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23 Jan: Two Saints Ride

posted 29 Jan 2011, 08:40 by South Herts   [ updated 1 Jan 2017, 01:53 ]
Carol writes: Another cold and damp morning saw eight stalwarts set off from St Albans for what appeared to be a very short ride to St Pauls Walden via Codicote.  I’d planned this ride so we could cut and run quickly between the planned stops if the weather turned bad.

We wiggled out of St Albans via Marshalswick then climbed up to Woodcock Hill before dropping down towards Hatfield passing the enticing (to me!!) looking Osprey store.  Steve was glad it wasn’t open so I couldn’t go in and buy a £400 handbag.  Not many people know this thriving luxury goods company started life so close to St Albans.
Top of Woodcock Hill

John Bunyan's Chimney

We cut back to Coleman Green, passing the John Bunyan pub named after the adjacent chimney, then meandered through Ayot Green and Kimpton Mill before arriving at Wyvale garden centre café in Codicote covering about 15 miles from the start.   We haven’t used this café for a long time and were pleasantly surprised by the speed of service and quality of scones. Chris and Geoff joined us just as we were leaving.
Ayot St Peter

It’s only about three miles from Codicote to our lunch destination, but I’d planned a route along some lanes I hadn’t used for over ten years.  This ensured several more hills were climbed to work up an appetite for lunch. Via Whitwell, we climbed to Bendish, then looped round the back of Breachwood Green, crossed Lilley Bottom and up to Ley Green, then along to Preston and back to St Pauls Walden and The Strathmore Arms.

We had pre-ordered sandwiches by phoning ahead in the morning and the food was all ready for us when we arrived. Very pleasant old-fashioned country pub with good beer at a reasonable price.  We gave Neil a quick map reading lesson from an Ordnance Survey ‘Map reading made easy peasy’ guide aimed at a more junior audience. So he won’t get lost again on the edge of Stevenage another time.

Steve had a puncture just as we’d arrived at the pub so we left after the main group and tried a new way back to St Albans. Instead of the usual Whitwell, Kimpton, Wheathampstead way; we went through Bendish for the second time that day, then via Peters Green, East Hyde and the new cycle path into Harpenden then back to St Albans. I liked this route, as we only seemed to climb once up to Bendish, then I didn’t notice any more hills! 

Probably this was one of the shortest rides of the year, at only 38miles but enough on a very cold damp day in January (although Jon & Judy managed 60 miles back to Barnet).