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11 July: Hatfield to Brent Pelham

posted 14 Jul 2010, 06:27 by South Herts   [ updated 24 Nov 2015, 23:51 ]
Neil writes: Big day for me - I finally get to lead the ride that was washed out on 2nd May.  We all met at ASDA Hatfield at 9 o'clockish.  When I got there we welcomed two new arrivals who were waiting for us (Jane and Andy).  The weather was a bit odd as it was hot and muggy; I was expecting it to pour down with rain any minute and dressed accordingly.  BIG mistake.
We got off to a nice and leisurely start heading out to Welwyn and made our way towards Panshanger.  At this point I handed over the leading to Tracey and she led us through Panshanger and into a small wood that skirts the airfield there.  In this wood we found several dog walkers and lots of very young puppies.  One poor pup had to keep up with his owner who was on a bike (bless 'em).
From the airfield we took a left and raced down the hill and then up the next hill to join the road that took us to Bramfield.  This part of the ride was very scenic and with lovely clear skies the views were very impressive.  Just a little after Bramfield I took a wrong turn and led us very nearly into Bengeo.  Thankfully help was at hand and we found our way up a fairly busy road to Sacombe Park.  Once through the park we made our way to Dane End and the golf course.
The two new riders were doing very well and had no problem with riding in our group.
After elevenses we made our way to Buntingford via Little Munden, Great Munden and Nasty.  At Buntingford we went up the high street and took a right that led to a small quiet road that took us all the way to Brent Pelham.
The Black Horse is a lovely little pub with a nice garden up to the side of it.  There we met a group of riders from Southgate (one of them seemed a little worse for the beer).
It was at this stop that I displayed my astounding lack of map folding skills and what I thought were roads turned out to be creases!  Then I found that I had the wrong map; I had everywhere else apart from Stevenage.  But with help from Peter we planned out a route to Old Stevenage.
As we were cycling this route it became clear that I had been on these roads before and near enough knew my way.  It was also on this leg of the day that we encountered swarms of suicidal thrips (thunderbugs or stormflies), they were blooming well everywhere and we got covered in them.  I mean it: head to foot, they were horrible, then we went through a swarm of something else.  These were bigger with big wings and I don't know what they were.
On the way to Stevenage we met Stuart who joined us for the ride to the Standing Order for a cuppa.
This seemed a quick little part of the day and we were very pleased to get to the pub as the sun had decided to bake us.
That’s when the fatigue set in and at around 4pm everything got very hot and dry, people started flagging and I for one felt for them as I ran out of water.
Stuart led us through Stevenage (this was interesting as he knew all the cycle paths and made sense of it all, the last time I was there I got hopelessly lost).
We made our way back to Hatfield via Knebworth and skirted Tewin.
All in all a fantastic day and I thank everybody for coming out, their patience and their help.