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19 Oct: St Albans to Great Missenden

posted 20 Oct 2014, 09:37 by South Herts   [ updated 8 Jan 2017, 21:13 ]
With several regulars away and the ride leader (Pete) sending in a sick note, I came up with a hastily devised route for today’s ride to Great Missenden.  Pete had led this ride last October when he was delayed by having to scrape ice off his car window, so I was glad it was a warm, dry day this year.  Pete had mentioned a myriad of hills, as is common for the Chilterns, but my route had as few as possible (only 2,500 ft of climb over 57 miles). 

This was partly because it was the first test of Judy’s new Trice, which has battery-powered motor assistance with an estimated range of 84 miles.  Would the battery last over a total of 82 miles and 3,500 ft of climbing including to and from St Albans?  So six of us set off on a direct route to Pitstone Wharf via Gaddesden Row, Dagnall and Ivinghoe, arriving at our elevenses stop at 10:30.  Craig and John had to leave us here, but Steve H joined us (somewhat jet lagged from his trip to the USA) and the sun came out as we left.  My route now avoided the hilly direct option and the busy roads through Wendover by looping north on flat lanes through Long Marston and Weston Turville, marred only by the strong head wind.  Added interest was provided when we passed a miniature traction engine, and then we encountered three very large traction engines lumbering along the country lanes and holding up a queue of cars. I paused to take a photo, but not for long as I wasn’t sure how good the brakes were on those beasts and didn’t want to get flattened.

At Pitsone Wharf
rear of traction engine
One of three traction engines
front of traction engine

Great Missenden
One steep climb was inevitable and we ascended the scarp slope up to Chequers, the country retreat of the serving prime minister.  Then we had a fantastic 5-mile descent with the wind behind us into Great Missenden and stopped for lunch in the pub garden of The Cross Keys.  We were soon climbing again out of town and through the churchyard, then over to Chesham Bois before descending to the Chess Valley, before another 12% climb to Belsize and Chipperfield.  Here it was time for tea at Blackwells – the village club given to the village by the Blackwell family, of Cross & Blackwell. 

A descent into Kings Langley was followed by a climb up Toms Hill.  Judy had been under strict instructions to stay at the back all day, but here we let her go ahead.  Even on minimum power she shot up the hill well ahead of us.  Any worries about running out of battery were unfounded – there were still 53 miles ‘in the tank’ after the 82 mile circuit, mainly because the motor had only been used on the hills.

Jon 19/10/2014