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23 May: Ride to Broom

posted 25 May 2010, 13:49 by South Herts   [ updated 6 Jun 2015, 08:40 ]
Richard & Neil write: Seven of us (including Chris and Paul, who have not been out for a while) set off from St Albans in perfect weather.  What a relief after the bad Sundays there have been recently.  We headed across Nomansland Common to Leasey Bridge where Stuart was waiting to join us.  Here we turned onto the cycle path leading up the Lea valley above the Lower Luton Road.  Looking down onto the road you suddenly realise that this is a very picturesque route; having the new view point really does it wonders.  We had the pleasure of passing the Harpenden and then the Luton sewage works.  The difference in quality was immediately obvious (Waitrose v. Aldi).  Here is a picture at the Luton works of a large machine recycling material (into what?). 
A pile of ????
 Lea valley cycle route
A lot of work has gone into upgrading the cycle path including a new bridge over the Lower Luton Road. 
Before Luton we turned up towards Someries Castle, then on to Tea Green and Lilley.  The Village Hall at Hexton was a welcome stop - the heat was starting to build up.  The quality of the refreshments here is exceptional.
 Clock over Hexton village hall

Then a pleasant ride on through the Bedfordshire villages to Ireland, Southill and finally the Cock at Broom.  Throughout the ride we were accompanied by the sounds of the countryside: birds, cows, horses, sheep; you name they all had something to say.  We were feeling the heat now.  The pub was good, always a favourite, but John didn't like his pub sandwich.  Neil and Stuart had their own sarnies and thought it would be a great idea if one day we all had another picnic. 
By Meppershall water tower
The Cock at Broom
After lunch we headed back south realising that a major climb back up the ridge was unavoidable.  We were aiming for the off road track up to Offley from the Pegsdon road. 
After lunch is when the fun and games began.  Honestly it took us hours to get to where we were going.  It all started after a lovely decent into Shillington, where Tracey noted that this hill gives one of the best views around and she wasn't wrong.
First casualty was Chris copping a puncture on the way down.  Richard stayed with him until it was fixed.  Quote of the day came at this point when John remarked that it was fortuitous that we had stopped as he was feeling well bonked, which left Graham wondering how you get bonked on a bike. (Ed: for the non-cyclist, ‘the bonk’ is the cycling equivalent of ‘hitting the wall’, when you run out of energy).
Second casualty was Neil who copped a flat going up a hill just after Shillington, and with the brains of an eager lemming he stopped on a blind bend of the hill to mend his tyre.  Richard gallantly came back to make sure he was alright.
Third casualty (yes that is 3) was John who copped a flat on the off road bit to Great Offley.  This one was an amazingly long wait, as the rest of the group had got to the top of that stretch and to pass time we played spot the cyclist.  Richard again stayed with the stricken to help out.
After that we really had to motor to get to Whitwell in time for tea and along the way a few dropped behind or peeled off for home.  The remaining three made it to Whitwell, and soon after Paul & Chris showed up and informed us that Tracey had headed for home. We asked after John and they had no idea where he had got to.  Hope he's not still riding around getting bonked!

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Despite everything that had happened we had helped each other and kept our humour. We enjoyed the weather and it was a really great ride.