FRR Jolly: Chelmsford to Ipswich by bike

On Saturday 8th June, a small troupe of FRR athletes hopped on a Greater Anglia train to Chelmsford. Solly, Ben, Peter and I got the early train to participate in the massive Chelmsford parkrun.

It would be rude not to, right?

The parkrun is very close to the train station, so we were there to see the throngs of people arrive. The week previous they had welcomed some 900+ people to their single lap course. I took the easy option for volunteering, while Ben, Solly and Peter decided to take on this very quick course. A little rain didn’t stop the smiles.

We then decamped to the Ivory Peg pub located just outside one corner of the same park, to wait for our colleagues, Shabba and Goode who participated in the somewhat damper Ipswich parkrun before getting on their train south. Solly got news that they were in transit, and announced that they’d picked up Alyson too! Awesome!

Three legends on a train!

Having quaffed a substantial breakfast and their first beers of the day, our troupe set off north at about 1147.

The gang are ready to set off

After a slightly Spinal Tap exit from Chelmsford, we were well on our way. RouteMaster Solly recommended that we drive the pack in for about 20miles before pausing for our next refreshment. We passed through some very scenic villages on our way, with very little traffic, which made for a pleasant ride.

Church at Terling

Thankfully the strong wind behind us made easy going for the distance, and so we stopped in Kelvedon at The Angel for our first refreshment.

First rest at The Angel

Just as we were about to get going again, Solly noticed a slow puncture on his rear wheel. Peter helped with some repairs (air) before we set off again towards Colchester, the plan being to stop for another rest within 8-12miles which should put us on the outskirts of Colchester (south or north).

Again that wind pushing us up the B1022 was saving our legs from too much effort, allowing us to enjoy the surroundings, which were stunning. We soon started to arrive into Stanway, just south of Colchester. We pulled into at our next stop; The Princess Charlotte. The troupe sat down inside to watch Solly ‘faff’ with his bike outside. We tucked into some chips (kindly provided by Alyson and Peter) and a few more drinks.

Chillin’ at the Princess Charlotte

Alyson was getting concerned about our ETA into Ipswich, and so made the difficult decision to pull out at this stage. As we remounted our steeds for the trip to Colchester train station, we noticed just how strong the wind really was, as we saw road signs and tin-cans being thrown around the place, thankfully we were also blessed with some sun too.

Where did the others get to?

After another slightly-comical drop off at Colchester (there’s basically two stations at the same place – one each side of the tracks), the remaining six began our push up towards Ipswich. The plan originally had been to stop at least once more before pushing on to the Ipswich outskirts, but we made a pack decision to drive on towards Washbrook, where we finally rested up.

Normally after this sort of distance, my legs would be tiring and beginning to cramp, but not this time. I’d been snacking on salted peanuts and drinking lemonade the entire time, and so was actually feeling ok, but given my time away from running or cycling, my fitness was holding me back, and I was now quite fatigued.

We hopped back on the bikes for a final push into Ipswich, which was now within sniffing distance. After collecting ourselves at the top of London Road, we said our farewells; Shabba and I peeled off for home at the bottom of London Road, while Peter, Solly and Ben headed off to The Cricketers for a final refreshment.

A really great day out on the bikes. I know we’re Felixstowe Road Runners, but it was great to see how we were able to bring the same camaraderie to this sister-sport, and make such an awesome day of it all!

Thanks must go to the following people, for making this an awesome day out:

  • Dave “Solly” Soloman – The Route-Master
  • Peter “Woodsy” Woods – The Engineer
  • Ben Jacobs
  • Daniel “Shabba” Gould
  • Adrian “Ade” Goode – The Nurse
  • Alyson “Ali” Limpkin-Challis

It’s likely that next year we’ll open this event up to non-FRR members too. It was great to be out there, but it would have been awesome to have a few more people out there with us.
  • Number of punctures = 2
  • Miles covered = 55.0
  • Riders = 7
  • Accidents = 1 (Woodsy)
  • Rain = None (according to Solly)
  • Average Speed = 12.7MPH
  • Elapsed Time = 7h38
  • Ride Time = 4h20
  • Pints consumed = lost count

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