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08 Jan: Hatfield to Hoddesdon

posted 9 Jan 2012, 01:41 by South Herts   [ updated 17 Feb 2017, 23:21 ]
When I arrived at Hatfield, maintenance work was underway on Tracey's bike.  Her front mech was siezed up and would not budge, so it was middle ring only for the next part of the ride.  Six of us set off from Hatfield, including a new rider James, who had read about our rides on the web.

We took the lanes south of Hatfield through "Little Switzerland".  At Essendon road, I let Jon lead the main group on a hilly route to elevenses.  I'm slow on the hills, so Tracey and I headed straight along the B road (only one major hill) to Hertford, where Tracey dashed off to Halfords to buy some spray oil for her front mech.

As the longer part of the planned route was after elevenses, I'd planned to get to the Wetherspoons pub at 10.30, allowing us to leave soon after 11.00.  However, more people kept turning up for coffee: Richard (who had failed to wake up in time), Bill (with similar excuses) and Steve and Jackie (today celebrating the first anniversary of the ride last year when Jackie broke her hip). 

The North Herts CTC were having their elevenses break at the Rose Cafe, also in Hertford, and Brian (our DA/Member Group Secretary) dashed in, asked "Who's Neil" and thrust a small box at Neil.  The box contained Neil's medal for the most attendance points last year but Brian rushed out before Neil had time to deliver his carefully crafted speech.  Perhaps Neil had upset Brian by forgetting to renew his (Neil's) CTC membership last year.
Cyclists outside cafe
Outside Six Templars in Hertford
Cyclists outside pub
Leaving the White Swan in Hoddesdon

By 11.00 Tracey's front mech was in semi-working order (small and middle ring only) so I set off with Tracey, Neil and James, leaving Jon to lead a faster, longer ride when the later arrivals were ready.  We rode out of Hertford, through Bengeo, Wadesmill and Cold Christmas, before dropping down to Wareside (where the fast group joined us) and then following the river valley to Stanstead Abbotts.  From there, it was a short ride through suburbia to Hoddesdon for lunch at the 16th century White Swan inn (Dick Turpin held up coaches from here on the Ware-Cambridge road).  The White Swan is now a friendly pub with good value meals and an ideal winter venue.

After lunch, the group split up.  Part of the party headed to Welwyn Garden City and St Albans via Goose Green, Hertford and the Cole Green Way.  The Hatfield and Barnet contingent headed up past the zoo.  Neil, Peter and Bill passed Jon and I on the hill out of Hoddesdon, only to be briefly overtaken by us later, at the top of the hill, while they were studying their OS map.  It made a welcome change to be home well before dark.

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Judy, 8 Jan 2012