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. 
Date 2015 
 Start*  Leader  Time Ride Notes

7 March

Morrisons, St Albans 
First of 2015 - give your bike a check before you come out!
25 April

Morrisons, St Albans
 0930h Bluebells
10 May

Harpenden Railway Station
 1400h Global Women's Cycle Day
13 June

 Morrisons, St Albans
 0930h Bike Week

5 July

18 July


Morrisons, St Albans





Fete du Velo

somewhere nice!


  usually an Open Studios ride - see

  usually apple-related

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 start at Morrisons Supermarket, Hatfield Road, St Albans.  Morrisons, St Albans We meet by the cycle stands, near the pedestrian crossing of Hatfield Road.  For rides from Harpenden, meet by the cycle stands just past the station building Harpenden Railway Station. 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 Sue's blog; it has lots of useful advice. 

Ride Reports

Saturday 7 March - Make It Happen - celebrating International Women's Day

The spring was certainly happening on our first ride of our 2015 programme.  Two regular Fabs and two new recruits joined the leader on a lovely sunny morning.  We headed west along the Alban Way, then up to the Watford Road using the NCN6 route.  It was not quite time to stop for coffee so we did a loop along Ragged Hall Lane to Potters Crouch then back in to Chiswell Green Lane.  The snowdrops looked great.

This was a try-something-new ride, the new being a café only just opened.  Leader did not know exactly where the café was, and hence had a bit of a route malfunction involving unnecessary roundabout revolutions - or roadcraft practice as she terms it.  The backmarker had more sense and asked a passing local where the new café was.

Gentle reader, the café is called Bhaker House and is at grid reference TL 133 044, or 339 Watford Road if you prefer.  We enjoyed good coffee and cake, and were made to feel very welcome.  The café is run by two sisters,  so a good choice for an IWD ride.

We varied our return route by using the track through Greenwood Park.  Our total mileage was in fact ten miles today.  Anyone who suggests that five or even ten miles is not a very long ride..... it's further than nothing.

Saturday 25 April - Bluebells at the start of summer

Five of us headed off in search of bluebells, taking advantage of a preceding dry spell to get onto tracks. 

Wet roads to start with, but drying in the breeze and occasional sunshine.  We went out by Sandridgebury Lane, then took the bridleway that goes across Heartwood Forest to Ayres End Lane.  Plenty of bluebells here, visible from the track.  And, it must be summer already, because we saw swallows!  A bit further on, a kestrel hovered. The reason these write-ups tend to turn from ‘ride report’ into nature notes is that going slowly, as we do, we can easily catch sight of flora and fauna, and stop to admire or investigate.  Across East Common and then down Cross Lane into Southdown for coffee at Jay’s.

Our return route was straightforwardly on-road to start with, back out Grove Road and then Pipers Lane and up Ayres End Lane, then down to Nomansland, gorse in flower.  We then headed onto Nomansland itself (cycling on paths is permitted) to join the recently enhanced track parallel to the B Road to get to Sandridge.  We chose to return to the start point via Jersey Lane (pictured), Oaklands and the Alban Way.  The whole loop was just shy of fourteen miles.

Sunday 10 May - Going Global via Harpenden

Not the usual 5MTF - a Sunday afternoon ride, although a Harpenden start is not a first.  Having a lady actually from Harpenden coming on the ride was though!  We rolled off in the sunshine and were soon admiring the Ambrose Lane ramp access to the Nickey Line.  Having a local with us brought local advice to divert and admire the bluebells in Knott Wood.  Stunning.

On to Redbourn and into the Hub, café and cyclists' refuge.  The ride today was celebrating and honouring quite a few things.  Sunday 10 May is Global Woman's Cycle Day: Ride with us as we Honor the Past, Celebrate the Present, Empower the Future of Women in Cycling. 5MTF in a nutshell.  Rona shows the logos, at the same time wearing a pink hat (Giro d' Italia) featuring Plowman Craven (former cycling team associated with the Hub, sponsored by Harpenden specialist survey firm). 

We completed our loop via Redbournbury Mill, the Ver meadows and Beesonend.  The St Albans contingent came through Childwickbury to Batchwood, admiring the rhodedendrons on the way past.

Latest News

Beryl Burton radio play to be broadcast again. On Wednesday 20 May at 1415h.  More about it on the BBC Radio 4 website.  Recommended - the play and the subject are top notch.

Halfords are hosting women’s bike workshops on Wednesday 20 May across every Halfords Store – UK wide.  The workshop at Griffiths Way is from 1830h to 2000h.  Book (any store) via

The Women's Tour stage race will be spending two days in Hertfordshire.  Stage 4 finishes in Stevenage on Saturday 20 June.  Stage 5 is from Marlow to Hemel Hempstead on Sunday 21 June.  The stage towns will have day-long festivals, recommended as a good day out.

5 July - Fete du Velo - round 3 of the Tour of Hertfordshire Series.  Circuit racing and other cycling fun, South Herts CTC had a stall at the 2014 event and plans to be there again this year.

Billie Fleming Tribute Rides

Women paying tribute to Billie Fleming - by cycling every day of 2015.  Details at  Lots of the rides are based around Hertfordshire, as Billie lived in Mill Hill.  The lengths of the tribute rides vary, often there are several shorter segments. 

Super article in Cycling Weekly, tells you more about Billie Fleming: "In 1938, then named Billie Dovey, she rode a staggering 29,603.7 miles across the United Kingdom on a mission to promote the health benefits of cycling. She rode every single day of the year in a wide variety of weather conditions to spread the message. Her mammoth tour included many evening engagements that required her to give a talk at the end of a long day’s pedalling. Fleming’s ride attracted a huge amount of interest and press attention as the year progressed." Recommended reading.

Good to read of a group similar to ours getting going in Essex, a CTC partnership project is going some way to address cycling's gender imbalance: the WoMEn TIME initiative aims to help women who don’t ride much take up cycling by making it as easy as possible - and removing many of the barriers that some females have when it comes to getting out on a bike.

Hi-viz rucksack / pannier / basket covers

St Albans Community Safety Partnership has produced hi-viz rucksack / pannier covers and reflective ankle bands for the dark evenings.  Look out for them being distributed at community events.  There is a limit of two per family.  You can also put in an individual request to the Community Safety team and then collect from the Council Offices.
telephone: 01727 819305

Green Ring -  We contacted HCC with some feedback after our 15 November ride, they gave a courteous response and updated us that there should be some construction work underway after Christmas.  And indeed, construction is underway, much done but still some way to go to completion. 

Green ring map

St Albans District Council has a web page devoted to the Green Ring, it includes the feasibility report for the ring as a wholeJust announced for the Alban Way - funding for the green space management plan. 

Needlework news - spotted at L'Eroica Britannia festival in Bakewell in June:

Bikes and Bloomers is a project bringing history to life by interweaving archival data with new Victorian cycling garments made from 1890s British patents in collaboration with local craftspeople - the website is fascinating.  Lovely film of the bloomer making workshop and subsequent bloomer ride based on Look Mum No Hands cycle café in London.

20s Plenty for St Albans - this campaign has a petition you might like to sign if you support 20mph for residential areas.