St Albans to East Common, Harpenden

posted 24 Feb 2014, 10:59 by Carol Brazier   [ updated 24 Feb 2014, 22:41 by South Herts ]
The turnouts had been high over the wettest winter ever recorded; was this a reflection of deteriorating domestic relationships? The pre-ride conversations had been on the usual themes, not suitable for descriptions here, so gave no clues.

The route had been circulated beforehand and had been devised to avoid roads prone to flooding even in normal winters. Seven of us set off on the back route to Sandridge & then along Coleman Green Way. Flashing red and white lights at the junction with the turn-off to Symondshyde turned out to be another of our regular riders awaiting our approach. It seemed tactful not to inquire the reason for this choice of rendez-vous in the dark depths of the country, especially during a full moon, but we are a diverse club, so on we proceeded to cross Nomansland, now notorious for fall-out from the body-parts murder, & into Wheathampstead, reputedly one of England richest villages. Then it was up the hill to Gustard Wood & down to Kimpton and along to Peters Green, where the wafting stench of McMullens beer alerted us of our impending approach to The Bright Star.
Bright Star
The Engineer

 The Bright Star

The Engineer

The subsequent steep descent down Farr's Lane tested our bike-handling skills as  its resemblance to a muddy bridleway was total; riders without full-length rear mudguards were rapidly identified & justifiably ostracised. Crossing the Lower Luton Road near the East Hyde sewage works provided yet another negative aromatic experience, and the subsequent ascent along Couters End Lane into Harpenden challenged  those with skinny road-bike tyres; were conditions like these the cause of the invention of the winter bike? We arrived at The Engineer at 9 o'clock promptly, meeting two other regular riders who had made own way. The pub appeared to heaving with participants in an Eric Pickles-lookalike competition. However, this turned out to be in the mis-named sports bar which was occupied by those  whose only exercise appeared to be raising a pint glass of lager while watching a television showing 22 men running round a field  and performing snot rockets (surely the speciality of cyclists). This left the lounge bar comparatively free for the vigorous intellectual conversations that then ensued. Never was so much said about gear ratios; the world would consequently be a better place.

Steve 24th February 2014