13 August 2017

13 Aug 2017: St Albans to Leighton Buzzard

We were pleased to be joined by another new rider, Rolanda (aka Andy), an ‘Olympic’ distance triathlete granny from Elstree, keen to improve her group-riding skills. We left St Albans under clear blue skies after having seen periodic waves of Verulam riders pass by the war memorial, some wearing their new purple kit. The coffee stop at Ivinghoe is a 20-mile stretch so we took the geodesic route via Hogg End Lane, Buncefield, Cupid Green and Gaddesden Row. Following the steep descent past Briden’s Camp and up through Nettleden, we passed a few badger corpses on the hill and arrived at Ringshall.

Continuing northwest we passed by Dockey Wood, where the National Trust now charges for entry during the bluebell season, now long past. A final descent from Ivinghoe Beacon down the moderately busy, but unavoidable B489 took us to Curiositea, housed in an old school house saved from demolition by local villagers.

Here we sat outside in the sun while Andy, who had intended to turn back here, decided she would continue to Leighton Buzzard and then catch a train south to Watford.

Continuing through Pitstone, we crossed the Grand Union Canal, wondering if Andy would want to do some triathlon training by performing a flying squirrel dismount and jumping into the water for a 1.5 Km swim. After Cheddington, Wingrave and Ledburn we arrived via a cycle-path at Leighton Buzzard, having to negotiate a sea of traffic before entry to the oasis of tranquillity of the old town.
Leighton Buzzard
While Jon guided Andy to the train station, we found Adrian in the sparsely attended Swan Hotel. Again we ate outside in the sunny courtyard, discussing an upcoming train-assisted ride. Continuing this ride we headed due east to Stanbridge and then south east to Totternhoe, followed by the climb past the White Lion, now looking distinctly grey, to Dagnall where another climb took us to Jockey End and the narrow Friendless Lane to Flamstead. Here again we were met by a sea of traffic and also people, who had turned out in force for the cultural event of the Flamstead Scarecrow Festival.


 Taking care not to stand motionless too long in case one of us won it, we found the church, which was serving tea and cakes, before departing south along Lyebury Lane to Redbourn and then going our separate ways.

Steve 13/08/2017

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