May's CycAle ride saw 7 set out from Colchester to a first stop at the delightful Birch Gallery for tea (though there's no scrambled eggs on offer, causing much disappointment to Mr Simpson - a note for future ride leaders!). From there it was on across the Strood, passports in hand to the Republic of Mersea and The Fox where there was a choice of Mighty Oak beers on offer. We picked up two extra riders here - Paul and Tim, whose fine vintage Raleigh had acquired a fetching wicker basket since its last outing. Tim is the only cyclist to match his trousers to the paintwork of his bicycle!
A short ride to Mersea Island Brewery for a very god lunch in their Courtyard Cafe accompianed of course by Mersea Island Beer. Here we picked up our final extra cyclist, Jules who'd been in the bath all morning with a tube of mastic in his hand.
After lunch it was time to move on to Brightlingsea via the Foot Ferry. This tiny boat runs between Mersea, Point Clear and Brightlingsea and certainly saves a few miles over the road route. The ferry needed to two trips to get us all across and on to our next stop, the Railway Tavern (famous). Oscar Wilde Mild all round here at £2.50 a pint. Then onwards to The Rosebud where there was another Mild to choose from. A few spots of rain as we left caused a rare sighting of the K Graham Cycle Cape and Integrated Sail - a strongish headwind meant Keith tacked his way to the next pub!
Last stop was Wivenhoe, with a quick half in The Pointer in Arlesford along the way (Woodfordes Wherry). Last 'official' stop was The Greyhound in Wivenhoe after which we drifted off in search of home, or a TV with the FA cup on it!
The whole trip was about 32 miles in total and although the weather threatened rain all day we never actually got more than a few spots. Next ride is Keith's Chelmsford tour - you can be absolutely sure that there's no off road on that one!