Thursday group ride reports
The most recent reports are closest to the top of the page.
6 September 2016
Into the Aylesbury Vale from Aldbury
We met at The Valiant Trooper in Aldbury, placed our orders for lunch and departed in two groups at about 10.30 am for a ride of just under 22 miles.
We went to Pitstone, Cheddington and along the track to the west of Mentmore golf club before stopping for a break on the way into Wing. We then went past Ascott House to Ledburn, Slapton and through Ivinghoe Aston before taking the track to Ivinghoe and returning to Aldbury on the Icknield Way.
My thanks to John P for leading one of the groups, to Ken and Les C for being back markers, to Jan for collecting lunch orders and to the staff of The Valiant Trooper for their welcome and efficient service.
The riders were: Richards B and H, Jan, Ken, Johns B and P, George M, Penny, Les C and M, Bob.T, Caroline G, Graham, Roberta, Nigel, Ian, Leslie, Steve H, Chris and Tony B.
Previous ride reports.
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25 August 2016
Enjoying the sun in the lanes around Sarratt
23 cyclists turned up for the ride starting at The Cock Inn, Sarratt. These were: Phil B, Jan, Steve B, Nigel, Ro & Colin, Jim C, Paul C, Ken, Richard H, Dick, Dennis, Bobs K and T, Ian, Rog, Michael M, Greg, Penny, John P, Graham, Peter W plus myself and Bob C joined us for lunch.
The day was sunny but not too hot, 20 cyclists had informed me that they intended to join the ride so I expected we would form two groups. As Dennis had the gpx file on his Garmin device he took on the role of leading the first group.
I had expected the pub to be open from around 10am but there was no sign of life inside so we were all getting concerned about ordering lunch. Around 10.20 a lady did arrive and was able to take our orders. After the first group had departed one of the second group had a puncture, this was quickly repaired and we then departed around 10.40am. Most cyclists said they enjoyed the ride mainly on quite lanes often in the shade; we did have the challenge of four hills.
Food and drink were enjoyed at the end of the ride, so all worked out well in the end. Thanks to Dennis for leading the first group and the back markers for each group.
18 August 2016
25 miles in the sun around Ewelme
Having expected just 12 riders to join me on this warm but hazy morning I was very surprised when 22 turned up for today's ride. Normally with this number I would have split the group into two but by the time everyone had arrived it was too late to send an early group ahead.
Those who joined me in the Cow Common car park at the east end of Ewelme village were Richard B, Dennis, Rog, Ron B, Willie, Colin C and W, Richard and Jan, Tony, Gerald, Bob K, Pete B, George M, Malcolm S, Chris, Leslie, Ian, Paul C, Bill and Dick.
Having managed to squeeze all the cars in and taken food orders we set off a few minutes after 10.30am heading south along quiet lanes almost to Ipsden where we turned west to North Stoke. Here we joined the hard surfaced Ridgeway bridleway through Mongewell Park, past Carmel College and eventually arrived at Crowmarsh Gifford where we had to use some busier roads.
Over the Thames, through Wallingford and then north to Shillingford Bridge. Here I stopped to let the rest of the group catch up and also to allow the line of traffic that had built up behind us to pass – will we ever learn how to leave gaps between groups of riders to let cars overtake us? Once the road had cleared I set off over the bridge, completely forgetting that I had stopped under a set of traffic lights which were against us. Just over half the group followed me and we got a few stern looks from some of the drivers waiting to cross the bridge in the opposite direction. Apologies for this! Those riders who obeyed the lights soon joined us and we continued into Dorchester where we stopped for the usual snack break and toilet stop. Here I was able to get through to the pub and phoned in our lunch orders.
Suitably refreshed we continued along some quiet lanes and a short track, passing through Drayton St Leonard to stop just before the main road to let the rest of the group catch up – there had been some anxious phone calls which had delayed a couple of riders. Bill had shot ahead at this point and I assumed he had left us to go home as he lives in Stadhampton.
Now reduced to 21 riders we continued through Stadhampton and on to the edge of Chalgrove where I realised that we were missing our back marker. It turned out that Bill had been waiting at the roundabout to take some photos (I hadn't spotted him) and Dennis hadn't been told that he was leaving the ride at that point; hence Dennis had spent a bit of time unnecessarily looking for him – sorry Dennis!
Now on the last stretch we cycled through Chalgrove village and then followed a bridleway through Cadwell Estate where there was a bit of loose gravel towards the end and as soon as we reached the tarmacked lane there was a shout of "puncture". As we were only a couple of miles from our lunch stop I sent the rest of the group on, while three of us sorted out the wheel.
Most of the group arrived at the Shepherds Hut in Ewelme on time at 1.15pm and we got there 5 minutes or so later. The sun was shining, the food was served quickly (possibly of slightly variable quality although mine was good) and everyone seemed happy. After lunch it was just less than 1 mile back to the cars.
25 miles in total, no hills to speak of, just the one puncture and a few frustrated motorists, I hope everyone enjoyed the ride.
Thanks to those who joined me and particularly to Dennis for back marking.
11 August 2016
Flat and sunny around Towersey and Bledlow
The good weather forecast and the prospect of an undemanding ride brought out 26 riders; too many for one group so Ken kindly agreed to lead about half.
Those riding were: Jim W, Andrew, Roger B, Graham, George M, Caroline, Dave, Leslie, Richard B, Ian and Susan, Alice, Dick, Rog, Chris F, Pete B, Penny, Ken, Dennis, Gerald, Paul C, Jim C, Johns P and S, Tony and Stuart M. John S, Tony, George and Stuart were unable to stay for lunch.
Almost everyone had experienced some rain while driving to the Three Horseshoes at Towersey so there was slight anxiety before the ride but the weather cleared and improved so that we remained dry and all sat in the pub garden at lunchtime.
Ken set off with the first group soon after 10.15 whilst the remainder waited till 10.30 to ensure any latecomers were included. At about the halfway point near Longwick the second group overtook Ken's group while they were having an apricot stop. This reminded the second group about apricots and led to the most serious incident on the ride – the leader had to confess that he had forgotten to bring any.
Ken took his group on a slight detour to the Lyde Garden in Bledlow and arrived a little later than the other group; the staggered arrival worked out well because the pub did not have about two dozen people at the bar all wanting drinks.
The Three Horseshoes delivered our lunches promptly and I believe everyone felt they had a good meal and good value.
Thank you for joining me; my next ride might include a hill or two.
4 August 2016
Wiggington and the Aylesbury Vale
Due to the change of venue from the Full Moon at Cholesbury to the Valiant Trooper at Aldbury, Ken very kindly agreed to wait at the Full Moon in case any riders turned up there having got the details from the Chiltern News – he was able to divert Russ and new rider, Bob T, to the Trooper.
18 of us set off after we had ordered lunch along the lane to New Ground; they were Ken, Rog, Roger B, Penny, Nigel, George M, Jim C, Dick, Ed, Gerald, Ian, Russ, Pete, Richard B, Paul C, Tony, John B and Bob T. Having led the ride to the bottom of Wiggington hill I was passed by the backmarker going up the hill but was allowed to lead the ride to Cholesbury; here Jim rode to the Full Moon to see if any others had turned up there, apparently not.
We were soon on the fast descent from The Crong with nobody falling off at the very steep tight bend. I had held a vote before we set off and nobody wanted a coffee at the break so we carried on towards Buckland. It was very windy and quite hard work at this point and we stopped for a break just outside Astrope at a point with a fine view of the latest industrial eyesore, an enormous milk processing plant called a dairy by their spin doctors.
It began to look like rain so we set off again to Cheddington. As the leader was the slowest rider I hardly had to wait at all for the others to catch up. At a hump back bridge over the Grand Union Canal the Highways Authority had set up a determined road block but luckily they had left a narrow path for pedestrians. From this path we were able to see the 6ft square hole by the side of the road which was the result of their mornings labour, all 6 of them in a van relaxing from their labours with a well-earned cup of tea. Here Ken took over leading to get us through Pitstone and onto the Tring road. Only a couple of miles back to the pub from here and still dry.
We had done 20 miles and got back at 12.30, quite a surprise. The meals came after a while and seemed to be alright. My thanks to Ken for back marking and also for waiting at the Full Moon and leading us through Pitstone.
28 July 2016
Enjoying the North Chilterns
A select 13 riders met in the far NE of the Chilterns in the village of Pulloxhill. The Cross Keys pub, dating from the 17th century, was our starting point and we were impressed by both its campsite and that the pub car park was large enough for an articulated dray lorry to turn round in! Riders were Ken, Ro and Colin, Peter W, George M, Phil, Ron, Ed, Graham, Jim W, Gerald and Dick along with me, Pete, who was leading for the first time.
Setting off north eastwards with a breeze behind us we crossed over a busy A6 and went along the back of Wrest Park, through Lower and Upper Gravenhurst - both villages with notable redundant churches. Turning south we passed through the outskirts of Shillington to Higham Gobion and on to Hexton, in a salient of Hertfordshire. Crossing over the never cycle-friendly B655 we climbed up the longish incline to the summit of Gravel Hill and just after stopped for the usual apricots and ginger. Well, 12 of us did. The 13th was struggling with the incline and feeling a little faint. Two riders went back to check all was OK, administer food and water and soon all was well.
Turning west along the edge of the Warden and Galley Hills country park we passed the village of Streatley and along the busy road towards Sundon. A right turn gave relief from the traffic and we were soon passing Sundon Hills Country Park and the glorious downhill towards Harlington. A brief pause here outside Harlington Manor where a blue plaque records it as the place that John Bunyan was brought before a JP before being taken to Bedford Gaol. On to another short busy stretch along the A5120 into Westoning and the second incident of the day with a puncture. Again soon repaired, all riders made their way back through Greenfield to The Cross Keys.
Food was served exceptionally efficiently, was very good value and offered good portions - to be recommended. The weather had remained dry and largely sunny and we were enjoying the patio marquee when a sharp shower and wind made us realise that we were very lucky to be under cover and not still in the saddle.
All in all a good ride, just under 22 miles and nearly 1200 feet of ascent (and descent!). Thanks to Ken for back marking.
21 July 2016
Sarratt to Berkhamsted in the sun
It was a warm and sunny day and 21 riders turned up at the Cart and Horses, Commonwood. They were Dennis, Gerald, Roger B, Pete, George M, Jim W, Ken, Steve S, Graham, Ian, Dick, Richards B and H, Jan, Gordon, Penny, John B, Malcolm R, Steve B, Jeff and the leader.
We set off to join the Chipperfield Road and after a couple of miles turned right to take the quiet lanes to Felden. Looping back we cycled through Bovingdon and headed out through Whelpley Hill and White Hill. 10 miles on the clock took us to a refreshment stop by the A41.
Skirting Berkhamsted and a short section on Shootersway, we turned left through the scenic woods of Hockeridge Bottom. Left again and we were headed back towards the pub through Ashley Green and Ley Hill. We took the quiet lanes down to Flaunden Bottom and then the climb up to Flaunden village. Further quiet lanes led us through Belsize and back up a short, sharp hill to the pub.
There were no incidents to report and we made good time arriving back well before 1 o'clock having cycled 21 miles and climbed 1500ft mainly on quiet lanes away from traffic.
We were met at the pub by Bob who looked in good health and announced he had now bought an assisted bike but hadn't been out on it yet. Unfortunately the pub would not take pre-orders for our food so we had to wait to place our orders which led to an excessive delay in getting our food. To be fair they were a little overwhelmed by the lunchtime trade taking advantage of the beautiful weather. When our food did arrive we all found it excellent and good value.
Thanks to Ken and Jim for back marking and all for joining me.
14 July 2016
Enjoying the lanes north of St Albans
On a very pleasant sunny morning I was joined by 22 other cyclists at the newly refurbished Prae Wood Arms (formerly the Pre Hotel) on the Redbourn Road just outside St Albans.
The riders were: David B, Rogers B and R, Dick, Dennis, Ro & Colin, Rog, Penny, Richard H, Jan, Georges M and T, Gerald, Bob K, John B, Jims C and W, Andrew, Edward, Steve S and Alan. It was good to welcome several new members of the group.
With such a large number of riders I decided to modify my route and we headed off along the A5183 and then turned right into the Childwickbury Estate. Once we were up the hill we re-grouped by the late Stanley Kubrick's house and we had already lost George T and Alan who were happy to go it alone. After exiting the estate we had a short section of NCN route 6 before turning into Ayres End Lane. Along here Rog had a problem with his front mudguard that had been attacked by a piece of wood but fortunately Dennis was following and was able to fix his old bike!
We followed the lanes through Leasey Bridge, Marshalls Heath, Gustard Wood and reached Ayot St Lawrence where we had our usual break for apricots etc at the old church. According to Wikipedia the church was partially demolished in 1775 because it was obstructing the view from Sir Lionel Lyde's new home!
Once refreshed we had a downhill run into to Ayot St Peter, Ayot Green and over the ford at Waterend, then up through Coleman Green to Sandridge where we took the lane to Sandridgebury. Once we were back in St Albans we used the new Green Ring track to the Verulam Road where Andrew, Richard, Jan and Dennis took the direct route back to the Prae Wood Arms. I took the remaining group on the quieter route through St Michael's village and past the Roman Amphitheatre on the Gorhambury estate. Before we got back to the pub David.and Roger R headed off to Watford.
Once we were back at the Prae Wood Arms Andrew told me that the pub had major problems in the kitchen as they had lost all the electrics. This turned out to be to our advantage as we were able to sit outside on the veranda where we had sandwiches etc which were promptly served. The pub has a range of ales from local breweries and I certainly enjoyed my pint of Low Hanging Fruit from the Paradigm Brewery in Sarratt!
Many thanks to Dennis for back marking.
7 July 2016
Enjoying the sun around the Phoenix Trail
It was a lovely summer's day and 18 of us met at the Three Horseshoes pub in Towersey. The riders were Colin, Chris, Dennis, Edward, Gerald, Ian and Susan, John and Cathy, John P, Les C, Malcolm, Nigel, Bob, Colin and Ro, Rog and Steve. Les brought along 5 new members – they were all made very welcome.
The ride took us along the Phoenix Trail to Horsenden, on to Princes Risborough, then through Owlswick, Kimble Wick, Marsh, Bishopstone, Dinton, Cuddington and Haddenham before returning to Towersey for lunch. This was a gentle ride, largely along country lanes, 22 miles with only 560' ascent (one token hill).
The food was great – most of us pre-ordering beforehand. We all congratulated Penny, in her absence, for a great ride and good choice of venue.
My thanks to John P who did a sterling job as my tail-end Charlie.
30 June 2016
North from Forty Green
Fourteen people (Ken, Roger B and R, David B, Penny, George M, Dick, Steve H, Phil, Dennis, Colin, John S, Jeff and myself) arrived at the Royal Standard of England, Forty Green, in good time for a 10am start.
All except the leader were expecting to do a route including a section of the off road Harding Way behind Little Chalfont and Amersham new town. In the event I had checked out this part of the proposed route in the rain the day before and found it to be very muddy and mucky. This prompted me to work an almost totally different route passing through Knotty Green, Winchmore Hill, Holmer Green, Little Missenden, Hyde Heath, Amersham, Winchmore Hill again, Penn Bottom and Penn.
We duly set out on time from the Royal Standard and had a good and uneventful ride around the new route. A refreshment stop was undertaken in Hervines Park, Amersham and we arrived back on time at the Royal Standard. The food and drinks were up to their normal good standard and the service good with the exception of the very long time it took to serve a toasted cheese sandwich!
Thanks for coming on the ride. I hope you all enjoyed it.
23 June 2016
Plenty of water around the Chalfonts and Denham
On Referendum Day, the day after the rains came down, we met up and just like everyone else I had been watching the weather forecast for days but as it turned out we were so lucky to have a weather window for the ride.
We gathered at the Fox and Pheasant, Stoke Poges, in dry weather although we had a sky full of heavy clouds. There were 15 riders – Dennis, Richard H, Jan, Penny, Ian, Greg, Ron McC, Johns B and S, Graham, Bill, Andy, Steve, Iain and new rider, Edward – and an expectation that Ken and others would meet us somewhere around West Hyde.
We set off sharp at 10.30am and on to Templewood Lane, turning right by Stoke Wood and soon we were on to the fast downhill through Hedgerley and uphill over the M40. This leads into the southern edge of Gerrards Cross and riding via Dukes Wood Drive we soon crossed the A40 and up the edge of Gerrards Cross Common. Turning off to another fast downhill we followed the old Amersham Road, running alongside the A413, all the way through to Chalfont St Peter High St, over the A413 and uphill to Denham Lane where Greg took his leave as he had things to do.
Turning on to West Hyde Lane, which became shaded, damp, dark, dank and gloomy we eventually emerged into the light where Ken, Rogers B and R and David B were waiting for us with news of the flooded road ahead. I had expected this as the corner by the bridleway often holds water; today it was side to side, probably about 150mm at its shallowest so not impassable. Onwards, downhill and over the A412 with a short loop along the Old Uxbridge Road before re-crossing the A412 for the ride up Tilehouse Lane, past Denham Aerodrome, some really poor road surface here with potholes and lots of gravel, and then another fast downhill and again over the A412.
After short sections of minor roads, then under Denham Station, soon alongside Denham Country Park and into the picturesque Denham Village, often used for filming, out again to the A412 and then push the bikes up and over the foot bridges and under the M40 leading us on to Willetts Lane. My warning regarding the nettles and brambles along here proved unnecessary as the county had been along and removed the brambles and the nettles and replaced the fence. Here Bill turned back to retrieve a bag lost from the back of his bike on the steps on the foot bridge; Ken and John B waited behind.
A slight drizzle started now, jackets on, and the vanguard now cycled on towards Tatling End, past the oil refinery and over the M40, along by the A40 for a short distance, over the M25 and then the very wet Fulmer Lane and down to the ford, which showed a foot of water on the gauge. One driver looking at the water level, another car had already turned back and there was a car abandoned on the far side of the ford. I cycled through and my feet were a bit wet and the others used the small footbridge, then via the wet and repeatedly flooded lanes past Watersplash Farm to Fulmer, along by Stoke Common to the pub and by this time the drizzle had eased off. The ride started with 15 riders, dropped to 14 and then increased to, and finished with, 18.
About 20 miles, no punctures, no breakdowns, over and under motorways 6 times, some very wet roads but very little rain. Into the carvery where we met up with Bob and the news that only the carvery food was available but the cost would be just £5, less than the price of a sandwich. Everyone was soon fed and watered, perhaps a bit too well fed for the riders who still had to cycle home on a very full stomach!
9 June 2016
Sunshine in and around Henley
On a beautiful, balmy, sunny day a very select group of us, Jim C, Penny, Phil, Ron McC, Jan and Richard H joined me at the Little Angel, Henley.
We ordered our meals from a long, very comprehensive and slightly daunting menu, and set off across the Henley Bridge and through Henley leaving the town along the Harpsden Valley. This very pretty tree lined country road continued through Sonning and onwards to Kingwood. Here we turned left, again along pretty quiet roads and still in the sun, towards Stoke Row.
Arriving at Stoke Row we cycled past the green and down the fast hill, watching the road surface which was difficult due to the sun shining through the trees, and continued up the short hill past Witheridge Hill where we had our rest stop sitting in a grassy triangle leaning against trees or lying in the sun for a brief respite chewing our apricots!! We then turned left to Nettlebed along the B481 where we took the right turning on the Watlington road riding through the countryside until we reached the right turning to Russell’s Water and Maidensgrove.
We rode through the village, where we noticed a lot of houses were up for sale, and across the common then, after a lovely fast downhill, arrived in the Stonor Valley. From there we travelled back to Henley through the Stonor valley where we cycled down the cycle path beside the Fairmile, through the town by the river arriving back at the pub at about 1pm.
We found a table outside in the shade beside the cricket pitch and all enjoyed an excellent lunch which was served in excellent time. The ride was about 22+ miles and the weather perfect.
Thank you to those who joined me.
2 June 2016
Out in the cold around Thame
A group of 16 brave cyclists gathered at The Leathern Bottle at Lewknor in weather conditions more wintry than the second day of summer being cloudy with a brisk cold wind.
We set off on time towards Tetsworth and along the A40 to Milton Common where went along quieter lanes to Tiddington and Ickford.
As we were making excellent progress, despite the conditions, we were able to stop at Shabbington for coffee served very efficiently at The Old Fisherman pub. Suitably refreshed we continued to Thame where we joined the Phoenix Trail to Towersey and then back to the start via Sydenham and Postcombe.
We arrived back at about 12.45 having covered 22 miles at over 11mph. The pub served us very quickly and we were joined at lunch by Bob who had done his own ride.
My thanks to all who joined me on this ride: Andy, Pat, Johns B and S, David B, Bill, Zeina, Dennis, Ken, Roger B, Rog, Penny, Dick, Ian and George M.
26 May 2016
Through and around Aylesbury and Waddesdon
We met at The Village Gate, Aylesbury Road, Wendover. The riders were: Richard H, Jan, Pete B, Ken, Leslie, Penny, Dennis, Johns P and S, Graham, Ian, Roger B, David B, Steves H and S, Pat, Greg, George M (who left us at Stone), George T, Nigel, Willie and Colin. Bob joined us for lunch.
We set off at 10.30 and rode on the 'Amber Way' cycle path into central Aylesbury, then on the 'Emerald Way' cycle path towards Quarrendon on the North side of the town. From there we passed through the new housing development at Berryfield, then onto country lanes to Waddesdon, through Waddesdon Park where we had a rest stop, then through Eythrope Park and back to the pub by way of Stone, Bishopstone and Nash Lee.
We cycled just over 23 miles with an ascent of 900ft. Although rather cool when we set off, the morning quickly became near perfect cycling weather. There were no incidents or punctures.
My thanks to Ken for being the back marker and to Dennis for leading part of the group when it was sensible to split up when we went through the centre of Aylesbury.
19 May 2016
A few hills around Great Missenden
With a hint of summer warmth – shorts making an appearance along with discussion of how many layers were required – 22 of us assembled at the Black Horse in Missenden: Penny, Graham, Richard H, Jan, Willie, Roger B, Pat, Dennis, Andrew, Sheila, Jeff, Steve S, Ken, Ian, Rog, Leslie, Les C, Jims C and W, Zeina and Ralph.
The route took the group through Great Missenden and along the old road turning at the Nags Head PH to climb to Prestwood. Then into Nairdwood Lane to cut across Prestwood and join NCR 57 as far as Hampden Road before descending to the Rignall Road just short of Chequers. The turn for Coombe Hill is a bit sneaky, not giving much time or space to change down to the lowest gear! Another undulation and it is downhill from Dunsmore to the A413. Across the A413 and the last real climb to Kings Ash and a welcome rest.
The route then went via Swan Bottom, Arrewig Lane and through Chartridge before turning back towards Missenden by turning down Westdean Lane and following the lane via Pednor Bottom and Ballinger Bottom to South Heath. From here a variety of strategies were tried for the fastest way back to the pub – straight down Frith Hill on the road or via the church yard, or down NCR 57. With no breakdowns we arrived back on the dot of 1pm after a total of 21 miles and 1600ft of descent!
The pub was busy but efficient, all the food arriving pretty quickly and together; with everyone seemingly enjoying the atmosphere.
Thank you for coming.
12 May 2016
Enjoying the sun in the Aylesbury Vale
The sun shone as 24 of us assembled on this glorious spring day at the Grand Junction Arms in Bulbourne.
We were: Andrew, Andy, Bob, David B, Ian, Jan, Jim W, Johns B and P, Ken, Les M, Leslie, Nigel, Pat, Penny, Pete B, Peter W, Philip, Dick, Richard H, Rog, Roger B, Steve S and Tony. With such a large group we split into two and John B volunteered to lead the 'earlies'.
Shortly after setting off, John took the executive decision to lead his group anti-clockwise around the route whilst the rest of us set off 10 minutes later in the clockwise direction. Bob had also set off independently to do a shorter ride alone. So much for my plan of catching the earlies for a shared nibble stop at the 9-mile view point! We set off SW down the B488 and turned right onto the Tringford Road and over our first of four early canal crossings of the Grand Union Canal. We headed up toward the reservoirs and on through Long Marston.
Just before Wingrave we came across Bob at the side of the road examining his bike and its mangled rear derailleur. Unrepairable, Ian volunteered to ride back to the pub and recover Bob by car. The rest of us continued through Wingrave and on to the morning stop at Aston Abbotts where great views of the Chilterns and Aylesbury Vale were taken from Windmill Hill along with some shared nibbles. After taking in the uplifting views and a few assorted snacks, it was back into Aston Abbotts to cycle through Cublington and Wing. I think it was about here that we passed the earlies heading in the opposite direction!
A lovely fast downhill stretch took us to a short climb up to Mentmore for the last stretch to Cheddington. It was here that the earlies phoned in to report another unrepairable rear wheel failure, this time it was Peter's rear wheel that wouldn't turn! The recovery team on this occasion was Pat and his car. We continued over the Grand Union for the fifth time at Cooks Wharf, before joining the B489 for a brief sprint to the Bluebells Tea Rooms (after a sixth crossing of the canal). Then along the well surfaced tow path back to the pub for a great lunch taken in the garden overlooking the canal and the works yard beyond. With all the mishaps of the morning it was somewhat surprising that we were all sat down ready for grub by 13:15hrs. Good food was served promptly as we soaked up the last of the afternoon sun.
Thank you for joining me and special thanks to John B for leading the earlies the wrong way round, Ian and Pat for recovery duties, and our trusted back sweepers, Ken and A. N. Other. Also, a big thank you to my way-mark volunteers that helped us maintain cadence to arrive back at the pub just after 12:45hrs having achieved an average moving speed of 12.7mph, over the 22.7 mile route with a total ascent of just 800ft.
5 May 2016
Enjoying the hills and scenery from Stoke Row
Cathy and I arrived early at the Rising Sun pub, Witheridge Hill, and were slightly unnerved when a 'Total Pest Control' van rolled up. Was this for us I wondered, or the kitchen?!
The landlord assured me that all was well, they hadn't had an outbreak of vermin, and that checks have to be made every four weeks for H&S reasons. Anyway, we had a total of 14 riders today on this lovely sunny day: John and Cathy, new rider Steve P, Ian, Jim W, Andrew, Jim C, Colin, Willie, Dick, Steve S, Rog, Jan and Bob.
Bob did his own ride, while the rest of us set off for Stoke Row, then a gentle, mainly downhill run to Kidmore End, where Steve S had our first puncture. Quickly repaired, we had a bumpy half mile up to the A4074, across to Trench Green, then off on a concrete bridleway swinging down to Mapledurham, where a second and final puncture was sorted out on Rog's back wheel.
Some uphill followed, then an apricot reward at Cross Lanes, then a good few miles through Goring Heath, and what seemed like a long but gentle uphill to Woodcote. From here Jan and Rog split off for a shorter return to the pub, while the other Chiltern Socialites zoomed down Mile End Hill, hopefully not too fast so they could enjoy the view without fear of a mishap. We turned right past the grass airfield with its autogyro and biplane parked. Back over the A4074 to Ipsden, then a steady climb up Garsons Hill, where from the top we had good views back to Didcot and its three remaining cooling towers again.
Back through Stoke Row, then down and up to the pub. Some slight confusion on the end of the route, but everyone found their way back OK. Food was served promptly, and was of its usual good quality. The route was about 22 (or 18) miles and around 1,800 (or 1,400) feet of climb.
Thanks to Cathy for being the back marker and thanks to you all for joining me.
21 April 2016
A gentle ride from Watlington
Just 13 of us met at the Carriers Arms, Watlington, on a bright but chilly morning; we were David B, Richard B, Jim C, Andrew, Ralph, George M, Bill, Pete B, John S, Ken, Ian, Steve S and Malcolm S.
After placing our food orders, we set off at 10.30am on the B480 through Cuxham and turned off to Brightwell Baldwin. Here we picked up a well surfaced bridleway to the edge of Chalgrove, which we by-passed, and then headed north towards Little Milton before turning off through Little and Great Haseley. There was a noticeable headwind along here which pointed to a tailwind we could look forward to on the last few miles of the route.
We then had a mile along the busy A329 before turning off through lanes to Great Milton and our snack stop on the Green. Suitably refreshed we continued back onto the main road, across the M40 at Milton Common and then along the quiet A40 to Tetsworth. From here it was south through Stoke Talmage, up Clare Hill (our only hill of the day, if you can call it a hill!) and down to Pyrton, all with the wind behind us. Finally we took an interesting route through the back streets of Watlington to avoid the one-way system and arrived back at the pub about 12 50pm having completed 23.5 miles.
Once seated the food was served quickly and everyone seemed to have enjoyed the gentle, uneventful ride. Thanks to David for keeping the back of the group in order and for the rest of the group for joining the ride.
14 April 2016
Up and around Hemel Hempstead
Despite the poor weather prognosis, twenty two riders assembled at the Royal Oak on Kitters Green, Abbots Langley, for what turned out to be a bit of a start stop affair, with various bits of clothing being shed along the way as the sun started to beat down and no sign of the planned rain.
They were: David B, Rog, Gordon, George M, Phil, Richard B, Leslie, Andrew, John(L, Jims C and W, Roger R, Ken, Penny, Ralph, Graham, Pat, Steve and Carol, Andy, Nigel and Tony ('the tyre').
We headed out through the village and onto the Bedmond Road at some pace (13 mph) towards Leverstock Green where we regrouped for a mini-descent down to Buncefield and then on up to Cupid Green Lane, after waiting awhile for the first part of Tony's mysterious rear puncture. At this point Carol took the 'roadies' round the housing estate while the rest of us slipped through the bridleway and then joined up to ride along Gaddesden Row and then left towards Water End along Red Lion Lane.
We stopped halfway at Briden's Camp to take on water, apricots, strip off and have another go at Tony's deflating tyre. Here I decided to take the bulk of the riders up to Potten End and leave the. quickies and mechanics to fathom Tony's ever deflating tyre. Regrouping at Potten End Green I thought I had all but one of the starting group, as by this time Tony had branched off home with his pump in hand.
We squeezed past one of those 'lost' foreign HGVs that appeared to be jammed in Pouchen End Lane and descended down to Bourne End. At this point the numbers where down to 19 and no sign of Ken (our all-round back marker). After a short wait both he and, a little while later, one of the tyre fitters, Roger, appeared whose Garmin allowed for width unlike the foreign truck driver.
At the Old Fishery Lane crossing on the Grand Union Canal we split into two groups. Graham led some along the canal tow path toward Apsley whilst the rest of us took off up Felden Hill (a sort of CTC training incline) and onto Bulstrode Lane, Barnes Lane and then finally down into Kings Langley.
Here both groups had the final little climb up Gallows Hill and back to the Pub. Bob joined us in the Pub, where he spoke about his wish to 'celebrate' 80 years on God's earth with his fellow cyclists next month.
I was pleased with the pub. The landladies were fun, the food was plentiful and the beer, if you can stop Phil from tasting yours, was hopefully to Graham's liking?
Finally thanks to Ken for keeping us together.
7 April 2016
Chiltern hills in the rain
Twenty cyclists met at the public car park by the Stag and Huntsman, Hambleden.
They were: Andrew, Phil, David B, Johns B and P, Bob, Jims C and W, Andy, Dennis, Rog, George M, Penny, Leslie, Steve S, Pat, Graham, Bill, Ralph and myself. Most cyclists pre-ordered food and paid for it. Bob did his own shorter ride as usual.
The weather forecasts all week had been predicting rain to various degrees. Being an optimist and looking at the forecast early on Thursday morning I thought we may get away with a dry ride and it started almost dry.
We set off at 10.30am, still optimistic about the rain, and climbed the hill to Rotten Row with rain gaining momentum. We cycled on and the rain got stronger, reaching Fingest and then the junction for Turville – time to put my leggings on, even though my legs were wet. Rog, Dennis and George left us here for a shorter ride – wise people. We cycled on up to Northend and got wetter but all seemed happy and wanted to carry on doing the full route. We arrived back at the pub just before 1pm.
Everyone got their drinks and waited a little while for the food to be served, but all seemed happy with the food even though slightly more expensive than usual. No punctures or other issues.
Thanks to Graham for back-marking on a difficult day.
31 March 2016
Avoiding the vans around Chesham
On my way to the Full Moon at Cholesbury I was thinking what a nice day for a ride – bright and sunny – then PANIC I had left my GPS at home so I asked John Budd to lead the ride as he had remembered his GPS.
Eighteen of us met: Pat, John B, David B, myself, Graham, John L, Andrew, Leslie, Ken, Steve H, Jim W, Steve S, Penny, Phil, George W, Tony, Zeina and Ralph. We set off at a good pace, John and I, and I stayed at the front until the first hill where I regressed to my usual spot at the back. It was a lovely ride through the lanes to Berko, where it was a bit busier, then downhill to Harriots End Farm and to the bottom of White Hill. This hill was the most significant on the ride being steep for a good way then around some very tight bends at the top getting even steeper, but I made it up without stopping, albeit very slowly; everyone else was out of sight in front until John stopped for a breather.
Through to Bovingdon and Chipperfield, somewhere here a Post Office van nearly ran into us and a bit later a White Van having pulled alongside me then pulled in not quite managing to knock me off my bike. We continued on at a good pace soon reaching Ley Hill; here Tony left us to do some shopping in Chesham before returning home to Bellingdon. On to Lye Green and then on the Chesham Road 30 mph down to Chesham Vale and a slow long hill back up to the pub. Apparently we had averaged 11.5 mph which seemed to please everyone.
Bob C joined us for lunch and also Ralph who had a mass of onion rings, the lunch arrived after about ¾ of a pint and seemed to be very good as far as I could judge.
My thanks to John for saving the day and to all of you for coming, it was a good ride.
24 March 2016
Aldbury, Ashridge and Whipsnade
Despite the threat of rain later in the morning, 22 riders assembled at the Valiant Trooper in Aldbury; they were: Bill, David B, George, Johns L, P and S, Ken, Nigel, Pete B, Richard, Roger B, Ron, Andrew, Phil, Steves B and S, Leslie, Colin, Pat, Philip, Ralph and Jim W. All those dining placed their orders, my apologies to those arriving after the specials blackboard had disappeared – I never found it.
Bob arrived after most riders had started the climb up Tom's Hill – he did his own ride and ate with us later. After the hill we headed towards Ringshall where Ralph chose to avoid the track through Ashridge and set off with a map to meet us at the Little Gaddesden entrance to the estate.
The main body of riders cycled through the estate past the Business School and up towards Little Gaddesden; Ralph was not at the entrance so we waited for about 10 minutes, left him a voicemail saying that we were leaving and then resumed our ride. We rode on through Hudnall and up Pedley Hill towards Studham, through Holywell and on to Whipsnade where Ralph rejoined us after his scenic tour.
A plunge down from Whipsnade took us across the Ivinghoe-Dunstable road where John S took the shorter route back to the pub. The reduced group went to Eaton Bray for our mid-ride refreshment break with Ken offering a selection of three and Roger B apparently trying all of them.
A few miles further west we arrived in Slapton (no, I had never heard of it either) which was our most distant point from the pub. With a few spots of rain and thoughts of lunch we sped through Ivinghoe Aston to the start of the bridleway that links it to Ivinghoe. Ralph chose to take the road to Ivinghoe while the remainder took the bridleway. At Ivinghoe, Philip left us because he had to return home early. Ralph was waiting for as arranged just a little south of Ivinghoe. The final leg of the ride to Aldbury included the last climb of the day and most reached the pub soon after 1 o'clock.
The Trooper served food to us quite quickly and Steve B's wife joined us for lunch. I believe everyone had an enjoyable meal.
My thanks to Ken and Tony who provide advice on the route.
17 March 2016
The Hale, Tring and Wiggington Hill
20 people set off from The Full Moon, Cholesbury, on a bright but crisp morning; these included Pat, Pete B, Johns B and P, Richard H, Jan, Dick, David B, Jim C, Ken, Rog, Dennis, Philip, Ian, Chris, Colin, Paul, Tony, Sheila and Andy.
As the numbers were reasonable we set off in one group. Having descended the beautiful valley of The Hale we wound around the back of Wendover and out through Halton. This meant passing a favourite coffee stop but we held strong. From Halton we wound around Halton airfield where they were preparing and indeed took off with gliders on tow. We passed through Bye Green to Aston Clinton via a slip road and joined for a short time the busier B489.
We took a country route through Puttenham, Astrope and Gubblecote. At a junction, I became mesmerized by another canal bridge and took an unintended circular route via Little Tring. At this point we realized that Ken and John P were missing and Richard held back to phone. We were soon back on track and of course everyone was too polite to mention the glitch. We headed for home on a tried and tested route through the back of Tring, New Ground and up the dreaded Wiggington Hill to Cholesbury.
Nor everyone stayed for lunch but those that did were served promptly with good food served with a smile. One puncture reported but in the good hands of John and Ken.
Thanks for coming.
10 March 2016
20 miles around St Albans
We started from the Three Hammers, Chiswell Green. There were 17 of us, 16 doing the full ride: Roger B, Peter W, Ken, Graham, Johns B, L and P, Dennis, George M, Ian, Pete, Steves B, H and S, Pat, Phil and doing a modified route, Bob.
The ride was an uneventful 20 miles which included St Albans, Gorhambury Estate (pictured) and Bricket Wood, apart from Bob getting lost but eventually finding his way to the pub, and my newly shop fitted brake block coming lose. I'll fit my own next time!
Towards the end, the 16 grew to 17 as Carol B joined; she was cycling home from tennis and saw us go by and managed to catch up with us. All but Phil stayed for lunch. The food was very reasonably priced and accordingly not of great standard but perfectly adequate. We waited about 20 minutes for the food but then it came almost all together. Food payment was not taken when we bought drinks, but we all remembered to pay as we left, good to know we can all still remember some things!
Thanks to Dennis for the photo.
3 March 2016
Enjoying the lanes east of Luton
With good weather forecast I was joined by 16 other cyclists at the White Horse in Tea Green, just outside Luton airport.
These were Andrew, David B, Dick, George M, John B, Ken, Les M, Pat, Phil B, Rogers B and L, Steves B and S, Zeina and 2 new riders, Peter W and Keith B. When I arrived at 9:30 there was a padlocked barrier across the car park but fortunately this opened at 10:00 and we were able access the pub to use the toilets.
With the lunch order handed in we set off in one group on the quiet lanes starting off down Stony Lane to Ley Green and on towards Preston where we headed down Lilley Bottom Road. More quiet lanes until we reached Kimpton where we went up the steep Cooper's Hill and then took a right turn towards Mackeyre End. Although we were faced with 'Road Closed' signs I decided to risk going down the lane and fortunately we were able to walk our bikes round the roadworks. We had our break at 11 miles outside the entrance to Mackeyre End House where we had a good view of the gardens. These gardens are open to the public on Sunday June 6.
Once refreshed we had a downhill run into Harpenden where we took the well surfaced, flat NCN route 6 until we reached the lane up hill to Copt Hall. We then took a sharp turn onto Chiltern Green Road and past Luton airport. At Darley Hall some riders took the direct route through a large puddle back to the pub whilst I took others on a slightly longer, but dry, course back.
Once we were in the pub we had news that Bob, who was doing his own short ride, was stranded around Breachwood Green. Steve S and I went to try and find him, however another good Samaritan had got him and his bike back to the pub. We had a long wait for our food but it was very good value, particularly for those of us who were able to choose from the over 60s menu! Thanks to Steve B for back marking. It was an enjoyable ride around some very quiet lanes on a cold but bright sunny day.
Many thanks to all who joined me.
25 February 2016
Around Burnham Beeches and the Jubilee River
On a crisp sunny morning 27 riders gathered at The Jolly Woodman, Littleworth Common. The 27 were Davids B and C, Ken, Alison, Lynn (new to the group), Roger B, Steves H and S, Dick, Mike, Bob, Leslie, Jim C, Andy and Sheila, Andrew, John B, Ron M, Ian, Malcolm, Phil, Graham, Dennis, Penny, Pat, Ralph and myself.
It was great to see so many but with numbers this high it was decided to split into two groups. Having ordered their food the first group of fourteen led by Mike departed on their way at about 10:20hrs followed by the second group at 10:30hrs.
It was a nice long downhill run into the Thames valley passing Dorneywood, the official residence of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, then through the outskirts of Burnham and through the village of Hitcham. We left the road in favour of the Jubilee River cycle way near to Dorney Reach and continued on in an easterly direction to pass the Dorney wetlands. At the weir across the Jubilee River by the sewage works we caught up with the lead group and decided to have a refreshment break to allow the lead group to get into the lead again.
Suitably refreshed we set off again and passed over the Jubilee River close to the Eton College, Agars Plough playing fields. We caught up the lead group again outside of the Slough Rugby clubhouse but this time decided to continue on our way. We then went through the grounds of Ditton Park and along the cycle way route 61 through Langley. We abandoned route 61 just prior to it passing over the railway and canal in favour of a route taking us past Langley station by way of Alderbury Road. The former lead group carried on along route 61 but had to turn back on encountering muddy conditions.
From Langley station it was up, on road, along the side of Langley Park and across the A412 Uxbridge road to the Iver Heath entrance to Black Park. From there it was off road again across Black Park to emerge onto road again close to Langley Corner. We were now entering the final stages of the ride, which took us past Stoke Common and along Templewood Lane to reach Farnham Common and thence across Burnham Beeches via the only real uphill of the day to reach The Jolly Woodman at around 13:05hrs. The former lead group arrived back about 15 minutes after us. As far as I am aware both groups had no major incidents on their rides.
The food and drink at the Jolly Woodman was acceptable but perhaps of variable quality. From the comments I heard I understand the soup was very good but the plaice not so good. My tuna brown baguette was just okay. That said, they did cope quite well with the numbers considering the limited staff on duty and everyone seemed to be enjoying the after ride chat.
My thanks to you all for coming and thanks to the various back markers Ken, Graham, others? and a special thank you to Mike for leading the lead/tail group.
4 February 2016
A record number in the lanes around Denham
Thirty riders met at the Dumb Bell on Shire Lane, Chalfont St Peter. Is this a record? The weather was much warmer and drier than recently and all the floods along the lanes had dried up.
A good number had cycled to the start. They were Ron B, Rog, Ken, Johns B and P, David B, Roger B, Dennis, Steve H, Jan, Richard B, Graham, Bill, Nigel, George M, Leslie, Colin, Andy, Ralph, Malcolm R, Jims C and W, Pat, Paul O`R, Pete, Anne (new rider) and the leader. Bob did his own ride; Mike P and Zeina also did their own ride and joined us at the pub.
We split into two groups, Jim W leading off at 10.15 assisted by Graham as back marker. The second group had gone less than a mile and Jim C had a puncture and reports indicate that he sent assistance off with a view to catching up and then discovered he had an incompatible spare tube, so he had to return to the pub. A short distance down the road we came across Ian who had a puncture on his car and was trying to figure out how to use the mousse as no jack or spare carried as on many new cars. David generously lent a hand but the mousse went off without going into the tyre, so there was not much more we cyclists could do.
Carrying on down to West Hyde we crossed and re-crossed the A412 and found the road closed up to Denham Green. As usual we carried on and managed to squeeze past the road repair gang who were most helpful and moved their lorry. Past Denham Aerodrome and back down again to cross the A412, we turned into Denham village. We exited at the A40 and used a section of crude but marked cycle path to turn into Denham Country Park where we wound our way through the woods to reach the canal at a very steep bridge. On the other side we used the track marked as a national cycle path all the way to South Harefield.
We used the road to cross the canal and made use of the track alongside the canal courtesy of the sailing club all the way to Black Jacks Mill. We crossed over the canal again and climbed the hill past The Old Orchard and stopped at the top for refreshment. The first group was glimpsed having just set off from their stop. Onward we went through Harefield and down to Springwell Lock, crossing the canal for the final time we arrived in Mill End. We crossed the A412 again and dodged through the housing estate to take the lane up to Chorleywood which we skirted and then went past Roughwood Park and Newland Park back to the pub. It was a shame to see so much rubbish and fly tipping along the quiet lanes.
The food arrived efficiently and was excellent value. Thanks to all for making it such a good turnout.
28 January 2016
Enjoying the cafe in Burnham Beeches
My ride was around the Burnham Beeches area. We all met at the White Horse Inn, Hedgerley, on a bright, sunny, yet cold, morning and pre-ordered lunch only to find that our large numbers caused many 'specials' to be over sold – a bit of a quick change to the selection required.
The group comprised Andrew, Andy, Bill, Bobbie, Chris, Colin, David C, Dennis, Dick, George M, Graham, new rider Heather, Ian, Jim, John B, John L, Ken, Malcolm, Nigel, Pat, Phil, Ralph, Rog, Ron, Steve H, Susan and Tony. With 27 riders we split the group into two with Rog leading the first group with Graham his trust back Marker, and my group followed later with Ken bringing up the rear. We rode up the hill towards Gerrards Cross, across to Fulmer Drive and down across the ford through the Alder Bourne where the stream was running high and we had to use the footbridge. Unfortunately Chris hit a bad bit and stumbled into the ford - he was wet but OK although his iPad looked sodden!
We then rode up to Black Park and left down Black Park Road, right up Rowley Lane to Wexham Street and across to Stoke Poges. Unfortunately my GPS had stopped guiding me after the ford incident and I had to rely on Ken's map. We eventually got to Farnham Royal and then up to Burnham Beeches for refreshments at their Coffee Shop. Lots of the newer members thought the idea of stopping for coffee was terrific!
We then cut through Burnham Beeches to Burnham. The faster group caught up with the slow group who had taken a sightseeing detour around the Beeches, so the fast group took the lead. We rode across to Taplow Common Road, up to Cliveden then across Heathfield Road to Dropmore, up to Harehatch Lane and then down through the Little Wood back to Hedgerley.
We ate in the covered outside area with the heaters on – to our surprise when Chris looked at his iPad it burst back into life. Apple technology!
We were back at 1pm as agreed – a total of 20 miles and only 900 feet ascent – a great morning's ride. My thanks to Rog, Graham and Ken – no punctures – a clear run.
21 January 2016
Enjoying some sun around Brill
It was good to see so many happy faces turn up for a ride on what was a cold (3°), damp, no sun visible and ice on the roadside puddles day, at The Rising Sun in Ickford for the regular Thursday ride.
As there were 21 cyclists we split into two groups and the early group was led by Rog – thanks for volunteering! – and the remainder set off at 10.30hrs led by myself. Despite the conditions we all made good progress and as we approached the major hill on the ride which led us up to Brill windmill both groups combined. Our scheduled break was at the windmill so it was good that we were all together to enjoy the break and apricots and ginger supplied as usual, thanks, by Ken and a few others.
It was nice that at this point the sun appeared and it became very pleasant cycling weather. Rog led some of the group on a slightly shorter route back to the pub, whilst the remainder carried on with the planned route, and suffered the only puncture of the day.
We had cycled through Shabbington, Long Crendon, Chilton, Dorton, Brill and Oakley and arrived back at the pub in good time for lunch which was supplied promptly and seemed to be enjoyed by all. Bob did his own ride of about 10 miles and we were joined for lunch by Bill.
My thanks to those who attended: Nigel, Greg, Roger B, Pat, David B, Johns B & P, George M, Dennis, Ken, Chris F, Les M, Graham, Rog, Penny, Andrews B and G, Jim, Ian, Phil, Mike and Bob.
14 January 2016
Warmer than expected around Whiteleaf Hill
Despite the dreadful weather forecast 14 hardy riders turned out for Thursday's ride. Numbers were down on recent weeks but this was undoubtedly due to the forecast – windchill of -3°C, rain, sleet and snow showers, and winds of 15 -20mph. The temperature was in fact a balmy 2°C for the start of the ride.
Those taking part were; Penny, Ken, Ian, Rog, Graham, George M, Andrew, Jims C and W, David B, Dick, Les M, Steve S and the ride leader for the day, Pat.
After pre-ordering food and coaxing some out of the warm bar we set off up the steady incline from the Peacock Inn at Henton. We turned left on the B4009 and shortly afterwards turned right to ride up and through the village of Bledlow. Passing the Church and sunken Lyde Gardens, apparently created by Lord Carrington, we turned right for another steady climb up to the Icknield Way, (thought to be the oldest track in Britain). Here we turned left for a nice relaxed stretch of mainly gentle descent to the A4010.
At this point 3 of the group opted not to tackle the 600ft or so of ascent that the planned route followed and we agreed to rendezvous at the Monks Risborough junction with the A4010. They headed off for Princes Risborough and the rest of the group crossed the main road and began the long climb, turning left at the first junction and then left again before turning right for the 400ft ascent which is Kop Hill. At the top we rested for a short while to catch our breath and congratulate ourselves and then enjoyed the long, fast descent down Whiteleaf Hill. At the bottom we regrouped with the other 3 and then headed through Monks Risborough and onto Owlswick and Ford. Here we stopped for a short break and treated ourselves to a variety of dried fruit and ginger.
Suitably refreshed we carried on shortly turning left for Haddenham and left again, passing near to St Tiggywinkles Wildlife Hospital. At Kingsey we turned right and then left for Towersey. After passing another old favourite pub, The Three Horseshoes, we joined the Phoenix Trail for a fast easy couple of miles, leaving it to pass through Forty Green and then up to the junction with the B4009 and back to the Peacock for just after 1pm.
In all we completed almost 23 trouble free miles and the full ride included a total ascent of around 1,400ft most of this being in the first 7 miles. Despite the forecast the weather held kind for us and although a little cold it remained dry and not too windy. Bob C was waiting to greet us in the bar and once we all had drinks and were seated the food was served very quickly and all felt it was both good quality and excellent value.
Thanks to Ken for back marking and thank you all for joining me on the ride, I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did.
7 January 2016
Cold and wet in the Chess Valley
We met at The Plough, Belsize, Sarratt, on Thursday morning, following a night of heavy rain, for a ride remembered by most, I imagine, for showers, wet roads, floods and mud and, later on, the gusts of wind and cold. Nevertheless, most people said that they had enjoyed the ride: some said nothing!
The route was 18 miles with 1550ft ascent, no mishaps and one puncture and passed through Flaunden, Chenies, Chorleywood, Loudwater, Croxley Green, Chandlers Cross, Chipperfield, Tower Hill and back to Belsize. The most flooded part was Rousebarn Lane and we skirted another flood by taking the high ground from Chandlers Cross to Chipperfield instead of Bottom Lane. By the time we got to Chipperfield it had got noticeably colder and windy so several riders took the direct way to Belsize. The remainder completed the route by way of Tower Hill and Olliberrie Lane.
The riders were: Richard H (Ride Leader), Jan, Les M, Rog, David B, Pete, Johns P and S, Ken, Pat, Nigel, Jims C and W, Andrew, Phil B, Penny, Richard B, Malcolm R, Steve H and Bobbie (who was welcomed for the first time). Dennis and George M took a shorter route and Bob joined us for lunch.
Many thanks to Julia and her team at The Plough for a pleasant lunch.
31 December 2015
Warm and sunny around the Chalfonts
A sunny interlude between the winds and rain that have been the main feature of December, was presented to us on this lovely morning for this 20 mile ride, starting from the Harte and Magpies on the A355 near Hodgemoor Woods.
A good number of riders turned out for this ride, but not all at the same time. They were: Mike and Zeina (who left at nine, and probably did a completely different ride altogether, at twice the distance), John and Cathy, Pat, Graham, George M, Les M, Jim C, Roger B, Penny, Rog, Leslie P, Chris F, Steve H, Jim W, Ralph, Greg and new rider Tony B. These were joined after a few miles by Jan, Richard and Leon (guest). Steve S arrived a bit late, and caught up with us towards the end, and Phil B arrived even later (didn't catch up?) but joined us in the pub, along with Bob.
Cathy took the first group, and John followed a bit too quickly after, so by the time we reached Penn Street we were all mixed into one group. Jan, Richard and Leon joined us near Penn Bottom. At Knotty Green we turned East, crossed the A355, then headed North at Seer Green. At the top end of Chalfont St Giles we all stopped for apricots and chocolates and then reformed into what was probably two different groups, John leading the first (nobody opted for the shortcut).
We went past Milton's cottage, then along to Chalfont St Peter and skirted Chalfont Common. As we turned North, we came across the first and only puddle that blocked the whole road, which John gleefully went straight through and got his feet wet. The following riders had the sense to keep their feet up (or had waterproof booties), and did not suffer the same fate. We crossed the A413 into Chalfont St Giles again, took a right then about three miles back to the pub. In Cathy's group, George had a broken gear cable, but struggled on regardless.
No punctures on the ride at all, the pub food was served promptly and was of good quality. It didn't rain, and the sun was out most of the time – I call that a result!
Thanks to Pat for back marking, thanks to all of you for joining us and we hope you all have a wheelie happy new year!
Cathy & John.
17 December 2015
Enjoying the scenry around Missenden
We returned to the Deep Mill Diner, near Little Missenden, to start today's ride. Several riders were already at the start before Ken and I arrived at 9.50am. 13 riders pre-ordered their lunch.
Those cycling were: Andrew, Colin, Graham, Jan, Johns B and S, Ken, Nigel, Pat, Penny, Phil, Ralph, Steve H, Bill and Willie. Zeina flew in at the last minute, Jim C joined us after a couple of miles and I was there most of the time.
Just after 10.30am we departed on a 21 mile ride via South Heath and onto the glorious Pednor Circuit. Unfortunately, on reaching the Bell Pub in Chartridge Penny had a blow out - she didn't believe it was a puncture, but I did. Many folk joined in repairing the puncture, but the inner tube caused major problems having to be changed several times. When we thought it was repaired it had to be changed again and fortunately Zeina had a spare of the right variety. I now suggested half the riders continue the route as a forward party. Off they went with Jan trying to join them, but she stopped and turned round as she now had a puncture. Jan's tube was then replaced.
It was now decided that the rest of us would take a shorter route missing out the Hale and Wendover. This turned out to be pleasant and scenic, rejoining the original route at Kingsash. Cycling back on the original route we arrived at the Diner at 1.00pm having cycled about 17 miles. The forward party arrived around twenty minutes later having cycled the full route of almost 21 miles.
Good lunches were provided for those who stayed, with much discussion. The weather had been dull but dry. It was good to see Sue and Vic again at the Diner – we would like to see them out cycling with us again.
Thanks to Ken for guarding the rear again.
Regards and Christmas wishes
3 December 2015
Enjoying the Hambleden Valley
27 of us met at the public car park in Hambleden village: Penny, Rog, John P, Ian, Leslie, Jan, Richard, Zeina, Les's C and M, Iain, Steve H, Roger B, David B, Andy, Greg, George M, Pete, Pat, John and Cathy, Nigel, Willie, Colin, Brian M, Jim C and Ken.
With these numbers I decided to split into two groups and Richard and Les C kindly agreed to lead and back mark the first group of 12 which set off at about 10.20am. I understand that as they went past the car park in Mill End they were joined by Malcolm.
After handing our food orders in to the Stag and Huntsman, the rest of us set off just after 10.30am heading south down to Mill End where we walked over the weir and took the track up to Aston, followed by the lane along to the edge of Henley. Here we crossed the Thames and cycled through the town passing the busy street market and then climbing Gravel Hill past Grey Court before taking Rocky Lane which took us up to the B481. Shortly before we got to the main road we caught up with the first group which had stopped to repair a puncture – they were well into the repair and had plenty of help so we decided to continue on. I'm told that the bang had been like a gunshot and this was evident from the split in the tube which must have been at least 4 or 5 inches long.
Luckily the B481 was not too busy as there were no alternative quiet lanes we could use so we followed this for several miles passing through Highmoor Cross and Nettlebed up to Cookley Green where we stopped for the usual snack break. Just as we were starting off we saw the first group approaching but that was the only time we saw them. After a short distance we took the quieter road to Christmas Common, the highest point on the ride, and then there was a nice ride down to Turville via Northend. We took great care on the steep, narrow lane but luckily it had dried out somewhat from the recent rains. I hear that the first group decided to take the alternative road from Northend via Turville Heath, probably adding about half mile to their ride.
After Turville, we took the Watery Lane bridleway to Skirmett and then continued down the valley and back to Hambleden having completed 22 miles. We had just finished putting our bikes back in the cars when the first group started to arrive and after getting our drinks and settling at the tables our food arrived fairly quickly and was enjoyed by 21 of us.
Apart from the puncture I was not aware of any significant incidents. Special thanks to Richard and Les for keeping the first group under control and to Roger B for keeping the back of my group in order.
Thanks to the rest of you for joining me, the second highest numbers that we have had on a ride to date.
26 November 2015
Up and down around Brill
Twenty two cyclists met at The Old Fisherman Pub in Shabbington. They were George M, Richard H, Greg, Nigel, Pat, Johns P and B, Colin, Pete, Ken, Steve S, Andy, Jims C and W, Andrew, Rog, Penny, David B, Paul O, Phil, Ian and Jan.
After a little Conga through the village, we set off on a steady climb to the historic town of Long Crendon. A long descent, followed by a stiff climb to Chearsley and then we continued climbing to a crossroads where we headed left descending again before climbing to Ashendon. On these roller coaster roads we progressed to Ludgershall where we took a break in the village by Church Lane to contemplate the known hill to Brill.
We set off again, arranging to meet at the monument at the top of Brill, allowing people to do the hill in their own time. This gave us a second little break before taking the mainly downhill route back to Shabbington. Heading down to Oakley, whizzing down the hill, I was made aware of a puncture at our last set off point. Ken, I was told, had stayed behind with 3 or 4 others to help. After a phone call we cycled back to the pub as we were on the home run through Worminghall and Ickford to Shabbington.
We arrived on time at The Old Fisherman. Ken's group arrived not long after. Lunch took a little while but was good value and the staff were very pleasant and helpful. The ride was about 22 miles, along quiet roads. It was quite overcast but we had no major rain showers.
Thanks to Ken for taking care at the rear.
19 November 2015
In the rain from Radlett to Ridge
Twenty four of us turned up on a pretty cool and damp morning at The Three Compasses in Patchetts Green on the outskirts of Aldenham.
We talked much about the chance of rain before voting with our pedals and heading off down Pegmire Lane to Letchmore Heath and onward to Radlett. We crossed Watling Street and climbed past the big drums in Radlett. By this time I had inherited two local guides in Andrew and John L, both who would come in handy later when the odd diversion sign appeared or when the faster riders wanted push on or go mud plugging!
We separated into well ordered 'packs' to ride the bus route up to Shenley where we turned right and glided down towards Borehamwood, turning left into High Cannons and the start of horse country. From there to Ridge, a small hamlet near the South Mimms Service Area (but you wouldn't know it). Just past Ridge and at the most northern point of our ride we rested and stocked up on dried fruit. Here they are during a respite in the drizzle:
Now we turned south back from Ridgehill, past Shenley Hall into Shenley and then hot footed back along the bus route into Radlett turning into 'The Avenue'. At the end we broke up into two parallel groups, those that rode along Watling Street and those that bumped alongside on the pathway.
We turned into Smug Oak Lane at Colney Street and then shortly after split into two groups – the road group and the riverside bridleway group; the latter numbered 12 (the dirty dozen on a day like today). Willie took one handed video shots of the excursion, probably to add to his cycling chronicle (?). All I could catch was this while picking up a thorn in my rear tyre:
By now the rain had started to increase and I could hear pleas for short cuts, so we called off the other bridleway excursion and tucked our heads down and rode smartly down through the Brickett Wood and onto the Meriden Estate in Watford. From here we used Otterspool Lane to pass through Wall Hall College and Aldenham Village and finally back to the pub. This part of the course I no longer led as I was struggling to keep my back tyre inflated (two air canisters and pumping like a dervish).
We all huddled near the open fire in the Snug and polished off the food, not that romantic with a load of wet cyclists! To my hardy fellow cyclists, thanks for putting your hands up to riding in the wet: Ken, Rogers B, L and R, Richard B, Dick, Pete, Pat, Johns B and L, Steve S, Gordon, Penny, Ian, Phil, Andrew, Jim W, Nigel, Graham, Willie, Greg, Colin and Ron.
Distance circa 22 miles, total elevation 988 feet, temperature 10 degrees and precipitation various.
5 November 2015
Enjoying the Chiltern Hills (and valleys)
The weather forecast for the day suggested a comparatively dry period between about 10.00 and 13.00 but the dry period was not evident at 10.30 when we set off from the Pink and Lily on Parslow's Hillock.
We passed through Loosley Row, and were able to see the windmill, crossing the A4010 to Saunderton Lee. We then headed north to join the Icknield Way Path (a minor road) and south towards the ridge above Radnage, our first serious ascent. About this point, the weather began to improve and spirits rose especially as we had a downhill to Radnage where we took a minor road down a pleasant valley towards West Wycombe.
About ¾ mile north of West Wycombe we took another minor road through a valley leading north to Saunderton Station, mostly a gentle climb. Crossing the A4010 again, we tackled Smalldean Lane and the very steep hill leading up to the road through Naphill. Three riders chose to take the short route to the pub but the rest of the pack rode south past the RAF Command centre and its Spitfire, turning east towards the North Deans. We rode through Lower and Upper North Dean and on to Speen where we took the road towards Great Hampden and rode the last couple of miles to the pub. The weather had become dry and mild and we all arrived before 13.00 feeling warm and comfortable.
The 18 riders were: Ken, Richard W, Nigel, Andrew, Johns P and S, George M, Cathy and John, Pat, Leslie, Jim C, Rog, Penny, Ian, Greg, Jan and myself. Some could not stay for lunch but Dennis and Bob joined us.
We were served promptly and the general opinion was that the food was good. Service was cheerful and efficient.
29 October 2015
Up and down in the wet around Cholesbury
We met at the Full Moon on Hawridge Common in time to pre-order our lunches. As my two earlier rides this year were both extremely wet, I was hoping that this would be third time lucky.
The weather forecast suggested otherwise but the morning began dry with even some brightness. I was surprised by the number of people who turned out, several counts confirmed this was 22: Andrew, Jims C and W, Johns B, P and S, Nigel, Richard, Jan, Dick, George M, David B, Rogers B and R, Ken, Zeina, Pat, Ralph, Steve B, Ron, Phil and Penny. By the time we set out the expected rain had begun and continued throughout most of the ride varying between light and steady rain but happily no really heavy downpours.
We turned right out of the pub along the side of the common before turning left down a steep narrow lane towards Heath End only to climb up again. In fact much of the ride was up and down without any of the climbs being overly long. After a further descent we climbed again up to Hog Lane and along to Ashley Green where we crossed over the main Chesham to Berkhamsted road onto Two Dells Lane, which lives up to its name involving two short descents each followed by a short climb.
It was then along to Whelpley Hill and the steep descent and climb up to the Berkhamsted Road again. We went over the A41 and along Shootersway (the only really busy part of the ride). We crossed over the A41 again and turned sharp right to run parallel with it. We stopped opposite one of the entrances to Champneys for a brief rest and refreshments. Here I was warned that the next descent was where Jim C. had a puncture the previous week and where he had heard of someone else having the same problem. After the descent, which was naturally followed by a climb, I began to feel it was harder work than it should have been and stopped to find I had a flat front tyre. I pushed the bike up the rest of the hill and Zeina, who seemed very excited by the prospect, quickly took charge and the inner tube was soon replaced. (You put me to shame, Zeina, as I am always happy to let the men take over at such times – thank you).
After some difficulty in re-inflating the tyre, we continued on our way to Wiggington. Whilst the puncture was being fixed Rog appeared, having been delayed at home he arrived at the start 10 minutes after we had left and set out alone not expecting to catch up. From Fox Lane in Wiggington we took the bridleway through the woods above Tring Park. Although covered with leaves the path was firm and presented no difficulty for road bikes. We then rode towards Hastoe taking Shire Lane back to Cholesbury. Here we were close to the pub and the riders were given the option of a short cut to lunch. The majority decided they were happy to do this. I have to admit to secretly hoping everyone would, however, as ride leader I felt duty bound to ride the loop which brought the distance up to 21 miles, just under 18 for those who didn't.
The pub served us all extremely efficiently and there were no complaints about the quality of the food. We were joined at lunch by Bob who had decided not to ride given the conditions.
Thanks everyone for turning out despite the weather and making this an enjoyable ride.
22 October 2015
Aldbury, Cholesbury, Wendover and Tring
22 of us gathered at the Valiant Trooper in Aldbury: Chris F, David B, Dennis, George M, Graham, Greg, Ian, Jan, Johns P and S, Les M, Nigel, Pat, Patrick, Penny, Pete B, Phil B, Philip, Ralph, Rog, Steve B and Bill.
We split into a first group of 9, led by Graham with Steve back-marking. I led the second group of 13, backmarked by Phil. Thanks to Graham, Steve and Phil for volunteering. We rode via Dudswell and the longish climb up to Champneys back entrance, where Jan had our only puncture of the day, soon repaired but with the larger group now ahead of the smaller. Then on to Cholesbury, the 14% descent to The Hale, through Wendover, then largely flat to Halton Village where we had the date, almonds and sweets stop. I should claim advance planning, but by fluke it had a proper public toilet in the field, rather than the simple hedge I'd suggested.
The second group met us at the stop and we again set off as two groups, via Aston Clinton, Buckland, the B489 past the Tring Reservoirs on to Marsworth. Here the slightly longer ride and faster pace led the first group to debate the merits of a shortcut via the canal, but instead voted to carry on via road to Pitstone but then via Tring Station instead of the final Icknield Way Trail climb. The second group took the same route.
We arrived back at Aldbury just after 13:00, 23 miles and 1,300 feet of climb. Food, drinks and service at the Valiant Trooper were good, so much so that Dennis booked us in for the Christmas lunch.
Thanks to all for joining me on my first lead. A little bit slower and shorter next time?
15 October 2015
In the lanes around Beaconsfield and the Chalfonts
A group of 18 riders (Ken, Pat, Rog, David B, Greg, Bob C, John P, Nigel, Jan, Bill, Jim C, George M, Richard B, Dennis, Penny, Colin, Ralph and the leader) gathered at The Royal Standard of England, Forty Green, ready for an on-time start to the ride.
We passed quickly through Knotty Green and onto the Penn Road where we parted company with Bob, who was doing his own shorter ride as he continues his recovery from his accident. We then turned right onto Clay Street and right again along Marrod's Bottom, up through the woods past Hertfordshire House and along Botterells Lane to Chalfont St Giles. All continued to go well and after passing through the outskirts of Chalfont St Peter and along the side of Gold Hill Common we finally arrived at the refreshment stop by the side of the pond on the north-west side of Gerrards Cross Common.
Just as we were leaving, David discovered that he had a puncture. This was quickly fixed and we set off again through to Hedgerley and what was going to be the steepest hill of the day, Andrews Hill. In the event we were running a little behind time and there was a group decision to cut out a loop through Burnham Beeches and take the gravel track past Pennlands Farm. The gravel track proved much firmer than on previous visits and all negotiated it without mishap.
After crossing the A355 we proceeded without event along Harehatch, Green Common and Broad Lanes to Holtspur. Ralph left the main group in Holtspur to cycle over to Amersham while the remaining 16 riders made their way back to The Royal Standard via the outskirts of Beaconsfield and a final climb up Holtspur Top Lane.
I hope you all enjoyed the ride. My thanks to Ken for once again acting as back marker for the whole ride.
8 October 2015
Enjoying the quiet lanes east of Luton
With good weather forecast I was joined by 14 other cyclists at the White Horse in Tea Green, just outside Luton airport.
These were: Andrew, Colin, David B, George M, Jim W, John B, Ken, Nigel, Pat, Phil, Richard B, Rogers B and R, and a new member, Pete Bradshaw from Luton. Fortunately the pub was open for us to use the toilets …and with the lunch order handed in we set off a couple of minutes early on the quiet lanes, starting off along Brick Kiln Lane and then down Chalk Hill.
After a short run along Lilley Bottom we headed up White Hill to Great Offley where we passed the first Red Lion of the day. We continued on the lanes to Preston where we passed the second Red Lion and then had a downhill run through Hitch Wood. We then followed more quiet lanes to skirt round St Paul's Walden and Whitwell before ending up in Kimpton. From here we branched off the main road and up Claggy Road before heading uphill to Breachwood Green where we passed our third Red Lion. We then had a short run back to the White Horse at Tea Green.
Although the pub was very busy, we didn't have to wait too long for our food which was very good value, particularly for those of us who were able to choose from the over 60s menu! Thanks to Ken for back marking. It was an enjoyable ride around some very quiet lanes on a warm sunny day.
Many thanks to all who joined me,
24 September 2015
Two ride special
ride 1: The main ride from Sarratt
The early morning rain had passed and the cloud was clearing as we assembled at The Cock in Sarratt and ordered our lunch.
There were 17 of us, namely Richard H, Steve B, Paul, Jim W, Penny, Rogers B and R, Graham, Bill, George M, Johns B and S, Phil B, Jan, Pat, Bob and the leader. Bob was planning his own shorter ride so 16 set off in brilliant sunshine around Sarratt Green through Common Wood to Chipperfield.
After the gentle climb up Tower Hill to Bulstrode we were all warmed up and many removed a layer. Through the lanes and a water splash to Felden, we descended part way down the hill towards Boxmoor, where we took the rough byway to avoid the traffic on the A4251. Crossing the railway, bypass, main road and canal we cycled along the valley towards Berkhamsted where we turned up the hill towards Little Heath for our brief halfway stop.
We descended again and threaded our way alongside the canal and railway through old Berkhamsted to the church where we crossed the high street and rode up Chesham Lane to regroup outside Ashlyn`s School. Having crossed the A4251 and A41 again we turned sharp left to tackle White Hill on the way to Whelpley Hill. Joining the busy B4505 for a short way we quickly turned off and took a familiar route through Bovingdon Green and Belsize and a short climb back up to Sarratt Green.
After 21 miles and a hilly 1850ft of climbing we arrived back about 1.15 and found it warm enough to eat outside in the sunshine. The food arrived reasonably quickly, despite the restaurant being very busy. The food was of a good standard, however on the dear side.
No incidents to report and many thanks to Graham and John B for keeping me on the correct route and acting as back markers.
Thanks for joining me.
Ride 2: the London ride
On a damp and very cloudy morning, a group of eight cyclists had got up very early in order to be at Enfield Lock at 0800 hrs for a trip to London.
They were Iain, Dick, John L, David B, Ken, Zeina, Yvonne and myself. Whilst we were preparing to start it did not rain but once on the move it rained for about an hour, after which it was mainly cloudy. Additionally, due to the heavy rain, the Lea Valley trail had numerous puddles which managed to soak those areas that the rain had not touched! We cycled down through Tottenham and Hackney and stopped for a few minutes to look over the Olympic Park. We had covered 10 miles and had not been on any roads.
We then had to go on a few quiet roads to get to the Northern Sewage outfall built in the 1870s to move the sewage from North London to the Thames. Nowadays the sewer has a good surface, is ideal for cycling and walking, is very quiet and it does not smell! Then a few still not busy roads brought us to City Airport and a coffee stop. A few hundred yards away was the Emirates Air Line Thames crossing cable car – very cheap for the group at £3.40 each, including bikes. At this point the sun came out and we enjoyed some wonderful views of the London area.
Back on the ground we went past the O2 and through some work in progress areas to reach Greenwich, but as we were early for the pub we spent some time looking around the Greenwich Cutty Sark area. The pub, the Pelton Arms, treated us well locking our bikes in their garden whilst we enjoyed some good sandwiches and beer – they were getting ready for a beerfest at the weekend with 35 different beers and ciders.
Well refreshed and on our way we stopped to admire the statue of Peter the Great (with a very small head) in Deptford and then wound our way along the river bank through old docks to the Hilton Hotel where we wheeled our bikes past the reception desk and down to the pier to catch the ferry to Canary Wharf. We then cycled by the Limehouse Basin, stopped at The Prospect of Whitby pub to look at the (replica) gallows there, before going around Shadwell Basin and along the Ornamental Canal.
Shortly after that we had to join the London traffic from near Tower Bridge and around Aldgate to Liverpool Street station but even these roads were not too busy or dangerous if you were careful. After this we returned to Enfield by train having cycled 30 miles.
The trip was a first for some of the group who had never taken their bike either on a boat, train or cable car and regretfully most also commented that their bikes had never been so dirty! My thanks to all who came and helped to make it a good, if somewhat different, ride to a normal Thursday.
17 September 2015
Up and down from Gt Missenden
We started and finished the ride at The Black Horse Inn, Mobwell, Great Missenden.
Dennis planned and organised the ride, took lunch orders and joined us for lunch but, regrettably, he was not well enough to lead it. This was done by Richard H, Andrew and John B. They were joined on the ride by: Bill, Dick, Georges M and W, Ian, Jan, Les M, Malcolm, Nigel, Pat, Penny and Ralph. Bob did a more local ride and joined us for lunch.
The route took us through Great Missenden, up Nags Head Lane to Prestwood, down Perks Lane to Hampden Road, down the hill and up Bryants Bottom Road. We crossed Pink Road and on up to Whiteleaf. We then descended to Monks Risborough where we had intended to continue by way of Owlswick, Marsh and Bishopstone to Butlers Cross. In the event, we stopped to help a van driver who had gone off the road. This delayed our progress so we shortened the ride and went to Butlers Cross by way of Smokey Row, Great Kimble and Ellesborough. We then ascended the hill to Chequers and down the long stretch of Rignall Road back to Great Missenden for lunch. We covered 20 miles.
10 September 2015
Out in the Vale in the sunshine
The sun shone as we assembled on this glorious autumn day at The Grand Junction Arms in Bulbourne. We were Andrew, Bill, John and Cathy, Chris, Dennis, Dick, Greg, Ian and Sue, Jan, Jim C, John P, Ken, Les M, Nigel, Roger B, Stewart, Graham, Penny, Ralph and Philip.
We set off south west down the B488 and turned right onto the Tringford Road, and over our first of four early crossings of the Grand Union Canal. As we headed up toward the reservoirs I remembered not handing in the pre-ordered lunches and I didn't have them with me! So after passing the reins to my trusty back-up, Dennis, I hurtled off back to the pub.
Dennis took the ride up through Long Marston, through Wingrave and on to the morning stop at Aston Abbotts where great views of the Chilterns and Aylesbury Vale from Windmill Hill were taken in, along with some apricots no doubt. As the ride came back into Aston Abbotts I caught up and resumed my role to cycle through Cublington and Wing.
A lovely fast downhill stretch took us to a short climb up to Mentmore where we stopped briefly at The Stag to reassemble for the last stretch to Cheddington, over the Grand Union for the fifth time at Cooks Wharf, before joining the B489 for a brief sprint to Bluebells Tearooms (after a sixth crossing of the canal). Then along the well surfaced towpath back to the pub for a great lunch taken in the garden overlooking the canal and the works yard beyond.
Bob did his own mini ride and met us at the pub. Good food was served promptly as we soaked up the last of the summer sun. Thank you for joining me and to Dennis for stepping-up and to Ken for sweeping-up!
3 September 2015
In the lanes around Burnham Beeches
16 gathered at the White Horse, Hedgerley: John P, Jim C, Richard H, Penny, Andrew, Leslie, Ian, Roger B, Greg, Ken, Bill W, Chris, Jan, myself, new rider George M and the welcome return of Dennis. Bob did his own ride and met us on our return to the pub.
Comments about the slight feel of autumn were soon dispelled as we climbed the short but steep warm up hill out of Hedgerley. The ride then followed an undulating route through Fulmer, skirting Black Park, Wexham Street and Stoke Poges, to reach Farnham Royal. After a short break on the southern edge of Burnham Beeches we followed a series of lanes, which I confess all looked the same despite having recce'd the route, to arrive at Cliveden.
From here the route was fairly straight forward via Hedsor, Odds Farm, Jennings Farm and Pennlands Farm, and the short section of off-road gravel along Kiln Lane back to the pub. With no problems, apart from my navigation, we made good time over the 20 odd miles arriving back just before 1pm. The pub had missed a trick by not having the salad bar on the menu card/chalk board – a lesson if we use this pub again – there was probably no need to pre-order.
Thanks for coming.