On a dull Thursday morning seven group members met up at Bungay Golf Club Car Park for our ride to Southwold.
George led us out of Bungay via a network of quiet lanes eastwards towards our destination. This area known as ‘The Sandlings’ is largely agricultural and particularly noted for growing onions, carrots, potatoes & other root vegetables that thrive in the sandy soil. Hence large Tractors (taking up most of the road) were the most imposing vehicles that we met along the way.
It was noted how much better maintained the byroads were in this part of Suffolk.
With flat roads & a light wind we arrived in good time at Southwold and parked our bikes adjacent to our Coffee Stop, The Boardwalk Café, on Southwold Pier. It was quite pleasant to look out onto the sea and beach and to watch other visitors viewing the ‘quirky’ exhibits on the Pier. We were joined for Coffee by two of Janice’s friends visiting from Dubai.
With our coffee stop over there was just time for a Group Photo of everyone in front of the famous ‘Water Clock’ on the pier before heading northwards towards our lunch stop at Gillingham.
We rode out on the B1127 via Wrentham to the outskirts of Beccles. George thought this would be a quiet ‘B’ road, but during the week it proved to be quite busy with local traffic and large ‘agricultural bulkers’ heading for the big Grain Store at Ellough, so it was single file for much of the way.
We passed the large industrial area now built on the old Wartime Airfield and skirted Beccles to arrive at our Lunch Stop, ‘The Swan’ at Gillingham. The pub was not very busy and they quickly served up our ‘sandwiches & beer’.
We were soon on our way again heading on quiet roads across the marshes of this part of the Waveney valley. This was of course very flat with big Norfolk Skies, drainage ditches and grazing cattle, which typify this part of the Suffolk/Norfolk border.
George found us a ‘cycle path’ along a disused railway line for a couple of miles, which avoided having to ride along the busy main A143. This led us back into Bungay and our car park at the golf course.
Thanks must go to George for planning a varied and interesting ride, which everyone attending thoroughly enjoyed.
We didn’t have the best of starts to today’s “away” ride from Nacton. Having been held up on the A14 due to an accident (again!) on The Orwell Bridge, I arrived at Bridge Wood car park at 09:15 and was the first one there. I had phoned our leader, Ray, to learn that he was a mile or so behind me on the road but 20 minutes in time. A few minutes later, Viv rode in fresh from her C2C (Morecambe to Bridlington) charity ride, which she completed on Tuesday. Having had a rest day yesterday on the drive back, she was raring to go again.
Ray delayed the start to allow others caught up in the chaos on the A14, time to arrive. Disappointingly, only five of us set off at 10:00, on what turned out to be a pleasant day weather wise. Despite our late start, we arrived at our coffee stop at Felixstowe Ferry only a couple of minutes after 11:00. Then suitably rejuvenated (well almost!), we decided to have a photo shoot by the waterside before setting off on the next leg of the journey.
It was then that Viv discovered she had locked her bike but had not got the key with her. Mike spent several minutes asking around for a pair of bolt croppers and eventually came up with a hacksaw.
Mike hacks away at the lock, whilst Viv, in the background, phones for counselling!
Luckily it wasn’t the strongest of locks and Mike made short work of it so we were soon on our way again. The formal photo shoot would have to wait for another day.
Ray’s rides are rarely long, but they offer plenty of leg and lung exercise through their undulations. By now the weather had brightened up a bit and the temperature was extremely mild for this time of year and the ride to lunch through the quiet lanes was most enjoyable.
Viv peeled off before we reached The Maybush at Waldringfield but we were joined for a very pleasant lunch by Paul F. Suitably refreshed, we got underway again just after 14:00 and had an uneventful run back to the start, having completed some 40 miles.
Many thanks to Ray for a well organized ride. It’s just a shame he didn’t bring a spare key for Viv’s lock!