Storm Ciaran had swept along the south coast and battered Jersey and cancelled the Netherlands Headwind Cycling Championship on Thursday. So although there was no weather warning for St Albans on Saturday, we were a bit wary of the rather poor forecast. Based on past experience of forecasts changing in the run up to a ride and weather usually being better than forecast, we held off cancelling and kept a wary eye on the Met Office. But when the forecast still looked like this...
Saturday 4 November 2023
Saturday 21 October 2023
Although St Albans was not as hard hit by Storm Babet as other parts of the country, we still had some fairly wild weather in the days before the ride. However, it dawned dry on ride day and five riders gathered to go further and faster. We welcomed two newcomers to the group, and we were glad to have one of the leaders back with us after an injury. For all these reasons a fairly gentle ride had been planned.
We set off eastwards along the Alban Way. Progress was straightforward until we encountered a fallen tree almost entirely blocking the path in Hatfield. A concerted effort managed to move it sufficiently to at least allow a pushchair to get by.
We continued along NCN12, turning off for Woodhall Farm and under the railway to the cafe at Stanborough Lakes. Despite it being October, it was comfortable sitting chatting outside under the awning with our drinks and cake. It was good timing as the tables were filling up as we were about to leave!
The rain's arrival destroyed any notions of a longer road-based route back, but we were rewarded by a close-up of a heron perched in a tree by the lake. Thanks to our earlier efforts it was easier to get past the fallen tree, but the rain was pretty unrelenting, until (as predicted) it died away when we reached Morrisons and a rainbow rounded off a ride of around 15 miles.
Saturday 14 October 2023
It's a busy month, leaders and riders have limited Saturdays available for riding. Thus we had a mixed group today, the Further Faster element wrapped up warm and enjoyed going a bit more slowly, the Fabulous went a little bit faster and, ahem, a bit further that usual. And were also wrapped up warm, temperature has dropped, but it was beautifully sunny.
From our start point in Fleetville the seven of us headed over to Jersey Lane. As you do, we helped a couple of riders we met along the way - one of them had dropped their chain and it was stuck between the smallest cog and the drop-out. Taking the wheel out did the trick, and they were soon on their way again.
Saturday 16 September 2023
Two slower and four faster riders all set off west along the Alban Way. The faster group was soon well ahead, and by the time the slower duo turned into Holyrood Crescent the quartet was a distant blur heading uphill.
The duo cycled under the M10 roundabout, along the A414 cycleway then a nifty nip through to the Mount avoided us having to toil uphill on Watling Street and launched us down through Park Street. We turned into Whippendell Lane, then got ourselves across the park and into Frogmore pits. This is a delightful ride, we took it nice and slow to enjoy nature and avoid being stung by nettles, the path is a bit narrow here and there.
Saturday 2 September 2023
Three Further Faster and two Fabulous riders set off from Fleetville. As we rode considerately and carefully along the shared footway a grumpy man told every one of us that cycling was not allowed. He was told five times that it is. We did not engage further but rode on, looking pointedly at the shared space signs. Sigh.
The Further Faster group went all the way along the Alban Way to the very end then wended their way back through Hatfield, Colney Heath and Tyttenhanger.
The Fabulous pair went more slowly along the Alban Way as far as the milepost, where they paused for a little fettling.
From there they took the bridleway through to Wilkins Green Lane. This bridleway is a little sketchy in places, there are some deep ruts and it is slippy in the wet. Dry today, but with the additional challenge of an extensive fly-tip, they got past but only just. Fly-tip reported using the ClearWaste app. (ClearWaste website) On to Ellenbrook and back along the Alban Way, enjoying the renovations at Smallford station.
At Hill End Lane they turned off to ride through Highfield Park, and the two groups coalesced on Highfield Park Drive. Coffee was calling, so we went direct to Ayletts and through to the festival field. We enjoyed coffee and chat in the Tea Tent then strolled through the dahlias and the Celebration Garden.
The return to Morrisons was via the Camp Cycle Route, which SADC Green Spaces Team have recently tidied up, restoring the path to full useable width. Chapeau!
Saturday 8 July 2023
As last month, a wary eye on the weather forecast, which was different every time we looked in the days and hours before the ride. As we gathered in Fleetville the forecast was rain around 1pm and a yellow storm warning.
Unusually, the slower group was ready for the off before the speedy group, and we nearly took one of them with us as a result. Three set off up Woodstock Road, dodging the roadworks and 'enjoying' some spots of rain. We had a lovely ride down Jersey Lane, greeting other path users and getting friendly replies. As we had made good time to Sandridge and the rain had stopped, we ventured further and headed along the track to Nomansland and along Ferrers Lane to West End Barns. The sky might look blue in the picture, but that's blue-grey.
Always a good choice of comestibles, this time we particularly enjoyed sausage rolls, flapjack and orange cake. And we admired the sweet peas by the till.
We went up to Ragged Hall Lane, along Stanley Ave, up Chiswell Green Lane, then down Noke Lane. This was not as gravelly as expected fortunately, as three of us were on road bikes. We took our life in our hands when crossing the A405, then went up Lye Lane to Bricket Wood, and through to Drop Lane where we stopped to take photos.
We returned via Park Street and Chiswell Green to the Lazy Llama café. We then dropped down Robert Ave and along the Alban Way. We arrived back at Morrisons having done 16 miles, but then the rain came as we were cycling home.
It was a really nice ride, and we're glad we didn’t cancel due to the forecast.
Sunday 11 June 2023
The leaders were rather wary of the forecast for very hot weather, and had contingency plans to shorten the rides. However, the care taken to plan routes with shade in mind meant that full distances were ridden. With this being our SustFest contribution, we were delighted to welcome two riders who had not been with out with us before. Our meeting point is in the shade of Morrisons Hatfield Road frontage.
There were two riders in the shorter ride group. We headed along the Alban Way and turned off at Hixberry Lane into Highfield Park. We admired the first of many wild rose flowers on today's outing.