During the Easter break the kids were away with the grandparents for a few days so I took advantage of the fine weather and took ShortyBike out for a smallish ride out of town, check on mum's grave prior to tidy up and see some of the places I used to hang as a child and see how they've changed over the last few years.
Starting with NCN Route 574 Dunstable Downs, a route I proudly sponsor with Sustrans, bringing with me finally having a bike capable of riding up one of the more technical hills that usually stifle me on certain parts. And with it, bringing perfect views over Bedfordshire and Buckinghamshire on a somewhat smoggy day. Over the years they've added a multi use path on top of the downs to help make it accessible for more people, but beforehand it was packed full of little mud paths with fast paced fun for two wheels, when we were kids there were three paths. Easy, hard and stupid - with stupid being a sheer drop with only a few of us trying it without harm. Sadly our hangout there was demolished (the pyramid/toblerone building) to make way for the new gateway centre, from here we head off to Kensworth, also known as Canesworde in 1086. It's one of three villages I'll fleet through on this journey and the main stopping point, on cycling in the road access is pothole central so bear this in mind and you run the risk of fast cars and tractors on the country lanes. (I'll record a ride through the lane soon) Once your past the narrow section you find yourself immersed in quaint village life, calm and soothing, with clear views over the valley and visibility far exceeding the control tower of Luton Airport on good days.
Eventually I get to my main destination, arrive at the Methodist Church, somewhere I spent a lot of my time when younger but recently spending less time there over the last few years.
While here I note what I need to do and bookmark bits and bobs in readiness for a tidyup, then offski for more riding, choosing a route I used as a child which lead to a fantastic surprise, discovering T.C. Feeds still has a sign my mother painted proudly displayed in their entrance, this and the fact the sun was finally poking out of the smog made the day even better. Following this road takes us to more places we played when younger, while some are no longer safe I had to pop in and have a look, even with bits hanging off them precariously, reminding me we were silly to play here then and I'm just as silly now! After this we pootle down Buckwood road, a fast lane sandwiched between Kensworth, Studham and the somewhat posh hamlet of Holywell and one of the most amazing hangouts of my youth, Studham Dell. (Not the one with the little blue man story) I'll be back here later for more pictures.
Zooming onto Whipsnade, a small village with a somewhat famous Zoo, tree Cathedral and a gorgeous pub, perfect for those riding rest stops, walks around the Cathedral visiting Dell Farm with the kids or lay on the village green and watch the clouds while listening to music or visiting, just a few of the things you can do here. But for now we scooch past Dell Farm onto Whipsnade Downs, part of the NT managed sites whisk us homeward bound. But not without the beautiful views across Aylesbury Vale on Bison Hill, from here on a good day you can see far across Bedfordshire and Buckinghamshire, also looking into the sky you can see the gliders soaring over, seeming to say hi.
Before I know it I'm back on the main road homeward bound, cruising at good speed over the main road before entering town. While kid free it was a jolly good blat and chill.
Check out more of my other journeys on Instagram later.