1 October 2017

01 Oct 2017: St Albans to Lacey Green

On the first day of October in the dense autumn mist we set off heading north, avoiding St Peters Street which was occupied with stalls, including a Routemaster bus, in preparation for the annual St Albans Food and Drink festival, By the time we got to Bedmond Lane there was heavy drizzle so we stooped to don rain jackets. Continuing through Chipperfield and Belsize, we stopped again near Hollins Hall as Peter had suffered a sudden deflation. The culprit, a sharp flint that would have penetrated even a Marathon Plus, was found almost instantly, but the inevitable delay caused us to be late arriving at Masterchef in Amersham. A parked Roberts bike nearby betrayed the presence of Richard who claimed he had recently arrived after “just missing” us at the start. Snacks and coffee were quickly served by a charming young waitress who made the riders reluctant to leave the cafe. Continuing on through Hyde Heath and the HS2 NIMBY boards at Great Missenden we passed through Great Hampden and Parslows Hillock to arrive at the Black Horse at Lacey Green at 12:25. The timing turned out to be fortunate, for all tables except the one by the patio, were marked as reserved. We swiftly occupied this and ordered baguettes and beer and managed to leave at 13:20. Working off lunch over the steep hills at Darvillshill and Speen we called in at Ray and  Rhona's Open Day at Prestwood. This is an annual exhibition of ancient bikes that Ray, of the South Bucks CTC, inherited from his father-in-law.
Ancient Bikes
A very unusual bike was this wooden one with skis.
Wooden Ski Bike
After marvelling at the weight of some of the bikes from the early 1900s we ploughed on through Great Missenden and towards Little Pednor, ignoring the the signs that the road was closed even to pedestrians. Cyclists coming in the opposite direction assured us that the obstruction was navigable which indeed it was; a subsequent notice proclaimed that it  was due to “conducter pulling in progress”. 
Engineers' Spelling!
Despite the bizarre spelling, we deduced that this was something to do with the electricity cables attached to the nearby pylon. Passing then through the medieval Little Pednor farm we continued through Chesham, climbing up to Pinner Green, followed by the steep dip after Ley Hill, and along Venus Hill to arrive at the Mediterranean Garden Centre at 3:45. Anticipating to be brushed off so close to closing time, we were warmly welcomed by the staff who said we were the only cyclists to have visited them after a very quiet day and were pleased to see us. Leaving at 4:10 we returned taking the usual route via Rucklers Lane and  Bunkers Lane. We had done about 58 miles.

Steve B

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