Eight members of Essex Branch met for breakfast at Roses Café on the A414 on Sunday but only five
would be riding, Paul, Dawn, Jim, Marco and myself, leading in Roland’s absence.
On a bright but chilly morning we set off westwards and after a brief detour for petrol in Writtle went back to the
A414 for a couple of miles, turning off to take some ‘interesting’ and scenic single-lane roads via
Willingale to Roxwell where we joined the A1060. Amazingly, there was almost no traffic on this
usually busy road and we had a smooth run in the sunshine round its flowing bends through Boyton
Cross, The Rodings and picturesque Hatfield Heath all the way into Hertfordshire.
Going through Sawbridgeworth I again turned off down the bendy back lanes through Much Hadham and Widford
to the historic town of Ware. Once clear of the busy High Street we headed for the A10 but avoiding
the newer dual-carriageway I chose a more leisurely ride along the old route of the Cambridge Road
through Wadesmill, Thundridge and Cold Christmas (I’m not making these place names up, honest!),
finally picking up the A10 for the last few miles to the well-known Silver Ball café.
You have to like a place with bike pictures all over the walls and some shelves marked ‘crash helmets only’!
After warming up with a coffee we set off again down the A10 but soon turned off onto the old
Roman road into Buntingford, where we again left the A road for the winding lanes back into Essex
through Brent Pelham, Clavering and Newport and down into Thaxted, the home of the excellent
Parrishes Café which is one of our favourite stops.
Tea, coffee, cake, superb home-made leek and potato soup, apple pie and the amusing experience of introducing our Portuguese friend Marco to his first exposure to custard.
We said our goodbyes outside and headed off to Dunmow, through the old town and down to the
former route of the A120, again much more pleasant than the dual-carriageway roaring along a
hundred yards away. Paul and I turned off at Gransmore Green and the others carried on eastward
towards Braintree and Colchester, we again took the back roads to come out at Chelmsford
Racecourse where we split up for home.
Not a long day, I logged just a little over 100 miles, but the weather, roads, traffic and company were all perfect.
Thanks to the Famous Four for joining Mick’s Magical Mystery Tour!
I would like to add my thanks to Mick for leading this ride in my absence and to the others for being on the ride.