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. 
 Start*  Leader  Time Ride Notes
Saturday 8 March 2014
 Morrisons, St Albans  
International Women's Day ride with coffee stop
Saturday 5 April
 Harpenden Railway Station Rona  9:30 Redbourn probably
Saturday 17 May
 Morrisons, St Albans 
Rona  9:30 Seeking asylum in the west.  Or else flying east.
Saturday 14 June
 Morrisons, St Albans
Rona  9:30 Bike week ride
July    Rona   9:30 Summer ride
Rona  9:30 Open Studios ride - see
 9:30 The scrumping ride - bring a bag and grab some apples.
November    Rona  9:30

Last 5MTF of the year - GREEN RING RETURN?

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.  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. 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.  That's Chester Fabulous Ladies pictured below.

 8 March 2014: Highfield Park

Four of us got the 2014 ride programme off to a good start with a very gentle amble on a mild spring day.

Along the Alban Way, we stopped for a fettle at the Hill End Garden of Remembrance, a poignant stop.

The history board next to the arch tells you the history of Hill End Hospital.  You can find out more about Highfield Park - including a map and the history of the hospitals - on the Highfield Park Trust website. We carried on along the Alban Way to Hill End Lane, then headed down Hixberry Lane and into the Park.  Through to Highfield Lane, around the corner and into Winchfield Wood.  We then linked through to Herons Way bridleway, and onto Napsbury Lane, and round to Ayletts for our coffee stop.

As no-one needed to return to Morrisons, the rest of the ride was into St Albans City Centre along the London Road cycle route.

5 April 2014: Nickey Line

"Screw loose and a bit wonky" I overheard as we gathered at the cycle racks at Harpenden station.  Not an accurate depiction of the leader, as I thought at first, but the outline of a mechanical incident resolved by the group who cycled out from St Albans to the start of the ride.

We had hoped the new ramp at Ambrose Lane might give us easy access to the Nickey Line, but the work is not quite complete.  You can't make out the lettering on the works sign, but it is rather charming "Cyclists please dismount  Pedestrians please take care through the works".  Nobody tried to ride down the steps...

We enjoyed the ride down to Redbourn, although the tarred surface is only through Harpenden, it gets more rustic once you are out of town.  All the better to enjoy the abounding nature - the violets were very pretty.

The Hub was obscured by a cloud of blue as we approached, and once we had locked our bikes it became apparent that the Ashwell CC had got in ahead of us.  Being a cyclists' refuge as well as an excellent café, the Hub staff just asked us to take a seat and in no time at all the blue jerseys at the counter had dispersed. and while their coffees were dispensed, our order was taken.  Quite how they managed to fit the seven of us, the hordes of lycra lads and several locals without bicycles but with prams into such a tiny space, remaining calm and welcoming throughout ... an impressive achievement to match the excellence of the cake and coffee.

The next stage of our ride took us along the main road - on the footpath, not yet widened to shared use standard, but we did not have to share it today, so no problem for us.  A discovery - the bakery at Redbournbury Mill is open on Saturdays.  We stopped, we shopped. 

Getting across the ford was considerably more challenging that getting down the Nickey Line steps, but teamwork made hauling the bikes and ourselves up the bank a slick operation.  The climb of Beesonend Lane also proved less challenging than you might think.  We rode back to St Albans using the bridleway through Childwickbury.  Distance covered actually over ten miles, and fourteen or more for those who rode to the start.

Latest News

Tour de France news - Stage 3 knitting celebration!
Anglesey in Stitches is currently yarn storming Anglesey Abbey in celebration of cycling around Cambridgeshire. The aims being to:
- celebrate the National Trust’s support of sustainable transport and the cycle path from Anglesey Abbey to Wicken Fen,
- support Lode and other local parish councils in their efforts to secure a new cycle path from Lode to Quy
- and look forward with excitement to the Tour de France passing through Cambridge
The BBC reports on more yarn bombing being planned in the area.

The Women's Tour 'of Britain' takes place 7 - 11 May.  Stage 4 on Saturday 10 May is from Cheshunt to Welwyn Garden City.  It now has its own website with info to date including the route cards and team profiles. 
Stage 1, May 7: Oundle to Northampton
Stage 2, May 8: Hinckley to Bedford
Stage 3, May 9: Felixstowe to Clacton
Stage 4, May 10:
Cheshunt to Welwyn Garden City
Stage 5, May 11: Harwich to Bury St Edmunds

You might think Cheshunt to Welwyn Garden City is not very far, but if you call in at Baldock en route then it is 54.6 miles!  Start 11:30, expected to finish 13:50.

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

Green Ring 
Griffiths Way / Holywell Hill section was out for public comment during February.  Details on SADC website
This bit is being designed by Herts County Council.
St Albans City & District Council consulted on three sections of the proposed Green Ring in December. Find the details, including a feasibility report on the whole ring, at
The three sections are (1) tree narrowing Alban Way at back of Morrisons (2) linking Harpenden Road and Sandridge Road via Bernards Heath and (3) Everlasting Lane to City Hospital link.
See our 16 November ride report!