Five Miles to Fabulous Rides 

Five Miles to Fabulous was initiated by the CTC as a weekend of rides in June 2007.   Some CTC local groups have incorporated 5MTF rides into their programme, and South Herts is one such group.  The rides are for women who want to cycle, but are put off by the state of the roads and the traffic and the lack of suitable group rides.  The format is an easy ride incorporating a coffee stop, using quieter roads and traffic free-routes.  The ride thus gives an opportunity both to gain confidence in traffic and discover routes that avoid busy roads.

Bring a 
guest entry form if not a CTC member. Experienced riders are also very welcome on these rides, your support and advice is appreciated! Exact route to be determined on the whim of the leader taking into account the coffee morning listings in that week's local news and the preferences of those present. Our motto is 'Style before speed', which you may recognise as the slogan of the De Laune CC in the 1920s.

Most rides are on Saturday mornings and start from Morrisons, St Albans. We meet by the cycle stands, near the pedestrian crossing of Hatfield Road.  You do not need to be a CTC member to try these rides.  Please fill in the Contact Us form if you would like to be added to the list and mention 5MTF.  Thank you.

Chester Fabulous Ladies have a very similar approach to our group. Their leader, Sue, runs an excellent blog which I recommend to you; it has lots of useful advice. 

Chris Boardman explains why riding two abreast actually make sit easier for faster traffic to overtake a group of cyclists in this video.

Latest News 

We take a winter break and usually re-launch our rides on the first Saturday in March.  The rides list you can see is the 2016 programme, and given that 2016 went so well, we'll probably do something similar in 2017!

We are sometimes asked why we run women-only rides - here is an explanation via Isis Cyclists, women-only cycling group in Oxford.

National Map Reading Week started on 17 October 2016, an excuse (if any were needed) to have map reading explained by Steve Backshall on the Ordnance Survey YouTube channel.

We now have a trio of fabulous ride leaders.  Teresa and Angela have just been registered as group ride leaders.  They attended the Cycling UK ride leading workshop in Garston in September and found it very helpful in confirming their abilities and extending their knowledge of group ride leadership.  We have lost no time in putting them in charge of the October 5MTF ride.

Team Fabulous at the St Albans Charity Cycle Ride on 15th May:
Five ladies from the Five Miles to Fabulous group rode 20 miles in the St Albans Charity Cycle ride on Sunday 15 May. They had been practicing longer distances than five miles over the previous few weeks and were confident that they would finish. They stayed together during the ride and waited for each other at the tops of the hills. Some walked up the hills, and that was OK. The weather was lovely - bright, but not too hot, and no wind. The atmosphere was very friendly and supportive, and all want to do the ride again next year!  
Not only did they successfully complete the St Albans Charity Cycle Ride, their fabulous fundraising efforts earned them a silver cup!  The team collected their award at a presentation on Friday 8 July at Westminster Lodge.

The report on  This Girl Can in Herts Week 2016 is now published, it is a great read and can be found on the Sport in Herts website, along with a link to lots of pictures.  Click here to go there.

"Transport cycling can’t properly grow in the UK while the conditions suit only the young, male, fit and fearless."  Cycling UK article by Dr Rachel Aldred on improving conditions for the old, the female and the disabled, groups that are currently under-represented in cycling.

Top three basic cycling tips from Global Cycling Network YouTube channel - being good at riding slowly is the top tip.  Be able to ride one handed and look ahead are the other two.  I would like to add being good at looking behind.

A really good video from Sustrans showing you the M-check.  This is how you look over your bicycle to make sure it is safe and efficient.

A suitable quote while Open Studios is running: “Think of bicycles as rideable art that can just about save the world.” ~ Grant Petersen

Ride Reports 

You can see reports from previous years by clicking on the links at the foot of the page.  5MTF runs between March and November with monthly-ish rides, usually with a summer break in August.  The rides list will be updated with 2017 ride dates in due course.
We do usually manage more than five miles, but we do not rush, we set out for a morning of enjoyment, distance no object!

Saturday 12 November - right as rain

The usual not-very-good weather for our season-closer! We try to avoid 'smiling cyclists' and 'cake' as  illustrations for these posts, as it can get a bit repetitive, but in persistent rain all pictures are taken undercover.  So here we are about to set off, looking cheerful and fabulous.
The leader expected we might get as far as Morrisons's cafe, but the riders were keen to get to Peppermint, so off we went.  A first for us, a repeat of the previous ride, and jolly good thing to do.  Peppermint is very friendly and the cakes are excellent. This could be our signature ride and coffeestop.
The first thing we came to on our onward route was a flood right across the road, but it was shallow, as were the other two we came to.  The leaves are colourful this year, and it was an atmospheric ride through Symondshyde Woods, with the added interest of a stoat strolling swiftly across the road ahead of us, giving us a good glimpse of the black tip on its tail.

Saturday 16 October - revival and innovation

This ride ostensibly marked the Big Bike Revival promotion, but we did not have any new attendees with bikes dragged out of the shed and revived.  However, our ride had a freshness about it, as we now have a trio of leaders and today Teresa and Angela opened their leading account.
A lovely autumn day, with the leaves beginning to turn and the hedgerows studded with the red of hips, haws and holly berries.
Teresa led us swiftly to the Three Wise Monkeys vintage emporium.  We enjoyed perusing lots of lovely old stuff and admiring the portrait of Nelson Mandela that arrived in there this week, to the management's evident pride and delight (it is for sale!).  
We were a little too soon in arriving for the Peppermint cafe however, as it opens at 11, so we stumbled across the courtyard to Osprey and its excellent provender.  We loved the individually wrapped 'parrot' sugar cubes, and the cakes and hot drinks were splendid.

Angela then led us on a loop around Symondshyde Woods, through Sandridge and back to Fleetville via Jersey Lane (pictured), Oaklands and the Alban Way.

Saturday 17 September - Open Studios

Our traditional visual arts ride, and Rona had been studying the Herts Open Studios booklet, map in hand. She was also wearing her most artistic cycling hat. Seven of us set off, heading north.  

A secondary theme on this ride was diving through small gaps in hedges, although we stuck to the track on Jersey Lane. Heavy rain yesterday, so we stayed on tarmac through Sandridge and across Nomansland. Then a sharp turn through a hedge took us onto a farm track, this cut out a hill.
The Fab 4 studio was irresistibly inviting on account of both name and content, but just a little bit too far away, we decided as coffee time approached. So we hightailed it into Southdown and some sports nutrition (hot drinks and banana flapjack) at Jay's.  
Then it was off to find our studio.  Welbeck Rise gives a clue to the terrain, and the Wensley Arts studio is right at the top. Two artists showing watercolours, photographs and prints and   Very enjoyable visit.
Another hedge-dive got us onto Cross Lane, and we wended our way back to St Albans, shedding riders en route.  From Morrisons to the St Albans boundary bollard on Harpenden Road we had covered just over 10 miles.

Saturday 2 July - Hatfield

Continuing our rotation through the compass, eight of us headed east on a straightforward roll along the Alban Way on a sunny/cloudy somewhat fresh and breezy morning.  Our coffee stop was Jenny's on Hatfield Market, a starting point for Saturday Fun Rides.  Those cycle stands might win a prize for modern art, but they are a bit of a faff for actually parking a bike. However, they display those South-Herts-stickered mudguards nicely.  After a quick shufti round the Farmers' Market - and it was quick, the market is tiny compared to days of yore - we rolled homeward with a slight diversion to admire the architectural gems on Wilkins Green Lane.

Saturday 11 June - #BikeWeek #TGCinHerts in the tank tracks of Boudicca

Eleven riders today, ready to celebrate Bike Week and show that This Girl Can. It was a nice day to head north, even if it is 'rolling terrain'.  
We cut out a little bit of hill by using the footpath through by Beech Hyde Farm, and so we came into Wheathampstead down the side of Devil's Dyke, a feature of the old British settlement.
The village had the bunting out to celebrate the Queen's 90th birthday weekend.  We enjoyed sitting in the sun at Loafing (used to be Ushers), getting ready for the return journey.  
It is a good idea to ride slowly, or even walk, up Brewhouse Hill, it lets you enjoy the architectural splendours and passing military vehicles to best effect.
Across Nomansland and back to Sandridge, then return to Morrisons via Jersey Lane and Oaklands. Twelve miles round trip.

Saturday 7 May - untrammelled womenhood goes wild in the woods
Ten of us gathered in the sun, ready for adventure, a longer ride in unfamiliar terrain.  We set off along the Alban Way and came through Highfield Park, admiring the cherry blossom.
A woodland bridleway and a short stretch of road got us to Napsbury, more sumptuous cherry blossom.  Then we were off on tracks through the fields, along the Colne and under the M25.  We emerged at the Handley Page industrial estate.
Two of the party peeled off at Moor Mill, needing to be home early.  The rest of us carried on along the Ver, with a scientific encounter - we met friendly volunteers from the Ver Valley Society who explained about the river quality monitoring they were doing.
When we reached our coffee stop at Tea in the Woods we had covered eight miles, about 80% of them off-road.  We were well ready for calories in the form of large chunks of cake and flapjack and, for one of us, a banana milk shake in a jar.
We followed NCN6 - the Abbey Way - back to St Albans, total distance 14.5 miles.

Saturday 2 April - spring at last
The sunshine was quite a contrast to last month, and we had a large group - eleven of us - out on a ride today.  Several of the regulars had been ill and requested a 'recovery' ride, so we kept it nice and gentle with a meander around Highfield Park and a loop-de-loop down Nightingale Lane, along the A414 and back up Highfield Lane.  That was quite enough recovering and we now needed coffee, so we tootled along to Ayletts.  The cycle stands coped, but only just.  At Ayletts they have special jam for lady cyclists - Mrs Bridges rides a bike in fine style.  We came back via Highfield Park and the Camp Cycle Route.

Saturday 5 March - celebrating International Women's Day
It was snowing when I set off for the rendezvous! 
In view of the cold and the poor forecast, a fairly short ride was in order today.  Since we were welcoming two new riders to the 5MTF experience a traffic free route was also desirable.  So Alban Way it was! 
There is always something new to see along the Alban Way these days, especially from Smallford to Nast Hyde.  The station building at Smallford is now visible and Nast Hyde station is increasingly delightful. 
The 'station clock' suggested we move on for coffee, so we looped around through Wilkins Green.  We boldly tackled Station Road, the roundabout and the Hatfield Road to get to Notcutts.  Riding in a tight group and riding at a good pace we took our place in the traffic stream and had no problems.  Very nice hot drinks and cake in Notcutts café, friendly staff. It was actually a little brighter with glimpses of blue sky as we sped (relatively) westward back to Fleetville.