18 March 2012

18 Mar 2012: Hatfield to Wareside

Eight of us met at Hatfield and it was great to welcome Nixon, a new fellow cyclist, to our group ride.  We set off east to Welwyn Garden City where we picked up the Cole Green Way to Letty Green and joined The Old Coach Road to Hertingfordbury.  At the church we turned off and meandered along quiet lanes up to Bayford, then climbed past the golf club to Brickendon Green.  
Meeting in Hatfield
Bayford village sign

Cycling through Danemead Woods, we tried not to scare a lot of horses and their riders also out enjoying this fine spring morning.  We dropped down into Hoddesdon and through to Dobb's Weir. Here we frequented a very busy River’s Edge Cafe, where the garden is now a cosy plastic-sided tent.  Although we had to wait a long time for our cooked breakfast to arrive, it was well worth it, very tasty, substantial and very good value.
Danemead Woods
Three wheels meets four legs

We left the cafe via the towpath and joined the Sustrans route 1, which we were pleased to see was being upgraded and reconstructed, to Lower Nazing.  On route to Nazing the temperature dropped and Neil got a puncture!  This time he had a self-adhesive patch and after successfully repairing his inner tube we set off again to Broadly Common then down to Roydon where two of us carelessly over shot the level crossing! The rest of the group waited patiently for ten minutes for two trains to pass and us to re-cross onto the Stort Navigation path towards Harlow.  Although there are several awkward cycle gates to get through (Judy had to take her recumbent trike another way), this path is quiet and very scenic.  
Another puncture for Neil
Hey, over here!

At Hunsdon Lock we managed to find the way off this path to cross the very busy A414 and continue up a minor road to Hunsdon, Widford then finally Wareside, albeit 1 hour behind schedule!  Fortunately, Jon & Judy had saved us a large table (having fended off several mothers) and despite being Mothering Sunday and not booking we were served a good lunch.  None of us really wanted to leave this friendly, cosy, old fashioned pub, but eventually we did when we realised most of us didn't have lights!
Works on the Roydon river path
River Lea at Ware

Shortly after joining the Ware-Hertford river path, Peter had a brief argument with a tree root and fell off in some mud, but nothing was damaged except his pride and we split up in Hertford to return back home to our own destinations.

Tracey 18/03/2012

11 March 2012

11 Mar 2012: Hertford to Standon

Ten of us gathered in Hertford on a cool cloudy morning.  We set off up Port Hill to Bengeo where I took the usual left turn for Stonyhills. Once through here I decided to skip the ride through Sacombe Park and just take the road through Sacombe village.  Fortunately we managed to get across the busy A602 without too much hassle.

Gathering in Hertford
Leaving Tortoise Tea Rooms
We moved swiftly through Sacombe and onto Dane End and Nasty.  Here we took the quieter lane through Cherry Green and onto Westmill. We continued to Aspenden and then Buntingford where we took the right turn to Hare Street and the Tortoise Tea room.  The Tortoise certainly lived up to its name today!  I knew that the Cambridge CTC were going there so I deliberately got there early, which was a good job as just after we arrived another large group from the North Road CC arrived. 

After placing our orders we waited....and waited..and waited. Then the lights went out.... Not sure what was happening but the electricity kept going on and off and on again and eventually it just went off.  Most of the North Road CC left for the café in Buntingford, but fortunately I think most of us had had our drinks by then and it was just a matter of swapping hot food orders for cold.  Paying for them called for some mental arithmetic as the electronic till was out of action. (We have since had a nice email from the café to apologize).

Racing a pony & trap
Relaxing at The Star in Standon

We left Hare Street northwards and then turned right to Anstey where we crossed the Cambridge group (who must have been running very late as it was 11.45!).  (We heard later that, luckily for them, the electrical problems were fixed when they were at Hare Street).  At Anstey we headed to the Pelhams - we did all 3 - and then continued down to the traffic lights at Little Hadham.  After the lengthy wait we carried on across the lights and turned right at the Nags Head up to Wellpond Green and then Standon.  This was a change of venue as the Brown Bear at Braughing were only doing Sunday roasts.  The Star at Standon came to our rescue and we were made most welcome and offered baguettes and cyclists' sized main meals (bigger than a kiddie meal and smaller than motorist size!) all for a fiver.

Planning the route home

After a lunch in the sunny pub garden the majority of us crossed Standon Ford (via the footbridge!) and then headed towards Barwick and back into Hertford.

Stuart  11 Mar 2012