28 September 2019

28 Sep 2019: St Albans to Chipperfield

Chipperfield Saturday Fun Ride.

As five of us gathered for a ride up to Chipperfield the 'Five Miles Further' group were meeting for a trip out to St Paul’s Walden, this is fantastic progression for them and long may it continue.

We were a select company of riders I had seen for a while now and our ride took in Verulamium Park, Potters Crouch, Bedmond, then down the lanes to Nash Mills. We cycled up Rucklers Lane which is a lovely climb full of overhanging trees and some great views. As we passed Phasels Wood Scout Camp we came across several groups of young un’s doing their Queen's Scout or Duke of something or other award.
Phasels Wood
We finished our climb at the top of the ridge and popped into the garden centre there for tea/cakes, curry and toasties (not all at once). This is a nice garden centre and never seems to be in too much of a hurry.

After break we retraced our tracks a little, then headed down Barnes Lane for a change making our way over to Kings Langley, then we shot down an 8% hill only to climb up the other side (Tom’s Lane). This gets you huffing and puffing and is quite a challenge, but we all made it as one group, which I have to say seldom happens. Got the pace just right 😊. After visiting Potters Crouch again, we took to Ragged Hall Lane and navigated our way back on to the Alban Way to complete a ride of 23 miles.

Windy at times with a few spots of rain, but a nice morning’s ride.

Neil 28/09/2019

8 September 2019

08 Sept 2019: Hatfield to Sawbridgeworth

8 of us met at ASDA on Sunday for a trip into the Essex countryside. We welcomed a Saturday rider to the group and her husband. We set off on a slightly familiar route going to Cucumber Lane via Welham Green and Wild Hill. We don’t traverse the length of Cucumber Lane very often and once at the end we took ourselves off-road and followed the bridle path that leads to The Coach and Horses at Newgate Street. Whilst getting there we were treated to a great view over the trees and woodland in the area. It's quite a view.

After slogging up Darnicle Hill we zipped into Goff’s Oak looking for Halstead Hill which we proceeded to fly down, noting all the new-build housing on the lane. When we emerged near Cheshunt  we headed for the bike path that takes us over the A10.

The café is a nice affordable affair in the square in Waltham Abbey.

Outside Abbey Café

Afterwards two of our number left to go home and the rest of us continued. We took the crooked mile out of Waltham Abbey and made our way into the Lee Valley Park and followed the off-road track, then re-joined the road to get to Lower Nazeing and a wait at the longest traffic lights ever. From Nazeing we took a lovely quiet winding road up to Broadley Common then we joined a familiar route to Harlow Common and Essex beyond. In Essex I found a great network of small country lanes that really suited the peacefulness of the ride until after 20 miles we arrived at the Gate pub in Sawbridgeworth.

After filling ourselves up with sandwiches,  we headed for Hertford. The route I chose was very uncomplicated (Allen’s Green, Green Tye, Much Hadham, Baker’s End, Babbs Green and Ware were all visited) on our journey to Hertford, all the way facing a head wind. We chose to stop at the Wetherspoon pub only to find they didn’t do cake. So I won’t be making a Wetherspoon last stop again.
Getting back to Hatfield was a straightforward affair and after 59 miles we finished the days ride.

And it was very pleasant.

Neil 08/09/2019

1 September 2019

01 Sept 2019: Wheathampstead to Streatley

Eleven of us were present at Wheathampstead car-park at 9:30, a fitting tribute to England’s recent cricketing success, although none of us could claim comparable ability to Ben Stokes’ prowess, especially the drinking & fighting in night-clubs. We welcomed two new riders, Emma & Jonathan, both Audax veterans and new to the area, who were forewarned about our usual modest average speed. To impress them with the local cultural heritage, the route passed through Ayot St Lawrance & Bernard Shaw’s house before taking the track down to Kimpton Bottom and St Paul’s Walden, the birthplace of Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon, who became the Queen Mother. We then passed through Preston, which claims the country’s first community-owned pub, before heading north-west to Letchworth, entering the first Garden City via a cycle path to reach the golf-club cafe which has a semi-circular window with a vista of green serenity. We were impressed with the welcome from the manager & the presentation of the food which came fairly quickly. From here we passed through the city centre before heading south-west to Ickleford to pick up the ancient Icknield Way (the “oldest road in Britain”), which is now a bridleway, but due to the lack of rain was completely dry.

Exiting the Icknield way
Fortunately it was downhill for the mile that we cycled. Joining the road to Pirton, we skirted Barton & continued to Sharpenhoe before making the challenging ascent up Sharpenhoe Clappers to the Chequers pub at Streatley where the village has a cute sign.

Unusually for a Sunday, it was very quiet but this made it easier for us to find a large table. The afternoon took us down & up to Lilley before following the familiar route to Whitwell, stopping at Emily’s for afternoon tea and the up the hill to Kimpton & back to Wheathampstead. A shorter than usual ride for early September meant an early finish.
leaving Streatley
Steve B