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12 June: Hatfield to Shefford

posted 14 Jun 2011, 13:41 by South Herts   [ updated 1 Jan 2017, 08:29 ]
Rain (didn’t) stop play, or how our group spent a whole day cycling in the rain.

The forecast was for light rain starting about 11am with a light southerly breeze. So just a little prematurely at about 9.15 at the start in Hatfield it started a light drizzle. Heedless of this ill omen and completely undaunted, nine of us set off for Ley Green, an out of the way hamlet near Kings Walden. The lure of this location was a new café which allegedly had opened in the post office there. I say allegedly as it seemed an unlikely place for a post office let alone a café. But café there was, bright and clean, recently created by expanding the post office. So we had a very pleasant elevenses after dripping our wet selves all over the formerly clean floor.
Rona with her CTC volunteer of the year medal
The Post Office cafe in Ley Green

At this juncture three of the party suddenly remembered they had pressing arrangements at home and (sensibly) declined to go further. Their place was taken by Richard who had just arrived and seemed strangely keen to continue cycling in the rain.

So we set off for Shefford in, by now, a steady drizzle. Shefford in Bedfordshire is due north of where we were so we skirted to the west of Hitchin and going via Pirton and Shillington, all nice rural places, we arrived at Shefford.
Richard arriving in Shefford

Still raining leaving Shefford

Luckily Shefford is blessed with a number of pubs, as the designated hostelry “ The Brewery Tap” seemed aptly named as it only sold beer and no food. So we moved to the White Hart which did excellent food.

Having fed, it was on with our damp clothes and head off again south in steady rain for Whitwell. Referring to the erroneous weather forecast again, this was now no light southerly breeze, rather a full on headwind to the point where in places we had to pedal to go downhill. So by the time we reached Emily’s cafe in Whitwell we were both tired and wet. Here it was gratifying to find we weren’t the only daft cyclists out and about as there was a contingent of veteran cyclists (that’s the bikes not the riders).
Traction engine clanking through Shefford
Veteran cyclists in Emily's cafe, Whitwell

After a pleasant cuppa we left in, by now, even heavier rain. For those of us who returned to the start it was about 57 miles in total but for some, who cycled to or from the start it was considerably more.
It was not the ideal weather for National Gardens Open Day, nor Open Farm Sunday, but despite all the moaning about the weather we kept going regardless and it wasn’t too bad a day all things considered.

Peter 12/06/2011