TA EAST NEWS 12TH MARCH 2012
To TA East members and friends
From Ferg Muir
IT is time to enter the
TA EAST 25 at Bressingham at 9 am on Sunday March 25th
Event sec is Mick Madgett 32 Tottington Lane, Roydon, DISS IP22 5BJ
Entry fee is £8.00.
Even if you have missed Monday’s post, I know Mick will hold the entries open long enough for you to get in if you catch first class post Tuesday.
The Event HQ, Bressingham Village Hall, is in the village, just north of the A1066, Grid ref TM 084814. The course is that trike-skills tester, the B25/17, Bressingham to Thetford and back
There are also events for pre-1980 bicycles and tandems and bikes on 72” and under gears.
(There is a new CCT entry form, but any form not older than 2007 is still valid this year)
Even if you are not involved in the 25, please see if you can join us for LUNCH AT REDGRAVE . 25th March. The Cross Keys, which we have used in recent years for this meet has now become a freehouse and is run by a young brother and sister partnership. Their parents run a guest house in Lowestoft, so being mine host is in their upbringing, if not their blood. I have met them both, and have been made to feel very welcome. The pub has been smartened up a bit, but not too much.
I have promised to give approximate numbers, so if you are pretty sure to be coming, please tell me by Thursday 22nd, if possible – but do not be afraid to come at the last minute if a window of opportunity opens.
Redgrave Cross Keys is about 6 miles from Bressingham, on the B1113, grid ref TM 045780, Postcode IP22 1RW
OUR WEEKEND AT THE LEA VALLEY CC COMET HUT
2nd-4th March 2012
There are few things more welcoming on winter’s day than a wood or coal burning stove, surrounded by worn but comfortable armchairs and sofas in a room resplendent with cycling memorabilia.
This is what greeted us as TA East member Mick Henighan let us into the Hut at Burton End, not far from Bishops Stortford at the start of the TA East weekend in west Essex. Mick is a long-standing member of the Comet, later the Lea Valley CC, and he had travelled overnight from Eire to be with us – and was returning over Sunday night.
You can get some idea of the scene from the photo on the East Gallery of the TA Website entitled “Inside the Lea Valley CC hut, Burton End”
www.tricycleassociation.org.uk/EastGallery.html?image=med4f54d26a12b05 , where there are lots of other photos of the weekend.
But just look at that scene – the gas lights, the candelabra with candles in Lea Valley CC colours, the photos on the wall from the early years of the Hut’s life – it was established in 1936, and all the little detailed additions that have accumulated in 76 years of clublife. And in the foreground, the table around which TA East members would presently be eating their supper.
Soon after Mick H, Frida arrived, having extracted herself from the modern world of London traffic jams and come down the anonymous farm track which leads to this Other World – this wooden hut in the corner of a ploughed field. One half of Mike and Frida who took such trouble to plan the routes and look after us over this weekend.
Gradually trikes arrived, mostly with 40–odd miles under their wheels. Mike Moody from the Fens, Mike Smith from Witham, Ian Mackenzie from Southend. Frida took orders for fish & chips and made a brief foray back into the real world to collect our order from Stansted Mountfitchet.
Later a few of us walked up the dark track to the Ash PH at the other end to meet Mike Keen and Ian Taylor for a pint. They, looking dapper in pinstripe trousers and black jackets (they had just come from a freemasons meeting) and me in TA training top.
And so to bed – in a dormitory with a tiny wood-burner in the centre and bunks clustered around, with a Ladies’ corner curtained off to one side.
We got up in stages. First Martin Badham and Ian Mackenzie, who were off the the Shaftesbury 200 km Audax. Quite a lot later the rest of us surfaced and made our own breakfasts, supplemented by items from the frying pan cooked by Mike Keen
We set out, briefly into the surroundings of Stansted Airport and then into the lanes of the Essex/Herts border. For I should tell you that the hut is very close to the airport, but it is just amazing how little one is aware of it. The aircraft don’t fly over the hut, and there is a belt of trees – and a kilometre of space- between the hut and the runway. Don’t come hoping to plane-spot – you would be disappointed.
We crossed the River Stort at Spellbrook, with a brief glimpse of a narrow boat on the navigation. We were delayed by a train at the level-crossing and then I’m afraid by me making my usual muddle of receiving a mobile phone call – which proved to be from the Akers family, who were looking to rendezvous with us.
We climbed out of the valley and stopped at the memorial at the entrance to the former RAF Matham’s Wood, laterRAF Sawbridgeworth, which was a base for wartime Westland Lysander communications aircraft and where there were pill-boxes hidden in bushes by the road. Those who would like to know more will find an amplitude of information and photos at:
And so to elevenses-coming-on-twelveses at the Prince of Wales, Green Tye, the first of four outstanding hostelries which Mike Keen had tracked down for our delectation. Quite unspoilt, with a brewery behind the pub and the first motorised customer arriving at the front – in a Morris Minor 1000, this was a wonderful place to enter on a grey drizzly morning. And – even better – looking out the window we saw the weather was clearing and the sun coming out.
Now linked up with the Roger and Callum Akers and Emma Kirby, we descended into Much Hadham, splashing through the ford and following the valley to Little Hadham and the Nag’s Head where we were well fed for lunch.
Setting out northward along the river valley, trikes were spotted coming the other way, and there were Martin and Ian, heading out on the second leg of their 200km Audax, riding so close together that it might have been a tandem trike with and extra pair of wheels. We soon turned right and eastward to climb deeper and deeper into the bare winter landscape of the Herts/Essex border. Through Upwick Green, Walnutree Green, Farnham and Farnham Green – the lanes got smaller and the “No through road” signs more insistent.
Commanded to turn right by Mike Keen, we found ourselves on a gently descending farm track. There are photos of this on the East Gallery – not least because the tandem trike sustained an impact puncture, so there was time to savour the scene (grid ref 465257). Then sweeping fast descents into Manuden where we re-crossed the River Stort and went through Rickling Green and Quendon so as to pass the starting point of the Comet 25 on Sunday October 7th – alongside which the TA East Autumn 25 will be run.
We paid a brief visit the Shaftesbury CC Clubhut on what was now a mellow early evening, to see if any trikes had finished the 200 yet – they hadn’t – and, bearing in mind the impending dusk, we climbed through Elsenham back to Burton End, put the trikes to bed in the bike shed and ourselves joined the cat in front of the stove, while someone kindly put the kettle on.
Frida, however, had little chance to sit down for, as planned, she rustled up a spaghetti bolognaise for us all to share – two generous portions being carefully preserved for the Audaxers.
In the end we were so comfortable that we all decided to remain in the hut, rather than going to the Ash –the pub at the beginning of the track. We gave the returning 200 kilometre men a suitable welcome, listened to their tales and one by one disappeared into the dormitory, or found ourselves plied with nightcaps by Mike Keen, lest we failed to sleep.
That brings this account as far as Saturday night, where it had better be suspended, otherwise it will be too late for readers to get their entries in for the Spring 25.
But just in case Sunday never gets written up, I want to say here how much we owe for the planning and work that Mike Keen and Frida Wesel put into this weekend. They did it very unobtrusively, but the routes were the right length, the pubs were good, and most of all it was so wonderful to be welcomed into the hut, a micro-world which has been slowly adapted to supplying the needs of club cyclists over the best part of 80 years.
AIR AMBULANCE APPEAL – how to double your donation
Our member in Witham, MIKE SMITH, is running a Half-Marathon on 25th March, helping to raise funds for the Essex Air Ambulance – which you can imagine any of us might be glad of one day.
Mike is the chap in the blue and white Maldon top in the photos of the Saturday ride of the Hut Weekend . Here is what he says:
I am running in the Brentwood Half Marathon on 25th March, hoping to raise funds for the “Essex Air Ambulance” . My company is one of the main sponsors for organisation of the event, and we operate a ‘charity matching’ scheme, where any charity funds raised by staff members are matched by the company, effectively doubling the amount of monies raised.
In common with other county or area based Air Ambulances, the Essex Air Ambulance does not receive any central funding, relying solely on donations to keep them operating. Should further details be required, their website address is www.essexairambulance.uk.com
Copies of my sponsorship form and authorisation to collect are attached, but if these do not show on your computer, any cheques should be made payable to “Essex Air Ambulance”
And sent to Mike Smith, Credit Control, Highway House, 171 Kings Road, Brentwood, CM14 4EJ
Should anyone wish to contact me, my home phone no of 01376 511 534, or email of firstname.lastname@example.org be best.
(I can forward the form which Mike attaches on request. FRM)
There were more trikes out riding the “Up the ‘Uts” Comrades CC Audax on the second weekend in March
www.flickr.com/photos/ploddinpedro/6971289799/in/set-72157629562195597/ for pictures of our members Jane Swain and Mark Brooking.
(As ever, you may have to copy and paste this address into an address box to find the page)
I must now fill up my own entry form for the 25 on March 25th
Please get those lunch bookings heading my way
Ferg Muir 01603 615000 email@example.com