24 February 2019

24 Feb 2019: Hatfield to Hertford

Closed railway
Was it to be another hot and sunny record breaking February day? Well the seven cyclists at the start in Hatfield were optimistic. The plan was to go to a cafe at Waltham Abbey for elevenses. The route was to be southerly via Potters Bar, Northaw and Crews Hill. Then in a bid to avoid the major roads around Waltham Cross we went through Theobalds Park where it was just a little muddy and on across the fairly new footbridge over the A10. Then heading to the Lea Valley Park we had to cross the railway.  A new footbridge to cross the line has been erected here but it is very steep to get bikes over. However this was not a problem today as the original level crossing is still there and, very strangely, the road barriers were open whilst the railway tracks had barrier tapes put across the lines. Apparently the line had been completely closed for maintenance work.

Then into the park for a little way, past the Olympic canoeing centre and out onto the road for a very short distance before passing the Abbey itself. Just beyond are what must have been the market square and the old High street which are now pedestrianised and have a historical aura.  Here we frequented the aptly named Abbey Cafe.
Opposite the Abbey cafe

Leaving here we retraced our route through the park, over the level crossing and into Waltham Cross. Then we turned a different way climbing up a back lane to Goffs Oak. From here down and up another winding country lane with the lovely name of “Bread and Cheese Lane” and onwards wending our way to Hertford.
puffing up the lane
So whilst Hertford is nicely historical, like Waltham Abbey, our pub of choice was the very modern Wetherspoons called “The Six Templars”. Here we were pleased to meet other members of our cycling group, Jon, Judy, Neil and Steve.

After lunch people dispersed in various directions but some of us went back by a fairly direct route to the start at Hatfield.  Our optimism had been justified, as it had been a beautiful hot and sunny day perfect for cycling at any time of year but especially welcome in February. The overall distance was approximately 40 miles.

route here

17 February 2019

17 Feb 2019: St Albans to Hemel Hempstead

It seems a long time since the last blog was written. Sadly two Sunday rides had to be cancelled in late January and early February as the weather was icy one week and the ground was covered in snow  on 3rd Feb. Then on the 10th Feb Steve and I turned up at the start in Hatfield hoping no-one else would appear as the forecast was wet and cold. Unfortunately Ronny and Peter both did, so we ended up cycling to Hitchin in the ever increasing rain. After excellent coffee and food at the Hitchin Kitchen cafe we made a decision just to cycle home using the shortest route.

Here is Richard's report:
Meeting at our St Albans start (the war memorial at the top of St Peter's Street) on another of the bright sunny mornings we have been enjoying recently, we set off through the town centre, down Holywell Hill, past the King Harry and through the lanes to Bedmond. By the tin church we were joined by Phil S, who it turned out had come up with an unfamiliar (to me) route taking us to Hunton Bridge (thanks Phil). Through Chandler's Cross I took a too early left turn to Croxley Green (must look at the map more). But we were soon back on course through Chorleywood and The Swillet.

Parking at the Madeira café
Coffee was taken at the excellent and obliging Madeira Cafe in Chalfont St Peter. Lunch had been planned in Berkhamsted. We headed north, but it wasn't long before startling grinding noises came from my back hub. I came to a halt. Oh dear - would I be able to get back home? But slowly and accompanied by awful metallic sounds I could just ride. Thanks for waiting chaps.

The now-closed Green Dragon
We passed the green dragon mournfully gazing down the hill from the pub garden (now closed). The future of this historic pub is now uncertain. Keep an eye on ebay for 8 foot tall fibre glass dragons (buyer to collect). The group headed off for lunch ... while I ground my way home.

Instead of going to the planned Berkhamsted lunch stop the rest of the group headed to Hemel Hempstead's JD Wetherspoon pub called "The Full House" as it is a converted old cinema with the bar running across in front of the old screen.  

We covered about 45 miles on the day using the route below.