19 January 2014

19 Jan 2014: Hatfield to Woolmer Green

A really great turn out for my first go as ride leader and even the weather was good, especially when compared to the last two Sundays.  This attracted sixteen of us for the ride and we set off from Hatfield, with 2 taking a slightly easier route.   It had rained overnight so there were a few rather large puddles on the road, no real flooding though.  On the morning ride we traveled through South Hatfield, Welham Green, Brookmans Park, Bayford, Brickendon and down into Hertford for a welcome tea break / second breakfast at the Rose Cafe.  

White Stubbs Lane
Minor adjustments

Paul had cycled to the start from Letchworth, so that justified a big breakfast.

Rose Cafe
A few calories to burn off

After tea break we set off along the river towards Ware. This turned out to be a rather narrow path for 200 metres. I won't be going that way again!  After that it was a very pleasant ride along the river to Ware. The Sun was out (and so were the dog walkers).

River Lea
Hertford-Ware cycle path

At Ware we headed up the A1170 to Wadesmill and then headed back towards the lunch stop via Chapmore End and Stapleford and Bramfield. Some of the smaller roads are in a pretty poor state after all the rain we have had. There is quite a lot of soggy leaf litter and gravel on them.  After Datchworth I had intended to go directly to Woolmer Green. But, having taken a wrong turn, we ended up in Knebworth and had to cycle back south to Woolmer Green. The Fox pub is really nice so all was well.

Chapmore End

Mike 19/01/2014

5 January 2014

05 Jan 2014: St Albans to Redbourn

The Hub Redbourn...

Well it wasn’t the planned destination or route, but we hadn’t planned on 4 ‘incidents’ in the first few miles, so it’s where we ended up.  Six of us met at the war memorial and from the start was clear we would be watching the weather as it was supposed to be very bad latter in the day.  Joining us for his first ride was Martin, who seemed keen but not overly eager to be out in what was to come.

We set off down Catherine Street, made our way up Bluehouse Hill and then along Bedmond lane.  It was along these back lanes that the unexpected reared its head and I was surprised, despite it being early January: ICE, yes ICE. Blustery showers and gale force winds, followed by copious amounts of wet stuff were forecast and that was what I and everyone else had been expecting.  But it was going down one of these lanes that Mike had the ill fortune to come off on a patch of ice, just as a car was passing us.  I thought someone had shouted for the car and I just kept going, but fortunately Bill made us stop.

Apart from a bruise Mike was OK, so we carried on our way around the edge of Hemel.  It was around the estates there that Martin developed some trouble with his cleats, not sure what the problem was but he was having trouble getting his foot clipped in and out on a pedal.

The group in Hemel
bare foot
Fixing cleat problems
wheel rim
Richard's worn out and split rim
tyre removal
Expert tyre removal

Then, not wanting to feel left out, our leader Richard’s back wheel rim decided that it was high time to blow.   After these shenanigans we decided to cut the whole thing short and head home, via the Hub in Redbourn.  As we were heading down Gaddesden row Bill had that slightly deflated feeling, and sure enough he had a puncture.  With numb fingers he deftly fumbled his way around fixing the puncture.  Soon after we were winging our way to a welcome break.

At the Hub in Redbourn, while we warmed up with cups of tea and coffee, Richard found that he could get his wheel repaired and be given a spare ‘courtesy’ wheel to use whilst the job was done.  Bill looked like he was drumming up some eBike business for himself.  So this seemed to be a rather fortuitous stop for all of us.

Soon after we were on our way back to St Albans, for the completion of one of our shortest rides ever!

Neil 5/1/2014