21 Sept 2011: Evening Ride To Ayot St Lawrence

posted 23 Sep 2011, 09:51 by South Herts
The sinking sun of the autumn equinox saw 16 riders assembled at the War Memorial for the literary-flavoured ride to the former home village of George Bernard Shaw, Ayot St Lawrence.  Would the recognition of a trip to the residence of the celebrated wit & playwright raise the tone of the conversation, which had lately sunk to the level of George Osborne at the GQ awards?  Initial indications were not promising; there was even a rider from the banking industry who had misheard the Chancellor’s speech & taken offence.

There was safety in numbers, but with so many riders present, would motorists interpret the peloton as a critical-mass ride? We set off in the twilight down Harpenden Road, past the symbols of progress in the form of mock-Georgian pillars in the former ground of the rugby club to Sandridgebury Lane, then towards Coleman Green with a left turn to the crossroads at Nomansland Common, location of exhibit B of the “body-parts” murder. Then onward to Harpenden, up Station Road turning left at the railway bridge, past the BUPA hospital & following the road until the crossing at the Lower Luton Road near the sewage farm.  The aroma indicated that the local curry houses had been doing good business the previous week. We ascended the hill the other side, the riders now strung out in a quivering ribbon of red & white lights (mainly from LIDL at a bargain £10 a set).

We turned off Kimpton Bottom towards Peters Green & thence to Ansells End towards Kimpton’s beginning. The final ascent (10% incline) towards Gustard Wood saw one rider temporarily become a member of the Ramblers, and then it was just a level run to The Brocket Arms for some well-deserved beers. 
Brocket Arms
George Bernard Shaw

As to whether Shavian witticisms were ingrained to the pub timbers & had permeated the talk of the riders, there was no evidence.