WelHatCycling

People On Bikes

Past Events from 2013

Dec 2013

DECEMBER SATURDAY SOCIAL RIDE

A small select group set out on a bright, if a bit chilly Saturday morning to ride the newly resurfaced Alban Way and the proposed route of the St Albans Green Ring. We were all impressed by the new surface on the Alban Way. (So good, you even notice the gradients, because you can freewheel down them!).

The proposed Green Ring route joins a number of established cycle routes and minor residential roads to form a complete circle around the City centre; linking many schools and community facilities. We stopped occasionally to discuss the schemes on parts of the route, which at the time was out for consultation. All of which seemed very sensible to us as cyclists.

Arriving back on the Alban Way at Morrisons, one of our party wanted to visit Cotswold Outdoors, in Victoria Street. So he invited us to try Cafe Alfresco (fortunately we didn't have to sit outside) across the road from Cotswold, for lunch and a chat. Hunger satisfied, we couldn't resist re-sampling the resurfacing delights of the Alban Way back to Hatfield.

Full details of the Green Ring proposals can be found here.

Oct 2013

OCTOBER FAMILY RIDE

Last of the Summer Rides?

Somewhat later than planned for 2013, 11 riders (including 5 children) took full advantage of the last warm day of the year with a short child friendly ride to our old favourite, the North London Society of Model Engineers miniature steam railway.

From Wrestler's Bridge, Hatfield we cycled along Alban Way.

Full steam ahead along Alban Way

Full steam ahead along Alban Way

With a group of older children than last year we were there in 45 minutes and had time for a couple of rides behind the miniature locomotives. A highlight was an engine using a bent tea leaf strainer as a spark catcher! And to prove they run a real railway there was engineering work on the other line, closed since 2012, where a new tunnel is being built by the cut and cover method. Something to look forward to on next years ride.

OCTOBER SATURDAY SOCIAL RIDE

This was a first: a WHCF ride along the Cole Green Way blocked by a fallen tree. Adam the ride leader says "We need a saw for this" only to find Roger our Treasurer had one in his rucksac! So we set to, sawing and pruning and moving and shifting and soon had the cycle path clear. Off we set again for about 200 yards before finding another tree branch that had to be dispatched, which was why Roger had brought the saw, having seen it earlier in the week. Having already swept glass off the cycle path in Welwyn GC, the eleven riders defininately did their good deeds this day.

Cole Green Way tree clearing en-route

Cole Green Way tree clearing en-route

Our destination, the Food and Drink Festival in Hertford, was a bit disappointing, as we'd been expecting something more extensive around the town, instead of just a few stalls and a farmers market. However, this didn't stop us tucking in at Serendipity's. Sadly Roger's reward for all the sawing was to find his lunch order getting lost (most unusual) and therefore being much delayed, but they did give him a free orange juice by way of an apology.

Having led the route outwards from The Forum Hatfield along National Cycle Route 61 to pick up riders at Morrison's, on the way back those returning to Hatfield took a short cut across Welwyn GC via Beehive Lane to the QE2 and Mill Green Museum. Here the short and very green bridleway just beyond the car park leads to the A414 traffic lights, a good safe place to cross the A1000. This is the very path taken by Beatrix Potter of Peter Rabbit fame when she stayed at Bush Hall. One day there will be a Beatrix Potter Cycle Path from Mill Green to Stanborough. You will join us on the ride won't you?

AUGUST SATURDAY SOCIAL RIDE

Aug 2013

AUGUST SATURDAY SOCIAL RIDE

Our second Saturday rides often end up at a cafe and August was no exception. This time the destination was The Orchard Cafe at Shenley Park, which is apparently very popular with groups of cyclists.

Seven adults and two youngsters set off from The Forum in Hatfield, heading for National Cycle Route 12 in Welham Green. We crossed the A 1001 and then pushed our bikes up the steep embankment at a set of steps to join a recently improved path which joins up with Delsome Lane. This is not an official cycle route but there are hopes that it will become one if the University gets permission to build it's new sports facility nearby.

We left route 12 where it turns south off Dixons Hill Road, crossed the bridge over the A1 into North Mymms and took the first left turn. That brought us to St Mary's Church where we joined a bridleway heading south. The track was initially smooth and level but then there was a fairly long steep climb which slowed us right down. On cresting the hill we stopped for a short rest before enjoying a lovely descent through the woods, coming out onto Blackhorse Lane. At this point we were joined by a tenth rider who had intended to ride from the start but been delayed by a puncture.

We headed west on Blackhorse Lane till it met the B 556 and used a short section of parallel bridleway before rejoining the main road where it goes under the M25, then took the second left turn onto Rectory Lane. This was a nice quiet lane with almost no traffic and it took us practically all the way to Shenley Park. There were loads of people at The Orchard Cafe but there was plenty of table space outside and we enjoyed our lunch in the sunshine.

Orchard Cafe lunch

The lunch party at Orchard Cafe

On the way back we varied the route a bit, taking Mimms Lane to South Mimms and a different bridleway through the woods, joining route 12 south of Water End. The youngsters had seemed a bit reluctant at the start but they managed fine and everyone seemed to enjoy the ride.

Here's an interactive map of our route out and our return.

And here are the .gpx files for the outward and return routes.

July 2013

JULY FAMILY RIDE

Normally when leading a bike ride you worry about wind and rain. Not our recent ride: Heat and sun were the problem, so I was very pleased the ride was to Wheathampstead via Sherrardspark Wood and the Ayot (tree lined) Greenway.

Sixteen of us made the trip including two cycling children and one 2 year old in trailer. As a consequence we were much faster than last time, when there were lots of stops for children, and we only took 45 mins to get to Wheathampstead.

Here we watched the parade and went to the fair, after a sausage baguette and other delicacies at The Swan. Later, searching for a cappuccino, your ride leader found Jack's café, which is handily placed right at the end of the cycle path. Nice coffee and nice cakes, so we will go there again.

One historical detail about Wheathampstead: The Lea used to be the boundary between the Danelaw (aka the Viking North) and the Saxon England of King Alfred the Great, so we had cycled across an ancient international boundary. Not often WHCF manages that!

Danelaw plaque at Wheathampstead

Danelaw plaque at Wheathampstead

Our next family ride will be our annual outing to see the miniature steam engines at Colney Heath. If you'd like reminder, please sign up for our mailing list. See the Contacts page.

June 2013

JUNE SATURDAY SOCIAL RIDE

A small but keen group of aircraft anoraks assembled at The Forum for our ride to the De Havilland Aircraft Heritage Centre at London Colney. Apart from a few short sections of very quiet lanes and some main road crossings, our outward route followed fairly level, but sometimes rather bumpy off road paths all the way to our destination. This included a relatively new bridle path alongside part of Coursers Road, created as part of reinstatement works following gravel extraction. Unfortunately this path has so far mainly attracted horse riders, so the stone dust surface has not settled down to the smooth surface that regularly used cycle paths offer in this material. More cyclists needed urgently!

The museum is stuffed full of de Havilland memorabilia, including many complete planes that you are allowed to inspect inside. But we didn't just go to look at planes. There was a bike on display; part of the kit installed in a WWII troop landing glider.

We could have stayed longer, but our bikes were eager to get going again. For the return ride, we decided to be adventurous and venture into uncharted territory along a route that one of our members had suggested when we first proposed visiting the Museum. This led us through Mymmshall and Hawkshead Woods across to Water End where we joined NCN12 for the ride back to Hatfield.

You can see the route we took here.

You can download a gpx trace of the route here

April 2013

APRIL SATURDAY SOCIAL RIDE

Once again Kinetic Cycles in Welwyn Garden City was our starting point where we met some familiar faces and some new, including a 5 year old on a trailer bike towed by dad.

This leisurely ride took us along no less than four offroad routes, including Sherrardspark Wood, the Ayot Greenway, a section of The Chilterns Cycleway, and the Nickey Line.

Our destination was The Hub at Redbourn, one of the first combined cafe and bike shops in Hertfordshire. It was set up by proprietor Simon Barnes in 2012. Here we sat and chatted over soup, coffee and cake.

Rain set in during the return ride but failed to dampen our spirits as we retraced our route.

Overall we spent a very pleasant day along off road routes where we didn't have to worry about motor vehicles and with a great lunch stop in Redbourn.

Soup, coffee and cake
Soup, coffee and cake at The Hub, Redbourn

February 2013

FEBUARY SATURDAY SOCIAL RIDE

We met at Kinetic Cycles in Welwyn Garden City for a ride to Emily's Teashop in Whitwell. We managed to miss the snow again (which started falling the following evening) and enjoyed relatively mild conditions with just the odd spell of very light drizzle. We followed national cycle route 57 into Sherrards Wood, stopping briefly to phone Emily's and let them know how many to expect.

We continued on quiet lanes along route 12 through Ayot St Peter and down to the river Mimram where we turned left onto the Kimpton Road. When we reached Codicote Bottom we turned right and then left just after the bridge onto a muddy bridleway which was fine for mountain bikes but only just passable with skinny tyres. After a very short road section we turned off onto another bridleway which continued up the river on the same side before emerging onto the Codicote Road. A couple more miles and we were in Whitwell where we followed signs to Emily's Tea Shop.

Emily's is recommended on the website of the Central London CTC in their list of cycle friendly pubs and cafes in Hertfordshire. It was nice and warm inside and they had already put enough tables together for us to sit round. As well as tea, coffee and cakes they did soup, sandwiches and jacket potatoes. They also have a bike workshop attached with some second hand bikes and bits for sale.

After eating it was tempting to stay and chat but we still had to get home and a bit of prompting was required to get the group mobilised. There was a suggestion we avoid the bridleways this time but people seemed happy to tackle the mud again rather than ride on the roads so we retraced our route back to Welwyn Garden City and the end of another successful ride.

In the garden at Emily's Teashop Whitwell


The happy band in the garden at Emily's Teashop Whitwell
And yes we do have bikes somewhere...

You can see the route we took here. Click the Play button at lower right to watch a replay of the route.

You can download a gpx trace of the route here

January 2013

JANUARY SATURDAY SOCIAL RIDE

Ten people braved chilly weather, fortunately ahead of the snow the following week, to ride from The Forum Hatfield along NCN12 to South Mimms for a sociable break over tea, coffee, pizza and cake at the cycle path services. (Apparently motorists can reach them from the M25). We rode on to Potters Bar via the ford over the Mymmshall Brook. Given the cold and a deep river, everyone took the wise decision to use the bridge. At the station many people chose to ride back to Hatfield, but your ride leader, with son on new bike, took the train. Well he's only ten and 10 miles was enough for shorter legs on a new Islabike!

Outside South Mimms Services
Outside South Mimms Services

Tea and Pizza, South Mimms Services
Tea and Pizza, South Mimms Services

You can see the route we took here. Click the Play button at lower right to watch a replay of the route.

You can download a gpx trace of the route here

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