As I gaze out of the window at snowflakes floating down, I think how lucky we were to get a ride in on Sunday. It was certainly cold enough for snow, with a Met Office amber warning for ice, so I led our group of six out on the flattest section of the route through a quiet WGC. But having donned five layers on body and feet, I was soon overheating as we came into Tewin, and Stephen grabbed my spare skull cap as I shed some clothing. Hands can still get cold, so I held onto my superb Helly Hansen fleece lined mitts. We forked right past the Post Office on a scenic lane through Red Wood and up Holly Grove Road. The roads were mostly dry and ice free, but here we were overtaken by a lone cyclist, whose sudden slowing down on the next bend warned us of the only stretch of ice we encountered all day.
Pausing on the road to Tewin
The Buck's Alley climb
Arriving in Hertford, I turned off Beane Road and took a scenic route into town along a cycle path by the river, emerging at the foot of Port Hill. It was just a short distance to our destination near Parliament Square by Hertford Castle. It was to here that the English Parliament moved in 1665 during the Great Plague of London. The Six Templars was unusually quiet and service was quick, pleasant and good value. Our numbers grew steadily as 3 more members arrived independently, having been put off an early start by the weather, or simply reluctance to emerge from a warm bed!
Herts secretary Brian also appeared to present Neil with yet another award for the best ride attendance – an example to us all. The sun was out now, although this hadn’t changed the temperature, so I did my best to find the hilliest route possible on the short stretch to lunch. Strange that nobody thanked me for taking Buck’s Alley, which has the only hill for miles that warrants a single arrow on the OS Leisure Map.
We arrived at The Woodman in Wildhill armed with our sandwiches and took our usual places in the exclusive room at the back. The beers tasted particularly good after tackling all those hills, but we left reluctantly and got home well before freezing time, having done a pleasing circuit of just 29 miles and 1311 ft of climbing.