Saturday 24th January 2015
Following recent cancellations the ColVelo Collective were excited by the predicted weather forecast for Saturday 24th January, 2015. Six degrees Celsius and winter sun all of the day, what a fantastic opportunity to get up and out!
At 0830 we left Velo, the main roads leading out of Colchester were great, nearly dry following the evenings rain and not a patch of ice to be seen. As we headed towards Suffolk, through Dedham and into Higham the condition of the road surface changed. The run off from the farmers fields, and high hedge rows made for dangerous conditions. Luckily, following a brief ascent, and associated slowing of pace, we spotted the black ice and called a pause in the ride to assess the conditions.
We were roughly 8km from Hadleigh, so we decided on some very light peddling and an early coffee stop to warm the cockles after a slowing of pace. Following a fairly lengthy stop at Hadleigh’s Crabtree Cafe, we set off once more. Road conditions far better for forty-five minutes extra sun. Our confidence in staying upright back, we increased the pace and headed towards Manningtree and Mistley on the River Stour.
We finished our ride by continuing into Tendring and onto Colchester and the warmth of Velo. An 80 kilometre route ridden, all riders staying safe and probably too much coffee consumed (if that’s possible).
Here at ColVelo we are learning to adapt week in and week out, especially this time of year. Safety is always first, and we will endeavour to not put our riders at unnecessary risk, even if that means thinking on our feet mid route!
Fingers crossed for an increase in temperature, lets hope the cycling gods are looking down on us until spring takes over!
Sunday 25th January 2015
Sundays ride was pushed back to 1030 and the route changed following Saturdays encounter of yet more ice! An 8km stretch which saw the route amended to take us back to the coast. Sunday was due to head in land too, but this just didn’t seem wise given the condition of some of the quieter roads.
As previous reports have mentioned, we’ll always err on the side of caution. And Sunday was a great example of a little patience and conservative route planning paying off.
Although not as cold as Saturday, there was still patchy ice on the roads early that morning. Enough to see many local rides cancelled. We pushed our start back by two hours and headed to the Tendring Coast. This is fast becoming our default winter riding territory. Often a few degrees warmer and with more major roads that are busy enough to ensure they’ve been gritted, and seen some traffic by mid morning, but not overly busy as to put you off riding.
The mood before roll out was a little subdued as talk was of all the rides that had been cancelled locally and the previous days icy escapades. Coffee consumed we rolled out on our delayed, shortened and re-routed Sunday outing. And what a pleasant ride it was. Not fast, quite cold, pretty blustery and a little overcast. But we were on the road, the chat was good and we settled into a very steady pace on some ice free roads. Ticking the legs over, never in anger meant the chatter stayed for the entire ride, no moments or rising pace and lost riders. Just a civilised sojourn enjoyed by all.
We covered roughly 75km in our three hours on the road. No coffee stops, just a few bites to eat at the side of the road and swigs from the bottle. We were home just after lunch, satisfied with our relaxed winter spin.
The hardest part about winter riding is getting out of the door and getting on the bike. What makes the ColVelo Collective different is our riders battle this part three times! Once at home, once following a good coffee at Velo prior to roll out, and a final time, possibly the hardest, from the comfort of a sofa at Velo, sausage roll and cake consumed, once the ride is over. With only a handful of kilometres between you and home this last push is deceptively difficult.
This a special kind of training and one only riding with the ColVelo Collective can give provide. ;o)
We’ll post the rides for the coming weekend soon. Fingers crossed for no more ice!