After last year’s successful trip around the Chilterns followed by lunch in The Oaks at Harefield, Ian organised a repeat performance this year.
Meeting at Harefield, we split into two rides, with Ben, Nic and Tim in the fast group, and Paul C, Sara, Shane, Jerry, Sue, Chris P, Vince, Jason and I in the slower group. Our lot had a very pleasant ride including some regular features like going down Hatches Lane and up Bryant’s Bottom on the other side, which seriously stretched the bunch out as Shane tried to wind up Jason but ended up having a battle with Paul, while I held on for as long as possible. Regrouping at the top, I experimented with some ‘new’ routes, cutting across the Rignall road valley and the river Misbourne (A413) valley which involved some pretty lanes, albeit a bit mucky and a few ups and downs, up to The Lee and then back a fairly standard route to get back to The Oaks bang on time for lunch at 12:30.
Ben, Tim and Nic went a bit further afield, and suffered from a couple of mechanical mishaps along the way. With Tim leading a route out to the Crong and Ivinghoe Beacon before heading back through Hemel Hempstead and Rickmansworth, things started to go wrong when Ben snapped a spoke descending from the Crong. Roadside repairs bodged the wheel into a workable shape, only for Tim to snap his chain climbing less than 20k further on. Again, the problem was quickly resolved and the three pushed on to make it back to Harefield just after half twelve.
We were joined by Gary and Calvin, who’d narrowly missed the meeting time (sorry, guys, everyone was freezing), Keith Shorten, who I’m predicting will be able to continue doing this until at least his 80th birthday in a couple of years’ time; then there was Dinesh who turned up without a bike (I never found out why) and Frank who came along later, having already spent some time at another lunchtime party in London, I believe. I make that 17 members, which isn’t bad at this time of year.
Anyway, we all had a fine Christmas dinner, with a few decent beers. Cheers, and Merry Christmas everyone!