Thursday morning saw another good turnout; sixteen Windmillers gathering at the Fox & Duck, Therfield, all well-wrapped against the cold – apart from Victor, who was in shorts. Crikey, Victor, it’s 3°C!
Rod’s route took us south from Therfield, with an early coffee stop just nine miles in at Ardeley – or at least that was the plan. Half of us did indeed stop there – but were bemused to see the other half sail by, seemingly oblivious to the prominent sign, ‘Farm Café & Coffee Shop’. You can only lead a horse to water,eh?
They did eventually find a café, though it was 10 miles further, on Buntingford High Street.
Back at the pub, we were delighted to hear it was Martin B’s birthday – and he duly bought us all a beer. Happy Birthday, Martin!
For the record, the turnout was – Alan, Andrew, Brian, Charles, Deborah, Geoff, Graham, Iain, Ken, Martin B, Maurice, Nigel, Rod, Roger, Sandra and Victor – and we clocked up 26 miles
It was a St Patrick’s Day outing so, by rights, Brian our resident Irishman should have been wearing green and buying the Guinness. Alas, he forgot to wear green – and he kept pretty quiet about the Guinness. Nevertheless, we were cheered by the prospect of free beer at lunchtime, courtesy of Roger, this week’s birthday boy.
It was a glorious spring morning with daffodils and blossom much in evidence as thirteen Windmillers set out from Therfield for a 30 mile tour of NE Herts. The gang comprised Alan, Andrew, Brian, Deborah, Graham, Howard, Ken, Maurice, Nigel, Ric, Roger, Sandra and Tom. Apologies / cast iron excuses had been tendered by Simon (covid), Martin (skiing) and Rod (Australia).
Mid-way around, we pulled in at Braughing where Jess opened up the Fleece specially for us and served coffee and cake in the garden.
Back on the bikes we took the return leg at quite a lick, spurred on by the prospect of free beer. We were delighted to find Suzanne waiting for us at the pub; having cycled from Abington she was just as thirsty as the rest of us. But thirstiest of all were Graham and Victor who had also cycled from home, then done the 30 mile circuit and had yet to make the return journey. Well done, all
Thanks are due to Maurice and Andrew for getting everyone organised, plus, of course, Roger: thanks and happy birthday!
A frosty start to Thursday morning prompted Andrew – very wisely – to delay the start of our outing, so it was nigh on 10 o’clock before the Windmillers were seen heading out from the Fox & Duck for a tour of the hills to the south and east of Therfield.
The highlight of our ride was the refreshment stop at Heath Farm, where Maurice and Lyn had laid on coffee and hot cross buns. Plus, of course, it’s always interesting touring the barns to view Maurice’s collection of classic cars and engineering projects – the latest of which is a motorbike engine conversion. Owning not one, but two 1957 Douglas Dragonflies, he has replaced one of the original 350cc flat twins with a 400cc, four cylinder Honda engine. The man never sleeps! Indeed, word having got around about this latest job, the editor of Classic Bike Magazine will be visiting tomorrow to interview Maurice and take pictures of the Dragonflies.
The petrolheads among us were also very taken with the Aston Martin DB5 Vantage engine slung in chains from the roof beams. All fuelled up and ready to roar, it would have been good to see it start up. However, lacking a silencer, we feared for our eardrums.
Thanking Lyn for the hospitality, we resumed our ride, heading for Nuthampstead – where we tipped our hats to John Tarrington – and thence Buntingford, before turning northwards for the return leg to Therfield.
At 24 miles, our route was somewhat shorter than usual but, given the late start, low temperatures and hilly terrain, not to mention the promise of free beer courtesy of birthday boy Brian, we were looking forward to returning to the – hopefully warm – embrace of the Fox & Duck. Alas, the heating had failed and the place was decidedly chilly, so chilly indeed that we asked to move tables; not that that made much difference.
But our lunch was good and we followed up with a rousing rendition of Happy Birthday for Brian.
For the record, our turnout of eleven Windmillers comprised: Alan, Andrew, Brian, Geoff, Graham, Howard, Jeremy, Maurice, Rod, Sandra and Victor – plus Ken and Ann who had cycled out from Ickleton to join us for lunch.
Warm thanks are due to Maurice and Lyn for their hospitality at Heath Farm – the coffee and hot cross buns went down a treat. Also to Andrew for getting us all organised, as well as Howard for the photograph in the pub.
Can it really be two years since our last visit to Therfield? It was good to be back, as the Windmillers, some arriving on two wheels, others on four, gathered in the car park of The Fox & Duck on a fine September morning. And it was another good turnout, some seventeen riders in all, namely: Alan, Brian, Charles, Chris, Deborah, Graham, Howard, Jeremy, Ken, Lawrence, Martin, Maurice, Nigel, Ric, Rod, Simon and Victor.
We made our usual Keystone Cops-like attempt at forming three teams of similar size, the teams riding five minutes apart so as to (a) avoid unduly impacting the flow of traffic around Hertfordshire, and (b) avoid descending, locust like, on any tea room unfortunate enough to attract our attention.
Did it work? Well, kinda. While we did indeed avoid overwhelming any one hospitality venue by cleverly distributing ourselves between two of them, Church Farm, Ardeley, and the Westmill Tea Room, by the time we had arrived back in Therfield for lunch, two of the teams had merged into a disorderly rabble strung out over half a mile or so of minor road.
That said, we all enjoyed a splendid morning’s ride, working up an appetite for an equally splendid lunch. Arriving at the pub, we were delighted to be joined by Suzanne, all the more so as – this being her birthday – she was very generously buying the beers.
Thanks are due to Maurice for planning the route – and we wish Suzanne a very happy and hearty birthday.