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13 July: St Albans to Towersey

posted 14 Jul 2014, 14:05 by South Herts   [ updated 8 Jan 2017, 22:06 ]
A large group had gone north to sample the N Yorkshire Tour de France routes and another group were away in France.  There were only three at the start and we set off under threatening skies but were fortunate to experience only two brief periods of drizzle, insufficient to warrant waterproofs. 

All went well until a premature right turn before Bulstrode that took us back uphill to Felden and on a circuitous route to Flaunden, Steve being too polite to point out my error.  After Kevan had led us on a neat route through Chesham, we decided to take the scenic road through Pednor.  On the hill out of Chesham we came across two road cyclists attempting to mend a puncture.  They were having difficulty removing the wired-rim tyre and had already broken two plastic tyre levers.  Kevan came to the rescue with some strong, thin metal levers, which he had inherited from his father (‘they don’t make them like that anymore’), and in a trice had changed the tyre.  This was much to the relief of the cyclist who was dreading having to phone his wife, an hour away, to come and rescue him.

As a result of detours and our Samaritan deed we were late at the Coffee Approach in Gt Missenden.  We took a democratic decision (3 to 0) to turn back and lunch at the Green Dragon in Flaunden, not knowing that Judy and Jon were going straight to Towersey.
 Judy on The Phoenix Trail at Towersey

The ride destination in Towersey
Our proposed route back was through Hyde Heath, Amersham and Little Chalfont before crossing the Chess valley.  After climbing up Frith Hill, another wrong right turn took us downhill again to the A413 at Deep Mill, only a stone’s throw from Gt Missenden, so we had to cycle through Little Missenden and back uphill to Hyde Heath.  I’m not sure I will be asked to lead any more rides!  On the outskirts of Amersham we picked up cycle route 30 which took us all the way to Little Chalfont, but included a rough shared path by the A404.  Otherwise it proved a relatively easy route to Flaunden.  We went our own ways after lunch, but I made up for the lack of tea stop by having coffee in Watford on my way back to Radlett.

Meanwhile, Judy & Jon had gone for a flatter route and reached the advertised destination of Towersey via a morning stop in Ivinghoe, returning on the excellent Phoenix Trail – a disused railway route from Thame to Princes Risborough, part of NCR 57 which runs between Oxford and Chesham.

Craig 13/07/2014