25 March 2018

25 Mar 2018: Hatfield to Great Hormead

Our first summertime ride this year and a total of eleven people were out for at least part of the day.  We started from Hatfield with eight riders and welcomed Richard P to his first ride with us. It was quite a stretch to Baldock even by the direct route through Ayot St Peter and Great Wymondley.  Halfway there we had a short break while Richard fixed a flat tyre – don’t worry Richard it happens to everyone. We still arrived at Baldock at the same time as Richard S, although Steve & Jackie were wondering if we were still coming.

After coffee break three decided to get the train back, but we had gained three new riders as we headed over to Wallington via the disused road over the new A505.
The old road out of Baldock
After Sandon it was a lovely, carefree ride down towards Buntingford. But around Mill End a terrier had great fun chasing us, having left its owner on the far side of a field.  We were spread out, going quite fast and as soon as it tired of chasing one cyclist it latched onto the next, showing amazing powers of endurance.  A passing motorist told Judy off for squirting the dog with her water bottle. She was only trying to discourage it from following us onto the A10, but by the time it gave up it was a couple of miles away from its owner. I hope it wasn’t too exhausted to find its way back.

Our route took us through Wyddial and Snow End to reach the pub at Great Hormead.  We were soon tucking into some very substantial sandwiches and chips.  It’s a shame that the dog hadn’t kept with us. There were dog biscuits available at the bar and The Three Tuns was the East of England regional winner of the Dog friendly pub awards last year.

Five wanted to head straight back from here, which left just three of us to complete the circuit, stopping at Esem in Ware for humus and pita bread, on the way back to Hatfield.
Jon 25/03/2018

11 March 2018

11 Mar 2018: Hatfield to Hertford

After a two-week lay off due to snow, ice and generally wintery weather, we were back on our bikes to get a few miles in.  Maybe we’re not as tough (or is it foolhardy) as we used to be – I remember actually enjoying the challenge of riding in the snow – in the days when falling off meant a few bruises rather than broken bones.

Eight of us set off from Hatfield on a familiar route down NCR 12, the general idea being that everyone follows the leader.  But on emerging from the cycle track in Welham Green we found we had already lost one. Retracing we could find no sign and a phone call was needed to find that he had made a bid for freedom by turning off the straight route for reasons best known to himself. Reunited, we climbed out of Water End past the Vet College and through Potters Bar for the lovely descent along Coopers Lane Road.

Crews Hill, with its numerous garden centres, wasn’t as busy as I had expected on Mother’s Day and we were soon climbing Whitewebbs Road and along Turkey Street into Freezy Water and Enfield Lock -an area one of us referred to as the grey wastelands of North Enfield.

We joined the River Lea towpath at Rammey Marsh and were soon at The Narrow Boat Café, a new place for us and a bit of a centre for the boat dwelling community, complete with showers and an inside play area for children.
The Narrow Boat Cafe

Our route then took us through the Lea Valley Park, first up the wide track to Fishers Green then across the river to the path that follows the railway as far as Wormley, where a new cyclists’ bridge over the railway was nearing completion. This is being put in to accommodate 4-track working when Crossrail 2 arrives.

Leaving the Lea Valley we tackled the climb out of Wormley West End and up to Brickendon before the long descent into Hertford for an excellent lunch at The Six Templars – the pizzas here were twice the size we had seen at other JDW pubs.

We had been lucky with the weather – just a few short periods of light drizzle – and got home before the heavy rain arrived in the evening.

Jon 11/03/2018