Warm sun after a chilly start
So we could have used Hogg End Lane after all. Continuing through Piccotts End and Frithsden, we overtook the West Herts CTC group at Little Gaddesden, some of whom were riding fixed-wheel bikes. After an exchange of gossip and on the way up to Ivinghoe Beacon we saw a single deer in an adjacent field, which then leapt over a barbed-wire fence before crossing the road just in front of us.
The Whipsnade White Lion
On the right hand side I usually like to look over to the white lion carved on the hillside under Whipsnade zoo. It should look like the photo above, but is currently so dirty it was almost impossible to spot. After a fast descent to Ivinghoe village we had a welcome coffee stop in Curiositea cafe in the old school after about 20 miles. Craig left us at this stop and five of us travelled on to lunch in Lacey Green at the Black Horse pub. Rather than climb up and down several times over the Chiltern Hills we took a flatter route through Aston Clinton, Weston Turville, Terrick and Marsh, looping north and west of Princes Risborough before climbing up Wardrobes Hill to reach the pub after 22 miles of fairly easy riding and where I did not change out of my outer chain-ring.
After a very reasonably priced lunch in their garden, but where the aroma of farm animals was evident, we headed back via Great Missenden, Hyde Heath and Chesham Bois. As we climbed up the hill from Latimer to see the head of the Green Dragon peering over the hedge at Flaunden we had done another 18 miles. This pub has had two infamous figures among its former clientele: Joachim von Ribbentrop and Guy Burgess. However, today we were visiting the church on the opposite side of the road for tea and cakes, where we were blessed by the presence of yet another lady vicar, and also Phil from the midweek riders, who had gone for an afternoon spin. From here it was an easy route back to St Albans for four of us, arriving at 5:15, and a bit further for Judy who was pedalling all the way back to Barnet. A perfect day for this longish ride of about 70 miles.