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27 Nov: St Albans to Whelpley Hill

posted 30 Nov 2011, 05:20 by South Herts   [ updated 17 Feb 2017, 23:42 ]
As the west wind abated, eight riders assembled at The War Memorial anxious for a quick getaway before the hordes of Christmas shoppers swamped St Peters Street, our intended exit route from the city.  We avoided Chiswell Green by taking the back road to Bedmond & paused briefly outside what had once been the White Hart, but now a boarded-up property for sale.  The high fence, originally erected to deter rubbish dumpers had been removed, except for the gate, which was securely padlocked & serving no evident purpose.
At the tin church near the former White Hart

From here, it was though Abbotts Langley to Hunton Bridge, across the A41 towards Chandlers Cross.  Jon was lagging on a steepish hill; was this due to over-indulgence the previous evening?  We stopped to check. His right clipless pedal was attached to his shoe, but the pedal wasn’t attached to the pedal axle, although the axle was still screwed into the crank.  This was a serious mechanical malfunction with no immediate means of repair.  His choice was to carry on to the coffee stop, by adjusting his pedalling motion to squeeze the middle, to use a current popular phrase.  At Chandlers Cross we freewheeled down Rousebarn Lane, (a no-through road to cars) into Croxley Green & wiggled our way through suburban houses, several of which looked eligible for the mooted mansion tax, to the Mill End café.  Here I had a puncture in the back tyre; was this good or bad luck?
On Rousebarn Lane

Suitably refreshed, our depleted numbers sailed (the wind was now in our favour) our way through the late-autumn sunshine to the White Hart at Whelpley Hill, about a mile outside Bovingdon.  Inside a group of heavily built men in Prison Warders’ uniforms sat drinking beer, having time off for bad behaviour from the local Young Offenders institution.  The young landlady informed us that she was a local and had only just taken over the pub from the previous owner who had tried & failed to run it as an expensive restaurant.  The food & beer was good & reasonably priced and there was agreement that we should return in February.
Then it was a quick ride down Rucklers Lane & up Bunkers Lane to get back to St Albans where the Christmas shoppers formed a heaving throng.  So there was still time to do some shopping, but none of us did.

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Steve B