2013 Hertfordshire

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Total distance: 116 miles (185.6 kilometres)

Three of us cycled around Hertfordshire in June 2013.

Starting from my house near Gordon Hill station at silly o'clock in the morning we set off westwards past Parkside farm and out towards Hadley wood and Barnet. Crossing the A1 at Trotter's Bottom - which I've always thought was a lovely name for anywhere - we carried on out to Elstree and Northwood. Once through there the idea was to stop for some breakfast around the other side of Watford, but in the event we decided to press on as it looked like it was about to rain.

This was a good idea, since almost immediately we got into the woods it started to drizzle, and then bucket it down. Going up the hill past Chipperfield the rain eased off a little, but it continued to at least think hard about raining for most of the rest of the day.

We cycled on along the Westernmost edge of our route, up between Hemel Hempstead and Berkhamsted, and then threaded our way through the Gaddesdens - Great, Little and Row - before crossing the path of our previous route around Bedfordshire a couple of years ago round the back of Luton airport. That time it was raining so hard the road was a river, and we had to stop cycling for 20 minutes until it eased off a little. This time was a trifle drier, and we even took a few moments to stop and chat to some model aircraft fanatics who were testing their newly set up runway and field a little south of the big boys' airport.

As lunchtime approached Barney happened to mention that, "The pub just around that corner is the one we stopped at on the way around Bedfordshire," so we obviously had to stop there again and remind the landlady how lucky she was to host us twice! Strangely she didn't seem that impressed, but the food was still good, and we managed to dry off a little as well.

The best thing about the afternoon was the lack of large hills. Except for the big one at the beginning after lunch, and a couple of other slightly smaller ones later on. After that we hit the towpath beside the river Lee, and spent about twenty miles on a flat towpath. Lovely.

The final section was back in town, coming west from Enfield Lock, and by that time we were just happy to be getting near home again. We arrived back where we started a shade under 15 hours after setting out, so we definitely didn't break any records, but we can blame Barney's puncture for at least some of that.... (Can't we?)