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07 Feb: Hatfield to Hoddesdon

posted 11 Feb 2016, 01:21 by South Herts   [ updated 29 Jun 2016, 23:33 ]
It was Captain Carol versus Storm Imogen, the ninth storm to hit Britain this season. As Potters Bar was too close for a direct route and to show who’s boss, we headed west to go east and soon found ourselves battling a head wind on The Alban Way, a beautifully smooth tarmac route out of Hatfield.  Approaching St Albans, Imogen had seen us coming and thrown a tree right across the path. 
Cyclists going around fallen tree
Annoyed that we had squeezed past, she launched a cold shower at us as Carol wiggled through the back streets and onto the climb to Shenley.  Cascades of water were flowing down Mimms Lane, stirring up the gravel and soon Carol was victim to a flat tyre.  Neil had dropped back, thinking his leg muscles had suddenly disintegrated, but Steve’s detective work soon discovered his chain was jamming in the guide pulley: maybe the bike shop hadn’t shortened the new chain they had just fitted for him?
Group on country lane
We reached Wetherspoons in Potters Bar just before 11, where Edward, our hungry 21-year-old student, wasted no time in demolishing a Big Breakfast.  Carol reckoned that needed burning off, so she took us up and down every hill she could find in the 13 miles to Hoddesdon. Our only rest was in Newgate Street, where Richard made his lack of presence felt. He was found pushing his bike up Carbone Hill, claiming another mechanical problem and he wasn’t kidding.  His rear mech had broken apart on the hill. We patched it up with that essential component of any toolkit, a trusty zip tie, so he could just about ride it home.

Our mechanical problems weren’t quite over.  Arriving at the pub Carol had a squishy back tyre and her mechanic was called into action.  Intent on using a sink in the pub toilets to find the hole in the tube, he somehow managed to get the valve to come apart and spent a nervous few minutes scrabbling about on the toilet floor looking for it.  Discretion being the better part of valour, he gave up fearing imminent arrest.  After a warming meal and a natter in the pub, he was last seen swapping tubes between bikes. While most headed straight back up-wind to Hatfield, I took a more leisurely route through Lea Valley Park, photographing some of the sculptures along the way.

Jon 09/02/2016