That about sums up today’s ride – very busy, very noisy, lots of traffic, not much fun. As we rode out of West Thurrock, we were on busy roads pretty much all the way. The roads were full, the traffic was fast and we had cars, trucks and buses grazing our shoulders constantly. There were quite a few steep hills too, so throw those into the mix and you’ve got the fun-free cocktail of potential slow wobbles, while slogging up a hill, with buses and fast cars chewing up the road and threatening to collect a slow-wobbling cyclist in the process.
We pulled off to the side of the road and Steve checked the GPS, looking for some way to get out of the thick of it. It seemed there was a lane up ahead and if we detoured on to that, we might get a break from the mechanical maelstrom around us. On we went, tucking in the elbows as the traffic belted past. Our lane appeared and we had the uncomfortable manoeuvre of making a right hand turn on a busy road. We made it across and Birds Lane immediately came up trumps and gave us some peace and tranquility. It was lovely. It was like leaving a Death Metal concert, walking through a door and finding ourselves at The Carpenters Tribute. The noise and rush and speed suddenly became forests, dappled light through trees and gorgeous cottages. The road was certainly quiet, but very narrow and single vehicle width only and lots more hills, but it was so nice to be off of the hectic route.
We pedalled on and I actually gave a few, “This is lovely” and “Beautiful” remarks as we rode along the wooded roads. We paused again and checked the GPS.
“The poor GPS,” said Steve, “it’s very confused, these roads aren’t marked on the map.”
Poor Dave the GPS wasn’t too sure where we were, so we headed in the direction we thought was the right way and that turned out to be right after all. We came to the outskirts of Brentwood and stopped in a park for elevenses.
“Well that ride wasn’t much fun,” commented Steve.
“Nope,” I agreed, “although Birds Lane gave us some peace for a little while, but the rest was pretty awful.”
The sun did come out from behind the grey, so that, at least, gave us something a little pleasant.
After a short elevenses, we rode into Brentwood, stopped at Sainsbury’s to pick up supplies, knowing our upcoming campsite was nowhere near a supermarket or grocery store. Loaded up with lunch and supper, we set off again onto a busy road, heading for camp at Kelvedon Hatch. The campsites were again a bit thin on the ground, with most either being Caravan Club members only or they didn’t accept tents, so it was another case of take one when we could find one. We saw the sign for the road that would take us to camp, stuck out our right arm to signal our move, hit the pedals for all we were worth, made a speedy right hand turn and got the dickens off that darn road! We found the campsite down a country road, checked in and pitched, then sat down with a sigh of relief, an outpouring of adrenalin as we came down from our hectic ride, then reached for the Trangia and had a calming cuppa by the tent.
What a day! The fact that there is only one photo on today’s post, says something about the sort of ride it was. There wasn’t anywhere to take photos safely or easily, so elevenses is our only visual record of the day! Hopefully we’ll be able to find a quieter route tomorrow. We don’t know if we’ll be able to implement the new sub-clause to our Sunday tradition and include “go slow Sunday” in our itinerary. We may be caught up in another adrenalin charged power-pedal or we may have to ride on further to find more peaceful locations. Oh well, we’ll be prepared for whatever it takes. I’ll strap the helmet on extra tight, don the high-vis clothes in an attempt to stand out in the rapids of traffic, fire up the lungs, put some power in the legs and just…GO! We’re not sure where we’ll end up, but I hope there’s a village involved, or at least some forest and trees, a little bit of sun perhaps, maybe some birds twittering and, of course, a cup of tea at the finish line. If we had that, it would be splendid, grand, perfect. A day like that would be magic! Can it happen? Abra-ca-dabra…