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01 Nov: St Albans to Mangrove Green

posted 2 Nov 2015, 11:26 by South Herts   [ updated 4 Jan 2017, 23:12 ]
The passers-by hurried past the eight figures standing at the War Memorial; surely those ghastly looking ghouls should have returned to their graves by now as Hallowe’en had finished hours ago.

Then all was explained as the group mounted their nearby machines and cycled off through the deserted market place.

As we ascended the causeway in Verulamium Park, it was evident that contrary to the predictions of the Met Office there was not much mist or fog, but instead bright sun shining through the yellow autumn leaves; maybe this was why the BBC was terminating their contract and instead investing in a piece of seaweed to be hung outside the back door of the newsroom. We continued to Potters Crouch where we turned right to enjoy the aromas of the wood-recycling site by the A4147 before again turning towards Maylands, crossing the roundabout by the former BP building and turning along Cherry Trees Lane, now re-opened ten years after the Buncefield fire

Heading north along Three Cherry Trees Lane we encountered mud across the road on a downhill stretch that could easily, but fortunately didn’t cause any falls. We then cycled through Trowley Bottom, and headed towards Markyate. This village’s most famous daughter is Katherine Ferrers, the highwaywoman memorably played by Margaret Lockwood in the film The Wicked Lady; the pub of the same name on Nomansland marks where she was mortally wounded during her final hold-up. After the underpass beneath the A5 it was granny rings all round as we made the final ascent to Woodside Farm

Coffee at Woodside Farm
Coffee at Woodside Farm

Here the sunshine was very strong and as some other punters were sitting outside at the cafe we decided to join them. What more evidence of global warming could there be than this sort of weather in November? Three other riders including Harry from Dunstable, whom we hadn’t seen for some years, also joined us.
 
With the now-swollen group continuing through Slip End we crossed the A1081 at Kennels Farm to make the long descent to the East Hyde sewage works, passing a group from West Herts CTC struggling up the hill as they made their way to their two-hour liquid lunch at Studham.

Two large birds
Rheas hidden in a field at Breachwood Green

After we passed through Chiltern Green I felt my front tyre become spongy and later inspection confirmed that it must be a slowish puncture. As we were only 3 miles from the pub at Mangrove Green, I just pumped it up again, needing to do it again only once more before we reached our lunch stop. Here we met three more riders who had already arrived, & while the rest of the group indulged in gossip, beer & sandwiches, I took advantage of the washbasin in the toilet to establish the location of my puncture and consequently the cause, as usual a piece of flint. A group from the VCC then arrived on their 50’s bikes with elegant curly forks and with whom I had a brief chat before returning inside for my well-deserved beer & lunch.

Village sign with horses ploughing
Village Sign

We returned via Nomansland with riders peeling off at various locations depending on their destinations with most arriving home still in bright sunlight.

Steve 01/11/2015

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