Colchester Cycling UK

Little Baddow Ride Report

September 17, 2017

Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness
Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun

A misty start, for sure, with quiet pedaling through the western suburbs of a sleepy Colchester. Most things seemed damp with a modest layer of dew on the bikes and the roads. The cycle paths were newly festooned with the first falling leaves of the new season.

Ashley led us to our first stop at Kelvedon. We were a small group today, with some of the regulars getting ready for the London – Paris ride and others taking late season holidays. The cafe, too, was unexpectedly quiet although we were joined by Shelley and then Simon.

Onward, through the Notleys, Fairstead and Terling. We were flying, the roads rolling by seemingly effortlessly under our wheels. The mist had long gone and the odd shaft of sunlight shone through the light clouds. It was exhilarating, liberating riding as we headed on over the A12 and down to Papermill Lock.

It’s such a lovely site and we were able to sit out with our toasties, watching the locks close and open. The young signets were floating by, gimlet eyes open for leftovers. A slice of cake put me on a sugar high which lasted all the way back to Colchester — I have no idea what was in it, but I’m having it next time, thank you nicely.

We headed back on a route that illogically seemed more uphill than down. Through Wickham Bishops (getting more upmarket by the hour) and then the open countryside around Layer. Lovely though this was, the vistas showed us the extent of the storm clouds gathering — inevitably just over where we were headed.

“Do you want to go up Friday Woods Hill?” asked Ashley, trying to find a quicker route to avoid the worst of it all. Worth a try, but the top of the hill was just where it hit us. Raindrops like spears, a road awash, unseen potholes lying in wait and brakes (of course) taking temporary leave of absence. But it lifted and we started to steam gently as we pedalled onwards through the outskirts of Colchester.

A brief soaking, I suppose, but close enough to home that it didn’t matter. A great day’s ride with good company, good cycling and — oh yes — that cake…

By Janet Bettle