Posted on Monday 1 January 2007 by Ken Peters
An interesting bit of trivia. I was on a CTC ride on the first and last day of 2006. That may sound good but there are others who accompanied me on both those rides, namely, John Snuggs and Nick Bloom. There may be others but this is my report and all I can do is apologise for not name checking any others.The main topic of discussion, as we met, was what the weather would be like. I confidently told those who wanted my opinion that the only real problem was going to be the wind as any heavy rain would arrive well after we finished. I can thank www.metcheck.com for the forecast and, once again, recommend this site to you as it proves, time after time, very accurate and today was no exception. Having a good idea of the weather is, in so many ways, more important during the cooler months and has allowed me to enjoy at least two rides in this month that I could easily have missed if I had not had an accurate idea of the meteorological conditions on the road.
Altogether there were eight hardy souls gathered for the ride; Inez Thorn, Nick Bloom, Kelvin Dane, Paul Foster, Robert Johnston, Charlie Keep, John Snuggs and myself. Nick and Charlie having joined at Kentish Town which was more convenient for them. A special mention to Kelvin Dane who was joining us for his first 3-star ride
The other topic of conversation on the train journey was the woeful cycling provision on the train. It was not helped that the train was short but there was not a cycle space in the four carriages and as the train was going via Luton Airport it was also pretty full of people with heavy items of luggage that also takes up plenty of space. However, most of the other passengers were remarkably sanguine about the space taken up our group,
Once on the road things went remarkably smoothly as we headed south towards the edge of Hitchin before turning off and returning into Bedfordshire, The first part of the route, for about 20Km, undulates so we were able to have some pleasant but not over taxing riding in nice rolling scenery. After that the terrain was mainly flat and with the wind, mainly, behind us we kept up a very high tempo until we reached our lunch venue; The Crown at Northill. The last mile or so of the morning featured, almost, the only stretch of riding into the wind which was a warning of some hard work for the afternoon
After a splendid lunch which I reckon to have been one of the best for 2006 and was highlighted by splendid service from the welcoming staff of the Crown we decided, guided by the sure hand of the “Father of the Chapel”, John Snuggs, that the combination of expected bad weather and 30Km of riding into a headwind we changed plans. The afternoon then became a short spin to Bedford, where we could get the same train that we would have picked up at Flitwick, but, more importantly, meant that we would not be riding directly into the heavy wind that was driving the threatening weather from a south-westerly direction.
On reaching Bedford we found that the timing was spot on as there was a train waiting and so we were returning to London by 14:20 after a very short day. Many thanks to John for navigating us back through the streets of Bedford and for his suggestion that we cut the ride short which was surprisingly agreed to by all. I suppose that none of us had too much to prove in terms of the distance that we had covered.
Many thanks to all who turned out in the face of some unpromising weather and I hope to meet you again on the roads in 2007. In all we covered 55.39Km and I attained a maximum speed of 57.9Kph