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29 Nov: Hatfield to Ardeley

posted 2 Dec 2015, 13:14 by South Herts   [ updated 6 Jan 2016, 23:50 ]
Four of us met at Asda Hatfield for what I can safely say was the windiest ride of the year. Vish, Jon, Judy and myself set off for the wilds of Dane End with the thoughts of a rather challenging ride ahead, but no sooner had we got out of Hatfield and Judy decided to treat herself to a puncture. It was a routine job made more pleasant by the sparkling white gloves supplied by Vish. Judy couldn’t have picked a more exposed place to get a flat though; the wind really was picking up.
Cyclist following a flag

I took the group through WGC via Lemsford then along the B1000 and took the Tewin turn off. As we meandered up through Tewin we passed another bunch of mad souls from Stevenage out on a pedaly bike ride (or wind push, depending on your direction) and within this group I spied Jim Brown. We carried on over to Burnham Green then headed for Woolmer Green. This route whilst slightly longer takes in roads we haven’t used for a while. Around here one of our party decided it would be an idea to take his lined glove off and pull it inside out. It’s bad enough when someone needs help with a puncture, but helping someone to dress after a call of nature is getting ridiculous!

We travelled up through Datchworth and on to Watton-at-Stone, then I copped a puncture myself, fortunately right by the train station where there was shelter from the gale. Out came the white gloves again and swift work was made of fixing a puncture that seemingly had no cause, but I suspect a spoke was the culprit. These white work gloves are better than the black ones as you can see if they get black grease on them and avoid spreading it where it’s not wanted.  We were now very late for 11’s and from Watton we took a direct route to the golf club. Upon arriving Steve and Jackie, who had come out to meet us, were just leaving so we had a quick chat before they headed for home. It was great to see them though and inside the club a Mr Figg was also waiting for us.
After some discussion it was decided to cut the ride short and take lunch at a closer destination, a bit more haggling and lunch stop was settled upon - Ardeley. As we left I jokingly said we could make The Jolly Waggoner in time for lunch. But it only took us half an hour to get there through a wind that sounded as if we were sailing on the high seas.
Lots of turkeys

As we left the farm a massive gobble sounded out as we put the frighteners on some turkeys – we refrained from mentioning that Christmas was coming. Now we knew this leg of the journey would be hard but bloody hell. We were blown to a standstill at some points, Graham saved me from taking the wrong turning and we battled our way towards Bragbury End. Going up to Datchworth proved to be nearly impossible, with gusts trying to blow us over while cars overtook regardless. The South Herts CTC formation wobbling team really showed their grit, guts and sheer determination to wobble like pros.
 
As the wind howled and whipped around us we spied a house that looked like it might be on fire but we decided it was a bonfire (mad). Going was slow but we all stuck together and kept our humour. We took a very familiar route back to Hatfield and parted our ways around the Alban Way. It was a tough ride but I’d do it again.

Neil 29/11/2015

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