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26 Oct: St Albans to Berkhamsted

posted 29 Oct 2014, 13:45 by South Herts   [ updated 6 Jan 2017, 23:55 ]
Those attending morning service at St Peters Church hurried past the ghoulish figures standing near the war memorial, suspecting that this was a Halloween rehearsal. They ominously numbered thirteen, but this was maybe a reflection of the clocks going back, leaving little excuse for lingering in bed that morning.  Despite the mild conditions, only a few bare legs were on view, fortunately an even number. 

Group of cyclists

The later start time also meant we didn’t have a chance to review the synchronised start of the formation riders from the VCC on the opposite side of the roundabout. The leaden skies contributed to a sombre mood as we set off to Bedmond, passing West Herts CTC on their way to the Elephant & Castle (not the architectural masterpiece in Southwark but the pub hear Wheathampstead), and Kings Langley, skimming the frontage of the former Ovaltine factory to Hunton Bridge and then Chorleywood, crossing the M25 to Duran’s café at Maple Cross. This was unusually but fortunately nearly empty as the group swiftly occupied two tables before ordering diet-busting calorie-intensive breakfasts as training for the season of gluttony, now fast approaching, while digesting the world’s news supplied by the Sun on Sunday. Suitably refreshed and watered, and now reduced to twelve we set off, skirting Little Chalfont & down the steep hill of Stony Lane to cross the river Chess and climb through Latimer to Ley Hill where a Methodist chapel looks over disapprovingly the two mutually adjacent pubs.
Line of cyclists
Smiling cyclists
Still smiling after all those hills

Crossing the A416 at Ashley Green we descended into the birthplace of Graham Greene, author of the Third Man, to the Crown on Berkhamsted High Street. This is unusual for a Wetherspoon establishment, having already been a pub before its current ownership, and had attracted the attendance of the Edgware CTC this time, who had outrageously occupied the only large table. Split over two tables in different rooms, advantage was taken of the foreign-beer festival to supplement the calorie intake even further.

With the clocks now back on GMT and so no tea stop, this was the official end of the ride, and the club ethos (every man for himself) was applied as the riders subsequently made their own ways home in the fading light.

Steve 26/10/2014