|A good nosh at Hitchin Kitchen|
|Follow my leader in Arlesey|
|Shefford High Street|
|Campton underpass - so good we did it thrice|
|Now where can we get some food?|
|Horses grazing buttercups in Lilley|
|Now this won't hurt much -
I'm only going to pull your tube out
Leaving Hitchin we took the road to Arlesey via Ickleford and then the cycle path to Henlow and on to Clifton and Shefford. This was a fast, flat route typical of this part of Bedfordshire. I had intended to stop for lunch at the White Hart in Campton, but we discovered they did not do food apart from crisps (unfortunately, the message that this was supposed to be a picnic ride had been lost somewhere between the planning and the execution). So we retraced to Shefford and enjoyed a good lunch in the quiet garden behind the White Hart Hotel. The landlady was very helpful and it was the second time in recent years this venue had come to the rescue in our hour of need.
After lunch we headed back through Gravenhurst, Hexton and another long climb to Lilley, glad to find some shade on the way up and a nice cooling breeze at the top. One or two riders on the 100-mile St Albans charity ride struggled past so we encouraged them with cries of “only 30 miles to go!” We were held up just a little when Sue wrestled with a puncture in her rear tyre. Some stayed to help (or watch at least) while others carried on to Whitwell, where we regrouped with a refreshing afternoon drink at Emily’s cafe. The afternoon was getting very hot, so we were all glad to cool down at the cafe in and it was good to meet up with Anne Jarman there.
After tea back to Hatfield via Codicote and Digswell Hill, which we ascended considerably slower than the elite females had done in the Women’s Tour of Britain last week.