27 October 2013

27 Oct 2013: St Albans to Cow Roast

On a gutsy, gusty and blustery Sunday morning six of us met at the war memorial for a trek out to Pages Park and Cow Roast.  The ride got underway briskly as we were well aware of the forecast for the day.

We headed out to Redbourn and then onto Markyate and up past Whipsnade zoo to fly down Bison Hill, which funnily enough is where the Bison for the zoo are kept.  They knew something we didn’t, as it’s not often that they stay in their enclosure.  From here we made a beeline for Leighton Buzzard.  Now the ride had been quite blustery and we were thankful to reach Pages Park.  Once inside we all ordered something to keep us warm on the next leg of the ride, some of the braver souls ordering beans on toast (as if it wasn’t windy enough already).  A great treat was the presence of Stuart Hammond who had ridden out from Stevenage to join us for the tea stop.

Richard at petrol station
Richard in the wrong place for refueling
autumn colours
Autumn colours

As tea was over and we decided to push on quickly to Cow Roast (yes, that is the name of the place), we discovered that the wind had other plans for us as it had decided to pick up and generally make things a little challenging.  As we went through Mentmore some rather boisterous gusts made life a little nervous for some, to be honest I hate the wind and I don’t like the prospect of being blown off my bike.  So after being battered about a bit we ended up at the lunch stop, a pub called Cow Roast Inn in Cow Roast.  It was quite a pleasant affair although the food did take its time coming out, but this allowed us plenty of time to warm up and get used to the idea of not cycling.

bending over bike
Wet roads and guess what?

As soon as lunch was over we all headed back out into the elements for the last leg back to St Albans.  This journey was along a familiar route of Berkhamsted to Hemel then up Bunkers lane to St Albans.
Surprisingly enough we beat all the naff weather and couldn’t have timed the end of the ride more perfectly as the skies were soon to open as a prelude to Monday’s gales.

It was a good ride led by Carol.

Neil 27/10/2013

6 October 2013

06 Oct 2013: Hatfield to Allens Green

Twelve of us gathered in Hatfield and we welcomed Mike from London Colney on his first club ride.  As I can only count up to ten, Neil volunteered to be back-marker, as I didn’t want to lose anyone.  
the bunch
Regrouping near Babbs Green
the whole bunch
Spot the difference

Hertford is only eight miles by the shortest route, so we started by heading west for a change and through Lemsford and Ayot Green.  Crossing the A1 we saw a bunch of the Lantern Rouge appearing from the dead-end road down to The Waggoners.  Maybe they had found a way through from Brocket Hall? 

We zoomed down to Old Welwyn and along the quiet B road then up to Tewin and Bramfield and came into Hertford through the park by the River Beane.  I slowed on the narrow exit path for a dog-walker, but the bitch decided to squat for a pee right in front of me (the dog, not its owner) and I managed to knee it in the head trying to put my foot down.  I hope the dog doesn’t develop psychological problems.

A very busy Rose Café coped admirably with our demands.  Richard joined us (after another lie-in) and a few left us, but most decided to carry on to lunch on what could be the last warm, sunny Sunday ride this year.

The route was now up to Cold Christmas and down to the ford at Much Hadham, then up to Green Tye and our destination in Allens Green.  No beer festival this week, but great value at the pub and a sunny break in the garden.
Three wheel recumbent riding through ford
Judy in Hadham Ford
Lea Valley
Tea stop in the Lee Valley

We then followed some deserted lanes to Gilston and through Harlow Town Park, passing the children’s zoo, and followed the cycle route to Roydon and the Lee Valley.  The café at Broxbourne Old Mill is hidden away on a side turn off the Lea Navigation and provided a welcome mug of tea.  I needed that for the long climb up White Stubbs Lane at the end of our 55-mile circuit.

Jon  06/10/2013