20 May 2018

20 May 2018: Hatfield to Aspenden

We had perfect conditions for our ride on Sunday - nicely sunny and warm, but not too hot. We didn't have many takers this time as several regular riders were away, but our select group set off from Hatfield to warm up on Digswell Hill.

Passing through Old Welwyn we paused to admire (and discuss the history of) the fulling mill. We were not certain what fulling was and why the energy of a whole mill is needed to do it. Bafflement wore off climbing up the very pleasant track through Danesbury. Passing the Folletts' residence we descended to Stevenage fringes and were soon in the network of cycle paths. No one could call this an attractive route, but at least it's flat. Old Stevenage isn't too bad and we were soon out through Wymondley and into Baldock.

The cafe here, where we paused for a snack, was criticised on our previous visit for serving soggy toast. Something must have been said - it was perfectly crisp this time. We needed to head east from Baldock and took the track to Wallington and then through the rolling open countryside to Sandon. By the time we got to Buntingford time was getting on. We decided to pause for a lunch stop at the very pleasant Fox at Aspenden instead of continuing to the planned venue. And very nice it turned out to be - not to busy either.

From there return trip via Dane End was fairly straight forward, though we split into groups depending on home destinations.

Richard 20/05/2018

16 May 2018

12 May 2018: Hatfield-Hertford Fun Ride

Another perfect Spring day for cycling and we welcomed new rider Lorna from Harpenden on her first ride with us.  David, also from Harpenden had ridden to the start, as had Jon and Judy from Barnet. Neil was the only native Hatfield cyclist - where were all the others hiding?
By Mill Green Golf Course

It's always fun to guess which route Neil would take and today's was not exactly direct, but turned out to be a good choice as, once we had passed through WGC we were into some very scenic countryside around Tewin. This is very 'horsey' country and we took extreme care passing several riders on Tewin Hill, expecially as a recumbent was with us. Fortunately all of the horses were well behaved and calmed by Judy's soothing tones.
Archer's Green Lane, Tewin

We emerged on Winding Shott above Bramfield, with superb views from this elevated position and a lovely decent all the way into Hertford, where we diverted through a park by the River Beane and onto Hartham Common to avoid the long queues of traffic in the town centre.

Rose Cafe was as welcoming and popular as ever, and we soon found an outside table for a welcome break.  Then it was a more direct route back to Hatfield in time for lunch after a 22.6 mile circuit.

Jon 12/05/2018

6 May 2018

6 May 2018: Hertford to Hazel End

British bank holidays are supposed to be cold and wet, but the forecast for this one was dry and very hot, which resulted in nine eager cyclists at the start in Hertford. First stop was to be in Harlow Old Town, so we left Hertford using a very quiet lane that leads quickly into the countryside and on via Goose Green to Hoddesdon. There, after a little bit of dual carriageway, it was into the back streets towards Rye house followed by the sewage farm. Actually this is far better than it sounds as it becomes quite rural leading through more countryside to Roydon. Further on we hit the edge of Harlow with its excellent cycle paths. The first bit was alongside a main road, but we were soon off this and onto a quiet path through trees, eventually leading to the eastern end of Harlow, which is the Old Town. Here we had our first stop at the Cross Keys cafe.

Duly breakfasted we carried on through the Old Town, past its attractive old buildings before wending our way towards Hazel End, a tiny hamlet north west of Bishops Stortford. In a way this is the problem, because to get there one has to circumnavigate or avoid Bishops Stortford and Stanstead airport both of which are large and in the way. Still, we managed to wend a quiet rural route and apart from dealing with a puncture and a rather awkward roundabout near the airport we arrived at the Three Horseshoes pub at Hazel End in good time.

Lucky that we had done so, as the landlord said that he would only be able to serve us if we got our orders in quickly before some booked parties arrived.
Still, the food was excellent and we sat outside in the sun. After that we set off westwards passing Farnham and heading towards the Hadhams. That is apart from two of the group who managed to escape and lose themselves by actually going into Farnham instead of bypassing it. However, as we always make sure no one gets left behind we mounted various searches whilst others spent a pleasant time watching Steve H. mend a puncture. Eventually all were gathered together and we set off again heading south towards Widford and then to Ware for an afternoon cuppa in a cafe. From there it was just a short ride back to the start in Hertford, apart from those who needed to cycle further to get back to their homes.

peteR 06/05/2018