17 November 2019

17 Nov 2019: Hatfield to Shephall

After too many dismal autumn rides – too much rain and drizzle or just continuous dark clouds, the forecast for Sunday was looking better. But still there were only six of us at the start in Hatfield. So away we went heading for Hertford by a southern route. And the forecast was right, as despite it being quite cold the sun was shining and the countryside looked beautiful in its autumn colours. We went by a relatively flat route via Welham Green, Tylers Causeway, Brickendon and then a lovely long downhill and into Hertford by West Street. This is a nice way to approach the town as it was one of the original old roads in and is lined with many delightful old buildings. In the town we headed for “Rose’s” cafe probably the best cafe for cyclists in the area. Excellent food, extremely prompt service and very reasonable prices. Once there we found fellow cyclists Gary and Rona who had somehow missed the start and Jon and Judy who had cycled there directly from Barnet.

When we left Jon, Judy and Eamon weren’t able to go on, so now there were seven of us heading for Stevenage. Once away from Hertford the route used quiet lanes through  countryside looking at its best as the sun was still shining. Through Bramfield, Watton, and then Aston, before the excellent Stevenage cycle lanes led us to Shephall. This is now just part of the modern housing in Stevenage, but amazingly there is still a little, pretty enclave of village green and a few old houses, which long predates the modern town. Here we lunched in The Old Red Lion, which was once the village local but is now a modernized chain pub. Still the food was fine.

After this it was time to head home. Out of Stevenage via a cycle path, which was once probably a country lane, then to Old Knebworth and across country to Codicote. A while after this we split up with some going to St. Albans via Wheathampstead and others via Ayot St. Peter and Welwyn to the start in Hatfield. The total distance back to here was approx 40 miles. It had been an excellent cycling day, cold but sunny, which was psychologically lifting after the dismal weather we had been having.

peteR 17/11/2019

10 November 2019

10 Nov 2019: St Albans to Ivinghoe

Little Gaddesden
A bright forecast saw nine people at the start in St Albans. Ronny led us north up the old A5, then most of the group turned left into Hogg End Lane as Jon and Judy carried on north on a flatter route via Redbourn.
I got a puncture by the Old Jerome's turning, so Steve mended it while the rest of the group carried on, as it was a cold day. It has been a great Autumn for leaf peeping as the photos show.

We tried to take a shorter route so went via Water End and Little Gaddesden. There was a huge flood on the road towards Ivinghoe Beacon so we walked along a verge to avoid it.

Ronny texted to say the cafe in Ivinghoe was closed so they had gone on to Pitstone Wharf cafe instead.

Jon and Judy had gone on to Berkhamsted for their coffee stop, and Gary and Nick had turned back at Hudnall, so there were only five of us at the elevenses stop

Blue skies!
After a long wait for the food, we headed back towards Berkhamsted along the valley route back, passing more attractive scenery. Ronny assured me his photo hasn't been edited it really was an azure sky!

Three of us stopped off for a quick snack in Berkhamsted, as we hadn't ordered much food at the cafe.

A good turnout for a shorter ride and we still covered just under 40 miles.

Map below

3 November 2019

03 Nov 2019: Hatfield to Stevenage

It was a sunny morning when we arrived to meet Gareth and Peter outside Asda for the 9.15 start. Richard arrived in his car and croaked that he would not be able to lead the ride as he was unwell. After a quick map-check we set off towards the planned Hitchin coffee stop. I forgot to switch my GPS tracker on so stopped in Hatfield Garden Village to remedy this. As I stopped Gareth realised he had a puncture, so we waited until he replaced the tube before setting off again. He threw away the old inner tube which was then retrieved as Steve warned him that he might have another puncture and need to repair that one as he didn't have another spare tube. As we'd lost some time we decided to divert to Old Stevenage for our 11's stop.
Four of Stevenage's Six Hills
Puncture no 2
A northerly route west of the A1 took us into Old Stevenage via the cycle path that starts at the Six Hills Roman barrows; not just landscape gardening but real roman relics

We used Subway which provided a bacon roll and coffee for the grand total of £2. Fantastic value. Unfortunately when we came to leave, Gareth discovered he had another puncture. After fixing this one using Steve's spare tube we decided it was too late to get to Lilley so just headed back to Hatfield and the Harpsfield Hall for lunch. As we left Stevenage on the cycle paths towards Bragbury End we encountered half-marathon runners (and walkers), some of whom seemed very reluctant to move out of the way even when we politely rang our bells. 
After Datchworth it started raining so we took the most direct route back via Tewin and WGC before having a chat and some food in the rather busy pub. We only did 30 miles but better than nothing on a damp dull day.

I'll schedule another ride to Lilley in the new year.