Posted on Monday 23 June 2008 by Ken Peters
Much has happened in the last few weeks since I last wrote a ride report. May, for instance, when all rides were in Essex and only the wet Spring Bank Holiday ride featured a train trip. Since then I led a 22-strong 2 star ride that was almost hijacked by a few of the faster riders but that did allow me to learn a new trick. If you ever find that people want to ride too fast when you are leading, simply ride at the back of the group and eventually they will get the message and slow down then you can, probably, control the pace of the ride from the front again.
Probably the most important recent event was the fact that I have finally taken charge of my new bike. OK it is a conversion of a mid-70s Viscount rather than a new bike and I have decided that a shiny new carbon frame will be required to take me on those rides where fixed cogs fear to tread. You have been warned. A big ride out happened from East Finchley where Nick dragooned the troops into some sort of order and I met the group, consisting on Nick, Martin, Bob, Linus Roger and Jon, at North Finchley where Angela was also waiting. All went well until the almost inevitable breakaway as we approached Essendon where the speedsters on geared bikes took off, almost never to be seen again, while the Hon Sec and myself were much more sedate descending the hill. At Hertford we found David who had made his own way out and eventually were joined by the train-assisted crew of Camille, Helen and Rory.
Swiftly up the road we went apart from David who had to return to Hertford town centre where he had left something at the café where he had breakfast but we met him, as arranged, at Bengeo and then settled into a route that is familiar to many of you as we went to Cottered using the Suburban Breakout route. My newly discovered leading skill of riding at the back was needed before everyone settled down to a pleasant ride in bright but not overly warm conditions. At Cottered we had a brief stop, in order to kill time and then proceeded via Buntingford and Hare Street to lunch at Braughing.
Despite riding slower and slower over the last part of the morning we were at the pub at 11:45, mainly due to the speed of the group and also because there were no mishaps on the road. Despite calls for pointless circuits most of the group were happy for an early lunch arrival. Lunch was functional in terms of food but the landlord at The Brown Bear was pretty good and totally unfazed by the arrival of 12 of us none of whom wanted the Sunday roast which is the main lunch choice there. When it was clear that the delay may be causing some issues he was quick to assure us that food was arriving. I may go back as it is nice to have a stop where people are so welcoming and don’t mind taking your money in return for decent service. The beer was good, too.
The afternoon saw a big split in the group where most followed Dr Bob for an impromptu explore of lanes near Much Hadham while I continued with a smaller group on the planned route that eventually led to tea at Upshire Church. After a pretty smartish stop it was back on the road and a finish at Winchmore Hill as it made sense to proceed into north London, with the few riders left rather than turn north and head out to Hertford. That meant I was back indoors before 17:00 having completed about 125Km for the day. Thanks all for you company and forbearance and now I can look forward to a summer devoid of leading duties as I have completed my rides for this list and will not have to worry too much about who is following me until at least mid-October.
Angela Dale, Camille Savory, Helen Seyb, Nick Bloom, Roger Cline, Bob Davis, Martin Hayman, David, Kurtz, Jon McColl, Linus Rees, Rory Rhodes
“If you ever find that people want to ride too fast when you are leading, simply ride at the back of the group and eventually they will get the message and slow down.” – I’ll have to try that on you, Ken.