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08 Mar: St Albans to Wilstone

posted 11 Mar 2015, 01:44 by South Herts   [ updated 24 Nov 2015, 23:40 ]
The riders stood at the War Memorial discussing the merits of the previous evening’s performance by the local Camerata Orchestra in which one of the regular midweek riders had been playing. This elevated level of conversation would set the tone for the day’s ride as we sped down Bedmond Lane decrying the usual piles of dumped rubbish, including half a bath under the motorway bridge. We then descended Hyde Lane to crawl along Lower Road turning left at the traffic lights to cross the old A41 ready for a steep ascent up the quaintly named Featherbed Lane, crossing the new A41 and then immediately losing the height gained to arrive at a quintuple junction where we took the rightish fork, Longcroft Lane, for a change. Skirting the edge of Bovingdon we then followed the well-ridden route via Ley Hill, where two adjacent pubs can be observed disapprovingly from a Methodist chapel, to Botley and the step descent of White Hill into Chesham arriving at about 11 a.m. 

Lane through garden
Steve leads through Little Pednor
At Poppin’s Café three other riders joined us and it was great to see Jean from Essex who had come on last year’s tour of the Home Counties around London. Many enjoyed a grease-laden breakfast, which grossly violated every diet plan that had ever been devised. The leaden sky had prompted a discussion about the probability of precipitation, and as a result 3 willies (wimps in lycra) slunk out of the café to return home, their faces shielded from the gaze and hoots of derision of those who were made of sterner stuff.  It was fitting that three men departed and two women took over on International Women’s Day. 
So the remaining harder riders left Chesham through the old town passing the Chiltern Brewery Shop, scene of much merriment yesterday and the excuse for a Cycle Chilterns brewery ride. The Chiltern scenery was marvellous as we progressed through the medieval hamlet of Little Pednor, through Lee Common and Swan Bottom where we noted prolific clumps of snowdrops, and an ascent to St Leonards. It was wonderful to observe the spring colours in the verges: reds (Coca-Cola & Costa), blues (Pepsi & Fosters) and golds (Lucozade & Sainbury’s) set against a backdrop of bright greens (mainly Heineken & Carlsberg with some Tuborg). We then descended Aston Hill, crossing the B4009, just avoiding Aston Clinton to arrive at the Half Moon at Wilstone. After locking our bikes and treading gingerly past an outside table occupied by human beagles we found just enough stools for the leisurely consumption of beer and sandwiches, while notes were made to report the rubbish on Fix-My-Street and potholes on Fill-My-Hole (or was it Fill-That-Hole?).

We left at 2:05 p.m. with only a slight dampness in the air, but it was then every man (& woman) for themselves as I had an urgent appointment at Luton airport, the missing of which would likely result in a divorce. I got back at 3:40 p.m. on dry roads all the way, having covered just over 50 miles, so the humiliation of the willies was total; would they dare show their faces again?

Steve 08/03/2015