28 August 2016

28 Aug 2016: St Albans to Wilstone

It’s bank holiday Sunday, a long ride is planned and the light rain forecast for the afternoon should not be a problem. So six of us set off from St Albans heading for elevenses at Wendover Woods.

steve on knitted bike
Needless to say the forecast was wrong and the light rain started at 9.30, which was a little depressing. By the time we got near to Chesham, which was still a long way from the woods, it started to rain hard. Prudently we decided to forego the pleasure of cycling to the woods in the rain and instead went to a nice café in Chesham, where we reconsidered our route. Just round the corner from the café we saw what appeared to be a knitted bike. In fact it was a real bike with a knitted cover - even the lock had a cover too! Steve took the photo opportunity.

We abandoned the original plan of going to Towersey (a long way to the west) and instead headed for Tring, via a roundabout route that ended up with us going into a pub in Wilstone to the north of Tring for lunch.

From there we headed back via Dagnall and Gaddesden Row to St Albans. By now the weather was better, but we decided to omit a tea stop and press on to get back in good time.  Overall we had done about 50 miles, much less than planned but it had made it enjoyable rather than an ordeal in the wet

Peter 28/08/2016

21 August 2016

21 Aug 2016: Hertford to Saffron Walden

It was a hot dry day as six people left the Stag statue in Hertford on the Sunday ride. After leaving Hertford using the Balls Park bridleway, it was an easy wind assisted cycle to Bishops Stortford for coffee. En-route we stopped for a culture break to examine the Henry Moore sculpture near Perry Green, conveniently situated on a public footpath in a field adjacent to the road so no trespassing was necessary. There was lively debate about what it was meant to represent. As we were ahead of schedule we approached Bishops Stortford from the south after putting in a loop via Little Hallingbury, which allowed us to cycle up the High street for a change.


After a quick coffee stop we took small roads via Manuden and Newport before reaching our destination pub (The Temeraire) in Saffron Walden. This branch of the JD Wetherspoon empire seemed quite quiet for Sunday lunchtime and the staff intimated that they have reduced custom since the roast dinners were stopped. They said the reason the roasts were stopped was because they didn’t make any profit on the deal. I wonder whether they should have just put up the price a bit instead.

We looped around north Herts into a strong headwind to put in 20 miles or so to Braughing church hall for a tea stop before those with cars went back to Hertford while the WGC/Hatfield trio peeled off at High Cross to get back via Sacombe. We welcomed new rider Leon who had no trouble keeping up and I hope we will see him again on a Sunday ride.

Carol 21/08/2016

14 August 2016

14 Aug 2016: St Albans to Wooburn Common

Last Sunday, 5 of us took a great little trip down to Maple Cross via Bricketwood and various off road parks in Watford.  We hit the Ebury Way and took that to Rickmansworth and then the main road from there to Maple Cross.  This route took in several different styles of road from quiet country lanes, a short portion of off road and some rather busy road riding.

After a break, we headed to Chalfont St Peter via the rather busy Welders Lane: this lane cuts through to just below Jordans, which is ideal for getting across to Beaconsfield.  Once there, it’s a case of finding the bridge that spans the huge motorway type road thing that dominates the area.  After crossing that, it’s a bit of jiggery pokery by another huge roundabout, down some very nice country lanes and Bob’s your uncle and we were there.

at pub

Outside The Royal Standard

The Royal Standard was a lovely pub and very accommodating; we shall be visiting again.  I was surprised we got to the pub so quickly: when I was working out this route it seemed a long way but, in practice, it was only just over 10 miles.

Lunch over, and we were off to Chenies via Holtspar, Penn, and Winchmore Hill.  This was the hilliest portion of the day, as we skirted the Chilterns and dropped down into Chalfont St Giles.  As we neared our planned tea destination, it was clear that we were going to be very early, so we put on some extra miles and headed to an alternative tea stop - Blackwells in Chipperfield.

Break over and it's back to St Albans via King’s Langley and Tom’s lane.  It was great day out to an area that needs a little more exploring.

Neil 14/08/2016

7 August 2016

07 Aug 2016: Panshanger to Royston

With many away on holidays 4 of us met for the start of Tracey’s ride into Cambridgeshire countryside; Jeff came out with us for the first time in a long time and it was grand to see him. We set of at a great pace and made short work of heading towards Codicote via Old Welwyn, then Tracey gave us a treat and navigated the lanes around the back of the Node, onto Easthall and then up along Hitchwood Lane that leads to Poynders End. From here we headed down the hill and made our way over to Gosmore. We made Hitchin in great time and had a lovely break sat outside the café. As we were munching, a healthy looking Mr Richard Stubbs arrived to bolster our numbers, he ordered the biggest plate of beans on toast I had ever seen, but the apple pie and custard that Jon & Jeff ordered looked even better.

apple pie covered in custard 

Leaving Hitchin was quite urban, but not busy and very enjoyable as we whizzed down the roads towards Letchworth and then onto Baldock. We had a delightful rolling ride as we headed through Ashwell, Litlington and Bassingbourn. Around here we came across a huge combine harvester intent on bringing in the corn, making a turn into a field as it made its manoeuvre we wondered whether the produce would make bread, cereals or BEER.  The half-track monster of a machine had chewed up the freshly laid loose chippings, which coated our tyres with a protective layer of tar and stones: easily brushed off except for my knobbly tyres where they had to be dug out.

combine harvester 
Two cyclists
Coming into Royston Tracey suddenly jammed on her brakes, not for the traffic but because a bee had somehow crept inside her tight-fitting top and stung her. Just as well the pub was around the corner and we had a lovely hour to relax in the shade at the back.  

Upon leaving Royston we took a right turn and traversed a stretch of road that we hadn’t been down before, this was a long, undulating affair of a road which gave us a spectacular view of the countryside. We reached Dane End via Barkway, Wyddial, Buntingford and Nasty. It was a lovely route that Tracey needs to be pleased about. It was also a battle with the side wind and we rewarded ourselves with more drinks at the golf club. Here we discussed bike rides and Richard very nicely agreed to lead a Saturday ride on the 3rd of September.

two cycle under a shady tree 
4 standing outside pub
All that was left to do was go home Via Sacombe Park and Waterford.  

Tracey led another great ride. On that note I must point out that we will soon be adding new rides that need leaders, one of our regular leaders is unable to lead due to other commitments and some of us have already stepped up to fill some gaps, but these are your rides as well. It’s always good to share the fun of planning routes and having lots of different leaders keeps the rides interesting for everyone.

Neil 07/08/2016

6 August 2016

06 Aug 2016: Fun ride to Shenley

A change of destination was made this week as we met for a Saturday saunter, the weather was promising to be really hot and one of our number had just come from the destination, so quick thinking and we pootled off to the tearooms at Shenley.

We took a fairly straightforward and usual route taking in the Alban Way, Chiswell Green, Park Street and Bricket Wood. Going down Drop Lane is always a pleasant, shady treat and leads nicely back onto Smug Oak Lane and access to Watling Street. About half way up the hill here we head onto Hanger Lane and towards Shenley. Getting to the tearooms involves going up the hill. I avoid the worst of it by climbing up past the old hospital, but is still a challenging climb in itself. 

4 of us having a break
So arriving at the tearooms and expecting a well-deserved break, David treated us all to ice-lollies and a customer treated us to a display of stupidity and anger. With queues building up there was a lot of faffing around. It was lovely and hot outside in the sun and very pleasant to see many people out.

Soon we were back on our way again; we headed along Rectory Lane and down to the roads that run alongside the M25 and past both the Watford the Arsenal football club training grounds. We headed into London Colney and up onto the bridge that goes over the North Orbital. Making judicious use of Nightingale Lane brought us to the back of High Field and a short trip back to Morrisons. 

A very pleasant ride.   Neil 06/08/2016