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Archive for the ‘Ride reports’ Category

Ride to Ayot St Lawrence Gardens on11th June

Posted on Tuesday 13 June 2017 by Charles Harvey

Another ride and another visit to gardens open under the National Gardens Scheme. My rides in the summer may be a bit formulaic but it’s a formula that seems to be popular. I was joined by eight other riders at St Albans City station, including two who’d travelled from Oxfordshire. After clearing St Albans, we headed via Sandridge to Charlie’s at Wheathampstead for brunch. Charlie’s has become an increasingly popular destination for cycling clubs and large numbers of bikes were parked outside the café when we got there, including a contingent from Islington CC who had ridden all the way from London.

Some of our number rode direct to Ayot St Lawrence, others chose a longer and much hillier route. Though the ride had been planned to visit the two gardens open to the public that day there was also an art exhibition in the village’s distinctive Palladian church and a beer festival at the Brocket Arms so all tastes were catered for.

There were two gardens to look at, a large garden at West House and on the other side of the road a smaller one at 2 Ruins Cottages (not a comment on the state of the cottages, they are situated next to a ruined church). The latter was smaller with bowers looking out on to the garden. The weather was fine, the gardens beautiful, the beer good and the cakes delicious. All seemed right with the world.

We took a direct route home along the Sandridge to St Albans Road, arriving at the station just as the 17.04 train to London pulled into the platform.

My thanks to Colin Wing for acting as backstop throughout the day.

St Paul’s Walden Bury – 14th May

Posted on Thursday 18 May 2017 by Charles Harvey

I’m not much of a gardener but when I am looking for ideas on rides to lead in the summer the first place I look is the National Gardens Scheme website. This guarantees an attractive destination and a good variety of cakes.

For once Network Rail failed to disrupt the ride and, to my surprise, all the riders arrived on the expected train. As the garden did not open until 14.00 we could afford to take our time. We set off for elevenses at Charlie’s in Wheathampstead and then went on to lunch at Emily’s at Whitwell, both well-known cyclists’ watering holes. At Emily’s we met up with three members of Barnet Cyclists also heading for the gardens.

En-route to the gardens

St Paul’s Walden Bury, our destination, was the childhood home of the Queen Mother and is still in hands of the Bowes Lyon family. The grounds are bigger and shaggier than some of the gardens I’ve visited. The efforts of the gardeners have gone into producing fine vistas rather than manicured flower beds. more »

Chilly Hilly

Posted on Thursday 4 May 2017 by John Silvertown

Not so chilly as hilly! Brian O’Reilly took us on a roller coaster of a ride, along some high ridges, and up and down and sideways along the valleys from Chalfont and Latimer to Chesham. On the way there were some spectacular views of the countryside, It was a complicated route which he navigated perfectly along a series of beautiful country lanes and through some picture postcard villages.We paid a short visit to St Marys Church near Wendover where although no tea and cakes were forthcoming we saw some exceptional stained glass windows. No one was lost and we all felt reinvigorated by this exceptionally invigorating ride.

 
 

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Naomi Wolf’s Saturday in Hell

Posted on Friday 14 April 2017 by Martin Hayman

The 2017 Paris-Roubaix Challenge was the second time testing my legs against the worst cobbles northern France has to offer (writes Naomi Wolf). For us Sportive riders, this was a “Saturday in Hell”. My companion in this year’s campaign, as last year, was Stephen Taylor. We selected the 145 km route which offers 19 cobble sectors and from a logistics standpoint is simple because the start and finish are both in the famous Roubaix Velodrome. The longer, 175 km route is point to point and has 28 cobbled sectors…19 were more than enough for me.

It starts with 50 km of delightful French country lanes from Roubaix before reaching the first sector, the famous Forest of Arenberg… more »

The Man Who Wasn’t There

Posted on Thursday 6 April 2017 by Martin Hayman

It was Nick Bloom who introduced me to the delights of the Chilterns and beyond, into Oxfordshire, where some of England’s most picturesque villages are to be discovered.

When I first joined CTC I accompanied Nick and our American friend Rory Rhodes on several traditional and well-honed Audax rides here and elsewhere, and one year, to my surprise, placed mid-table in the AUK Tourist Competition (I did not know I was entered into it by default). In fact the first blog report I posted here was the Muswell Hills 200k event, which I found hard pounding.

Events moved on and in recent seasons I have preferred shorter, faster days out with the 4* gang. But this last winter illness prevented me from riding at all. My first return to a ride of any distance was at Nick’s invitation on the traditional Amersham—Waterperry out-and-back.

Nick, Linus, and I bunked off midweek from Marylebone station and enjoyed a glorious day of spring sunshine, more »

The day we met a Dame

Posted on Monday 3 April 2017 by John Silvertown

What a wonderful ride with an average speed of 14km/h! Watch out two star here we come!

Tonbridge is where we cut our teeth this week. Some off-road through woods but mostly on-road. Pleasant views. Plenty of slopes and some hills. 40km, with 570m of climbing in total. A short visit to the Chiding Stone followed by a surprise tea at Cafe 1809 where we were served by no less a personage than Dame Kelly Holmes who was a real inspiration. Thank you Lisa and Roy for a great day out.

 

 

A day fit for a Queen!

Posted on Sunday 2 April 2017 by Sabina Carchesio

I’m always nervous when its my turn to lead a ride. You want people to enjoy the route you’ve selected and for the weather to be good.  Today we had glorious sunshine; the first day I got my ‘legs out’.  I’m not a huge fan of spending an hour on the train which makes leading from Richmond a great spot. Twelve met in the morning and we started out by heading to Richmond Park and picked up two more at Kingston Gate.  We ambled through the side streets to Kingston and then braced the busy road just before Hampton Court.  We veered towards Sunbury, Shepperton, Chertsey, Virginia Water and then turned into Great Windsor Park for a calm respite away from traffic.  With Heathrow, M4, M25, the reservoirs, and the Thames there are only so many roads available that make the ride out to Windsor a scenic journey.  We entered the Deer Park and stopped for a photo in front of the Royal Mile.  Due to the sunshine, you could easily see Windsor Castle in the distance (and Slough unfortunately!).  The morning’s ride was longer and by this time we were peckish so we headed for the exit gate to get on the main road.  Someone shouted turn around, its the Queen and by golly there she was sitting in the front passenger seat of the LandRover behind me.  I stopped and gave her a royal wave but she blanked me. Oh well.  In 15 years, this is only the second time I’ve seen her but this time I was very close.  What a five second thrill!

In Windsor Great Park

We had lunch in Eton and then headed towards Datchet, Wraysbury back into Shepperton and the home stretch through Teddington Lock, Ham and then Richmond.  In total just shy of 80km and we were back at the train station for 15.30. I must thank Colin for volunteering to be back marker and Sarah Khedhouri for lending me her bike. For some strange reason, I always have a bike catastrophe just before I have to lead a ride. Is someone trying to tell me something?   Anyway, we kept great pace and it was so wonderful to see old friends and new faces.

Charlie’s and Emily’s

Posted on Tuesday 31 January 2017 by Charles Harvey

The plan for the ride was to “Learn that CTC stands for Café to Café or, alternatively, Coffee, Tea and Cakes. Your chance to visit two well-known cyclists’ refreshment stops, Charlie’s in Wheathampstead and Emily’s in Whitwell.” It seemed that it would be a straight forward ride to lead. But then I had not reckoned with the railways …

I wrote in an earlier blog that “I sometimes suspect that Network Rail has a specialist unit that monitors the CTC rides list and then plans engineering work to disrupt it.” These dark suspicions were strengthened by my experience with today’s ride. On Thursday night, I checked the National Rail Enquiries website for train times to St Albans and discovered that no train times on Sunday were listed. Having checked the Thameslink website well in advance re: planned engineering work, I was rather surprised so I checked it again. The only engineering work listed was at the other end of the line between Three Bridges and Brighton. I could relax.

Then on Friday I got an email from Anna more »

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