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17 Feb: St Albans to Aston Clinton

posted 19 Feb 2013, 01:20 by South Herts   [ updated 15 Nov 2015, 20:24 ]
The best day of the year so far for cycling?  Sunday was all blue skies, bright and sunny, if a touch frosty at first.  Just what a winter Sunday should be like, and a perfect day for cycling without the rain or ice we've had to endure for much of the last few weeks.  We set off across Nomansland Common, where we saw a pair of circling buzzards, and soon passed through the fringes of Harpenden and then along to Redbourn. 
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Crossing Redbourn Common
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Bison on Bison Hill

Taking the small lane to Flamstead we were soon dodging some potholes and a shallow flood in the dip. The minor lanes have taken a hammering this winter and a lot are in poor condition. No one seems to be springing into action yet to do any repairs, although we've been making good use of www.fillthathole.org.uk.  From Flamstead the next lane into Markyate was also well pitted in places.  The Village Cafe is an excellent stop and was popular this morning, although we soon got served. Surprisingly considering the weather, ours was a bit of a diminished group today, but those who were out were very glad not to be stuck indoors.  

Here some decided to turn back for the day, while the rest of us continued up the gentle climb to Whipsnade, down Bison Hill with some wonderful views across the Vale of Aylesbury, and then along the foot of the Chilterns through Ivinghoe and around the reservoirs.  Our lunch stop, The Partridge, was a pleasant pub tucked away down a quiet street in Aston Clinton. They don't do food, tea or coffee but are quite happy for you to eat your own sandwiches in the bar. 

After lunch the journey back home is either along the valley towards Hemel, or up the hill at Aldbury towards Redbourn.  Which route suits you best depends on exactly where you live. So, here we did a split.  Since I live north of St Albans, I headed back through Aldbury and Briden’s Camp. I had done 57 miles when I arrived back home for an early bath.  Yes, it had been the best day of the year so far for cycling.



Richard
17/02/2013
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