23rd January, 2016
The first sizeable ride of the New Year saw ColVelo take on the greatly anticipated “Coastal Explorer”. A 200 km route that took us from the Suffolk Countryside, to the Dengie Peninsula before a final lap of Mersea Island, in January, Madness!
10 plucky souls met at 6am for a what was to be a full day in the saddle. A cold and crisp morning saw a slow and steady start, with lights a’flashin, and only milk men sharing the road. As the sun started to rise, the early start was worth the effort, bronzed Suffolk farm lands, and singing birds gave the awaking morning a beautiful start.
2 hours in and first stop Sudbury. A much needed coffee and a little bite to eat. Fingers and toes a little warmer, we set of once more, this time directly South. With day light now on full show, the pace increases a little and in so we ate into the kilometres. With a bubble of chatter and not a worry in the world, we passed the Essex towns of Coggeshall, Kelvedon and Wickham Bishops in a blink. We had covered another 50km as we rode happily into Maldon and stop 2 of 3 and in preparation for the Dengie, in to the breach once more.
The third trip to the Dengie Peninsula for the ColVelo Collective in recent times, and the wind never fails to howl. Another hard fought battle with the element, this time with a side swipe of bike mechanicals to boot, a true character builder. A 60km round trip that took a chunk of spirit from the previously plucky bunch.
Our Dengie loop took us back into Maldon once more. To a man drained of fuel and a much required final stop to restock the reserves. Carbs and sugars loaded, we set of for the final stretch. Unfortunately the final stretch was still in excess of 60km.
A reenergised ColVelo rode through Heybridge, Tollesbury and Peldon before turing off tracks for the last section of Coastal Exploring, a lap of Mersea Island. A full winters day of sun light fading and fatigue setting deep, we all had to dig in, certainly when you consider the route taking us past our front doors and back out again, after 170km, only with ColVelo!
In complete darkness we rode the lap of Mersea in a matter of fact nature, it just had to be done. Battery powered lights were becoming a problem and strength in numbers was the only way to ensure all could be seen. When the chips are down, ColVelions pull together.
Once off Mersea, most went their own way, but a few of us made a well deserved beer in the Black Buoy, Wivenhoe to reflect on what was a cracking day on the bike. Over 200km complete, in January! Chapeau to all, great efforts all around. Until the next time.