28 July 2018

28 July 2018: Shenley Fun Ride

A really nice, bright, but windy morning greeted the fun riders as we met at Morrisons in Fleetville and first things first we welcomed two new riders. Then we paid some loving attention to a bike as it had a rather flat front tyre.

Seven of us attended this ride and we set off down the Alban Way. I chose to go through the retail park and head up Wilshire Avenue, navigating Watling Street to head towards Watford Road. Here we did some jiggery pokery as we had to get past some gates and onto the path that skirts Greenwood Park and leads to Tippendell lane. This is a pleasant relaxing route and as we made our way over a bridge we bumped into a local rider (Tom Spavin I think) and had a quick chat.

We soon pootled through Park Street and on the outskirts of Bricket Wood we took Drop Lane, which follows a river over to Colney street and for the busier part of the ride. We headed over to Harper Lane and the first of our encounters with traffic lights (3 way no less). Going up Black Lion Hill is always a sort of challenge, which everyone rose to. It was a quick ride around the ex-hospital estate and we reached the tea stop.

After tea we made mincemeat of Rectory Lane; this a nice winding/undulating affair of a road that connects to the B556 and once there we set into the quickest part of the ride clocking a mind boggling 36 mph for at least a second. We zoomed into London Colney only to be stopped by traffic lights (4 way this time).

Tea Rooms
A quick trip over the North Orbital and we were going along Nightingale Lane to head back to the start.

A lovely sunny, if windy morning’s ride.

Neil 28/07/2018

22 July 2018

22 July 2018: Hatfield to Great Hormead

Another hot, dry Sunday, but slightly less of a scorcher than some recent ones, so maybe this is what encouraged more people out for today's ride. First stop was to be Much Hadham.

We took a familiar route through Hatfield and Welwyn to get to the B1000 and so through the lanes to Bramfield and then down and up the Beane valley to Stoney Hills and Sacombe Park. Crossing the A10 we had a pleasing long descent to Barwick Ford down Gore Lane (where gruesome body parts were discovered 9 years ago after the notorious Jigsaw Murder case). Ronny was the only person foolhardy enough to ride through the river with its green mossy stones. But there was no splash.
Gt Hormead

We were soon into the golf club at Much Hadham for a coffee and a snack. Some riders turned for home at this point, but the rest of us headed up the valley through the parched countryside through Stocking Pelham and Clavering. Ripe blackberries could be seen in the hedgerows and some trees were shedding leaves - what's going on? Carol pointed out the Jamie Oliver residence as we sailed past.

Arriving at the planned lunch stop at Lower Langley Green we found the pub kitchens were out of action, but we did meet Adrian. So plan B - lunch at The Three Tuns, Great Hormead a few miles down the road. The pub is a pleasant stop with reasonable food and a nice garden. We headed back for home taking in a refreshing drinks stop in Tewin on the way.

  Richard 22/07/2018

15 July 2018

15 Jul 2018: St Albans to Cheddington

Fruit crumble
Another blazing hot day saw only four people turn up at the start in St Albans for the planned ride to Woburn. We took the most direct route up Hog End lane and through Piccotts End before climbing up to Ivinghoe Beacon then descending through Pitstone to reach Jackie's cafe shortly before 11am. Steve and I enjoyed a pudding for 11's which was lots of fruit with a small amount of crumble topping at a bargain £1.80 for a large bowl.

Neil and Phil were heading home, so Steve and I thought we would join them and miss the heat of the afternoon. We got back to St Albans by lunchtime allowing me to settle down to watch the Wimbledon Men's final.

Later that day I heard Adrian had gone to Woburn to meet us - Sorry Adrian!

My gps track seems to have inflated the mileage somewhat as I think we only did about 43 miles rather than the apparent 50 miles recorded.

14 July 2018

14 July 2018: Hatfield to Whitwell

It wasn’t until Saturday morning that I discovered our lack of presence for this ride on the Letsride site (something of which I am addressing this week).

So today’s ride had a full complement of Cycling UK members with only one guest. Francesca had emailed me in the week asking if our rides were suitable for an one year old child, I suggested that she came along to one of our rides and make up her own mind.

Along with Francesca and five other Cycling UK members, we had a lovely meandering ride that took in both Ayot St Lawrence and Ayot St Peter. We viewed the delights of Shaw’s Corner and for most of the ride we were dappled in shade. In Whitwell we stopped at Emily’s cafĂ© for some well-earned refreshments.

Emily's Cafe in Whitwell

On our way back we were greeted with the sight of an old red London double decker bus, all done up for a wedding. We put 23 miles all in all. Francesca enjoyed herself but agreed a small child probably wouldn’t have liked it so much.

It was a really nice ride out.

Neil 14/07/2018

8 July 2018

8 July 2018: Panshanger to Aspenden

The forecast was for hot weather, so I had a plan B just in case it got too much. Three of us met at the start for a trip to Much Hadham. Our route was a familiar mix of going via Bramfield, along Gobions lane and then up to Stony Hills.
The land looked dry and ready to burn; it also seemed very dusty. We went through Sacombe Park and were privileged to see a couple of hares running around in the fields - a rare sight indeed!

Barwick Ford
We took a quick hop over the A10 and visited Barwick ford. This is a place we generally cross without thinking about it but today, well, it was just lovely watching the water flow over the rocks and listening to the relaxing sound of the ford. We were made to move on by some unscrupulous beings that wanted to cross the ford. We made a hot trio as we took our first break at the golf club. It was here that plan B was decided upon, Great Hormead was on the way and with the day getting hotter we’d see how we felt when we arrived there.

This part of the borders is an undulating affair, with pleasant dips and rises as we passed the Pelhams, through Little Hormead and on to its larger sister village. We stopped outside the 3 Tuns to make our final decision and we agreed upon making lunch at Aspenden as planned.

After a great bite to eat in the shade of the garden we headed back to where we came from, stopping at Rose’s in Hertford for a drink and to ponder the future of this brave establishment. We then went our separate ways, with Peter and I going down the whole of the Cole Green Way for a lovely shady trip home.

A nice relaxing day’s ride.

Neil 08/07/2018

1 July 2018

1 July 2018: St Albans to Aldbury

Yet another scorching hot day forecast, and it was already hot at the start in St Albans where six of us headed off towards Amersham, our first stop.  Because Amersham is quite a way we took a straightforward route westwards via Nash Mills, up Rucklers Lane and on through Flaunden followed by the inevitable steep climb up to the main road (with cycle path) that leads to Amersham.  There are a number of cafes in the town and many of them seemed to have cyclists sitting outside, probably looking, as we were, for a little respite from cycling in the heat.  So we refreshed ourselves at “Masterchef”, our chosen cafe and debated where to go next.

Time for a snooze
The original plan had been to go to Lacey Green some way further west and involving quite a bit of climbing. However it was decided to abandon this and go somewhere which would be shorter and easier overall. In the event we headed north through Chesham, and then a long gentle climb to Wigginton (near Tring). It was on this stretch that Ronnie had to mend a puncture and, as he was very proficient doing this, a couple of us decided that we might as well take the opportunity to have a gentle snooze lying on the grass at the roadside. Then it was an easy downhill to Aldbury where there is an excellent pub; “The Valiant Trooper”.  Having lunch there in the garden underneath a tree was almost idyllic.

Then, as it was still extremely hot, we decided to take the easiest route back by taking the flat route down the valley through Berkhamsted and Hemel Hempstead to Nash Mills again. From there it is a relatively easy climb up to the main road leading back to St Albans. So we ended up having our afternoon tea stop back in St Albans at the Waterend Barn. Although in the circumstances we actually dispensed with tea and had large soft drinks instead.