We reconvene on Saturday 9 March 2019, and we will be celebrating #BalanceForBetter. This has always been the theme for Five Miles to Fabulous, seeking to even out the gender imbalance in cycling by encouraging more women to cycle.
Although sometimes women and their bicycles infiltrate in unexpected ways....
What a difference two weeks makes - a grey winter morning for our final ride of 2018, although not as cold as it has been, mind you, we were all well wrapped up. We had greatly enjoyed our visit to the Birchwood Methodist Church coffee morning this time last year and those present - there were five of us - all endorsed the suggestion of a repeat outing.
Rona has a new gizmo, so we have some action shots to share.
The Alban Way is scenically leafy, although most of the leaves are now on the path. Smallford Station platform is carpeted.
We had a straightforward and enjoyable run along the Alban Way, counting birds and shopping trolleys. We decided to go the longer way round to Birchwood, ie along to the very end of the Alban Way, passing some birches, then down the Great North Road and back round to Birchwood Methodist Church.
We were warmly welcomed, and we enjoyed coffee and mince pies and flapjacks and a bit of shopping - lots to choose from, including crafts, preserves, books, dvds and bric-a-brac. Something for every pannier / stocking!
St Michael's and All Angels just along the road were drumming up interest in their Winter Fayre, we were waved at by a large furry creature as we headed for home.
We had covered 6 miles on our outward ride, we took a slightly shorter route back, albeit with a diversion through Wilkins Green, to give us a total ride distance of 11 miles.
Recognising the risk of rain in the ride schedule gave us.... a beautiful autumn morning. Bright blue sky, not too cold and glowing leaves. Six out today, the Alban Way was a golden tunnel for us to ride through, heading west. From the end of the Alban Way we would up through the houses to Watling Street and on to the Watford Road.
We had sent a further faster pair on ahead, they put in an extra loop up to Potters Crouch, the other four just bimbled along Stanley Avenue. The two groups arrived simultaneously at Valentina's cafe, next to the Chiswell Green Post Office. A good selection of Italian treats and hot drinks in classic crockery kept our inner women going.
We rode back in one bunch, through Greenwood Park. This section was gloriously colourful.
We came back in via Verulamium Park and the Alban Way, a very enjoyable 8.5 mile ride.
Teresa reports: Three of us set out on a frosty, bright morning to go via
Sandridge to Symondshyde Woods, then via Nashe’s Farm Lane and House Lane to Oaklands
College. We headed east on the Alban Way to the Galleria, and we stopped for
coffee at the Sports Village in the De Havilland campus. We returned to St Albans by way of Wilkins Green Lane and the Alban Way. It was a beautiful day for a cycle ride of just over 20
Three of us waited at Morrisons for the rain to ease – it
had not been forecast! We then went along the Alban Way, crossed the railway
line at Cottonmill, and worked our way through the estate to Vesta Ave, Robert
Ave and Watford Rd. We went along Ragged Hall Lane to the Holly Bush then along
Appspond Lane, where there were lots of puddles. We crossed the Hemel Hempstead
Rd to go into Gorhambury, where we discovered that the road was closed due to
a shooting party. [see note below] So we came back up Beechtree Lane, then along the Hemel
Hempstead Rd, down Bluehouse Hill to Verulamium Park for a coffee stop. We
split up afterwards to go home. It was a short ride (9.5 miles), but the
weather brightened up, and we were pleased that we had been out.
Gorhambury Drive confers permissive paths leading from Bluehouse Hill, Beech Tree Lane and Redbourn Road. The Drive is normally open 8am-6pm and may be closed at the owner’s discretion at any time. Last access to the Drive will be 5.30pm each day, with the gates to the Drive being locked at 6pm.
Gorhambury Drive is closed on Saturdays from 1 September to 1 February and other days as notified additionally on the estate website: https://www.gorhamburyestate.co.uk/
Four fabulous women were bright and beautiful in waterproofs this morning! Very grey, damp in the air and rain forecast later. We decided to go over to Sandridge by the most direct route, ie Woodstock Road, Homewood Road, Marshalswick Drive to the King William junction. Then down Valley Road and onto Sandridgebury Lane.
By riding at a suitably sedate pace we arrived at St Leonard's Church just as they were opening the Flower Festival for the day.
Autumnal! Above the exterior view and below the aerial view of the church. The Associate Minister actually was at the door to welcome us and had just positioned his knitted avatar in place to match!
The Harvest Flower Festival theme this year is All Things Bright and Beautiful and the arrangements were many and varied. A visit is recommended - open until 6pm today and 11.15 to 6pm tomorrow (Sunday) Concert tonight at 8pm with Village Voices Community Choir. You will need to go and visit, as I was so enjoying the flowers that I omitted to take pictures, except for one of the patchwork, to delight our sewing section:
We were made very welcome at St Leonards, and had a good chat over coffee and cake in the useful space at the west end created in 2004/5 with a beautiful glass partition.
We headed for home shortly after 11, it was now raining, so we rode steadily up Jersey Lane, getting a 'thumbs up' from a cheery youngster out on her bike to encourage us to get back before the weather deteriorated.
A return visit to Sandridge is indicated, since we now have copies of the excellent tour and history booklet. Check events and opening times on the church website: http://www.sandridgechurch.org.uk/
I have been tidying out my emails and came across this gem that one of our fabulous riders spotted and sent through a while back.
This reminded me of the time I met a mother and daughter doing an audax - the husband /father had encouraged them to enter the 'short' option. "How long?" they asked him. "About forty" he replied. He meant miles, they thought he meant minutes. We found them about half way round and two hours in. We gave them all our energy bars. The final outcome of this story I don't know - they would eventually have been 'swept' by the audax organiser. And people wonder why we have women-only rides!