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Archive for January 2016

Not the usual Little Green Ride

Posted on Tuesday 19 January 2016 by Charles Harvey

I’d never been on a Little Green Ride (LGR) before. Knebworth and Stevenage are not on a convenient railway line for me and the 3rd Sunday of the month clashes with Barnet Cyclists rides. Yet last Sunday I found myself leading a LGR. I’d responded to an appeal by John Silvertown to take over a ride he was no longer able to lead. I said I’d do it but I didn’t know the Knebworth / Stevenage area well enough to lead a ride from there without prior reconnaissance. I could however lead a ride from Welwyn Garden City (WGC) “off the map” so, unusually, this LGR started from there.

It had snowed during the night and as I drove up the A1(M) to the start point I saw snow covering the fields and wondered if the minor roads would be safe to ride on. In the event I needn’t have worried. The temperature was 2 degrees so the so the roads were ice free but the countryside was picturesque with the fields still covered with snow.

I don’t seem to have much luck with WGC. The last ride I led from there didn’t start until lunchtime due to problems with the trains. This time the five riders coming up from London were dumped off a faulty train at Finsbury Park. They got on to another, slower train and arrived about half an hour late. WGC is a slow station to get bikes out of and we didn’t get going until about 11.30.

Then things began to go more smoothly. We exited WGC through Sherrardspark Wood and went along country lanes though Ayot Green and Ayot St Peter and made better time to Wheathampstead than I’d expected. We stopped in the village at Charlie’s tea room where we’d booked a CTC (coffee, tea and cakes) table in advance.

I’d included a loop in the ride through Ayot St Lawrence and Lower Gustard Wood which could be left out if the weather was bad or we were well behind time. We did have time to ride it and have a quick look at various sites of historical interest, including the grave of Aplsey Cherry- Garrard, the Antarctic explorer, the old Wheathampstead railway station and Shaw’s Corner, home of playwright and CTC member George Bernard Shaw.

After lunch, back in Wheathampstead at The Swan, we headed towards Hatfield via Symondshyde Great Wood, Hatfield Business Park, once the De Havilland airfield, and the Alban Way to Hatfield Station for the journey home.

I’d like to thank Paul Krebs for acting as backstop throughout the ride and for wearing such a conspicuous hi-vis jacket that made it easy for me to spot him from the front of the ride.

Tragical Mystery Tour

Posted on Monday 11 January 2016 by Charles Harvey

The last time I tried to run this ride it was rained off at lunchtime. This time we were luckier with the weather but not entirely. It didn’t rain but when I rode the planned route earlier in the week I discovered that two of the roads I’d planned to use were flooded and I had to change the ride.

The ride was billed as “unsuitable for the history averse” and it gave me the chance to show people various places of historical interest in or near St Albans. 13 people met at St Albans Station. Interestingly there were six present who regularly lead rides for the CTC or LCC so I had a critical audience.

We started in St Albans, following the courses of both the First and the Second Battles of St Albans during the Wars of the Roses. We then headed north, passing iron age fortifications at St Albans and Wheathampstead. Lunch was at The Swan and as usual the service was as quick and the portions generous. I’ve already booked to pub again for lunch on the next ride I lead.

After lunch, we visited the grave of Apsley Cherry-Garrard, Antarctic explorer and author of “The Worst Journey in the World”. Sadly, we couldn’t see his monument in the church due to building work. Next historical stop was the old Wheathampstead station and opposite it Wheathampstead House, which was the home of Field Marshall, Lord Cavan.

From there we rode to Ayot St Lawrence to see Lord Cavan’s grave and Shaw’s Corner, home of George Bernard Shaw, playwright and CTC member. At this point the ride not so much ended but disintegrated as one party headed towards Hatfield station and faster and slower groups headed towards the station at Harpenden. Those going to Harpenden passed Mackerye End House, a grade 1 listed building largely dating from 1665. Its gardens will be open to the public on the 5th June There are plans to organise a CLCTC ride to go and see them – watch out for the next rides list.

My thanks to Anna and Alison for acting as backstops and to Ian for leading the ride for those returning via Hatfield.

Spare Central London CTC club kit

Posted on Sunday 10 January 2016 by Ruth Evans

I have a couple of items to give away as they don’t fit me. The winter jacket in XS (actually not that small) and a race jersey in XS (tiny!). If anyone would like these at no charge give Ruth a call on 07547 702852.

Hampstead Blue Plaque Ride

Posted on Friday 1 January 2016 by Brian O'Reilly

It was a dull overcast and rather ‘heavy’ day as eight ‘heavy looking’ cyclists, feeling the effects of ‘Cold Turkey’ no doubt, met outside Waitrose, Finchly Rd to cycle to view where the great and the good once lived in Hampstead.

Our first ‘Blue Plaque’ residence was a sudden steep walk up to Netherhall Gdns where Sidney and Beatrice Webb, founder members of the Fabian Society and the LSE, lived. We then mounted our bikes, took and deep breath and cycled round the bend to Marsefield Gdns to The Freud Museum where Sigmund Freud lived. After analysis, we all ‘in harmony’, peddled a few yards to the former residence of musicologist and folklorist Cecil Sharp.

There would be no more blue plaques for a while as we detoured down to Swiss Cottage and on to the Regents Canal at Lisson Grove via St. Johns Wood. We cycled along that pleasant towpath stretch to Camden Lock. We then ’emerged up’ to cycle through Kentish Town up to Parliament Hill Fields across Hampstead Heath to South End Green where we had lunch in Mandy’s cafe. Stopping on the way to ‘examine’ the bullet marks on the outside of the Magdela pub where in April ’55 Ruth Ellis shot her lover David Blakely, she was the the last woman to be executed in Britain when she was hanged in Holloway prison in July ’55. more »

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