21 March 2010

21 March 2010: Sunday ride to Buntingford and Wareside

Stuart writes: After a rainy Saturday, this morning was bright and sunny and I had a wind assisted ride down to the start at Hatfield where I found Simon, Neil and Vish waiting for me. Jon C, Craig, Peter, Richard and Bill then arrived.
We set off on the usual route north from Hatfield doing the customary dodge round the back streets of WGC to drop onto the B1000, Hertford road which we followed for a short while before turning off for Tewin.  We continued to Burnham Green, Datchworth and Watton.
Burnham Green
 Near Watton-at-Stone
I had intended to go via Walkern and Cottered but opted to take the quieter route through Whempstead, Dane End and Gt Munden.
Just before the Gt Munden crossroads Richard's back tyre went flat, the cause of which turned out to be a faulty sidewall on his Continental Top Touring tyre. Fortunately he had a spare folding tyre which Vish fitted as Richard and us all looked on.
 Where's the problem?
 Perhaps it's this!
 Folding tyre & Vish to the rescue
Approaching Westmill we cautiously overtook a team of 4 horses.  They seemed more nervous than us, but the driver had them well under control.
The four horses
I knew we were going to be a bit late for 11's due to the distance, but the puncture had set us back a bit more so by the time we arrived at Buntingford it was 11.25.  Fortunately we were fairly quick to be served at the cafe and were on our way again by just after 12.
 Buntingford Coffee Shop
We retraced our route back to Westmill and continued on the Munden road turning off onto the lane that joins the A10 just north of Puckeridge. At Puckeridge we were joined by two locals who rode with us to the end of the village. We crossed the A120 and continued down to Barwick and the ford where Richard felt deflated again.
Barwick Ford
As time was marching on Vish stayed with Richard and the rest of us carried on to the lunch stop at the Chequers, Wareside.
The pub got quite busy as another group of cyclists (Stort Valley CTC) arrived and a group of ramblers were there. Judy was also there waiting for us.
Richard and Vish arrived at nearly 2pm and after a quick drink we were on our way again by 2.30.
We retraced our steps to Bakers End and continued past Fanhams Hall and into Ware.
I left the group here to turn north back home to Stevenage clocking 63 miles by the time I got back.

Neil adds: When we left Wareside we took a nice steady incline to Ware and at this point Stuart our leader left the ride and headed home.  Just after Ware there was some discussion as to the route to Hertford, Bill and Craig choosing to make their way via the roads, while the rest of us went up the canal path.
This was a lovely way to end a great day’s riding.  We went past a weir which was in full force, just goes to show how much water has actually fallen in the last day or two and the canal itself seemed to be a bit on the high side, but all in all it was a great little jaunt up the path.  Sure it was busy, but what do you expect on a Sunday.  As far as wild life goes all the usual suspects were out and about making the best of what the canal had to offer.
From Hertford we made our way up past Letty Green into Welwyn Garden City, then past the QE2 onto Ascot lane and down into Hatfield.
After the chilly start to the day, it ended up surprisingly warm.  This was a really pleasant ride, which had a great pace in parts.  I'm really hoping that the weather holds up for next week.

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