Philobiblon: 25 miles, a bit of mud and a lot of winter sunshine

Sunday, March 05, 2006

25 miles, a bit of mud and a lot of winter sunshine

Deciding I needed a change of scene, I hopped on the bicycle today for 25 miles around Hertfordshire (with central London CTC) - starting from New Barnet and heading for Shenley, among other parts. Just out of town we passed through the site of the old Barnet Fair, a traditional horse fair (although now only an annual fun fair), for which we can thank a bit of traditional cockney slang. Barnet Fair = Hair = name for a haircut.

Not having been on the bike recently I was a bit worried about keeping up but I needn't have been; it was a very slow 25 miles, and that wasn't due to me. But I did enjoy the new experience of bridle path riding; luckily, due to the astonishingly dry winter it wasn't THAT muddy, but I've still got a satisfying spatter all over the bike, and managed a few frantic wheelspins along the way.

Another of the party had a puncture (I really must buy a kit for such occasions) so I had a useful lesson in "how to fix a puncture" that I'll probably need some time.

Consequently we reached the pub at 2.02, and they'd stopped serving the full menu at 2. That was 2.00, precisely. You've got to love English ideas of service - still I had the Stilton's ploughman's that was quite respectable.

Among the highlights were the birds - a field full of curlews (at least I think they were curlews) and many waterbirds navigating around the ice on the gravel-pit lakes.

And a little more history - the rather nice little South Mimms church ...

and its old rectory, which I'd date to late 16th-century ... (although I might be wrong).

As you can see, it was a gorgeous day to be out on a bicycle, and I'm sure my thigh muscles will recover eventually ...


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