Author Topic: The Yellow Roads of Essex  (Read 3776 times)

Re: The Yellow Roads of Essex
« Reply #25 on: February 07, 2009, 08:52:54 am »
I shall be leaving around 0915 as some of the route I have chosen, to and from Witham, may still be snow or ice covered and a detour or walk may be needed. I'll be in touch if I'm late or can't make it.  :thumbsup:

Re: The Yellow Roads of Essex
« Reply #26 on: February 07, 2009, 07:33:45 pm »
Well that was a spiffing day out.  :thumbsup:
As I said earlier I left at 0915ish and made for Witham. No real ice until I reached Rayleigh, 7 miles or so, and after that the roads were going from bone dry to slush to ice and black ice and small water courses running down hill. Still a trouble free ride and then lunch at Mama Dells, a nice little cafe in Witham. Where I had the special of the day.

Then I had a cuppa at ODs home before meeting the others at the station.
A pleasant ride ensued, I'll leave others to tell. I decided that it would be safer to take the train home because I wouldn't be able to make out whether the road ahead was ice or not in the dark.


Other images here, Clicky. Check out TOKaMaKs hand carved, wooden, saddle (or should that be arse carved?)  ;D

Wowbagger

  • Dez's butler
    • Musings of a Gentleman Cyclist
Re: The Yellow Roads of Essex
« Reply #27 on: February 07, 2009, 09:00:43 pm »
That was a very pleasant ride in yet more challenging wintry conditions.

I dashed back from teaching the Gifted & Talented of Shoebury (I was amazed: there were 25 of them!) and just had time to change into cycling gear, make a bit of lunch, have a coffee and catch the 12.08. The only event of note on the train was the fact that I ate two sandwiches.

I arrived at the station, the other four were there, and we were away. It was very cold, the sun was bright, but I found that I had too many layers on, rather as I did the previous weekend for the Willy Warmer, so the fluorescent jacket found its way back into the saddle bag.

We garbled the route somehow, going round clockwise when I had intended anticlockwise, but that turned out to be an advantage because we had a good look at Layer Marney tower. Abberton Reservoir, even though it was so close, played little part in the ride, although we cycled close to the dam wall, where I cut my teeth as a pike angler in 1970, shortly after angling writers Jim Gibbinson and Martin Gay caught 721lb of pike there, averaging 19lb, in one weekend. At one point, as I was struggling up a hill, I saw rider and steed part company as Mark hit a patch of ice. He did really well to stay on his feet, but his saddle needed major adjustment and I was impressed with the scrape marks his pedal had made on the tarmac.

There was a surprising amount of traffic heading for Mersea Island, but after we turned towards East Mersea things became a little calmer. Beer was bought and consumed at the Dog and Pheasant, and we had quite an interesting conversation with the resident mad woman. However, we were cognisant of the time: OD had an appointment at a Chinese restaurant, and I had to return home for the Inaugural Family Meal involving James, Little Miss Wow's "Young Man". We kept up a pretty good pace back to Witham, despite the Col de Great Totham making inroads into our average speed. It's not called Little Mountains Road for nothing. Once conquered, however, it's a pretty straightforward run back to Witham Station. We arrived just in time for the 5.31 train. Tokamak alighted at Chelmsford but Del and I continued to Shenfield, where we caught the 6 p.m. back to Prittlewell. Del had to nudge me to wake me up else I would have found myself in Southend Victoria.
Oh, Bach without any doubt. Bach every time for me.

Re: The Yellow Roads of Essex
« Reply #28 on: February 07, 2009, 09:04:16 pm »
Del had to nudge me to wake me up else I would have found myself in Southend Victoria.
Family not had the heart to tell you about the eye shadow and lipstick yet then?  ;)

Wowbagger

  • Dez's butler
    • Musings of a Gentleman Cyclist
Re: The Yellow Roads of Essex
« Reply #29 on: February 07, 2009, 09:14:24 pm »
Given that I was still awake at Rochford and I had my hat and glasses on, you would have had to have been very adept to have achieved anything in that time.
Oh, Bach without any doubt. Bach every time for me.

Andrij

  • Андрій
  • Ερασιτεχνικός μισάνθρωπος
Re: The Yellow Roads of Essex
« Reply #30 on: February 07, 2009, 09:20:07 pm »
Other images here, Clicky. Check out TOKaMaKs hand carved, wooden, saddle (or should that be arse carved?)  ;D

A Chelmer hazing ritual? (Can't imagine any other reason...)

;D  Andrij.  I pronounce you Complete and Utter GIT   :thumbsup:

Re: The Yellow Roads of Essex
« Reply #31 on: February 07, 2009, 09:26:57 pm »
OK - I've put the application online. It does require that your browser has Java and OpenGL (it will work but be very, very slow without OpenGL). I've tested it on a Mac and PC, but not on a Linux machine yet.

See Visualising GPS tracks

If it works, you should be able to zoom in and pan by dragging the left and right mouse buttons.

Amazing  :)

Oaky

  • ACME Fire Safety Officer
  • Audax Club Mid-Essex
    • MEMWNS Map
Re: The Yellow Roads of Essex
« Reply #32 on: February 07, 2009, 09:36:05 pm »
My first time out with the YACFers and a lovely afternoon's ride.

I rolled up to Witham station just before 1pm, and joined up with delthebike, TOKaMaK and Oscars dad, just a minute or so before wowbagger, our guide and host for the day's train pulled in.

We set off along a slight route modification suggested by OD, taking us down Cuthroat Lane and through an iceberg-strewn lake which my tyres were definitely not designed for and out of Witham in the direction of Little Braxted.  Still in the navigational grip of Oscars dad at this point, we somehow ended up going round the route in the opposite direction to wowbagger's original intention.

We carried on under a wonderfully bright, blue, winter sky along mostly dry and clear roads through Tiptree and on to Layer Marney where we made a brief detour to let Oscars dad give a short public lecture on the history of Layer Marney tower and take the opportunity for a group photo.  We carried on on our way with a short unscheduled stop between Layer Marney and Abberton when I found a patch of black ice on which I somehow managed to lose the rear wheel, dropping the bike onto its side, whilst miraculously landing on my feet.  The only damage seemed to a couple of scuffs on top of previous scratches to my rear mech and right pedal, a saddle that needed to be straightened and a mild tweak to my knee which soon felt better after riding on a bit.

From Abberton, we carried on the B1025 to Mersea island, which was a bit busier than I'd imagined it would be, but not unpleasant,  before turning left to take in the length of the yellow road to East Mersea.  We reached the end of the road and turned around to ride back as far as the pub (Dog and Pheasant, if memory serves) where we stopped for a swift pint of IPA, before setting off towards the Wigoroughs, Salcott-cum-Virley and Tolleshunt D'Arcy (all of which are wonderful Essex village names, I think).

We arrived back at Witham station a shade before half pas five and bade farewell, delthebike, wowbagger and TOKaMaK towards the train and Oscars dad and I back to our respective corners of Witham.

Cheers all, and thanks for a great afternoon's riding and company.  I look forward to the chance to do it again.  :thumbsup:

Edit:Thanks to wowbagger and del for filling me in on the stats that I lost by dropping my computer on my return home.  It turns out that somewhere on the return leg around Little Braxted brought up the first 1000 miles on my road bike.
You are in a maze of twisty flat droves, all alike.

85.4 miles from Marsh Gibbon

Audax Club Mid-Essex Fire Safety Officer
http://acme.bike

Oaky

  • ACME Fire Safety Officer
  • Audax Club Mid-Essex
    • MEMWNS Map
Re: The Yellow Roads of Essex
« Reply #33 on: February 07, 2009, 09:49:59 pm »
I forgot to mention Oscars dad losing his bottle.
You are in a maze of twisty flat droves, all alike.

85.4 miles from Marsh Gibbon

Audax Club Mid-Essex Fire Safety Officer
http://acme.bike

Oscar's dad

  • Cheers!
Re: The Yellow Roads of Essex
« Reply #34 on: February 08, 2009, 06:46:54 pm »
Saturday afternoon’s ride was another excellent YACF jaunt.  Every aspect was perfect even though the yellow roads were just grey like every other road in  Essex.

We had an interesting mix of machines.  Wow’s 1960s classic Mercian, ToKaMak and Del’s near classic Raleigh Randonner and Dawes Galaxy not forgetting Mark’s shiny, shiny Felt.  Then there was my much loved Claud, the Marathon Plus shod MTB.  The beauty of such a bike is that you can ride him with gay abandon.  We splashed through all the puddles and bounced over all the speed bumps and mini roundabouts in Tiptree.  We shot across the cattle grid at Layer Marney Tower which caused one of my water bottles to fly off, thankfully retrieved from the depths of the grid itself by more careful members of the peleton.

Layer Marney Tower is the result of some Tudor dick waving and well worth a visit.  Senior members of Henry VIII’s court would try and out do each other by seeing who could build the biggest house.  The 1st Lord Marney started building in the early 1500s but died in 1523.  All he managed to do was build the gatehouse whose 80 foot tower makes it the tallest Tudor gatehouse in England.  The Tower is now home to a properly posh and very charming family who are slightly scruffy in the way that properly posh people often are.  We met one of the daughters as Del was converting his bike into a camera tripod in order to take the group shot outside the Tower’s front door.  The Tower is open from April thru September.  There is a nice tearoom that you can use without paying the Tower’s entrance fee.  They even have a self catering cottage and were holding a Humanist funeral on our first visit.  Layer Marney Tower provides a smashing purpose for a lovely ride.

Finally, it was good to welcome Mark to the fold; it was a relief to learn he likes pickled eggs.  And of course many thanks to the rest of the gang.  See you all again soon.

Re: The Yellow Roads of Essex
« Reply #35 on: February 08, 2009, 10:07:16 pm »
Sounds like an excellent ride and much fun. Unfortunately I couldn't attend as I had to be around for my dad. Although doing well, he can't be left alone so we've all been taking it turns to be around.

Hopefully in the coming months there will be more opportunities for similar rides  :thumbsup:
Those wonderful norks are never far from my thoughts, oh yeah!

Wowbagger

  • Dez's butler
    • Musings of a Gentleman Cyclist
Re: The Yellow Roads of Essex
« Reply #36 on: March 28, 2009, 11:31:33 pm »
Mrs. Wow and I will explore a few more miles of uncharted territory tomorrow by taking the tandem to the Tendring peninsula - that slice of Essex north of the Blackwater estuary. Younger son Graham lives in Wivenhoe and we will be taking him there, before having a look at the delights of Brightlingsea and St. Osyth, and possibly enjoying some lunch at Great Bentley. This last village boasts the largest village green in Britain, apparently - 43 acres.

This area could conceivably constitute the makings of a WARTY.
Oh, Bach without any doubt. Bach every time for me.

Auntie Helen

  • 6 Wheels in Germany
Re: The Yellow Roads of Essex
« Reply #37 on: March 29, 2009, 01:58:13 pm »
The Tendring Peninsula is my home (I live 4 miles north of Wivenhoe) and have done lots of rides around here. In fact, here's one I prepared earlier, called 'Bikes and Boats'
   Bike Route Toaster
which takes in some of the good boating sights as well as some lovely, flat and quiet roads. I'm planning to do this ride with some chums in due course, plus the CycleChat Ride on May 2nd is led by me (Manningtree to Tiptree) although I'm not 100% certain it will work out due to train non-existences.

Anyway, if you want any company for rides up here in the wilds of North Essex, let me know...
My blog on cycling in Germany and eating German cake – http://www.auntiehelen.co.uk


TimC

  • Bike pilot
Re: The Yellow Roads of Essex
« Reply #38 on: March 29, 2009, 04:15:34 pm »
'North' Essex? From my perspective, Tendring is South-East Essex! ;) But it's certainly very pretty, and easy riding if the wind's not too bad. I find that many of the coastal villages have been overrun with caravan sites and supporting businesses housed in nondescript concrete buildings, which have together removed or eclipsed much of the charm of the older buildings. There's also a fair amount of Essex kitch in some of the more recently-built larger houses near the coast, but you Southend-dwellers will be used to that! Inland, and on the coast away from population, this is sometimes stunningly beautiful countryside.

Wowbagger

  • Dez's butler
    • Musings of a Gentleman Cyclist
Re: The Yellow Roads of Essex
« Reply #39 on: March 29, 2009, 10:33:02 pm »
We dropped Graham off to put the kettle on, assembled the tandem, had a nice cup of tea and finally, at about 12.30, we were on our way. It was cold, enough to warrant a pair of Thinsulates over the gel mitts, as we picked our way through the rather harsh modern housing which is to be found on the outskirts of Wivenhoe. We reached the road towards Brightlingsea, and were surprised by how much undulation there was. There was also a lot of traffic, it being a B road, which was quite fast.

One lady, a passenger in a passing car, wound her window down and reminded us, in case it had escaped our notice, that there was a cycle lane across the road. Indeed there was, and it might have been of some use had it been on our side, because we were climbing a moderate hill and going slowly, if it had been properly maintained and if it had been swept. I suggested that she bought a bike and use it.

Once we were past Brightlingsea church it was pretty well down hill all the way to the estuary. We made for the promenade, which was an unappealing collection of static caravans and beach huts with a café at one end. It was lunch time so we had food.

By now it was warming up and the tide was coming in.

We had to adjust Mrs.Wow's cleat, which was forcing her foot to turn in a bit - we had fitted double-sided SPDs and now she has no choice but to clip in. This was easier said than done because those cleats are a couple of years old at least and the hexagonal holes in the bolts were full of debris, which needed to be cleared before the allen key would purchase. However, eventually we managed it and were on our way again.

We had never been to Brightlingsea before, but the town centre has a large Co-op and a few attractive pubs. At the top of the hill there is a church

which looks very much like Dedham church, except across the road from this one there is a boat full of flowers.


We went to have a look at St. Osyth, which is very much as TimC described it, being full of caravans. The beach wasn't up to much

but you could see the nuclear power station.

No matter how much Mrs. Wow peered into the distance,

she couldn't see any naturists.

On the way back towards St. Osyth village we saw three hares in a field. Two of them stood still for a moment.


Returning through the village we noticed that a sign had been erected

although whether it was a funeral director's we were not sure.

After St.Osyth we headed north towards Great Bentley and met a man pushing his bike the other way. His tyre was deflated so we offered assistance, but I'm afraid that on inspecting the damage, he pulled a 2" galvanised nail out of the tyre. He was out practising for a coast-to-coast that he and his pals were intending for July. He had no tools, pump or repair kit (I hope he's a bit better equipped when he sets off!) so we offered the use of ours. Unfortunately the nail had puncture the tube once on the outside but about a dozen times on the inside. We let him have our spare tube.

Very shortly after setting off again, I noticed a large bird patrolling the far side of a field. We stopped and watched. I initially though "buzzard" but its flight patterns were not really buzzard-like: they tend to soar quite high with few wingbeats, whereas this was flapping around quite a lot mostly between ten and twenty feet above the ground. It reminded me of the two occasions that I have seen a hen harrier, but this looked a bit too big. Then the sun caught the bird's wings and there were distinct patches of white and rusty red. A red kite? Surely not in Essex. After we had been watching for two or three minutes we lost sight of the bird. I thought I might have been able to see it perched in a tree but it was well over a quarter of a mile away and I could not be sure.

As we rode along the more I though about its flight, the more I was sure it wasn't a red kite. We have spent many happy hours in Wales and the Chilterns watching kites, and they seem to defy the laws of physics, the effortless way they stay aloft, with so few wingbeats that they really do look as though they are on a string. I still kept coming back to a harrier of some kind. A marsh harrier? To be honest, I didn't know, because I'd never seen a marsh harrier, but I know they are sometimes seen in Essex, which I suspect red kites seldom are. We would have to check later.

We carried on into Great Bentley, admiring its enormous 43-acre village green, and thinking what a fine place it would be for that elusive YACF rounders match. Just as we were leaving the village we spotted a barn owl, very close, just to our left. It kept dipping below the other side of the hedge and I don't think it knew we were there at first, because once it had caught sight of us it veered up and away and that was the last we saw of it.

We then headed north through Balls Green, although there was no village sign telling us that we were there, and into Frating - such a fragrant-sounding name! We happened upon a pub, the Old Court House and they were open. The Adnams was excellent, and we experimented with different flavours of crisp. The onion bahji ones were very good. Mrs. Wow plumped for crispy duck with hoi sin.

Not long after this we rolled back into Wivenhoe where we had another cup of tea with Graham, Christina and Mona and finally packed the tandem up onto the back of the car and drove off, just as the sun was dipping below the horizon.


Graham's Grade II listed student doss


and the view across the road from Graham's Grade II listed student doss.

It was a lovely afternoon's ride: 36 miles, but it's not quite ready for a WARTY. We need to avoid the busier roads and find a decent beach for a summer swim. I have a cunning plan... oh, and it was indeed a marsh harrier.

Route
Oh, Bach without any doubt. Bach every time for me.