A THUG leant out of a moving car and punched a woman cyclist before pelting eggs at her husband.
Fiona and Stephen Collopy were cycling on Middlemead, along Hanningfield Reservoir, on Sunday, a pastime they have enjoyed every weekend for three years, when they were attacked.
Stephen, 44, was cycling ahead of Fiona when they say four "screaming" youths in a burgundy Nissan Navara came up behind the couple, before one leant out and punched Fiona in the side as they passed by at 11am.
"He just leant out of the window of the car and punched me really hard," said Fiona, 39, of Barn Mead, Galleywood.
"I was screaming and crying and he was just laughing at me.
"They punched me so hard I had the guy's signet ring printed in my stomach.
"It pushed me so far forward that my foot stopped the bike, but luckily I didn't fall off.
"We cycle every single weekend on the same route, that's our thing.
"Now I'm scared to go out and cycle again in case they're waiting there."
Another of the men, who Fiona believes were in their 20s, emerged from the sunroof and proceeded to pelt eggs at Stephen's back.
"They were just yelling nonsense and then one got out of the sunroof holding a packet of eggs," said mother-of-five Fiona.
"He had a good aim and hit Stephen all down his back, I even took a photo after because I couldn't believe it.
"I feel so angry because I'm sure these guys were deliberately out to cause trouble.
"It all happened so fast.
"They were driving erratically and screaming into the distance and I didn't manage to get their registration number."
The couple say two witnesses, Wendy and Richard, comforted the couple and said they too feared the car full of men would throw things at them.
The couple, who have lived in Galleywood for eight years, have never witnessed anything like the attack.
"I have lived here for eight years, this is the quietest village, this isn't what happens here," said Fiona, a factory boss.
"Quite a lot of people who cycle around the reservoir on the weekend recognise me.
"I was wearing a bright pink cycling top and pink and black shorts and I have a long brown pony tail all down my back, so there is no mistaking that I am a woman.
"It upsets me more because they must have known I was a woman as well.
"All I can think is that they might do it again."
An Essex Police spokesman said: "Police are investigating a report of assault on two cyclists near Hanningfield Resevoir.
"Officers were contacted at 11.55am on Sunday, August 4, with a report that a car had pulled up alongside the cyclists in Middlemead, West Hanningfield, and threw eggs at one of them before punching the other.
"Anyone who witnessed the incident is urged to contact police on 101."