Back in the day, when I lived down south, many weekends in spring and summer, me and a couple of friends used to go cycling along the part of the Grand Union Canal that runs between Hemel Hempstead and Tring. There are many pubs along that route, and we would cycle all the way to Tring without stopping, have lunch at a Pub in Tring by the canal, and then ride back, stopping at most of the pubs on the way back! It was a 16 mile round trip with a killer hill to do to get back home, I was so fit back then!!
Sadly I can’t find my photo’s from then 😦 but the route along the canal was stunning. We would stop and watch the brightly painted canal barges go by, waving at the oldies and their dogs as they chundled past. It was lovely to watch them go through the canal locks, and we even helped with the locks now and then. There were long uninhabited stretches where tall weeping willows kissed the water with their long, lazy branches and birdsong was our soundtrack. Sometimes we’d see a heron fishing for his lunch, or dinner.
For some of the route the River Bulbourne runs parallel to the canal and we’d stop to gaze at the large riverside homes, whos gardens tailed down to the river.
In the built up areas we sometimes had to cross from one side to the other and one day, on the return journey, after the 3rd pub stop, I cycled down the path to take a sharp left bend but instead carried straight on into the canal. Two of my friends had gone ahead already to get the next drinks in 🙄 but my pal Nicki turned round to see my back wheel disappearing under water, and turned back to help me out. I got to the pub dripping wet and went straight off to the ladies where I attempted to dry my clothes under the hand dryer, without much success. My pals were laughing their heads off, and of course, the place was packed so I imagine they were not the only ones.
Since I moved up here life has not lent itself to cycling weekends. Phil and I have done a couple of rides, but there’s so much other stuff that takes priority. But inspiration came from my pal Clare’s Freshty blog this week, and the turn in the weather so I have got my old bike out of the shed (or rather Phil has), pumped up the tyres (or rather Phil has), oiled the chain and gears (or rather Phil has 🤣 ) cleaned it all up (I did that!) and was just about to go out for a spin to check the gears and have a little play, when Phil’s sister and her hubby turned up to wish us Happy Wedding Anniversary for tomorrow and stayed for a cuppa. Any way, the weather is looking good for tomorrow so I will be off on a test drive. How hard can it be? Like riding a bike? 🙂