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24 Apr: Hatfield to Rye House

posted 25 Apr 2011, 05:30 by South Herts   [ updated 1 Jan 2017, 03:23 ]
Another beautiful summer’s day in April and eight of us headed for the Lea Valley, expecting Carol & Steve to join us there for a picnic by the river.  We welcomed another Carol, back again on her mountain bike, who was relishing cycling in a group rather than spinning in a gym.

We had a brief rest before tacking the climb to Tewin, while I mended the first of the day’s punctures, but after a few more hills we still managed to get to Whitehill at 11.00 for what some called breakfast.  Service was friendly and efficient, so we were soon off again to Barwick Ford, which Giles found particularly inviting as he hadn’t washed his bike recently.
Tracey inspects Barwick Ford...
..and Giles gives his bike a wash.

A scenic ride followed via Wareside and Stanstead Abbotts, culminating in a dash past the sewage works to reach the Rye House.  We took a look at Rye House Gatehouse: all that remains of one of the first brick buildings in the country, complete with a marvellous “Barley Sugar Twist” chimney.  We laughed at the dog swimming after a swan, despite the frantic efforts of its owners to call it back.  The swan didn’t seem too bothered by this.  The pub was surprisingly empty for a bank holiday, and we found some welcome shade in the large rear garden, which served as a useful mooring point for some of the motorboats cruising the river.
Rye House Gatehouse
Dog chases swan

The route then followed the towpath to Dobbs Weir and NCR 1 all the way to Waltham Abbey.  A very scenic route, but you can be unlucky if your tyre picks up one of the flints among the loose gravel used on top of the tarmac, and it wasn’t long before Carol found one for her rear tyre.  Giles came to the rescue with some ‘Pit-Stop’ - a high pressure can of liquid latex that inflated the tyre and sealed it - anything for an easy life.
Near Fisher's Green on NCR1


Passing the newly opened White Water centre, we decided to take a quick look at this Olympics venue.  It was quite entertaining to watch the amateur efforts of the rafters going down the Grade IV water course, who seemed to do better if they left it to the expert who was manning the back of the boat.
How not to do it
The right way

Leaving here, Carol’s tyre had gone down.  Attempting another inflation with ‘Pit-Stop’, this is when Giles discovered how to make an explosion of foaming silicone rubber - he was covered in the stuff when it spayed out of the valve hole.  After this fun it was soon time to cool off again in Cedar’s park, with a welcome ice cream under the trees. 
Silicone goes in
After the silicone explosion
Cedar's Park tea rooms
 Lick that!

Returning home, I found a text message about Steve on his way to joining us.  His front mudguard had jammed in the wheel and the disk brake rotor had hit and damaged the down tube, despite having lugs that should prevent the wheel coming out.  Fortunately he wasn’t hurt and managed to get home OK.  So that makes two seriously damaged bikes in two weeks, as I had broken the rear axle and drop-out on my summer model in a pothole while returning from last Sunday’s ride. 

24/04/2011 Jon