August 2012 weekend ride reports

26 Aug: Hatfield to Wareside

posted 30 Aug 2012, 13:21 by South Herts   [ updated 13 Jan 2017, 22:16 ]

We had a great day out with a group of 15 riders, and we welcomed two first timers.  Two 'new' cafes were planned.  The morning stop at Roydon Marina was a success, but unfortunately the Carousel Cafe in the afternoon had closed very early.  Not that Rachel and Andrea minded too much - you should see what they cooked themselves for lunch...

”several
Rye Road Lea Valley
”cyclists
Stort at Roydon Mill
”two
Carol & Steve at Roydon Marina
”fixing
Steve pumping up
”trike
Judy navigating Barwick Ford
”2
Giles riding and Talia paddling
”cooking
Rachel cooking lunch in Standon
”2
Andrea & Rachel in Standon
”group
Lane to Ardley
”Wooden
Carousel Cafe - closed

26 Aug 2012



19 Aug: St Albans to Quainton

posted 24 Aug 2012, 04:48 by South Herts   [ updated 13 Jan 2017, 22:24 ]

We're having some great rides this year and this was to be one of the longest and maybe most challenging rides of our summer programme.  It was already warming up when we met at the start of our ride and forecast to be one of the hottest days of the year.  Our numbers were down on our normal turnout (wimps?).  We muttered about not doing the full ride if conditions proved too difficult, but resolved to at least get to the coffee stop and then decide the next leg.  We headed off towards Hemel and, dodging round the centre of the town, picked the quiet lanes running along the valley towards Berkhamsted.

Here the stiff climb brought us through the lanes to Cholesbury and on from there to Wendover Woods and the very welcome morning stop.
”Cyclist
Richard makes it up the hill in Berkhamsted
”Bikes
It's what trees are made for
”Two
Wendover Woods Cafe
”Three
Time to relax

The cafe was full of cyclists of all persuasions.  After a spot of refreshment, we decided we would do the full route - the stretch to lunch another 20 miles skirting to the east of Aylesbury.  We were just moving off when a sweaty and weary figure came into view; it was Adrian.  Having had mechanical problems on his way to the start he had struggled to catch us.  We hung on while he grabbed a cup of tea, then fixed a puncture, and we were off.  Down the steep descent to Aston Clinton, through Astrope (what an odd village name), Wingrave and Cubblington and then turning west to Whitchurch.  

Passing through Oving, we were on Pitchcott Hill with its superb views across the vale to the Chiltern escarpment beyond.  But ominous black thunderclouds were forming over the hills - would we be in for a soaking?  Soon we were arriving in Quainton, one of the most attractive of villages, and into the George & Dragon a highly recommended stop.  
”Man
Adrian not having a great day
”BSA
Vintage bike of a different kind in Quainton

The thunderclouds seemed to be just missing us as we set off for the return leg.  Adrian said he knew the way through Waddesdon Park; we gave it a try but still finished up at the bottom of Waddesdon Hill having missed a right turn in the park.  But soon we were going down hill again through traffic free Eythrope Park, over the River Thame and then on for a long stretch heading due south.  We went through Halton and then, picking up the path beside the branch of the Grand Union Canal, arrived gasping for drink at the Zebra Cafe (Natural History Museum) in Tring.  Mercifully it was not full of screaming summer holiday kids.  From here we all felt that the quickest and flattest route was to be preferred, even if it wasn't too attractive to look at.  So straight down the valley through Berkhamsted and Hemel soon got us back to the start.  I certainly knew I had been for a cycle ride when I got into the soothing bath, but a great day out.

19 Aug 2012


Richard 19/08/2012

18 Aug: Saturday Saunter to Wheathampstead

posted 20 Aug 2012, 07:29 by South Herts   [ updated 13 Jan 2017, 22:27 ]

We met at Morrisons for this morning’s easy ride, and couldn’t have picked a better day for it.  Myself and Nixon greeted a new rider Debbie; an experienced MTB rider who likes to do triathlons, but wants to take it easy sometimes and enjoy the ride (who can blame her it’s lovely out there on a day like this).
”Man
This could be embarrassing##
”Close
Nixon at Morrisons

On leaving Morrisons we made our way to the off-road back alleys that join Marshallswick to Sandridge.  This is a woodland green route, which makes you forget you are actually in a rather built up area.  Once at Sandridge we headed up to Sandridgebury; this is a nice little country road.  It was as we were pootling through this serene countryside that my bike decided to have a puncture, MOST embarrassing.
”Man
Demonstration on how to fix a puncture##
”Sitting
Relaxing at Jack's Coffee Shop

18 Aug 2012


It was a brand new inner tube put in that morning.  Anyway, deftly I put my skills to use and mended the thing and soon enough we were on our way towards Chidwickbury.  Took a right turn heading in the direction of Ayres End Lane, which was a nice little wizzy bit.  From the lane we took in Pipers Lane and Harpenden Road to drop into Wheathampstead. 

Jack’s Coffee shop (run by a chap who stole my name) is a great destination for a sit down with a superb cup of coffee.  We had arrived a little late and Debbie had to be back rather sharpish, so we decided to go over THE hill into Sandridge, and what a hill - it can kill.

We sped up House Lane and made our way through Oaklands College and thence back to Morrisons. All in all a really great little 15 mile loop which everybody enjoyed.



Neil 18/08/2012

12 Aug: Hertford to Ickleton

posted 18 Aug 2012, 03:54 by South Herts   [ updated 13 Jan 2017, 22:36 ]

A ride to a new destination for us: Ickleton.   It was on a bright, but slightly breezy summer’s morning that eight of us met at the Hart in Hertford.  Our leader had taken ill the day before (get well soon Peter), so the ride had a great chance of going wrong.  But never fear, Richard and Carol were on hand to take the reins and plot a route.  We set off up hill along a path that led eventually through to Ware, then we were whizzing our way through the Hadhams onto our elevenses stop at Clavering lakes.  
”group
Hertford Hart war memorial
”group
Stopped in the shade

We all got to the lakes fine and well and in good cheer.  Well I say all, but we seemed to be missing a wayward Steve.  Much to Carol’s annoyance, Steve had managed to get himself split from the party.  This situation caused much amusement among the riders and other dinners at the tea stop.  George and Mildred summed it up.  Soon after Craig left us, to make his way back home, while we pushed on for Ickleton.  

On our way there we passed through some really lovely villages, Arkesden and the delightfully named Wendens Ambo amongst them.  Both of these villages had lovely looking pubs and beg to be visited again (more new destinations).  Lunch at the riverside cafe was wonderful.  This place is really nice and needs to be visited again; there was a great menu, which featured a black pudding breakfast (YES please).  The surroundings were plain relaxing, with a peacock, some chickens and a few ducks to keep us company.  Carol waxed lyrical about the eccentricities of some cyclists, which got a smile from all of us.
”3
Judy at Babbs green
”garden
Riverside Cafe gardens in Ickleton
”two
Thirsty guys
”peacock
Friendly peacock

12 Aug 2012


After lunch we made a pleasant way over to Braughing for tea in the church hall.  This was actually a long and hot part of the day and I for one felt a bit pooped by it.  

Then after tea and homemade cakes it was time to head home.  I would like to thank Carol and Richard for leading a very interesting and enjoyable ride. 


Neil 12/08/2012

05 Aug: Hatfield to Tawney Common

posted 8 Aug 2012, 00:36 by South Herts   [ updated 13 Jan 2017, 22:41 ]

Inspired by Team GB’s tremendous haul of gold medals in cycling events we dragged ourselves away from our couches to emulate their efforts in our own way.  No matter that it’s August, in England, so it’s bound to be wet, and what’s more the forecast says so too, plus thunderstorms.  Despite this five of us turned up at Asda Hatfield for the start of our Sunday ride. It was programmed as a ride with an initial stage for beginners, so I had chosen the flattest route I could and also a reasonably short one on account of the weather.  We were headed for the River’s Edge Cafe at Dobb’s Weir near Hoddesdon.  We started off via Welham Green and then down Tylers Causeway where, whilst stopped for a moment, we were caught up by Bill who was heading straight for the café from his home, which he had left too late for the start.
”Woman
Inside the River's Edge Cafe at Dobbs Weir
”Large
Think we'll stay a bit longer
”Flood
Flooded car park
”Trice
Sheltered from above but not below

Later on I made my usual detour via ‘Paradise Park’ (zoo), where usually one can see the lions, which always seems amusingly incongruous in this English woodland setting.  However this time no lions on show, and one of us said the elderly patriarch lion had died last year (RIP Thabo - now succeeded by his son Themba).  So on to the café getting there quite early and a good job that we did.  Because no sooner were we ensconced under their marquee type extension with our coffee and buns etc. when the heavens opened.  The rain simply hammered down, so we settled in for a longish wait for it to blow over.  In the end it stopped and we went on with Judy on her trike, which had also come straight there arriving just before the rain.  We headed for Tawney Common in Essex after skirting around the southern edge of Harlow.  After the rain the roads were awash but we pressed on, donning full waterproofs again when the rain restarted.  The rain finally ceased as we approached ‘The Moletrap’ our lunch pub (so called because in the 19thC a local had invented/manufactured a cunning mole trap and with the proceeds had bought the pub).
”4
Wet roads
”Cyclists
The gathering storm
”Recumbent
Waterproofs are for wimps
”5
Flat roads in Essex

After lunch the sun came out, so we embarked enthusiastically through the Essex countryside on a southerly loop to put in a few miles to avoid arriving too soon at the tea stop in Upshire.  So on our circuitous route we passed through Abridge and then, sunny no more, on came the rain.  We were sheltering under a tree as it started thundering and lightning (Judy was caught in the hailstorm and has the bruises on her legs to prove it).  An interesting discussion ensued on the merits and demerits of being under a tree risking being hit by lightning or getting soaking wet instead.  This was resolved when we saw a phone mast nearby, which was a far better target for any stray lightening strikes.  So the rain eased off and on we went and just around the corner was an amazing view.  Looking beyond a cottage and across fields into the far distance we could plainly see the landmark towers of the City of London; Canary Wharf, The Gherkin and, to the west the new ‘Shard’.  After this we climbed up to Epping and then plunged down again to Upshire Church famous for it’s superb tea and homemade cakes.  It was now dry enough to sit outside and savour these delicacies. Then we were onto the homeward stretch.  Down past Waltham Abbey and the now closed Olympic White Water Centre.  Then to Crews Hill, Potters Bar and Welham Green again, before finishing back at Hatfield with various parties having dropped off (so to speak) along the way to go home.

”4
Sunshine after lunch
”3
The hail storm arrives
”Cakes
Upshire cake display
”Group
A pleasant tea stop at Upshire Church

In all about 60 miles round trip, which surprisingly despite the rain people said they had really enjoyed!

5 Aug 2012



peteR

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