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28 April: St Albans to Beaconsfield

posted 29 Apr 2013, 23:23 by South Herts   [ updated 12 Jun 2013, 02:50 ]
Spring had finally sprung, a warmish day was forecast and so eight of us were ready in St. Albans to head off into the hilly Chilterns.  Well Amersham to begin with for elevenses.  Now Amersham always sounds like a very far away place but, by the time we’d gone through our usual haunts of Nash Mills and Flaunden etc. and climbed up to Amersham on the Hill (note the name), it didn’t seem outrageously far at about 17 miles from the start.  Certainly it all seems a very affluent area typified maybe by the Aston Martin dealership we passed on the way into town, not to mention the plethora of coffee shops in the High St.  Still, we had picked a fairly mundane eatery which was very good value.  Not only that, but we were also met there by Bill who had taken a shorter car assisted route (very sensible) and by Esther who we hadn’t seen for a while.

Then it was onwards into the depths of the Chilterns via Penn, heading for the outskirts of Beaconsfield. So after a suitable amount of up and downing we arrived at the ‘Royal Standard of England’, an impressive name for an impressive pub. Its sign proudly proclaims it to be the oldest free house in England.  Certainly it is a delightful old building, but its claim is echoed by quite a number of other establishments around the country. And it is certainly very popular, so much so that there was no room inside which led to us sitting at an outside table. Now the warmish day I remarked on at the beginning had turned out to be a bit deceptive, because sitting at this outside table was b--- freezing.  To such an extent, that once we had had our excellent food we were on our bikes and off again to try to get warm.

Coffee Hut at Mediterranean Garden Centre
The original idea was to head to Chipperfield for tea so we set off through various Chalfonts heading for Latimer.  Before getting there we came upon a road closed sign which we ignored, followed by at least another 6 or 7 similar signs which, together with the occasional car we also ignored.  The reason for ignoring them, as always when one is cycling, is because to deviate from the route means an awful lot of extra pedalling.  And of course, as is so often the case, there was no road closure; it was a normal fully functional open road!  Then it was a haul back up the hill to Flaunden where we agreed we would deviate from the original Chipperfield tea-stop to try a new one we had passed on the outward journey that morning.

So we went to the Mediterranean Garden Centre, which is on Flauden Lane just off Chipperfield Road.  And it had a Mediterranean ambience with appropriate plants and music in the tastefully painted shed, which served as the café and source of home made cakes, which were superb.  The only downside was that, as yet, it had no loo.  In fact it was all so superb that I managed to lose the key to my bike padlock.  So sending the group on its way, together with Bill I hunted for my key for a short while before I gave up and prevailed upon one of the guys there to cut the cable, which he did with frightening ease with just a pair of pliers. By this point my enthusiasm for cycling had left me, so I cycled the short distance down to Chipperfield, where Bill had his car, to take the easy way home.

So having ‘copped’ out, I’m afraid I can’t say how far we went that day.  But I can say that when I got home and was taking off my cycling gear what fell on the floor but my cycle padlock key.  Which of course was now quite useless, as the lock cable had been cut!

peteR 28/04/2013