16 July 2017

16 July 2017: Hatfield to Allens Green

With several of our regulars away in France scorching themselves on cycling holidays, five gathered in Hatfield for another cool adventure into Essex.

Big Boy Breakfast
We welcomed new rider, James from Welham Green, keen to improve his endurance ready for his first Ride London 100 mile bash in two week’s time. Our leader, Graham, soon arrived looking remarkably fresh, considering he had completed a 300 Km Audax from Great Dunmow only the day before, including riding to and from the start. This ride would put his mileage above 300 for the weekend.

Rather than spend a day recovering, as most humans would be doing, he was keen not to let his knees stiffen up through lack of use. We were left wondering if he did his office job sitting on an exercise bike. Fortunately Graham is a very considerate leader and quite happy to go at a pace to suit whoever is riding.

By the time we reached Old Harlow, after a pleasant route through Broxbourne Woods and Roydon, we had done more than usual and sustenance was called for. This was adequately rendered at Cross Keys café, where Graham took up the challenge of tackling a Big Boy Breakfast, immediately undoing all the good weight-reducing work of the day before.

Ryes Lanes Gatehouse

Bracket fungus on Ryes Lane
From here we headed for Hatfield Heath, then took the private road, Ryes Lane, escaping from the holiday traffic on the B road. After crossing cattle grids in Hatfield Forest, our only hold-up was at the level crossing in Spellbrook, where we started looking forward to our lunch break at Allens Green.

We arrived at The Queens Head to find the landlord mowing the grass for us. It was soon clear that here the pace of life was very relaxed and we took advantage of the mini beer festival to have a longer break than usual.

Back on our bikes, Graham took us on an interesting alternative route after Perry Green. Here we turned left onto Nether Street, a reasonably surfaced off-road track giving a level route into Widford. That just left a direct route through Ware and Hertford back to Hatfield, completing a fine circuit of 56 miles.

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