I've got a plan to do a longer than usual ride at B group pace (but other groups are welcome to do it too, obviously) heading a bit further out into East Anglia than normal. It's a ride that I planned and did on my own last August, so I know the route is OK. It will require people to drive, that's the only problem.
The route starts and finishes in Thaxted. It's about a 45-minute drive to Thaxted (in Sunday morning traffic) - you just go up the M11 to junction 8 (Bishops Stortford / Stansted Airport), take the A120 to Great Dunmow and then head north on the B184. In Thaxted there is a free car park with a toilet on Margaret Street.
From Thaxted the route goes north up to Radwinter, then follows our part of our road race course (in reverse) and continues up into Cambridgeshire towards the villages near Newmarket we sometimes use as HQs for races on the E2 course. It then heads broadly east into Suffolk through the middle of nowhere and eventually swings south to Lavenham (which is very pretty). The remainder of the ride is mostly going south-west through several other picturesque villages: Cavendish, Clare and Finchingfield among them.
Route here: https://www.strava.com/routes/6175019
The total distance is just under 83 miles. When I did it last year it took me 6 hours (11:30-17:30) of which 4:51 was actual riding time (at an average speed of 17.1mph). I was trying to get to Lavenham before I stopped to refuel, but I had mistakenly thought it was at the halfway point and it's actually about 10 miles further into the ride than that: I ended up totally out of drink and getting worryingly thirsty quite a way before Lavenham and didn't pass a single shop so when I eventually found a pub a few miles north of Lavenham I had to stop there before I collapsed! Bearing that in mind, we should take on more drinks if we pass any kind of shop after an hour or so.
I'd be looking to do the ride in a similar sort of time - I'd expect B group to go a bit faster than I did on my own, but I'm looking for 18mph, not some kind of Ride London speed fest, and I would like to stop at a pub with a garden (assuming the weather is nice).
Here is a video to give you a sense of the scenery / roads:
I was hoping to do this either on this coming Sunday (6th August) or two weeks later (20th August). I've got family stuff to do the weekend in between and I don't want to tread on the toes of the Summerhayes Summer Saunter which should be taking place on the Bank Holiday weekend at the end of the month.
I've got a car and a bike carrier that can take two bikes, so I can give a lift to one person. Who else is up for the ride and who else has access to a car? (And if you do, how many passengers + bikes could you take?)
Also, what kind of time would people like to set off? Let's assume it will take six hours from leaving the car park to getting back there. Let's also allow 15 minutes of faffing around before and after the ride to add to the 45 minutes drive time, so say 8 hours in total. That could be: leave Walthamstow 8am, get back around 4pm; or leave 9am, get back 5pm; or something else?
By the way, it's not worth trying to do it by train instead as the services up to Elsenham / Newport (about 8 miles from the start/finish) are hopeless on a Sunday morning.