurice joined us later on.

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17.5 miles clockwise

Thank you Simon for being brave enough to join me.

Sandra

25 October 2018: Say Cheese!

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It’s the anticipation of a good lunch that keeps us going!

Thursday’s outing was a particularly hilly one. Starting from Long Melford, Maurice led the way around a 30 mile circuit taking in Henny Street, Lamarsh, Nayland and Boxford. There were 10 of us – Graham, Roger, Lawrence, Chris, Sandra, Simon, both Brians and, of course, Routemeister Maurice himself.

Iron Man Graham clocked up an additional 30 miles, having cycled all the way from Ickleton to Long Melford, where he arrived clutching a sausage roll and all set for the next 30 miles. We were impressed.

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Wholly innocent Windmillers outside Holy Innocents Church, Lamarsh

Nayland shall be forever imprinted upon Lawrence’s mind as it was here that an impetuous driver tried to run him off the road. There was a coming together of car and bicycle, nothing too serious, thank God, and Lawrence managed to avoid being spilled from the saddle. The front seat passenger, however, leapt from the car and berated Lawrence for, well, being a cyclist. Despite the abuse, Lawrence kept his cool. It was the offending motorist who came off worst with various vehicle parts, notably a wing mirror housing and fuel filler cap, ending up in the road. Just deserts, we thought; tangle with Lawrence at your peril!

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Coffee stop at Boxford

Back at Long Melford, we stowed the bikes and drove to Steeple Bumpstead for lunch at The Fox & Hounds. And what a lunch; notable for the huge volume of dairy product consumed by Martin and Roger, both having selected the Cheese Feast from the menu. They each must have put away half a kilo of various processed curds; everything from Norfolk Dapple to Suffolk Gold. We must up their statin prescriptions.

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30 miles anticlockwise from Long Melford

Thanks, Maurice, for leading us over another delightful route. Andrew too for getting us all organised.

Brian

18 October. Punctures galore. 30 miles.

The plan was to have an early start and finish to allow Deputy Dawg Andrew to scoot off on his hols but it didn’t quite work out like that. Lawrence was running late and so it was 11 Windmillers who set off from the Fleur de Lys in Widdington on a clockwise circuit to Puckeridge and back – Maurice, Andrew, Vernon, Sandra, Keith, Chris, Tom, Roger, Deborah, Simon and Martin. Here is the route taken:

Bike ride 18 Oct 18

Was it the rain the day before washing mini axe head flints onto the road, choice of tyres or just bad luck that caused four punctures en route, with Deborah suffering one in both front and back wheels? Most probably it was the rain, as has happened before, but there is always talk of Schwalbe Marathons at such time, in which company we are convinced that Andrew holds shares.

Tom was the first to get a puncture but he was so far ahead of the peloton that he already had his front wheel off by the time the others arrived. Although not breaking his personal record of 5 minutes he was soon on the go again:

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Tom showing how it should be done

Then it was Deborah’s turn in Much Hadham but some willing helpers soon had her front wheel off and a new tube inserted whilst the others pedalled on towards Puckeridge to place their orders for coffee and cakes.

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Deborah’s puncture no. 1
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There’s something lovely about this tea room in Puckeridge and it’s not just the name. Could it be the scones, jam and clotted cream?

At this stage of the ride we were around 30 mins behind schedule but there was more in store on the return leg when Deborah got her second puncture, this time in her back wheel, when Tom, Sandra and Vernon once again came to her rescue and fished out a mini flint before fitting a new tube.

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The sun came out and everyone seems happy mending Deborah’s punctures

Finally, it was Vernon’s turn, not long after leaving Rickling, his tough Continental Four Seasons tyres also showing that they are susceptible to our local flints. Meanwhile the others were already on their first pint back at the Fleur as the familar puncture repair team again swung into action:

Tom, Sandra and Vernon will definitely be up for the Puncture Repair Team of the Year Award at the Christmas lunch.

And so it was 1.00pm, an hour behind schedule, that we finally all assembled at the Fleur de Lys for yet another wonderful lunch. Sadly, having arrived late, Lawrence set off to find us without success and so was unable to join us for lunch, having returned to the Fleur by 11.30am.

Thanks to Maurice for planning the ride, not knowing of course that all those nasty flints were out there to get us, and to Andrew for organising us. Hopefully Andrew didn’t miss his boat.

Martin

PS. This must be a record for puncture pics on a blog. Ed.