24 July 2016

24 Jul 2016: St Albans to Silsoe

Large crowds watch Chris Froome as he wins the Tour de France again.  It was the first weekend of the school holidays and no doubt some of us Brits heading for Paris were still stuck on the M2 at the whim of the French customs official vetting their entry. Meanwhile, we met up in St Albans for a lovely ride to Wrest Park in Bedfordshire. 
3 sitting on curved bench
2 approaching on bikes
Away we went along Gaddesden Row and via Studham up onto Dunstable Downs. At the top soaring along the ridge, as well as the unmanned kites, were seven brightly coloured paragliders, almost as acrobatic as the usual birds seen around here and an amazing and a very pretty sight. Then it was a fast descent down into Dunstable itself and the Cafe Latte for elevenses. Just as we were scoffing Jackie arrived to join us. Now we were five.
paragliders  kites
From there we headed northwest towards Sundon. We got a bit snarled up where our route crossed the M1 and the railway. Roads were closed, as they appear to be building a new link road from the A5 onto the M1. From there it was on to Sharpenhoe and down the 'Clappers', a lovely downhill leading into Barton le Clay where Steve joined us making us six.
Cafe Latte 

Steve and Jackie
We went in a large loop approaching Silsoe from the east via an initially rough track that led into and through Wrest Park. Some of us had sandwiches and others went into the Star and Garter for a pub lunch. Whilst there Adrian joined us and now there were seven heading for the tea stop at Whitwell by going to the east of Luton. This involved the steep climb from Hexton up Gravel Hill followed by a quick dash along Lilley Bottom to arrive at Emily's for the traditional tea and cakes. 
Wrest Park
outside at Emily's
From here the group started to split up as people headed towards their homes. When I got back to St Albans I had done about 60 miles and although it had been hot it hadn't been too bad. In summary a nice ride on a warm day.

Peter 24/07/2016

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