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05 Oct: Hatfield to Epping

posted 10 Oct 2014, 02:21 by South Herts   [ updated 8 Jan 2017, 21:25 ]
It was Mike's turn to shepherd an unruly bunch of cyclists around today and we soon managed to lose three just going through Welwyn Garden City, only to find they had got ahead of us by taking a different route once they had lost touch with the group.  The independent nature of some was soon revealed again when half the bunch disappeared up a footpath in Hertford rather than follow the leader along the main road, but we soon regrouped and found our way through the town centre and out on a quiet lane to Hoddesdon.  Here we dodged around the amusements that were being erected as the fair had come to town, then it was a short way to our first stop at Rye Park Cafe.  No cakes or even toasted teacakes on the menu, but they did a very tasty hummus & pitta bread. 

woman showing gloves
Carol's cloven handed gloves
Three cyclists
Cole Green Way
helicopter
Essex Air Ambulance in Epping
group in car park
Leaving The Black Lion in Epping
level crossing
Improved level crossing in Waltham Cross
cyclists bridge
Paul Cully Bridge over the A10
After Hoddesdon we lost three who just wanted the morning ride and gained Stuart from Stevenage.  So it was off to Harlow via Roydon, with the inevitable wait at the level crossing.  Mike found a very useful cycle route through Harlow, which started with a pleasant ride through woods and kept us off any roads until we emerged at the south of Harlow on Rye Hill Road.  Then it was a loop to the west of Thornwood and we were in the busy market town of Epping, where the Essex air ambulance was on display to the amusement of the local kids.

A pleasant lunch in the Black Lion was followed by a rather unpleasant ride along a very busy main road into Epping Forest, where we realised we would be far too early to stop for tea in Cheshunt.  Carol suggested going to Bell Bar for tea instead, so we ventured into the Lea Valley Park and over the level crossing, which was now much easier to use following a redesign of the gates.  But having crossed the cyclists' bridge over the A10 there were some steep hills leading to a split in the group and sincere apologies are due to those who were left behind.  It just goes to show how tricky leading a ride can be and the value of appointing a back-marker who knows the route.

Jon 5/10/2014


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