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11 Jan: St Albans to Chalfont St Peter

posted 16 Jan 2015, 03:11 by South Herts   [ updated 11 Mar 2015, 01:49 ]
We are at the mercy of the weather at this time of year but the weather forecast was for a reasonable day: dry but cold, fortunately no thundersnow. On the way to the start I noticed a bit of frost on the grass, but the roads had dried out overnight so it was OK to go.   Seven of us set off from St Albans straight down St Peters Street, down Holywell Hill, up Wilshere Avenue and down to Park Street Roundabout, through the underpass and over the hill into Park Street.  Following Park Street lane into Bricket Wood we took School Lane through Peartree Wood and on into Garston.  

Now we are on the Colne Valley Trail, a nice traffic free cycle path through Watford. Passing through Watford Fields we picked up the cycle path again at Riverside.  Here we could have followed the Ebury Way, but I decided it might be too muddy so we turned onto Eastbury Road towards Northwood.   The roads are very busy here so following Batchworth Lane I was glad to get out onto the road to Harefield.  

fixing a broken chain
Fixing Neil's chain
man inspecting menu
Steve inspecting the menu

Outside Harefield we headed back to the Colne Valley and were treated to some nice views across the valley. Crossing the A412 we took Chalfont Lane towards our morning stop.  I had reached the bridge over the M25 when I noticed Neil and Craig were missing from the group. Tracey got a text from Neil saying his chain had broken at the bottom the hill.  We all headed back down the hill to sort it out.  Steve came to the rescue with an almost perfect demo of how to mend a broken chain, but no one had noticed the repaired chain had fallen out of the front gear shifter. So the chain had to be broken and repaired again (sigh).   By now we were well behind time and everyone was getting cold. So we decided to abandon the pub lunch stop and go straight to the elevenses café for an early lunch.  20 minutes later we were all in the Madeira Cafe in Chalfont St Peter ordering hot meals.

After lunch we headed back via Chalfont St Giles, following Vache Lane, Roughwood lane and Lodge Lane. Down the very steep Stony Lane and we are back on familiar routes through Latimer and up Flaunden Hill.  We descended Rucklers Lane into Hemel Hempstead then climbed the other side of the valley up Bunkers Lane and onto the A road back to St Albans.

All in all a good ride even if it did not quite go according to plan.  Lessons learned: don't go via Northwood and how to fix a broken chain.

Mike 11/01/2015.