19 November 2017

19 Nov 2017: St Albans to Woodside

We welcomed two new people who had seen our ride advertised and had cycled up from south of Watford.  Mick and Geoff must have had a very cold start and it wasn't much warmer by the time the ride started, due to the light, northerly wind, but the roads weren't icy.  Seven of us set off in bright sunshine and a few hills soon dispelled the chill on our route through Verulamium Park to Ragged Hall Lane and on to tackle a few Chiltern hills to Berkhamsted.

We were slightly late due to a rouge flint, but service at Wetherspoons was swift due to the robotisation of the coffee dispensing process. Just pressing a button for unlimited refills ensured that most had enough caffeine drug in their bloodstreams to fail a UCI test, although one of us managed an early pint while fixing his bike.

Outside Ashridge House
It was still cold outside, so we didn't mind too much that the next set of Chiltern hills kept the blood flowing. Ashridge Park was particularly scenic with autumnal colours on the beech trees and we stopped for a photo call by the management college. Our only other stop was for a 'call of nature' due to the pint consumed earlier.

We were welcomed at the pub in Woodside and shown to our reserved table in the restaurant, complete with plastic tablecloths, which seemed a bit strange for a country pub. But it was nice and warm inside, the lunch was substantial and there was one real ale, the ubiquitous Doombar, on offer.

We left lunch a bit later than planned, but the final leg back to St Albans was only 11 miles. It was a good route to Harpenden, but the direct route then took us along the A1081 cycle track, which is narrow, uneven and generally a good example of how not to provide safer routes for cyclists.

It was better when we rejoined the main road and we got back at 3:15 pm, so even those who had to ride home another 10-15 miles made it just before it was completely dark.

Carol had led us on a lovely circuit into The Chilterns, which really was almost an exactly circular route.

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