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23 June: St Albans to Wilstone

posted 27 Jun 2013, 10:18 by South Herts   [ updated 15 Nov 2015, 21:50 ]
Start at St Albans and a reasonably good weather forecast (it did in fact remain dry all day, although it had rained a lot yesterday), it’s Bike Week but there are only four people there.  Perhaps thinking the weather in this country could ever be the same two days running has put people off.  Anyway off we went to Berkhamsted for the first stop.  Going straight there is not very far so headed down through Verulamium Park and put in a big loop to the south and west ending up going through Bovingdon and finally dropping down into Berkhamsted from the west.  Then it was into ‘The Crown’, a wonderful old pub now run by Wetherspoons, which should mean good value elevenses.  Now although there were only four at the start all that was about to change.  Inside we found Judy who had already got there on her recumbent trike. Then as we were about to order some grub Richard arrived having come straight from St. Albans.  Shortly after a new couple arrived, (Kerrie and Richard) also straight from St. Albans having missed us thinking the start was 9.30 am when actually it was 9.

Four cycling along
Five cycling in a row

So now there were eight of us, a far more respectable number.  Lunch was to be at Wilstone a small village north of Tring.  Now a short flat ride could just go north up the valley on the old A41 which would be far too easy.  So instead we took the masochistic option of going back westwards, climbing up out of the valley and then heading into the undulating (hilly) countryside of the Chilterns through Cholesbury until we ended up at the top of Wendover Woods.  Then as some recompense for all the climbing we had a long downhill swoop towards Aston Clinton down on the plain.  From there a relatively easy flat ride took us across to Wilstone passing the reservoirs, which are to the north of Tring.
Then it was into the ‘Half Moon’ pub, which was surprisingly busy.  But as luck would have it we found there was another room that everyone else had ignored so we ended up with a room to ourselves.  After some very good food it was off again following some serious discussion as to the best route back avoiding too many hills.  The consensus was that hills couldn’t be avoided so we set off to Aldbury.

Now Aldbury is a very pretty village, often used for filming, but it’s other claim to fame is that it lies at the bottom of Tom’s Hill, which for a cyclist is a steep climb up into the Ashridge Estate, parts of which are National Trust.  It’s all very attractive and whilst recovering at the top of the hill some deer crossed over the road near us.  From there it was through Great Gaddesden down to Water End and then the last climb back up again to Briden’s Camp and Gaddesden Row. Then a lovely long sweeping ride down to Redbourn our tea stop.  But first we stopped at Redbourn Common where there was a village ‘show’ going on which seemed to have a cycling theme.  After a brief pause it was on to ‘The Hub’ the new cyclist’s orientated café in the High Street, where we learnt there was even going to be a cycle race around the common later in the evening.

Finally it was back to St Albans with an overall distance of around 50 miles, a shortish ride for summer but quite hilly.