Most of my cycle routes to date have been circular ones from Colchester, based on the very simple logic that I didn’t have a cycle rack for the car, and I’ve only had a single one-way ride (Chelmsford to Colchester, having got the train to Chelmsford).
That changed at the weekend, after the purchase of a cycle rack from Halford’s (other bicycle stores are available). For the record, I bought their Advanced Rear High Mount 3 Cycle Carrier. I didn’t have the benefit of the instruction manual, as there wasn’t one in the box, so I took the standard male approach of deciding ‘it can’t be that difficult to put on’.
A frustrating hour later, and having exhausted my comprehensive list of magic words, I headed back to Halford to get the manual! And got it on in 5 minutes. And on the basis of one run out with the carrier, it comes with my recommendation – it’s rock solid once you put it on properly – no straps, all metal, and built to last.
The destination was to the west of Essex, to rendezvous with a friend at Hatfield Broad Oak, to explores some of the quiet lanes south of the A120. My friend did the map reading as we were on his terrority, but the route we took was bang in the middle of the excellent Cycle Essex map #2 from the pack I bought several years ago. You can’t get the 10-map packs anymore, but some (not all!) of the maps are available online, and you can get this map here.
The lanes were very quiet, with more cyclists on them than cars. With just one or two B roads to cross at times, a very safe and enjoyable ride can be had. We took in Felsted, admiring the school and the village itself, and also Pleshey, where we took a pint at The White Horse. They had a couple of Mighty Oak beers (from Maldon), and I had a pint of the Captain Bob. Excellent stuff. It was Sunday lunchtime, but, sad to say, the pub wasn’t exactly thronged with diners going for the sunday roast (note : the pub doesn’t take credit or debit cards….)
We headed back to Hatfield Broad Oak, passed on visiting The Cock Inn (in the CAMRA Good Beer Guide), and I headed back home, pondering the altogether less leisurely Tour de Tendring next Sunday.