We're having some great spring weather here - 15 degC today with bright sunshine. It would be rude not to go out and burn some petroleum. Essex country lanes explored - the snap below was taken on Bulphan Fen. Happy Days!!
The guilt comes from making the Tiger filthy dirty by riding all day today - the previous owner told me he'd never used it in the rain and kept it spotless. The pleasure comes from... riding all day with nowhere to go but round bends.
I recently bought a book called 'Bikers Britain' which lists over 70 good rides; I figured there must be some near to where I'm living down in darkest Essex; sure enough there was a 125 mile loop that went out to the coast and back, plus a second south to north road that I could use to get to the loop.
125 mile loop
So I set off around 10am, the weather was bright and blustery, the roads wet but drying out. I took the back roads through Brentwood up to Chipping Ongar, plenty of traffic this close to the motorway but it gradually thinned-out going up to Great Dunmow; wide sweeping B roads with nothing but farmland and the occasional picturesque village to slow down for.
The first part of the ride proper started at Great Dunmow, up through Finchingfield towards Steeple Bumpstead (I just love that name!) and I have to say it was fabulous! Well-surfaced, if a bit greasy and damp, with plenty of bends and elevation changes to make it quite exciting. Finchingfield was one of those impossibly quaint villages, all thatched cottages and old churches beside village ponds. Just lovely even in the winter sunshine.
I turned East at Steeple Bumpstead onto the Loop; again, just great twisty roads all the way to Laverham and beyond. I must own up to feeling a bit tired by the time I got to Manningtree - it was all a bit intense for the first ride of the year, so I had a little break then picked-up the bottom of the Loop to head back towards Finchingfield via Sudbury.
By the time I got back to Finchingfield I was knackered, so stopped in a little tea-shop for some refreshments; soup and a sandwich always goes down well, plus they had gluten-free vegan cakes so I made a bit of a pig of myself!
Bentley on the village green
I then headed South through Great Dunmow then back the way I'd ridden up in the morning, all great roads that I shall need to ride again. Got home around 4pm that's around 5 hours actually riding. I have to report that my new Touratech comfort seat worked well, hardly a twinge from my rear end! What a great way to use a tank of petrol!