On Friday 15th January WBro Gentle and Bro Moulton set out to visit Ala Lodge in Stowmarket.
Once again they had been looking at the forecast with a degree of trepidation, indeed the sleet, snow and high winds on the previous day had them wondering if the visit would indeed be going ahead on bicycles! However the day dawned bright and sunny but very cold so at 3.30 they departed to cover what they now considered a relatively short distance. All was well until they turned off the more main roads after the village of Brettenham where they had quite obviously had a good deal more sleet and snow. Added to which they were now on untreated roads that were covered in vast amounts of frozen and compacted snow. Bro Andy who was in the lead announced to Bro Nick that it was pretty treacherous and they would do well to slow down, seconds later his bike disappeared from beneath him and he hit the road with a thump. Bro Nick was then treated to a very poor display of Dancing on Ice as Brother Andy tried to get back on his bike, thankfully relatively unscathed! He is now a member of that club that was previously exclusive only to Nick & Gareth!!
The next 7 or so miles were very slow, taken at an average of around 6-7mph and at one point the cyclists became walkers due to the road being complete sheet ice. A 4×4 embedded into a large tree and hedgerow was once again a sobering reminder that the challenge is not without its risks.
Eventually they arrived at the Stowmarket Masonic Centre after taking 1hr 31minutes, a record time for the slowest pace yet to date, making this one of the most challenging rides of the quest.
The cyclists were greeted by their St Bernard in the form of Bro Stephen Martin-Halls, complete with a hip flask and a warm van. Bro Andy had lost all feeling in his fingers and toes some 30 minutes previously so this was a most welcome respite!
The members of Ala Lodge and also the RWPGM who was visiting Ala Lodge this evening as well warmly welcomed the cyclists and Bro Stephen.
Another first in the cycling challenge was the Blue Table evening that Ala Lodge was holding this evening. After a short meeting in the Temple there followed an excellent Festive Board with several interesting and informative addresses for the benefit of the non-masonic visitors present. It all made for a very enjoyable and interesting evening. At the end of the Festive board WBro Andy was presented with a Cheque for £100 from Ala Lodge in support of their endeavors to raise money and awareness of the 2019 Festival for the RMBI.
Brother Andy was also given personal donations of £25 and a bottle of wine from three supportive Brothers, which will all go towards their target to try to raise £10,000 for the Festival.
Bro Steven Martin-Hall for which the boys are most grateful once again provided logistical support.
Once again a most enjoyable and worthwhile visit after a very challenging ride. Thank you Ala Lodge!
Next Visit: Composite Lodge 9480 in Ipswich, 6th February
Miles to date: 725
Lodges visited: 25
Lodges to go: 42
ALA LODGE MUST HOLD THE RECORD FOR THE NUMBER OF RAFFLE TICKETS £5 BUYS!