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04 July: Picnic ride to Marlow

posted 12 Jul 2010, 02:38 by South Herts   [ updated 24 Nov 2015, 23:51 ]
Carol writes: Holiday season had started so there were only five people at the St Albans start for Steve and Carol’s annual ride to Marlow. Good to see Craig and Vish out again joining stalwart Neil.  We skirted Bricket Wood and aimed for Chandlers Cross where we picked up new rider Julie who is based in Watford.  We took a route to Chalfont St Peter using an off-road section of Old Shire Lane between Chorleywood and Chalfont Common. It was OK on a dry summer day in the direction we went with a long downhill on the roughest part.  The combination of a strong headwind and the different route meant a late arrival at Crumb’s café. 

Even though we were late we decided to detour through Burnham Beeches and use the car-free roads. This diversion from the normal way caused Craig to comment along the lines of ‘I knew we’d done some extra miles but this is ridiculous’ as we passed a village called ‘Egypt’!
 Burnham Beeches

When we got to Marlow and had bought food it was about 1.40, the latest we’d ever arrived at a lunch stop. It was busy next to the river, but we managed to bag a seat eventually. 
 Out with the picnic hampers
 The Thames at Marlow

The route back via Bourne End, Hedgerley and Gerrards Cross took us up the private road ‘Over the Misbourne’ where Neil managed to get a shock by touching an unmarked electric fence, then we all got a shock at the end as there is now a new locked gate to prevent cyclists and walkers reaching the bridleway road in Upper Denham. We had to lift our bikes over this new obstacle.

Yet another newly found bridleway allowed us to shortcut alongside the railway line towards Denham Airfield.  By the time we got to Maple Cross it was so late (5pm) we thought the Aquadrome café might be closed so we used the BP Wild Bean café where Craig bought mini brownies for us and Neil continued to flaunt his new England 2010 cycling shirt. 
 Fuel stop at Maple Cross

We made our way back via the Ebury Way dropping Julie off at the Grand Union canal junction and eventually made it home at about 6.45 after a very enjoyable 75 miles using some new roads and paths.