Colchester to Burnham-on-Crouch.

Now that the website is up and running I wanted do my bit and create a local ride. I chose The Cabin Dairy in Burnham-on-Crouch as my destination as it’s a popular stop for bikers and the roads from Colchester are perfect for a Sunday jaunt and a welcome change from my daily commute of A and M roads.

Arriving at the meeting point it occurred to me that the landlady of The Leather Bottle might not welcome the unmistakable sound of the Guzzi’s v twin at 9am on a Sunday morning (note 1 change meeting point). I heard the rumble of bikes approaching I wasn’t surprised to see a convoy of BMW GS’s snake off into the distance. We set off at 9am as planned and was immediately greeted with a friendly nod by a gentleman on his vintage BSA.

As we made my way through Layer-de-la-Haye on the B1026 the dog walkers, joggers and cyclists were already out in force making the most of the fine weather. With Layer-de-la-Haye disappearing in my mirrors I took advantage of the first opportunity to twist the throttle as the road sweeps down from the Parish church across Abberton Reservoir. The smooth surface and the sweeping left turn was too tempting not to open up the Guzzi albeit for a brief blast. My apologies to the twitchers for disturbing their quiet observations who cared not that my pipes are still stock.

I’m soon reminded that the sharp bends can catch out the unsuspecting rider as I pass a Range Rover, bonnet first in a ditch nuzzling a telephone pole now leaning at 65 degrees. Someone is going to have some explaining to do this morning.

On through Goldhanger and into Heybridge negotiating a couple of roundabouts I let her rip over the River Chelmer. There’s now a steady stream of bikers coming towards us from the opposite direction all nodding as we pass in acknowledgement of our shared passion. Picking up the B1010 we’re fast approaching a blind decent. As you hit the summit your stomach does a little jump and the pulse quickens. Turning left at the bottom of the hill on to Lower Burnham Rd we’re soon through the series of tight turns that draws bikers to Burnham-on-Crouch. With the River Crouch on my right my destination comes into view.

The tables outsides are already full of leather clad men and women enjoying a hearty breakfast (note 2 arrive early). The conversations are all about whether Dovi can beat Lorenzo and which bike here would you like take home if you had a choice. Mine would be the lovely Yamaha Enduro or perhaps the Guzzi cafe racer.

Inside the staff dressed in their crew tee shirts are busy with orders. I plump for the Fully Monty breakfast which arrives with a large mug of hot tea. “How come you’ve got a mug” pipes up ones of the locals looking disappointedly at her cup and saucer, which is the cue for further friendly banter from adjoining tables.

Wandering around outside trying to walk off the excesses of breakfast I come across a couple in their twilight years dressed in their finest Glastonbury attire, who inform me that they are learning to ‘live without’. “We’ve sold everything and are living in a transit van” proudly announces Heidi. Her partner Stephen immediately confesses to having sold his Bonnie sometime ago but I sense he’s still a biker at heart. Eager to learn more I listen to their plan to make their way up the east coast, eventually reaching Scotland before chasing the sun south across Europe.

After one final recky of the bikes assembled I head off back to Colchester passing a low loader with a rather bent Ranger Rover successfully excavated from the ditch. How will they manage the school run on Monday without their Chelsea Tractor I wonder?




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