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10 October: St Albans to Linslade

posted 13 Oct 2010, 14:47 by South Herts   [ updated 31 Dec 2016, 01:38 ]
Peter says: When I arrived at the start in St. Albans I was amazed to find 13 people waiting, which included a new couple: Steve and Jackie.  Also, we were all very pleased to see Vish there, as he had suffered a cycling accident about 3 months ago and this was his first real cycling session since then. Anyway, we set off for elevenses at Ivinghoe by skirting Hemel Hempstead to climb up onto Gaddesden Row.  Jackie had very modestly said at beginning that she was worried she wouldn’t be able to keep up and hills were a bit of a problem.  False modesty indeed as she absolutely shot up the first one. 
Re-grouping by Hogg End Lane
Jackie shoots up Pipers Hill

We then proceeded to Ashridge where the trees were starting to look quite autumnal, and from there across the Dunstable Downs with a fast downhill run to Ivinghoe. The Ivinghoe tearooms there are in a pretty and quaint old cottage with a very nice garden and a view of the windmill.
Beacon Road
Ivinghoe Church

From here Vish wisely decided not to overdo things and headed back accompanied by Neil as support.  For the rest of us the next stop was to be ‘The Globe’ pub at Linslade.  We went via Mentmore, Wing and Soulbury, which is a reasonably flat bit of country.  From there we picked up the towpath of the Grand Union canal, which has an excellent metalled surface and very easy to ride.  We were about 2 miles north of the pub at this point, so the ride down the towpath alongside the placid waters of the canal was very pleasant.  The situation of the pub is also very pleasant as it lies beside the canal in a quiet location.  The snag however was that they were not doing any sandwiches, on the dubious grounds that they were too busy.  So, the always-prepared ‘boy scout’ members of our party, who had brought their own sandwiches, felt duly smug.  Some of the others simply felt hungry, as they didn’t want to shell out large sums for the meals on offer.  After drinks, the route was then altered to get sustenance for the starving by heading straight into nearby Leighton Buzzard and the nearest Tesco’s.  Here cheap food refuelling was available and duly scoffed.
Grand Union canal
Refuelling stop

After this we had to exit the town on rather boring main roads until we were out in the country again going through Totternhoe, before starting on the stiff climb up onto the Dunstable Downs  Here we made for the new National Trust tearooms along with zillions of other people in their cars, no doubt brought out by the ‘Indian summer’ sunshine (Judy found the cycle route from Dunstable, which avoids the traffic, but not the crowds).
Cycle route on Dunstable Downs

Then it was time for the sprint back to St. Albans, with riders peeling off to go their separate ways home. The core group went downhill all the way to Markyate, back road around Flamstead, through old Redbourn (avoiding the bypass) and onward into St. Albans.  All told we did about 55 miles in beautiful weather for the time of year.
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