Emitremmus Desrever

The Mayor of Stevange starts the 2006 Emitremmus ride - before hopping on his own bike. Credit: Andrew Cornwell

Ridden on 30 October 2005 - 101 km
Ridden on 29 October 2006 - 101 km
Ridden on 28 October 2007 - 101 km

No it is not Latin as I once thought - the strange name spells 'Summertime Reversed' backwards. Marking the weekend when the clocks change, this traditional season closer departing from Stevenage is highly recommended.

When I rode this as my final audax event of 2005 the route was a straightforward one from Stevenage along the Hertfordshire lanes to the turn at Saffron Walden and back. Little traffic in general, fine views over the start of the Cambridgeshire prairies from the ridge above Barkway. Many pretty villages, thatched cottages and inviting country pubs were passed.

There was a sense of occasion about the start from the lakeside cafe in Stevenage - the Mayor ceremonially sends off each group of riders. With more than 230 riders setting off (a record for this event) it was an easy matter to negotiate the initial network of dual carriageways and roundabouts to leave town.

The benefit of such a large field is that it is always easy to fall in with a group travelling at one's own pace. The downside came at the control points and cafes with long queues. At Saffron Walden I decided to skip the coffee stop, get my card stamped and make do with an energy bar.

Although the weather stayed dry, by this stage in the year there was quite a lot of muck on the roads and a puncture kit and hand pump are probably advisable.

The lakeside cafe made for a good post-ride meal before the easy train ride back to Kings Cross - all in all a very well organised event. A nice touch is the list of 'successful riders' sent out in the post after the event complete with souvenir photos.


2006 update:
Another excellent day out, with glorious autumn weather, blue skies and mild temperatures. This time close to 350 riders on the road. The lunch time queue problem had been solved apparently with extra helpers on hand to stamp cards. Enjoyable if rather too easy-paced riding after lunch with a posse from the Central London CTC.

Again the ride was started by the Mayor of Stevenage - the difference being that this year's incumbent wore cycling kit under his chain of office and joined the ride.

2007 update:
A really autumnal day saw another large turnout battling the rain and heavy crosswinds - the return leg from Saffron Walden was tiring in places as we crossed exposed high ground. Several people remarked that they had never seen so many riders fixing punctures at the side of the road at an audax event. A nice sense of achievement at the finish, then, to close the season.

Andrew at the finish of Emitremmus 2006
Andrew at the finish of Emitremmus 2006
(Photo: Rachel Cooke)